The International Police Mountain Bike Association (IPMBA) is a non-profit association dedicated to promoting the use of bikes for public safety, providing resources and networking opportunities, and offering the best, most complete training for public safety cyclists.
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Who We Are
IPMBA is the premier training organization for public safety cyclists. Since its founding in 1992, IPMBA has trained tens of thousands of public safety professionals in safe and effective police, EMS, and security bicycle operations. IPMBA maintains a network of instructors who deliver the flagship Police, EMS, and Security Cyclist Courses, and offers introductory, intermediate, and advanced training opportunities at the annual IPMBA conference. The first IPMBA Conference was held in 1991 and is renown for its innovative training programs, experienced instructors, networking opportunities, and bike patrol product exhibition. IPMBA training is recognized and respected as the gold standard for public safety cycling throughout the United States and beyond its borders.
2012 marked the 20th anniversary of the founding of IPMBA at the 2nd Annual Police on Bikes Conference in Las Vegas. The 23rd Annual Conference was held in Saint Paul, Minnesota, state capital and home to one of the most successful Bicycle Response Teams. Hosted by the Saint Paul Police Department with support from Minneapolis and other neighboring agencies, the conference was held April 28-May 5.
In addition to participating in world-class bike training, IPMBA members learned about the colorful history of the Saint Paul Police Department’s “O’Conner System” in place from 1920-1936. During that time, Saint Paul was a safe haven for gangsters laying low between crime sprees. Crime historian Paul Maccabee (author of John Dillinger Slept Here: A Crooks’ Tour of Crime and Corruption in Saint Paul) fascinated listeners with tales of the colorful characters who called Saint Paul “home”, from Alvin “Creepy” Karpis to the Barker Gang to John Dillinger himself. A guided tour of the Wabasha Street Caves, once a nightclub known as the Castle Royal, rounded out the history lesson.
IPMBA was honored to welcome Mr. Joshua Ederheimer, Principal Deputy Director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, U.S. Department of Justice, as keynote speaker. He reminded everyone of the support the COPS office provides for police agencies and assured the attendees that bike patrol is recognized at the highest levels for its integral role in community policing.
On the training front, the newly revamped Instructor Course curriculum was launched, and plans were laid to further develop the Bicycle Response Team Training course as more agencies have begun to recognize the merits of deploying bike-mounted officers during crowd situations. At the IPMBA conference drew to a close, the NATO Summit in Chicago was just getting started, and by the time it was over, the bicycle response teams had drawn accolades from the Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, the press, and the public.
The conference concluded, as always, with the annual obstacle course competition. The course snaked through the riverfront Kellogg Park, resplendent in orange and blue, featuring creative carpentry and obstacles cut into the shapes of the letters I-P-M-B-A. Following the competition, the attendees boarded Delta Airlines shuttle buses for the drive to Quality Bicycle Products (QBP). As host and sponsor of the competition awards ceremony and dinner, QBP provided tours of their LEED-Gold facility. QBP founder Steve Flagg was present to assist with the drawings and handing out the medals to the competition champions.
No sooner had the 2012 IPMBA Conference wound to a halt that plans began to be laid for the 23rd Annual IPMBA Conference, back in Baton Rouge, April 27-May 4, 2013.
In April 2013, IPMBA went back to Baton Rouge. This time, the conference was hosted by the Baton Rouge Police Department, with support from East Baton Rouge EMS and other local law enforcement agencies.
IPMBA was thrilled to offer a three-day Krav Maga for Public Safety Cyclists course developed by master Krav Maga instructors from Krav Maga Minneapolis in conjunction with IPMBA Instructors. The course focused on practical self-defense techniques for bringing resolution to use-of-force situations and non-lethal force tactics as alternatives to deadly force. Also new was the integration of EMS personnel into the Bicycle Response Team Training course. EMS personnel practiced rescue techniques based upon BRT arrest techniques in anticipation of supporting BRT teams during crowd situations.
Following the annual competition – once again incorporating the Mississippi River levee – the awards ceremony was held at the legendary Tiger Stadium on the campus of Louisiana State University.
Later in the year, IPMBA was proud to launch a brand-new website! The new website incorporates the latest technology and launches IPMBA well into the digital age. With a sleek, modern look and improved navigability, the user experience was firmly aligned with the richness of the content for which the IPMBA website has long been known.
Looking ahead to the future, IPMBA began not only planning the 24th Annual Conference, May 16-23, 2014, in Tampa, Florida, but also the 25th Annual Conference in Chandler, Arizona, and the 26th, in Asheville, North Carolina.
