CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY DECLARES JUNE 2024 IS “CALIFORNIA MOUNTAIN BIKING MONTH”

Bipartisan bill passes with unanimous support from the State Assembly members

The California State Assembly has voted to declare June 2024 as “California Mountain Biking Month.”

We asked Steve Messer of CORBA to tell us more about it. You can see his answers after our questions (which appear in bold type).

How would you describe the bill?

ACR152 is a resolution that was supported by legislators from both political parties in the California state government. It declares June 2024 as California Mountain Biking Month. The resolution talks about the awesome history of mountain biking in California, from its early beginnings in Marin County, to the creation of important biking groups like IMBA, NICA, and us, the California Mountain Biking Coalition. It highlights how beneficial mountain biking is for your health and how much money the mountain biking industry brings to California. It also gives a shout-out to all the great trail work mountain biking groups do. In short, it lets the whole state government know just how awesome mountain biking is and how it can improve quality of life and benefit communities. 

The California State Assembly hears and approves the bill.

Who was behind it? 

The California Mountain Biking Coalition made this happen. Back in 2019, five mountain biking groups in California – CORBA, A4B, SFUR, SDMBA, and REMBA – joined forces to create CAMTB and represent mountain bikers at the state level. We also want to support all organizations’ efforts to improve trails for mountain bikers. Now we have 35 member orgs, with more joining soon. We’re growing, and getting noticed. 

We approached two state politicians who we had already worked with on mountain biking issues – Assemblymember Damon Connolly from Marin and Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones from San Diego. Connolly regularly rides and knew about CAMTB, while Jones often leads rides to benefit the San Diego Mountain Bike Association. They agreed to introduce the bill in both the Assembly and Senate. Another politician, Assemblymember Gail Pellerin, also backed it. During the vote, a whopping 65 Assembly members from both parties, plus 3 Senators, signed on as co-sponsors! It sailed through the Assembly on a voice vote and is expected to easily pass the Senate this week.  

Why did your group want to do it?

It’s no secret that California is in a fiscal crunch these days.  So last fall at our strategic planning retreat in Santa Cruz we decided our first sponsored bill would have the best chance of passage if it had no fiscal impact. We also wanted to show politicians all the awesome benefits of mountain biking and its long history in the state. There had never been an official Mountain Biking Day, Week or Month before (except Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day), so it was an easy choice. Plus it would be a great way to introduce CAMTB to the legislature. 

The movers and shakers who got the bill to the California State Assembly. That’s Steve Messer in the middle. 

Can you tell us where it happened?

It all went down right on the Assembly floor in the State Capitol building in Sacramento, just like any other new law. Some agencies like the East Bay Regional Parks District and City of Ukiah have declared their own Mountain Biking Month.  We hope more cities will adopt their own resolutions in future years.

What it was like to be there?

On June 3rd, 2024 – during the afternoon Assembly session, our delegation was in the Gallery. Connolly read the resolution into the record, and introduced us as his guests. I had chill-bumps hearing the words I helped write being read into the record. It was a little surreal. Then we were invited on to the Assembly floor to take photos, and meet with the legislators.

The most fun part was after the Assembly vote – the politicians posed for photos on the Capitol steps with our delegation, then we all rode bikes on the capitol lawn and steps, with Jones and Connoly riding in their suits! Later, the CAMTB crew celebrated with the politicians at a happy hour.

What was said?

The politicians spoke about how mountain biking brings people together, promotes a healthy lifestyle, supports local businesses, and how the community helps maintain trails. They highlighted its deep roots in California history from the 1970s in Marin. CAMTB’s leaders thanked everyone for recognizing the importance of the sport. There was no call for discussion of the bill, meaning it wasn’t considered controversial. 

How long does the bill last?

The official resolution is just for June 2024. But CAMTB and its member groups plan to celebrate #CAMTBmonth every June, with or without an official state law. Trailforks has a special badge for anyone using their app to ride California trails this month. 

Can you ell us who was present.

At the Capitol, the CAMTB delegation included me (CAMTB president Steve Messer),  executive director Michael Anzalone, and representatives from mountain biking groups like Scott Bartlebaugh (East Bay Bicycle Trails Council), Katie Hawkins (Outdoor Alliance), Matthew Blain (San Francisco Urban Riders) and Scot Nicol (Ibis Bikes). Our consultant Bill Keene, and Lobbyist Doug Houston were also present. We were stoked to also have two teen ambassadors, Ruby and Nicole.

Can you tell us any short- or long-term implications?

Short-term, it’s a big win to celebrate! Mountain bikers across California can feel proud that the state is officially recognizing this awesome sport, its history, its health benefits, and community impacts. It’s now part of the state record. There’s a full calendar of events, chances to earn a sweet badge from Trailforks, and a bike-giveaway from Ibis. We’re encouraging all mountain bikers to take a pledge and be part of the movement.

