WHIMPs founder and early mountain bike pioneer, Jim Sullivan (Sully), witnessed first hand the trail user battles in the San Francisco Bay Area and the resulting closure of trails he had ridden as a youth. Seeing an opportunity to have a different outcome here in Bellingham he decided to help create the original organization. He remarked recently, “‘I’d say the WHIMPs got serious around 1986-7, 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.”
In the earlier years the WHIMPs were basically a loose knit and diverse group of mountain bikers who gathered regularly for group rides. The early trail network was in disrepair and overgrown, so clearing and maintaining trails just to make them passable became a part of the organization’s culture. It wasn’t long before Sully was leading weekly Sunday Trail Work Parties from his house on Galbraith Lane.
In the coming decades mountain biking grew rapidly in terms of popularity as did the population of Bellingham and the surrounding areas did as well. As a result the WHIMPs became further involved with trail advocacy and started working with both the Bellingham and Whatcom County Parks. In 2002 Trillium Corporation bought Galbraith Mountain and the WHIMPs forged a groundbreaking maintenance and stewardship agreement which allowed for the planning and maintenance of the trail System on Galbraith Mountain.
As demands of the organization and its members have grown some changes have occurred along the way. The WHIMPs incorporated into a Federal Non-Profit 501 c3 organization as the WHIMPs Mountain Bike Coalition. Our executive board has expanded from three members to seven and we now have three volunteer coordinators. We have much expanded community involvement and land manager relation and hold maintenance agreements with land managers for both public and private lands. Our programs include youth programs, youth rides as well as mountain bike education and outreach.