Michigan’s Edge Mountain Bike Association

Michigan’s Edge Mountain Biking Association (MEMBA) was recently asked to consider allowing ebikes at the Mosquito Creek MTB trail. The request came from a donor whose business has been engaged with a large bicycle manufacturing company in marketing and promoting their developing line of ebikes. There are no trails in the MEMBA area that currently allow ebikes. At first blush, we felt that this was a bold request. As an organization that looks to promote more riders riding more trails sustainably, we felt it was appropriate and responsible to educate ourselves on the issue of ebikes before making a decision to request access from the landowner. Here’s what we learned.

First, as a chapter of the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA), we thought we would look to their resources and guidance on the issue. Very quickly we learned that there are 3 distinct, widely accepted classes of ebikes. These definitions are being used at the national and state levels for rules and regulations. Here they are from the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code, section 257.13e:

Class 1 electric bicycle. As used in this subparagraph, “class 1 electric bicycle” means an electric bicycle that is equipped with an electric motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and that disengages or ceases to function when the electric bicycle reaches a speed of 20 miles per hour. 

Class 2 electric bicycle. As used in this subparagraph, “class 2 electric bicycle” means an electric bicycle that is equipped with a motor that propels the electric bicycle to a speed of no more than 20 miles per hour, whether the rider is pedaling or not, and that disengages or ceases to function when the brakes are applied. 

Class 3 electric bicycle. As used in this subparagraph, “class 3 electric bicycle” means an electric bicycle that is equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and that disengages or ceases to function when the electric bicycle reaches a speed of 28 miles per hour. 

IMBA announced in 2017 that they were updating their stance on ebikes to “support trail access for Class 1 eMTBs and support shared use on trails as long as access is not lost or impeded for traditional mountain bikes” (or as one industry representative called them, ‘Analog MTBs’). IMBA had actually been studying this issue for several years prior to 2017’s announcement, and had performed an environmental impact study of Class 1 ebikes.

In 2015, IMBA performed a scientifically controlled field study to measure soil displacement and erosion caused by a traditional mountain bike, a Class 1 eMTB, and a traditional off road motorcycle (dirt bike). The study took place in Northwest Oregon and involved 500 passes of the mountain bikes, and 200 passes of the dirt bike. The results showed that the impact from the mountain bikes were very similar and not statistically different. The dirt bike, as one would expect, had a very different impact. While this study was done in Oregon on trails that most likely have different soil composition than the rest of the country, the fact that the difference in impact between the two mountain bikes was negligible is still of significant value and importance. You can read more on IMBA’s eMTB position.

Second, we searched for ebike related content and discussion and discovered podcasts and articles with a wealth of information and divergent viewpoints. One article stood out about a study done by BYU Public Health Professors on the amount of exercise achieved on a Class 1 eMTB. They studied 33 amateur riders’ heart rates on a 6 mile trail that included 700 feet of climbing. Riders were asked to ride the loop once on each bike while wearing a heart rate monitor (Polar HRMs and Apple Watches were used to capture the data). Then, the researchers compared heart rate data between the two rides and found that on average, riders achieved 94% of their traditional mountain bike heart rate average on the eMTB. Average speed and time of completion were faster on the eMTB, but there was no information collected on top speeds or average descent speeds to analyze if that was a result of faster ascending or if riders were riding everything faster on an eMTB.

Third, we looked to see if there were any regulations on the use of ebikes and found that both the State of Michigan and the National Parks Service had recently implemented rule changes that were relevant to our decision. In August of 2019, the National Parks Service updated their policy on ebikes at national parks in support of their Healthy Parks Healthy People goals and allows for ebikes to be wherever traditional bikes are allowed. At the state level in Michigan, as of January 1, 2018, a new law went into effect that A) allows local authorities or agencies to allow ebikes on natural surface non-motorized trails (mountain bike trails) and B) requires ebike manufacturers and retailers to prominently and permanently label each ebike with its classification number on it.

What does this all mean? As we surveyed all of the information we dug up, it became apparent to us that there is a wave of change happening in the bicycle industry and the Country concerning ebikes. Many of the past arguments against eMTBs are being addressed or dispelled (eMTBs cause more damage, eMTBing isn’t exercise, you can’t tell what class an eMTB is, etc.). This new and emerging class of bicycle is not only being adopted by consumers (industry reports a rapid growth in the sale of ebikes), but also by national agencies (IMBA) and governments (National Parks Service and Michigan). It is being recognized as a valuable way to promote health and recreation to a wider audience. And when more people ride, we get asked to build more trails.

Because of this, we felt it was an appropriate request to ask the Muskegon County Board to approve an amendment to our agreement that allows for the use of Class 1 eMTB’s at the Mosquito Creek mountain bike trail. In early March, just prior to the statewide stay-at-home order, MEMBA representatives presented and gained approval of the amendment at a Muskegon County Board Meeting. The final amendment has been signed. As of this letter, eMTBs are now allowed at Mosquito Creek.

However, we want it to be clear that ONLY Class 1 eMTBs are allowed and ONLY at Mosquito Creek. None of our other trails have been approved for eMTB riding, of any class. This may change in the future, but as of right now, if you have a Class 1 eMTB please only ride it at Mosquito Creek.

2020 Q2 Board Meeting Minutes

Hello Members!

