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MTBA - Do they have it backward?

welltired's picture

By welltired - Posted on 14 November 2014

Just a bunch of random thoughts. Sorry for the length or if it comes across ranty.

Would MTBA be better off focussing on the entry level and maintenance of numbers, rather than discussing the fiscal and governmental side of funding?

I just read the most recent newsletter:

I probably entered half a dozen races this year, and did not see a MTBA advocate at one place. I met some nice guy yesterday at OMV, who was at a complete loss at whether he could get through that track, or even what a A/B line is. Even as a current member, I have no idea what they really do, and the person entering MTB, he doesn't even know what they are.

Surely working with some large entry level manufacturer (like Cell etc) and partnering to bring in a cheaper membership on purchase of bike makes more sense than some of the current ideas.

When I started riding, I did buy a cell, and I had literally no idea where to ride, or what to do. Luckily, I went out to Awaba a few times, and could start on some easier track. My boss bought a bike, went to Manly Dam, and literally has not ridden a MTB since (despite me telling him Manly was just too much for a beginner, but he'd be fine in other places).

My brother has started riding this year aswell, and as quite a non-mechanical guy, he would have quit for sure if he had to maintain his bike.

Maybe this is all crazy, or its being done. Some sort of intro to MTB, that works with a cheap membership - and maybe a lesson how to index gears - that could all be achieved and grow the sport (via funding on new bike purchases).

Flynny's picture

Mtba is it's members and it's affiliate clubs. The clubs are the grass roots. While I have often wondered at the focus on the high performance level myself I can see where they are coming from.

Local clubs are far more able to deal with the intracies of local grass roots riding than is what is escencially a couple of people in a head office in Sydney

The club grant scheme is a available as a way of putting membership money back into the local clubs.

So in a very real sence mtba is mainly grass roots and the high end stuff is just the face put forward

With cheap membership mtba just did a free 3 month trial membership offer.

Our club offers try before you buy with entry fee and day licence covered by club for first race.

Socially the sport has always been welcoming. Not sure what it's like in you area but in our area it's normal to come across a new rider on the trail and invite them along. That is the soul of mtb and maybe slipping as the sport gets bigger

Ray R's picture

I don't want to be an apologist for MTBA's past - I've had numerous frustrations as well. But now with a Board structure that works, a CEO focusing on members, and some extra staff - we are starting to see results from MTBA.

A prime example is that the qualifications for becoming a Level 1 Coach are now achievable, and MTBA are running frequent courses around Australia. This is leading to a flow on of expertise as these coaches spread their knowledge. The "She Rides" program for ladies is another example (run in conjunction with CA).

MTBA were put in a poor situation late last year when CA dumped the contract to run the National Series back on MTBA at very short notice. So they have recovered from that and are now moving on to new items and services.

I say it's a case of "watch this space".

In the mean time, let's keep our clubs running smoothly by helping out when we can. AND each rider should consider doing at least half a day's track maintenance per year. Tracks don't just happen by magic.

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