You know sometimes when you want to voice something that you feel but you kinda let it simmer inside yourself because you know it will open a can of worms? I have had that voice echoing in my head for quite a while now and i have always pushed it back back back. Even now i am thinking of putting this post in the draft and call it quits because i know certain ppl reading will be unhappy, certain ppl reading will be shocked and certain ppl reading might actually understand where i am coming from. I have lived long enough to know you can’t satisfy everybody in life with your actions but you owe it to yourself to explain why you feel what you feel. I am a pretty straight shooting guy so let me apologise to you right now if what i am about to say offends you or makes no sense to yourself.
Basically what i am going to speak about is trail work. For the uninitiated trail work is work done on trails *duh* that helps maintain or repair or better certain sections of a mtb trail. Trail work is invaluable and without it the trails we will be riding will be of a much lesser quality and potentially there will be less trails out there. I respect trail work being carried out by volunteers and i think it is very admirable.
For the rest of this post i will be referring to three parties.
- Bmu as in the Bmu community and the ppl that forms this little community.
- Them as in the ppl that i have an issue with in regards to this particular issue *this has to be stated clearly as it is just this particular issue that i am iffy about*.
- Me as in myself.
So, with all the groundwork laid, lets get into the meat of it.
Starting with me. I have being riding MTB for around 2.5 years now and i have never ever attended or participated in any trail work of any kind. I can go on and try to explain myself saying i have work on trial maintenance days but for “them”, i don’t think that would be enough.
Am i passionate about the mtb community? Absolutely, and it is because i am passionate about the mtb community that i make this post. Think about it, why would i risk my neck expressing something controversial when i can just sit back and keep riding the trails and remain uncritiqued?
Why have i not done more trail work you ask? You seem to be riding an awful lot i hear you say. Well yes and no. You see a passion does not grow over night. I did not start riding and immediately come to my current levels of passion for our hobbies/sport. Even as it is now i am still gaining more knowledge/passion for this community/hobby/sport. So to be frank, if you asked me to do trail work in the 1st year i would flatly be uninterested because i simply was not that into it and i wasn’t that passionate about it. Keep this section fresh in your mind though because i will be coming back to it later.
So now that you have gained a little bit more passion what do you intend to do about our trails? It is clear to me that everyone lives with a different time structure. Even though i own my own business i do have to work 6 days a week. I don’t own a business where i have days off completely at odd times nor do i finish work prior to 6pm. Nor am i comfortable with going out to a trail where i think needs work done and start doing the work myself because i know that i am unskilled or qualified in that area and anything i do will most likely make it worse.
The most viable trail work day is currently the loftus oval days because they seem to have a clear schedule every month but unfortunately it is situated on a saturday. So why don’t you work on sunday? There is no clear cut schedule that says every sunday of the month is work on appin day or work on ourimbah day or work on manly dam day. You can say i have not being proactive enough to ask ppl *really only one person i know* what they are doing every weekend in regards to trail work on a Sunday. I do have a feeling that he does his work without a clear cut schedule one month ahead of everything *i might be wrong on this*. So generally i can work on trails on Sunday but due to my lack of proactiviness and ease of access of an advanced schedule it has not being happening. Believe it or not it really does help to have an advanced schedule when it comes to informing your family in regards to what you intend to do on a given day. The only given day that you have time off in fact.
What would help in getting me to do trail work more? Exactly waht i said above. Trail work days on Sunday to be clearly scheduled and marked every months so i know what i can expect and hence not schedule rides on those days with groups of bmuers. What i do to preserve our trails is not ride it in conditions that would adversely effect the trails. I educate newer riders to the cons of riding in bad conditions in a way that they would understand. Sure, these are most likely nothing compared to actual trail work but it is something i do.
So wait, what is exactly controversial about what i have posted so far? I mean all i have posted is a self assessment on why i have not being doing trail work and how i can do more. Well read on, the juicy stuff starts from here.
I call your attention to the bolded statement a million paragraphs previously in this post and i ask you to reread that again. There is one little exception to this bold post. That is to say that i appreciate all the trail work that’s done to maintain our trails but if it comes at the cost of splitting a community then no thanks. I would rather ride shit trails. I would rather ride crap trails with logs everywhere and branches sticking into derailleurs and sand with a good wholesome community then ride meticulously groomed trails with a community who’s always biting each others ass. Get me? To me the mtb community isn’t just about the trails. It is about the people as well. People tend to forget this. How good a community is isn’t how many people turn up to trail work. It is more about how nicely they bond with each other and solve problems presented to them.
The problems of trail work is always prevalent as long as we keep riding trails but i feel that by shoving trail work down the throats of everyone and then labelling the community unresponsive is about as close to the right thing to do as me riding the trails when its completely muddy. Not only is it stereotyping *because there is plenty of members of the community that turn up to trail work* it is also hostile towards potential people that have thought about doing trail work in the near future. How many of the rotorburners 44,746 members actually do trail work i wonder? How many of them submit comments? What are those ratios of actual participant across both rotorburn and bmu forums i wonder? Many of the members on bmu is simply non active or have not gone deep enough to care too much and by people stereotyping the bmu community as unresponsive is a sure way to shut those fledgling mtbers up permanently. This is a real shame.
Then there are people that simply do trail work to have a go at others. There are a couple of real enthusiast trail workers but to me there are a couple of people that simply does trail work to take the piss out of others or communities. This is not on. At the end of the day you do trail work because you love the trails and it is your passion to maintain the trails. You do these tasks out of your own time unconditionally and even if no one joined up with you and you had to dig yourself for the whole day you do it because you want to. You don’t go ahead and submit yourself to a full day of work and when no one else turns up you go on and bitch about the rest of the community. Wake up call, what you do is 100% admirable, but it is something you choose to do yourself and as such you have to get over the fact that anyone doing something differently to you isnt instantly labeled as the “scourge” of the community. That’s right people, the main point i am trying to make is this.
IT IS OK TO NOT DO TRAIL WORK. IT WOULD BE AWESOME IF YOU CAN DO IT FROM TIME TO TIME BUT IF YOU DON’T YOU AREN’T THE SCOURGE OF THE COMMUNITY. WHEN POSSIBLE PUT BACK INTO THE COMMUNITY. WHETHER IT IS IN THE FORM OF INFORMATIVE REVIEWS OR HELPING OTHER RIDERS OR WHATEVER. HELPING THE MTB COMMUNITY GOES FAR DEEPER THAN TRAIL WORK. FIGURE OUT WHAT YOUR AREA OF EXPERTISE IS AND AS LONG AS IT BENEFITS THE MTB COMMUNITY I THINK YOU HAVE DONE A GOOD JOB.
I know some of the people i am targeting with this post will instantly ignore the points i have made in my post and focus on the fact that 1. i have not done any trail work 2. i am simply justifying why i haven’t. Honestly though, settle down, read my points, understand my appreciation for trail workers and see that your approach to spreading the word on trail work is simply not the best way to do it. If you have personal issues and you feel strongly about it be a man and message me directly about it. In fact call me on my mobile. I would love to have a purposeful discussion on all of this with yourself. I am not holding my breath for any calls though.