After many hours of filming and editing, Fundamental Skills for Public Safety Cycling was debuted and tested during the 19th Annual IPMBA Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Instructors, members, and students in the Police, EMS, and Security Cyclist Courses were invited to view and critique the film. Constructive comments and compliments were collected from many, and returned to the producer for further refinements to the video.
Despite a faltering economy, the 2009 IPMBA Conference was a success. Nine pre-conference courses were offered, including Bicycle Response Team Training, updated to reflect experiences and lessons learned during the 2008 Republican National Convention held in St. Paul, Minnesota. IPMBA was thrilled to welcome world champion racer and mountain bike coach Shaums March to the conference. Described as one of the most gifted riders, greatest assets, and best coaches in the sport, Shaums shared his amazing skills with participants in a variety of workshops. IPMBA looks forward to offering members the opportunity to experience Shaums's coaching in the future.
2010 saw the official launch of the Fundamental Skills for Public Safety Cycling training video, which released in February after many months of anticipation. It was well-received by IPMBA Instructors and regular members alike and is expected to greatly enhance the IPMBA Courses.
The IPMBA Conference celebrated its 20th Anniversary in Chesterfield, Missouri, hosted by the St. Louis Metropolitan and Chesterfield Police Departments. The number of pre-conference courses was scaled back to seven, and featured a unique training program jointly developed by Mad March Racing (Shaums March) and IPMBA. The MMR-IPMBA Core Skills and Scenarios Clinic was designed to improve and enhance bicycle handling skills and apply them in realistic scenarios.
IPMBA was proud to recognize two individuals who have attended every IPMBA Conference since 1991 - Gary McLaughlin, PCI #005T, Sacramento Police Department, and Tom Woods, PCI #010T, Denton Police Department, were presented with IPMBA badges in recognition of their accomplishment. Not only have they attended the conferences, they have also taught classes and conducted workshops, sharing their considerable skill and expertise. Their commitment is representative of that of many members who, over the course of the past two decades, have given unselfishly of their time and knowledge. Without them, IPMBA would not have become the well-respected organization it is today.
The 21st Annual IPMBA Conference was held April 9-16, 2011, in Richmond, Virginia. Coinciding with the 150th Anniversary of the start of the U.S. Civil War, the theme “Ride Alongside History” carried throughout the event. This conference was hosted by a team comprised of representatives from Richmond Police Department, Richmond Ambulance Authority, Richmond Emergency Management, Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department, Division of Capitol Police Commonwealth of Virginia, and Richmond Fire Department.
Hans “No Way” Rey – world adventurer and ground-breaking trials rider – joined IPMBA for the first time since the 1999 IPMBA Conference in Chicago. He continues to amaze and impress with his considerable skills, which he happily shared with the fortunate attendees of the Urban Obstacles and Traffic Assault Ride. It was expected that the principal deputy director of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) would deliver the keynote address and share insight into funding streams, but ironically, the delayed passage of the federal budget forced the cancellation of his appearance.
In 2007, East Baton Rouge EMS became the first EMS agency to host the annual IPMBA Conference. Attendees from 34 states, England, Canada, Australia, and the Netherlands gathered for the week-long training event. Eight pre-conference classes followed by the traditional two-and-a-half day conference, highlighted by the annual competition. Held on the levee with the U.S.S. Kidd in the background, the competition provided entertainment for participants and spectators alike. Afterwards, IPMBA experienced another "first" - a celebratory crawfish boil, which was enjoyed by all.
In August 2007, the long-awaited Complete Guide to Public Safety Cycling, 2nd Edition, was released by Jones & Bartlett Publishers. This 264-page, full-color book was the culmination of more than a year of collaboration among numerous IPMBA Instructors, members, and other contributors. It represents the collective expertise of nearly 70 individuals who shared generously of their time and knowledge. From authoring articles to sharing photographs to participating as models during photo shoots, these individuals made it possible to produce a book in which IPMBA will long take pride. With the release of the book, the Complete Guide team turned its attention to the Instructor ToolKit CD-ROM, which will house state-of-the-art training materials and resources and is slated for release in 2008.
