My Mountian Bike Team

Author’s note. The big race report from this weekend is coming. We had a couple of fans at the race watching and taking pictures. I am waiting for some pictures to post with the story. Until then…..

I have, apparently, become famous enough to attract a world class troll into my life. Here let me back up a bit.

In the fall I told you all about how I was forming a mountain bike team in my area. We have been working on that over the winter. It has been a little slow because we are going through the school to make it an official club. There are a lot of “i’s” and “t’s” in that process. Last week I went to the school board to ask for approval. There were a couple of reporters there who did stories on the club.

I thought that was awesome. A little press would be a great thing. (Funny thing, the reporters wanted to talk luge even though they specifically asked to interview me about the mtb team. Oh well.) Little did I know I would get more attention from that little article than I had expected.

There is a well know anti-mountain biking guy out there. He is so anti mountain biking that he was willing to break the law to prove how bad and dangerous mountain biking is.

Guess who wrote to my school principal and superintendent over the weekend?

Yeah you bet! A personal letter from the #1 anti mountain biker out there. I have hit the big time for sure.

The principal emailed me with a copy of the letter. Here let me give you a sample:

“Please do the right thing, and veto this!

Introducing children to mountain biking is CRIMINAL. Mountain biking, besides being expensive and very environmentally destructive, is extremely dangerous. Recently a 12-year-old girl DIED during her very first mountain biking lesson! Serious accidents and even deaths are commonplace. Truth be told, mountain bikers want to introduce kids to mountain biking because (1) they want more people to help them lobby to open our precious natural areas to mountain biking and (2) children are too naive to understand and object to this activity.”

The principal sent me an email asking if this guy was a troll.

Yup.

I fluctuate between great amusement and anger when I hear stuff like that. I’m not even going to engage this in debate with a guy like that. Because you know what? With a guy like that it’s pointless. It won’t ever change him. But you cannot let stuff like that go unchecked or it will be the only voice that the public hears.

I will freely admit that there is a cost to people riding mountain bikes on trails. I will also admit that some in the mountain bike community do not respect trails and do not work to minimize their impact. It’s our job as mtb’ers to make sure this doesn’t happen and to police ourselves. I will also freely admit that people can get hurt mountain biking. I’ve done it (and will probably do it again this year.)

I completely disagree with the severity of the costs that this guy seems to want to attach.

I will not allow the fact that I am: 1. getting kids up off the couch and active; 2. getting kids to appreciate the outdoors; And 3. getting kids to be good stewards of our natural world, to be minimized.

We have a problem with kids being inactive and disconnected from the world around them. How is engaging them a bad thing?

I will not allow someone to ignore the fact that mountain bikers, like hunters, like hikers, etc. are people who care and spend time caring for the natural world. We are the people who fight to keep places undeveloped. We work to keep the world a place with wilderness in it. We are willing to spend money to protect the natural world. In exchange we do ask for a chance to experience it.

Hey what’s worse for the plants and animals? Putting some single track into a natural area or clear cutting that natural area to put up McMansions? I saw that over and over and over when I lived in Maryland. My wife was in the new grocery store down there and heard a man checking out talking about the fact that this was right about where his favorite hunting spot was, right before they built the store. When we create use opportunities for people, natural places become valuable as natural places AND we create a group of people who advocate for that value. Excluding a group from that just doesn’t make any sense.

So there you go.

Luckily my principal can smell crap when she sees it.

Picture of the Day

doug cu xc smile-1

“Nature’s Advocate”

 

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