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A Note From Nicole Freedman


On the eve of NEMBA’s 35th Anniversary, I’m delighted to take on the role of Executive Director following on the heels of two incredible leaders, Philip Keyes and Travis Counsell. This transition happens to be taking place during National Gratitude Month. Who knew it was National Gratitude Month? ...more on this later. 

For 35 years, since 1987, when NEMBA was founded as one of the first mountain bike associations in the United States, our organization has set the course for mountain biking here in New England and beyond. 

Together we built one of densest networks of mountain bike trails anywhere (25,798 mountain biking trails to be exact) and created a large, thriving, powerful mountain bike community. How large a community you may ask? By my calculations, bigger than the GDP of an actual country: Tuvalu, when looking at the retail value of all our bicycles. While Tuvalu, a lovely little island in the Pacific, may have the smallest GDP in the world, it translates to a very large mountain bike community! 

So, what do we now that we have built this extensive community and trail network, what should our next 35 years look like, and did we really spend more on mountain bikes than the GDP of an actual country? (Yes we did!) 

As your new Executive Director, I can reassure you that, well, I don’t quite know yet. I have spent the last five weeks listening to and learning from so many of you in hopes of figuring out how we create the future of mountain biking. I have spoken with NEMBA and non-NEMBA members, Board members, landowners, our friends at KTA, VMBA, SORBA, NEHSCA and other organizations with acronyms ending in “A”, and many others. Working with you, the Board of Directors and our talented staff, our goal is to create a vision and action plan that ensures NEMBA is a world-class leader on everything mountain biking for the next 35 years. 

While we don’t have the answers yet, a few things have stood out in my conversations: 

Community and Culture Matter - Every time you cheerily say hello to a fellow rider on the trail, pull over to let a hiker or equestrian pass, proactively introduce yourself to the new rider standing alone, take a day off to let the trails dry, or remove trash from the trail, you are helping to make our community more welcoming, inviting and fun for everyone. Your kindness and gratitude on the trails (un)paves the way for successful relationships with landowners translating to more riding for our entire community. 

Let’s Welcome Everyone – According to a recent survey, our current membership is a bit skewed: 80% identify as male and 91% as Caucasian. 75% of us saw our formative years imprinted with Michael Jackson and the Breakfast Club and/or the Beatles, black and white TV, and rotary-dial phones. To be a thriving relevant organization of the future, we must welcome, engage and represent all mountain bikers. 

100% of people surveyed agree that our current website is kinda “meh”! Have no fear, a new one is on the way soon. 

I'd love to hear your ideas, too. Please reach out to me anytime to share your thoughts or just to say hello. I look forward to meeting and riding with you all. Please remember to Ride with Gratitude. 

Keep smiling, 

Nicole Freedman 

Executive Director