The fifth annual 999 Emergency Services Cycling Seminar was held in the City of London and jointly hosted by the City of London Police and London Ambulance Service. IPMBA announced the completion of the guidelines for international affiliation. Under the affiliation agreement, IPMBA will partner with like-minded public safety cycling organizations in other countries. These organizations will be responsible for developing their own country-specific training materials and operational guidelines, but they must be aligned with IPMBA's standards in order to be considered for affiliation. The goal of all IPMBA affiliations will be to advance the best practices for public safety cycling worldwide. Fittingly enough, the formation of the UK-based Public Safety Cycling was also announced. This fledgling organization, led by Tom Lynch MBE and Charles Irvine, is expected to continue to raise the standard of emergency services cycling in the UK, building upon the foundation established by IPMBA.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department was host to the 18th Annual IPMBA Conference, held April 19-26, 2008. Two new pre-conference training opportunities were offered to attendees - the EMS Cyclist II Course and the Night Operations-Firearms and Tactics Course. The EMSC II Course is designed for the experienced EMS Cyclist interested in expanding operations beyond special events. The Night Ops class adds a whole new dimension to the highly technical and tactical training offered in the Survival Tactics and Riding Skills Course by conducting it under low-light conditions. Both courses were met with great success. The highlight for many, however, was the opportunity to complete a lap - on bike - around the world-famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway track. The so-called "IPMBA 2.5" was attended by more than 100 bike officers and medics, and is an experience that will not soon be forgotten.
IPMBA continued to work towards the lofty goal of updating and modernizing its instructor materials. In December 2008, the much-anticipated Instructor ToolKit CD-ROM was released. This CD revolutionizes the training materials for the IPMBA Police, EMS, and Security Cyclist Courses by making the majority of resources available electronically and housed on a single disc. Content includes course overviews, schedules, unit plans, lecture outlines, skill stations with diagrams, scenarios, and the first standardized IPMBA PowerPoint presentations. The disc also houses the written and practical tests, required and optional forms, and administrative guidelines for organizing and conducting the courses.
While the finishing touches were being placed on the Instructor ToolKit, IPMBA embarked upon a new project: a video entitled Fundamental Skills for Public Safety Cycling. This video, designed for use in the IPMBA Courses, will provide an effective means for introducing essentials skills and the principles of vehicular cycling. Developed in partnership with the Niagara Regional Police Service Video Unit (Ontario, Canada), this professional produced video features many IPMBA members and instructors from Ontario, New York State, Washington DC, Baltimore MD, and Florida. The skills and concepts illustrated in the video are demonstrated by experienced public safety cyclists fully equipped for duty. The Effective Cycling video has served the organization well since 1994, but it is universally agreed that a new, public safety cycling video will be a welcome change.
In 2004, IPMBA paid a visit to a town it had seen ten years earlier - San Antonio, Texas. With more pre-conference courses and conference workshops than ever before, it truly was a Texas-sized event. The newest addition to the menu of course offerings was the 24-hour Security Cyclist Course, designed to meet the particular needs of non-sworn patrol personnel. The Police Cyclist Advanced Course took on the identity of the Survival Tactics & Riding Skills Course, which communicates the purpose of the course much more clearly. Once again, IPMBA members got down to business, coming to the rescue of a seizure victim as well as busting some pot-smokers behind the Alamodome. For the first time in history, IPMBA did not hold an obstacle course competition - not by design, but because of the Texas-sized storms that blew through, forcing it to be cancelled. There was a lot of disappointment, but it was nothing that a good, old-fashioned Texas bar-b-que couldn't fix. IPMBA welcomed its largest non-USA contingent to the San Antonio conference. With representatives from Canada, Honduras, Mexico, Israel, Switzerland, and the UK, it was truly an international gathering.
IPMBA once again participated in the York Rally and Emergency Services Cycling seminar in York, England, and took the next steps towards what has been informally dubbed "IPMBA UK."
In 2005, Arizona was once again the location of the annual IPMBA conference-- IPMBA's third time in Arizona but first time in Scottsdale. The event was a tremendous success, attracting participants from 34 states and seven countries (not counting the US). The international contingent was comprised of officers and medics from Australia, Canada, England, Israel, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and even the island of Tobago! Attendees participated in six pre-conference training courses and an exciting series of conference workshops. In their spare time, many hit the trails for some extracurricular riding and finished off the day by visiting Scottsdale's lively downtown district. The annual parade and competition were once again part of the program, and a post-competition celebration rounded out the festivities. The third annual 999 Emergency Services Cycling seminar was held in York, England, and was preceded by the first IPMBA Instructor Course to be offered outside of the United States. Fifteen instructors were certified, including the first IPMBA Instructor in the Netherlands.
