Mountain bike pioneer, Jim Sullivan (Sully), witnessed firsthand the trail user battles in the San Francisco Bay Area and the resulting closure of trails he rode as a youth. Here in Bellingham, he saw an opportunity and created the WHatcom Independent Mountain Pedalers, better known as the WHIMPs. He remarked recently, “I’d say the WHIMPs got serious around 1986-87, mainly as trail clearers and countering burgeoning anti-mountain bike efforts happening in metro areas. Beginner rides, weekly cruises just spun off as local solo riders saw value in coalescing.”
The Early Years
In the earlier years the WHIMPs were basically a loose knit, diverse group of mountain bikers who gathered regularly for group rides. The early trail network was in disrepair and overgrown. There had to be clearing just to make them passable. It wasn’t long before Sully was leading weekly Sunday trail work parties from his house on Galbraith Lane. The building and maintenance of trails became part of the group’s culture.
In the coming decades mountain biking became increasingly popular. Bellingham was also growing in population. People were coming from all over the world to ride Galbraith and live in our epic city. WHIMPs became further involved with trail advocacy and started working with both the Bellingham and Whatcom County Parks. As demands of the organization and its members have grown some changes occurred along the way. In 2016 WHIMPs evolved into the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition (WMBC).
In 2018, the city of Bellingham, Whatcom Land Trust, and Galbraith Tree Farm LLC entered into a purchase and sale agreement that secures the public’s recreational use of up to 65 miles of trails on Galbraith Mountain. Bellingham City Council voted to approve the agreement, protecting the mountain from future development. Read more about WMBC's involvement here. We have expanded community involvement, land manager relations, and hold maintenance agreements with land managers for both public and private lands. Thanks to our community we are able to expand youth outreach and mountain bike education programs.