Long-term, this opens the door for CAMTB to work with those 68 supporting politicians on bigger goals—like getting more funding for trails, passing bike-friendly land laws, and improving policies to make state agencies more welcoming to mountain bikers.

CAMTB can now remind those politicians about all the benefits they recognized when co-sponsoring this bill as we ask them to support more substantive legislation. And every June, we’ll be celebrating California’s mountain biking awesomeness and invite all California mountain bikers to join in that celebration!

Here’s the full press release from the California Mountain Biking Coalition about the bill and its passage:

Sacramento, CA (June 10, 2024)

The California Mountain Biking Coalition (CAMTB) is thrilled
to announce the passing of Assembly Concurrent Resolution 152 (ACR 152) by the California
State Assembly. ACR 152 designates June 2024 as “California Mountain Biking Month.” and
recognizes the deep roots mountain biking has in California as its birthplace. ACR 152,
originally authored by Assemblymember Damon Connolly and Senator Brian Jones, is
sponsored by the California Mountain Biking Coalition. The bill received broad support, picking
up fifty-nine (59) additional co-authors prior to the Assembly vote on June 3, including principal
co-author Assemblymember Gail Pellerin (28th District).

The California State Assembly hears and approves the bill.

ACR 152 now moves on to the California State Senate for the anticipated final approval. The
legislation is Bipartisan, or authored and widely supported by both democrats and republicans
alike; and Bicameral, or residing in both state legislative bodies. Additionally, it highlights the
numerous benefits mountain biking and sustainable trail design provide to Californians and
communities across the state, including mental and physical wellness, economic uplift,
environmental protection, and community development.

Some of the mountain bikers behind the efforts to get the bill passed. That’s CORBA president Steve Messer on the far left.

The resolution cites mountain biking as a health-promoting activity that builds cardiovascular
fitness, strength, and endurance. It also underscores the mental health benefits of mountain
biking and its ability to reduce stress and foster community. The resolution points to the
significant volunteer efforts of mountain biking clubs and organizations that maintain trails and
support public lands. It also notes the major economic impact of mountain biking, contributing
over $2.3 billion to California’s economy annually.

Additionally, the resolution acknowledges the growth of high school mountain biking programs
that provide healthy activity and valuable life skills for youth. It celebrates the inclusion of
mountain biking in the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Olympics. The resolution also cites the
increased accessibility of mountain biking thanks to improved bike technology, trail navigation
apps, e-bikes and adaptive bikes.“The mountain biking community in California has exploded in the last decade, and so too has
the leadership and stewardship of nonprofit mountain bike and trail organizations. They have
stepped up to maintain and advocate for all our trail networks, and it’s imperative and exciting
that we recognize everything they do to make our parks and trails a vital part of California’s
economy”, said Jake Bayless, President of the California Trails Foundation.

Michael Anzalone, Executive Director of CAMTB[:] “Mountain Biking isn’t just a sport. It’s a way of
being. It’s about living a healthy life, celebrating the natural world, and often, having fun with
friends while you do it. It’s also about giving back, being good stewards of the land, and
ensuring that the places we love to ride will be available for future generations to come.”

Here are the two California legislators who were behind the introduction of the bill: Assemblyman Damon Connolly (on the left) and Senator Brian Jones (on the right).

During the month of June, CAMTB and its member organizations will be hosting a variety of
community events around the state for all types of rider abilities. Events include group rides,
volunteer trail maintenance, skills clinics, happy hours, movie nights, and more. Visit the
CAMTB Month Calendar of Events at https://camtb.org/mtbmonthcal/ for more information
CAMTB encourages mountain bikers and cycling enthusiasts across the state to get some trail
time in, support your local trail stewardship organization, and join in the celebrations and
festivities for #CAMTBmonth throughout June 2024. Follow us on social media or check
https://camtb.org/mtb-month-2024 for updates.

Steve Messer
President – Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA)
President – California Mountain Biking Coalition (CAMTB)

Posing for photos in from of the California State Capitol.

Here’s a video of the resolution being read and passed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Y9YZOU2Pew

The California Mountain Biking Coalition (CAMTB) was formed in 2019 as a 501(c)(4)
nonprofit organization dedicated to improving and protecting mountain biking opportunities
and the public lands on which we recreate throughout California. CAMTB is a coalition of 31
trail stewardship organizations from around California, and serves as a unified, statewide
voice for mountain bikers and gravel riders. CAMTB partners with our member organizations
and many regional and national organizations to advocate for improved recreational
amenities, management policies and legislation that benefit mountain bikers, trails, and the public
lands on which we recreate.

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