Philip Keyes Obituary, Death – Philip Keyes has passed away. Philip will be fondly remembered for a very long time within the community of mountain bikers. In the late 1980s, he was an original founder of the NEMBA and was one of its original members. He held the position of president of NEMBA in both a paid and unpaid capacity at various times. During the late 1990s, when I was serving on the board of the Greater Boston NEMBA, I had the opportunity to collaborate with Philip for almost ten years. Philip is a legend in the world of mountain biking, and he is going to be leaving a significant number of family and friends behind. Philip, I pray that you find eternal peace.
When Philip Keyes resigned from his position as executive director of the New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA) during the pandemic, he was no longer the point person for the organization. This was the first time in more than a quarter of a century that this had happened. In spite of the fact that Keyes was not one of the original members of the “NEMBA memba,” he has consistently been the most influential member of the organization. According to Glick, “almost everything that takes place locally for NEMBA chapters is done by volunteers.” Philip devoted a sizeable portion of his time to assisting the other volunteers in the organization. “By advocating for access, promoting mountain biking as a positive force, and forming partnerships with a diverse range of land managers, Philip has made a significant contribution to the Northeast.”
NEMBA went from being a Massachusetts-based organization with five chapters and approximately 1,000 members to a regional powerhouse with more than 30 chapters and over 8,000 members while Keyes was the leader of the organization. During that time, he and NEMBA fought for trail access throughout the Northeast, completed the historic 2003 acquisition of Vietnam (a 47-acre riding mecca just west of Boston), and launched NEMBAfest, the region’s largest annual fat-tire celebration. During that time, he and NEMBA also fought for trail access throughout the country. For someone who bought their first rig with fat tires in 1991, this is quite an impressive accomplishment.
“New England is in dire need of the level of legitimacy and organization that Philip’s leadership has made possible,” says Brett Russ, president and board member of the Wachusett Chapter of the NEMBA. “Philip’s leadership has enabled it.” In order to gain a deeper comprehension of and appreciation for NEMBA’s accomplishments, we had the opportunity to engage in conversation with Keyes, who is now 63 years old and was inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 2008. According to Adam Glick, the president of the NEMBA board of directors, “Philip is an extremely one-of-a-kind person who we have had the privilege of having for such a significant amount of time.” “Philip is a big fan of mountain biking.” He has a remarkable capacity to pay attention to the concerns of others and offer assistance in finding solutions to those concerns, particularly in the context of mountain bike advocacy.