A new organisation OpenMTB has just been born that brings together and represents English and Welsh trail communities. They already have participation from Lake District MBA, Ride Sheffield, PDMBA North Wales, Cannock, Tyne Valley, PMBA, TrailTeam Swinley, IMBA UK, CTC and BC and growing all the time.
Core to them is speaking with a united voice to drive improvements to the English and Welsh trail communites. A guiding vision would be emulating something similar to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code here in England and Wales. (NB I've attached a handy short leaflet which summarises to this post). They are currently forming and will meet up in a few months to define the plan and areas to focus on. One of their first campaigns they will be involved in is supporting ‘Trails for Wales’ which focuses on the current Welsh Government consultation for increased access in Wales.
iBikeRide commend the initiative and will support it in any capacity we can (that's an invite folks). We do though as we have mentioned often in numerous posts see the need for a UK wide organisation that brings together England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. DMBinS is making incredible progress in Scotland as is MountainBikeNI in Northern Ireland and having them as part of this orgnasation we think would help bring the learnings quicker to England and Wales and of course give a stronger UK national voice. Hopefully this is an important and probably essential step on this journey.
Here is a bit more detail about OpenMTB who they are and their aims:
"Early in 2015 representatives from a number of mountain bike associations met journalists and industry experts from across England and Wales to see how we could work together for the benefit of our community.
In the past it has been difficult for governing bodies to consult our diverse community due to the lack of a single point of contact.
OpenMTB has been formed to act co-operatively on behalf of our supporters - locally, regionally and nationally on issues that concern our supporters. These issues include improved access rights, user group consultations, trail improvement and maintenance etc.
We have agreed how we will work in partnership with cycling's main bodies. By using existing relationships with our supporters and the campaigning experience and organisational skills of CTC and British Cycling we aim to work in a positive manner to bring about real benefits for the off-road cycling community.
The group already have links with National Park Authorities, the Forestry Commission and other land managers and will continue to build on these in the future.
Current rights of way were created before the mountain bike was invented and we believe the system needs a thorough review in order to reflect current patterns of recreational use. Scotland has undergone such a review and is seeing the benefits modernisation brings. User groups are equal and are bound by a single responsible access code. Using such a code we seek to bring access rights up to date across the UK.
In our first campaign OpenMTB, CTC, British Cycling and Welsh Cycling will soon be launching ‘Trails for Wales’ which focuses on the current Welsh Government consultation for increased access in Wales. We feel that modernising the Welsh access system is a sensible step towards a fair system across the whole of the UK"
Head over to their Facebook page and give them a like to keep up with the plans and get involved.