A random collection of thoughts associated with the sport of cycling, as relayed by one hopelessly devoid of too many competing interests. It's a one track blog I'm afraid. But hey, if you like bikes you might enjoy it. So keep reading and the worst that'll happen is it might rot your brain..

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

NEMBA - Join or Else

Lately I've been thinking about what we wanted to do, and what have done, this year with RI NEMBA. One of our main goals was to continue the behind the scenes work on Big River, Burlingame and Arcadia. This has been tirelessly attended to by people (Pete, Jim, Lennon) without whom the organization would truly suffer. While this work continues, we decided to lay out a fairly ambitious ride and event schedule for 2008. When we looked at our membership numbers we realized we needed to do better, a lot better. Out of all the MTB riders in RI would you believe we only have ~ 160 members? We figured if we offered more rides and were more accessible membership would grow. It's still relatively early yet so we'll have to wait and see.. Either way we are continuing to hold multiple rides each week (Burlingame, Arcadia, Lincoln Woods). The idea is to provide more of a service, so to speak.

People join, or choose not to, for various reasons. When I ask people I know not to be members to explain why they won't join the answers vary. For some folks it's all about money and they feel that NEMBA has enough (they often cite the Vietnam purchase to back this up). Some just aren't "joiners", yet they attend a weekly ride organized and communicated by members. Some people think NEMBA is a bunch of dorks and that as an organization it doesn't connect with how they ride, bro. Their excuse reminds me a lot of this:

Still some people feel like they won't "get" anything out of it. Maybe they're right. There's some truth to all of the above reasons I suppose, save the excuse that NEMBA is rolling in a vault of dough ala Scrooge McDuck. Locally we don't need the money. Simply put we need numbers of people, not dollars. Why we need people should be fairly obvious, but for those still scratching their heads, and thinking it doesn't matter, ask yourself which interest groups get the most consideration in your local parks. More members means more influence. The NEMBA name, or brand as it were, carries with it a lot of good will. That good will was earned by the work of past and present members. What I'm getting at with all this is this; if you ride trails on public land in RI you owe a lot of your unfettered access to the folks in RI NEMBA, and regional NEMBA.

Personally, I joined soon after returning to New England as I used maps and directions on the NEMBA site to learn new trails. I also ran into some trail patrollers who hooked me up with maps during my early forays into Arcadia. I felt like I was using a tangible resource and that I should, at the very least, join the organization if only to lend my name to the membership list. What I was "getting" out of it was the knowledge that there was well organized group of riders, and they willing to fight for my right to ride a bike in the woods. I realized that without their work in the preceding years I'd most likely have a limited selection of trails to ride.

So yeah, that's it, that's the spiel. If you really feel you don't need to join, but you want to use the resources, that's OK too. The guy below feels for you, hell he probably is you..


Blogger Phil said...


Love the blog. I emailed you yesterday about Crank Collective (www.crankcollective.com). No, I'm not stalking, just scouring the NEMBA forums -- I guess I have too much free time -- and saw this link.

Check it and hit me up with some feedback when you can and I'll become a NEMBA member.

9:06 AM

Blogger badbrad said...

make it ~ 161 riders.

1:26 PM

Blogger Brendan said...

Thx dude! You know you can do it online at the regional site (nemba.org) right?

2:06 PM

Blogger badbrad said...

Oh, I already did it. I didn't get it through nemba.org though... I used eBay ;)

2:34 PM

Anonymous gengler.peter@gmail.com said...

great post Brendan. I'll push again at the Bat List this month. Will try to get more to pony up, drink the cool aid etc...

huffin & puffin pete

2:42 PM


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