About Spirit of Howdy
In the late 1990′s, NICA founder Matt Fritzinger realized that the student-athletes on the Berkeley High School Mountain Bike Team didn’t always slow down enough when passing hikers, leaving mixed impressions. As a teacher and coach, Matt knew this was a teachable moment and came up with a simple rule: “Slow down enough so you can say hello, AND they can say hello back. Work to have a friendly interaction. Add to their day with kindness, don’t take away from it.” The kids got it and that became a league-wide rule in Northern California. Soon members from another team, The Drake Pirates, gave this ethos a name: The Spirit of Howdy.

The Spirit of Howdy is now an initiative driven by the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) and the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), encouraging all trail users to demonstrate respect, empathy and compassion towards fellow trail users and the environment by taking the time to slow down and share a greeting. The Spirit of Howdy . . .

  • teaches NICA student-athletes to ‘do the right thing’ on the trail at a young age, which will help improve the perception of mountain bikers for generations.
  • encourages NICA high school mountain bikers to take the lead in showing respect, empathy and compassion on the trail. Friendly interactions between bikers and non-bikers will create positive goodwill that helps open gain access to more trails.
  • starts with NICA’s student-athletes, but is a rallying cry for all trail users who want to engender a sense of community on the trails, ensure continued access to our trails

About NICA
Founded in 2009, the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) develops high school mountain biking programs for student-athletes across the United States. NICA provides leadership, services and governance for local leagues to produce quality mountain bike events, and supports every student-athlete in the development of strong body, strong mind and strong character through their efforts on the bike.

Learn more at NICA’s website.

About IMBA
The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit educational association whose mission is to create, enhance and preserve great mountain biking experiences. Since 1988, IMBA has been bringing out the best in mountain biking by encouraging low-impact riding, volunteer trailwork participation, cooperation among different trail user groups, grassroots advocacy and innovative trail management solutions. IMBA’s headquarters in the United States are located in Boulder, Colorado, with regional representatives in the Pacific Northwest, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, Upper Midwest, Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the United States.

Learn more at IMBA’s website.