Tag: IMBA Instructor Certification Program (ICP)

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

Learning to instruct Photo album

I took the IMBA Instructor Certification Program (ICP) Level 2 course last weekend. It was 3+ days of intense instruction, practice teaching, and testing. Here are a few photos of my fellow colleagues (we…

Learning to instruct Learning to ride

If I could only use one word to describe my experience as a student in IMBA’s Level 1  Instructor Certification Program (ICP) course over the weekend, it would be ‘intense.’

The feeling of intensity began building several days prior when a packet arrived in the mail with the 80-page Level 1 Ride Guide. It included the instructions:

ICP Level 1 course materialsEnclosed is your ICP course manual along with a pre-test for your upcoming certification event. Please complete this open book test and bring the completed pages with you to the course along with your manual.

Pre-test? I was a little bit annoyed. WTF is this, high school? But as I did my homework, I noticed a degree of seriousness kick in as I realized that I wanted to not only perform well and get whatever passing grade was needed but that I really wanted to learn this stuff.  Time to put on your big boy pants, I told myself.

Jake Carsten and Kat Sweet at Valley Bike and Ski Lebanon Hills MTB park, west trail head Mike Holme, Kat Sweet, Jake Carsten

Learning to instruct

Learning to instruct Learning to ride Photo album