Region Earns Mountain Biking Recognition from IMBA

imba silver-level roanoke

It’s official: The Roanoke Region is the mountain biking capital of the East Coast.

Last week, Virginia’s Blue Ridge was recognized as a Silver-Level Ride Center from the International Mountain Biking Association. (You can see the official press release here.) The designation is for the pinnacle of mountain biking communities. These regions have something for every rider, from a variety of riding experiences to a variety of ways to have fun off the bike.

“Obtaining an IMBA Silver-Level Ride Center designation is extremely rewarding for Roanoke in Virginia’s Blue Ridge,” said Kristine McCormick, president of Roanoke IMBA. “Our diverse trail offerings and ongoing development of new trails surrounded by the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains creates an inviting Metro-Mountain Adventure for mountain bike enthusiasts. Come see for yourself!”

As the only Silver-Level community on the East Coast, the region joins some elite company. There are only 15 Silver-Level regions in the world (plus six gold- and 19 bronze-level worldwide). Silver regions include Bentonville, Arkansas; Tucson, Arizona; Steamboat Springs and Eagle County, Colorado; Taupo, New Zealand; Livingo, Italy, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Criteria is based on a broad range of factors, including trail offerings, connectivity and accessibility of trails, bike-friendly amenities, and local biking infrastructure.

“These Ride Center status designations solidify the enthusiasm for mountain biking in each of these communities, and recognizes them as some of today’s greatest mountain bike destinations,” said Dave Wiens, IMBA Executive Director. “Trails improve communities, from the local rider to the city’s bottom line.”

This isn’t an overnight honor for the region. A lot of people and organization have gone into turning our community into one where mountain biking and outdoor recreation is part of the culture. It’s a strategy the Roanoke Regional Partnership has been cultivating for a decade and a big part of the reason why Roanoke Outside exists.

An honor like this is more than just trails; it’s a connector for economic development and business investment as well. IMBA Ride Centers are destinations for people who crave the outdoor culture that has become an integral part of our region.

Thanks to everyone who put in the time having conversations, planning, building trails, and celebrating our outdoors along the way.

Did you know that before 2000 you could not even mountain bike at Carvins Cove? It’s tough to believe now, but an initiative spearheaded by Wes Best and Ian Webb helped to open Carvins Cove to recreation, laying the foundation for where we are today.