Also in 2005, IPMBA signed a contract with Jones & Bartlett Publishers to publish the Complete Guide to Public Safety Cycling, an update of the Complete Guide to Police Cycling. A committee of authors was assembled to begin working on this momentous task. The first Complete Guide was published in 1996.
In 2006, IPMBA went "home" to Dayton, Ohio for the 16th Annual Conference. Although IPMBA was not born there, Dayton is home to IPMBA's first chairperson and Police Cyclist Instructor #001, Allan Howard. The conference was hosted by the Dayton Police Department and a committee comprised of representatives from 14 neighboring agencies. Australia, Canada, Ireland, Israel, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom were well-represented, as were 34 states. The full slate of pre-conference courses was offered, and the conference featured an outstanding array of workshops as well as the annual competition.
The annual 999 Emergency Services Seminar found a new home in 2006 - Southampton, England. Hosted by the Hampshire Police at the National Oceanography Centre, the event was a tremendous success. It was attended by public safety personnel from England, Scotland, and the Netherlands. Once again, an IPMBA Instructor Course was offered in conjunction with the seminar. In an Instructor Course offered in Tacoma, Wash., IPMBA certified the first-ever IPMBA Security Cyclist Instructor (SCI).
The process of rewriting the Complete Guide was launched in earnest and the task of reviewing and updating existing material and compiling new material was begun. A team of authors from around the organization was tasked with ensuring that the new edition would contain the best, most current information for police, EMS, and security cyclists.
The year 2000 brought the 10th Anniversary of IPMBA's Annual Police on Bikes Conference. It was a great time, both educationally and recreationally, in the City of Tucson, Arizona, which was the host of IPMBA's original conference way back in 1991. Memories of the Tucson conference always seem to include the hill climb up A Mountain, so steep that contestants struggled to keep their front wheels on the ground. One of the other momentous occasions of 2000 was the election of the first EMS professional to the board of directors - a sign of IPMBA's commitment to medics on bikes. Finally, the old practice teach method of becoming an IPMBA Instructor and the PCID were replaced with a standardized, 40-hour Instructor Course.
In 2001, IPMBA members descended upon Cincinnati, Ohio, for the 11th Annual Conference. The Cincinnati Police Division did an outstanding job of hosting the conference and seeing to both the educational and social needs of attendees. The competition was held on the waterfront as part of the festivities surrounding the annual Flying Pigs marathon, and the hill climb contestants tackled imposing Mt. Adams, which rises 310 feet over just 6/10 of a mile.
The conference moved out west for 2002, to Ogden, Utah, in the wake of the Olympic Games. Despite the long weeks of overtime associated with the Olympics, the Ogden Police Department bike unit was able to host an outstanding event. The conference activities took place against a backdrop of snow-capped peaks, and the trails tested the mettle of even the most accomplished riders. The competition course provided the usual challenges - and then some! The town won't quickly forget the sight of the newly-introduced Bicycle Rapid Response Team Training class riding through the streets decked out in gas masks, or the quick action of the Advanced Class members who chased down a would-be jewelry thief.
2003 saw the introduction of the Intermediate Police Cyclist Course - an intense course with a focus on bicycle operations and practical policing - at the annual IPMBA Conference in Charleston, West Virginia. This increased the number of pre-conference training courses to seven: Police Cyclist, EMS Cyclist, Intermediate Police Cyclist, Advanced Police Cyclist, Instructor, Maintenance, and Bicycle Rapid Response. The competition held on the grounds of the gold-domed State Capitol building, was short and tight. Of particular visual interest was the slalom through the kind of life-sized dummies more commonly found on firing ranges. Shortly after the conference, IPMBA participated in the first annual Emergency Services Cycling Seminar, hosted by the N. Yorkshire Police Department in York, England. Held in conjunction with the York Rally, Britain's largest single gathering of cyclists, it marked the beginning of what is hoped will become a UK branch of IPMBA.
In 1998, the Tacoma Police Department was the proud host of the conference. Introduced in '98 were numerous EMS-oriented courses, our Police Cyclist Advanced four-day, forty-hour pre-conference training course, and other important additions to our roster of educational offerings, including new administrator courses, and tactical courses.
The 1998 Bicycle Officers Competition was the best ever, with the addition of a sprint section and a hill climb to the traditional obstacle course.
The big news in 1998 was the split. In November of that year, IPMBA separated amicably from its parent organization, the League of American Bicyclists, and was incorporated as Police on Bikes, Inc. Although IPMBA will always be a part of the larger cycling community, the continued growth of bike patrol meant that IPMBA needed to focus more of its energy on the development of training programs and resources for its members.
