Words & photos by Aaron Rohde
NEMBAfest 2014 Whooo Hooooo!!! definitely not for the faint of hart (imagine spring break for bike nerds). Three days of solid mountain biking; downhill, cross country, and bermy flowy goodness trail riding that is, the Kingdom Trails. Toss in some music n beer and you got one hell of a party.
This years’ NEMBA Fest took place on the fields below the Wildflower Inn on Darling Hill. Unlike years past where riders camped on the slopes of Burke Mountain, now they had direct pedaling access to the main bulk of the Kingdom Trails. If you found your self in town, shuttles were available to bring you back to the expo center/camping area. Shuttles to burke mountain were also available for those wanting to take advantage of the discounted lift access to burke mountain.
Unlike past years, the NEMBA fest Lift Service and Summit Shuttle service was not included. $5 dollars for a single ride or $15 for an all day pass to ride the shuttle. Lift access was also available at a discounted price but there seemed to be few takers, leaving the lifts running free of traffic.
Music for the fest was provided by Kali Stoddard-Imari, Kat Wright and the Indomitable Soul Band, Tritium Well, and VT’s favorite Irish Punk band, the Cop Outs. Although most performances were PG-13, the Cop Outs announced early that their second half would be adults only. What ensured could only be described as friendly mayhem, including the worlds most polite mosh pit. “Excuse me dude, is this your flip flop?” was echoed along side some serious Bro Hymn foot stomping.
Daily group rides of all skill levels departed from the main expo center. Dozens of demos bikes were available to ticket holders. Bicycle dealers from Giant, Specialized, Kona, Ibis (no, not isis), Pivot, Scott, Shimano Rocky Mountain and shops from throughout the area, had anything a bike geek could dream of putting through its paces. A nice demo loop had been set up from the expo center to include some fun shredding trails; Tap n Die, Tody’s Tour and Troll Stroll.
All and all, NEMBA Fest in East Burke is an unreal experience. With dozens of bike tribes coming together riding as one group, high fives and safety meetings occurred around every corner. Even if spandex was involved, all were welcome to share the love of mountain biking, and shredding dirt.
MTBVT would like to send a big thanks to Kingdom Trails for hosting such a fantastic event and to the New England Mountain Bike Association for throwing the best bike party the state has seen. Support Kingdom Trails by buying a season pass and become a member of NEMBA today.
We would also like to thank our Gonzo field reporter Aaron Rohde for his outstanding reporting from the front line!