Reframing Mountain Biking Wraps Their Second Annual Symposium.

The second ever Reframing Mountain Biking was held on 1-2nd March in Sheffield, which built on the inaugural event held in November 2022.

Parkwood Springs in Sheffield played host to sixty delegates for the second Reframing Mountain Biking Symposium last weekend.

Photo by Rich Baybutt

This year Reframing Mountain Biking hosted a blend of 60 delegates from across the mountain biking community: media, brands, trail associations, non-profits, land managers and passionate individuals. Friday was a day of inspirational and informative speakers and energised workshop discussions, followed by a day of outdoor engagement at Parkwood Springs. We thank Komoot, Patagonia, Rapha and Ride Sheffield for their support of Reframing Mountain Biking 2024, and all the volunteers who contributed to the success of the event.

Friday morning Lauren MacCallum (Protect Our Winters UK) opened the floor with a powerful call for systemic solutions to the challenges faced by mountain biking and wider society by the climate crisis. Dr Fiona Spotswood (University of Bristol), Adam Dayson (WorkWith Studios) and Fee Wallace (Aberdeenshire Trail Association/Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland) presented stark research and positive steps towards closing the gender gap on the trail and reframing mountain biking to be inviting to all.

Dr Jim Cherrington (Sheffield Hallam University) highlighted the challenges disabled riders can experience when accessing the outdoors and the opportunities EMTB can present when preconceptions are removed. Finally, Hans Stoops (IMBA Europe) shared the work being done to get more people on bikes through sustainable mountain biking, and the steps forward being taken through projects such as the DIRTT Project, Take Care of Your Trails campaign and wider advocacy at EU and National levels.

Photo by Rich Baybutt

In the afternoon delegates split into workshops covering each of the three Reframing Mountain Biking themes: 1) Trails and Associations (Trail Associations: A Welcoming Space for All? How do we grow support for trails?), 2) Diversity and Inclusion (Why aren’t people mountain biking and what can we do about it?) and 3) Media and Culture/Industry (How can storytelling in all forms facilitate and amplify positive messages around mountain biking). Each of these workshops focussed on creating pathways to progress, and a Reframing Mountain Biking report with outcomes from each of these sessions will be released in the coming weeks.

In the evening a number of delegates headed out for a tour of local trails, and the night ended at the pub with conversations following on from the day.

On Saturday everyone met up at Parkwood Springs in Sheffield to get stuck into a number of activities. Sheffield legend Jon Dallow (Sheffield City Council Parks and Woodlands Officer) gave a land managers perspective of the trails and the background to the development Parkwood Springs as an Active Country Park with footpaths and bike tracks.

Alongside this, Ride Sheffield and Bolehills volunteers were busy all day revamping the Dual Slalom track, and Reframing Mountain Biking delegates were free to pitch in and earn a lunchtime pizza from Sunshine Pizza Oven. Hope Academy was busy all day running introductory and skills sessions young riders, and The Bikes College had their very capable hands full all day, fixing up bikes for riders from near and far.

Photo by Anya Tolwinskaya.

After lunch the Colour Collective held a guided ride to show locals and delegates around the Parkwood Springs trail network. This was a brilliant opportunity for locals who might not have ventured out to the trails before to have a go, and for delegates to ride together and experience the full extent of the park. To top it off, Trash Free Trails were on hand all day to show how nature connection can be integrated into everyday rides by taking simple steps to leave a positive trace.

For the committed few, the weekend ended with a ride around Wharncliffe and Greno Woods, ticking off the rest of the Sheffield classics for those new to the area. All in all, everyone left with plenty to think about and a great perspective on the steps that can be taken to make mountain biking a better, more inclusive and sustainable, fun space for all.

We are proud to say that the event had a pretty much equal gender balance, and we welcome everyone to join in the conversation. We particularly call on brands and media who weren’t able to attend this time to join us at the next Reframing Mountain Biking to get progress rolling.

A report with full details of outcomes from the workshops and links to initiatives will follow soon.

Follow @reframingmtb and keep an eye on reframingmtb.org for updates.


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