The independent IPMBA's first priority was the ninth Annual Conference, hosted by the City of Chicago. More than 400 attendees conquered the "mean streets", and gathered to watch the legendary Hans Rey demonstrate his remarkable skills on the obstacle course.
In 1995, the 5th Annual Police on Bikes® Conference was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The new addition in 1995 was the Police Cyclist Instructor Development Course® held prior to the conference. With over 100 certified instructors, this course exposed certified PCIs to different methods of instruction and demonstrated how other instructors approach difficult teaching situations. The instructors also learned about Firearms instruction, the newest addition to the current Police Cyclist Course Curriculum.
The 6th Annual Police on Bikes® Conference was held in Rochester, New York, May 5 - 11, 1996. In addition to the conference's core offerings, this year's conference saw the introduction of the IPMBA Maintenance Officer Certification Course®, which allows the students to learn everything possible about bike maintenance, and also allows them to work directly with manufacturers.
The 7th Annual Police on Bikes Conference was held in Nashville, Tennessee, April 27 - May 3, 1997. Pre-conference courses offered were the IPMBA Police Cyclist Course, the IPMBA Maintenance Officer Certification Course, the IPMBA Police Cyclist Instructor Development Course, and the new IPMBA EMS Certification Course. All went very well -- with the new EMS Course drawing 12 attendees from seven states. All in all, there were over 117 participants of the pre-conference training courses and 21 instructors.
The three-day conference, held May 1-3, drew over 350 attendees from the United States, Canada, Panama and Australia, representing 134 agencies, 19 colleges or university campuses, 7 park and recreation departments, 3 military installations, 2 emergency medical departments, 1 border patrol and 1 representative from the Department of Defense! Thirty-three states were represented, with large contingents coming from Florida, Texas, Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania; the largest from Tennessee! Even Alaska and Hawaii were represented! Courses were hands-on and classroom workshops that covered everything from administrative issues to patrol tactics - thirty-four workshops in all. The conference was topped off with the annual mountain bike competition. The Nashville P.D. proudly showed different units of their police department and kids showed up for the cop-kid ride-along and rodeo.
In April of 1993, after months of planning, ten instructors from across the U.S. gathered in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to present the first, four-day IPMBA Police Cyclist Course® (PC) to 90 officers from the U.S. and Canada. The curriculum included what any bike officer should know about safe riding, police tactics, maintenance, emergency skills and legal issues.
The 3rd Annual Police on Bikes® Conference was held immediately after this first PC Course. More than 250 North American peace officers attended three days of workshops and exhibits. Citizen patrol groups, storefront operations, community policing, officer selection, bicycle maintenance and patrol tactics, were among the many topics discussed. The 4th Annual Police on Bikes® Conference was held in San Antonio, TX and was met with great success.
The year was 1880. Automobiles had not yet appeared on the scene. Another form of wheeled transportation, the bicycle, was all the rage. Frustrated with dirt roads that often became impassable after the lightest rain, early cyclists were among the first to organize to improve and pave America's highways. This was the "genesis" of the League of American Bicyclists (L.A.B. or "The League"), today widely recognized as the grandparent of all cycling organizations.
One hundred years later, police departments were looking for a practical way to balance the personal touch of a walking beat officer with today's need for mobility. The demand for information on the use of bikes by law enforcement spurred L.A.B. to organize the first "Police on Bikes" conference. Held in Tucson, Arizona, in 1991, this first gathering produced the idea that police cyclists could benefit from an association that would facilitate the sharing of information and establish training and equipment standards. The following year, at L.A.B.'s 2nd Annual Police on Bikes® Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, the International Police Mountain Bike Association (IPMBA) was formed as a division of L.A.B. Founding members included officers from across the United States and Canada.
One of the most well known programs offered by L.A.B. was their Effective Cycling® (E.C.) certification. Taught by certified instructors across the country, L.A.B. strives to educate cyclists how to safely, legally, and efficiently use bicycles as a means of transportation. In addition to the skills and knowledge imparted to students, the program has proven worthwhile for cyclists who found themselves in court after being injured in a vehicle accident. E.C. certification has been recognized as evidence of serious training in safe, legal riding techniques.
Officer Allan Howard, of the Dayton, Ohio, Police Department, and Officer Kirby Beck, of the Coon Rapids, Minnesota, Police Department, were both E.C. Instructors and founding members of IPMBA. They realized that a similar program, tailored to the needs of police departments and incorporating police tactics, was one of the most important services IPMBA could offer its members.