Click here to download our 2020 Q2 board meeting minutes, albeit a tad late 😉 Sorry about that.

IMBA Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day

October 3rd, 2020

We are all about getting children out in the woods to enjoy awesome trails! This October 3rd join us at your nearest trail with your children, your friends kids, or your neighbors youngsters out on a bike in the woods.

IMBA Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day (TKMBD) is an annual event that seeks to introduce the joy of mountain biking to the next generation. Created in 2004 and recognized by the U.S. Congress, TKMBD is officially celebrated every year on the first Saturday in October.

More than 100,000 youth have discovered and celebrated the joy of pedaling two wheels on dirt at TKMBD events, and many have gone on to become passionate riders, volunteer trail advocates and even high school mountain bike racers.

Check out our Facebook Event

MEMBA would like to thank Velo City Cycles for hosting a fantastic Frigid Fondo and helping support our organization at the same time.

We provided assistance at the registration table, and had a table of our own! We also helped with parking… although it was difficult to stay warm.

Thanks again Velo City Cycles!

2020 Q1 Board Meeting Minutes

Hello members!

We had our Q1 board meeting on January 28th, 2020 and had a great discussion about the awesome things we’re going to work on in 2020. Go MEMBA!

Click here to download the meeting minutes and read for yourself!

Welcome Kirk Walter as our new President

It is official! Please help us welcome Kirk Walter as the incoming MEMBA President. We look forward to working with him as he puts his talents, experience, and love of riding to work for the benefit of mountain biking along Lake Michigan’s Edge.

We would also like to thank Brian Land’s willingness to serve and are hopeful that we will be able to leverage his gifts in the future as well.
Finally, we again would like to thank Randy Knapp for his many years of leadership and energy that has helped make MEMBA what it is today.
We’re looking forward to another great year of riding, promoting, advocating, building, and then riding some more!

MEMBA is now on AmazonSmile

Want to help out your local trails while buying gifts this holiday season? Now you can!

MEMBA is now available as a charity on AmazonSmile!

Click on the following link to set MEMBA as your charity of choice on AmazonSmile, then all you have to do is buy those holiday gifts on smile.amazon.com and a small percentage of your purchase will be donated to MEMBA. Nice thing is, it’s at no cost to you!

We like to call that a win-win-win 🙂


MEMBA President Nominations

Michigan’s Edge Mountain Bike Association (MEMBA) would like to thank Randy Knapp for his 8 years of hard work and ‘roll up your sleeves’ leadership. Without Randy, MEMBA wouldn’t exist, nor be as successful as it is. Under Randy’s leadership, MEMBA was formed; Owasippe was re-opened; Mosquito Creek was approved and is being built; and relationships with many state and local landowners were established. While Randy will not be ‘riding off into the sunset’, he would like to be able to focus more specifically on a couple of distinct trails and projects. SO, MEMBA is calling on its members for nominations for President. And we’re not just looking for anyone. We’re looking for someone who:

  • is a strong advocate for the sport of mountain biking;
  • has a passion to grow the sport of mountain biking in our region (Allegan, Ottawa, Muskegon, Oceana counties) by:
    • developing strategic partnerships with local bike shops, running clubs, K-12 cycling clubs, cycling groups/clubs,
    • assist in the formation of new cycling groups;
  • is passionate about the outdoors and sustaining the natural resources utilized for trails;
  • is an ambassador with local the local businesses and governmental agencies;
  • has capacity to be involved with landowner and stakeholder meetings when needed;
  • is familiar with MEMBA, the MMBA, IMBA, and the relationships between them;
  • has past leadership experience that would be useful in directing and cultivating a strong, decentralized volunteer board;
  • has good organizational skills;
  • has the ability and network to attract talent for term board positions;
  • and can cultivate MEMBA’s leadership pipeline.

The President’s role is a (2) year commitment but a lifetime value. If you or someone you know might be a good fit, please forward a nomination, bio, and brief supporting statement to membatreasurer@gmail.com. We will be collecting nominations until November 15 and members will vote via electronic survey in late November (members keep your eyes peeled for an email). We are working on a December Member Meeting (tentatively planned for December 7, Global Fatbike Day at two locations) where we plan to announce the next President.

Thank you,


Heads up! Global Fat Bike Day 2019 is coming

Heads up fat bike riders! MEMBA will be hosting a double-header event to celebrate this year’s Global Fat Bike Day on December 7th, 2019.

More details to follow, but here are the basics…

Morning Session

We’ll be starting with a ride at Riley Trails and then heading to the Riley Street beach for a shoreline ride down to the Holland State Park pier.

Evening Session

Muskegon Sports Complex will be hosting a Bike The Lights event that evening at their facility. This is a can’t miss experience!

So mark December 7th, 2019 on the calendar and come enjoy fat biking with us!

Join or Renew your MEMBA-ship in October and WIN!

For this month of October 2019 ONLY!

IMBA is offering a chance to win this sweet give away if you join or renew within the month of October 2019! Don’t hesitate to help your local IMBA Group!

Join or renew your IMBA MEMBA membership here and you’ll be entered to win.

Join or renew with your IMBA Local group in October and you’re entered to win a Yeti SB100 Beti or Yeti SB6, a Western Spirit trip for two, BikeFlights shipping, a shopping spree at JensonUSA and a Showers Pass clothing package.