Category: <span>Organizations</span>

Update March 7, 2018:

IMBA’s Instructor Certification Program (ICP) has transitioned to the Bike Instructor Certification Program (BICP) and is no longer part of IMBA. It’s still led by Shaums March, but under a new non-profit organization. They’ve also reconfigured their courses/certifications with new pricing to: Ride Leader, Level 1, Level 2, Level 1-2 Combo, Level 3. And they’ve added recertification, prep, and refresher courses, too.  Their new logo:

I’ve not updated the links or information in the blog post below.

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This spring  (2016) I’ve gotten certified as both an IMBA ICP Level 2 and PMBI Level 1 mountain bike instructor (blog posts with photos here and here).  The competing certifications are similar in that they’re designed to equip one with the ability to instruct beginner and intermediate-level riders in basic skills. (IMBA’s ICP Level 1 is a Ride Guide course; PMBI’s Ride Guide course doesn’t use a Level number.)

PMBI Level 1 IMBA ICP Level 2

I wasn’t planning to take either one this spring as IMBA wasn’t offering a Level 2 course locally and PMBI’s Level 1 course at Spirit Mountain in Duluth sold out quickly.   But I got lucky.

Jeff Milbauer, owner of nearby Valley Bike & Ski,  had contracted privately with IMBA to offer the course to some of his staff/instructors. When one had to drop out, he contacted me and I took the spot.  And then PMBI added a second course/instructor to their Spirit Mountain Level 1 weekend and I snapped up one of those openings.

My rationale for taking PMBI Level 1 having just completed IMBA ICP Level 2 two weeks prior?

  • Proximity: Duluth is only 3 hours away and I wasn’t confident that PMBI would offer the course nearby again anytime soon
  • Terrain: the IMBA Level 2 course was held at nearby Buck Hill in Burnsville, MN and neither its new mountain biking runs nor its new skills park was open yet. Spirit Mountain is a mountain bike mecca with lift access
  • Weather: it poured nearly the entire weekend for the IMBA course. I was hoping I’d get lucky for the PMBI course in Duluth
  • Collegiality: I wanted to be able to team up with fellow instructors. With everyone passing, there were 8 IMBA Level 2 instructors in the state of Minnesota.  The two courses at Spirit Mountain would mean there could be up to 14 additional PMBI instructors in the region
  • Curiosity: I’m a blogger and I was naturally curious to know first-hand what the differences were between the two competing certifications
  • Future professional development: I figured that having a foundation with both certifications would give me better options for pursuing their more advanced certification levels
  • Marketing advantage: I’d likely be the only mtb instructor in the Upper Midwest region with both certifications.

Learning to instruct Organizations

As a board member for Cannon River Offroad Cycling & Trails (CROCT), I’ve been taking the lead on our PR and social media, not just to inform local mountain bikers about what we’re doing but also the wider community of Rice County where our IMBA chapter operates.

This is my narration to the slide presentation that CROCT President Marty Larson and I did for BikeNorthfield’s 3rd Annual Soup & Cycles meeting back in January.

It’s an overview of CROCT-related activities, events, and accomplishments in the past year.  Like most any online video, you can pause it, move the slider backwards and forwards, and watch it in full-screen mode. 23 minutes:

(Click here to view this presentation on the CROCT blog without the narration. Advantage: clickable titles to blog posts that provide more background on each topic.)

Advocacy Organizations