The distributor of Merida bicycles in the Czech Republic pledged to sponsor the fledgling Czech Mountain Bike Association. Merida's financial support will help boost the organisation's MTB advocacy activities. Long in the making, the Czech Mountain Bike Association, CeMBA (www.cemba.cz), was founded in May 2007 to represent mountain bikers' interests before national agencies and authorities. It is the first such organisation within the former European socialist bloc.
The relatively young organization has worked to develop ties to the worldwide mountain bike movement and acquired considerable expertise in advocacy. CeMBA's president, Tomás Kvasnièka, became well acquainted with the achievements of IMBA UK during his studies in England and in the summer of 2007, he was granted an internship at IMBA's headquarters in the US.
The agreement, signed in December, will provide funding to CeMBA and allow the organization to hire two employees including Kvasnièka and also Petr Slavik, communications coordinator. The association's establishment comes in conjunction with a time when IMBA is directing more efforts outside of North America.