Yesterday one of the guys i targeted with my original trail maintenance post called me up and we had a discussion in regards to various points. I think a lot of the points we talked about effects many of us so i will try and pass it on here. The overall discussion was a bit pointless because in the end no real understanding was really reached IMO but it was good to hear from the other side of the story. Whilst we couldn’t agree with each others stories/explanations of how it has transpired maybe you guys would be able to gather your own views from what was said.
The conversation started with me explaining or rather reiterating some of the points i made on the previous post. Noting particular issues with how one community was compared to the other and how it was unfair. I pointed out that even if rotorburn had 440 trail workers *which would be a very very very generous guess* it would make a ratio of 1 trail worker for every 100 member they had. I went on to explain that i think the ratio of trail workers on BMU was actually better but he said that he didn’t think this comparison was valid. Whether it is or isn’t i dont really know. I mean, how else do you work out ratios? It is just a simple division of numbers. I didn’t write it off completely because i understand that sometimes when passion is involved numbers isn’t 100% the best and clearest indication. Ie you might argue 1 trail worker on rotorburn does 10x what 1 trail worker on bmu does.
He then told me that it is becoming increasingly difficult to be associated with BMU. He rides with people or runs into people on the trails that associate himself with BMU and hence questions why BMU is ruining the trails. He then has to explain to them that he isn’t the one ruining the trails he is actually trying to contribute. He told me that he will have a discussion with the royal national parks before deciding whether or not to close the BMU account. I can understand his side of the story here. As you can imagine if you are contributing as much as this person is to the hobby/sport the last thing you want is for your image to be associated with ruining trails. It is basically a kick in the gut for all the hard work you have done. Not cool.
We talked a little bit more about how inaccessible trail work actually is with him agreeing to a couple of points. I mentioned how only loftus has a dedicated schedule in regards to trail maintenance and how trails like Appin and Manly dam never has public information available as to when trail work days actually are or who to contact. Sure there might be a few posts here and there on forums that says “i am working on so and so trail tomorrow” but really if you miss that post then you have missed the trail day. I also mentioned how a lot of people don’t have any tools and to which he replied that there should be people with a few shovels around that can just borrow them. Not only this but you can’t just go and do trail work on any trail even if you feel you are qualified because if you do something and someone crashes as a result of it the club that looks after the mtb trail can be liable. You get the picture, trail work is pretty inaccessible to most punters. I say most punters because for the most dedicated people there are ways around it. You could monitor the forums for trail maintenance posts, you could actively pursue contact with clubs asking for permission, of course you can go out and buy yourself all the tools you require and maybe purchase a few books on trail maintenance and learn it all but how many people is actually this passionate about our sport? Also the million dollar question, is it wrong to be not as passionate as he is?
I feel the problems that have started comes from a fundamental understanding issue and tolerance towards other people. A problem we seem to have in our society. We seem to forget that there is people different to ourselves in this world and that everyone has different approaches to things. We then push our own ideals and apply our own ideals on others. When others don’t meet our ideals we instantly think they are wrong. I think this is what has happened here. I will be forth right to say i am passionate about Mtbing but i am not $1000 worth of tools, trail maintenance books, email various clubs for permission kinda passionate and IMO there is nothing wrong with that. My passion is more on the level of look after trails consciously whilst i ride, remove a few broken branches misplaced rocks on the trail as i ride, communicate to nubs that it is bad to ride in the wet, interest in participating in a maximum of 1 trail work a months kinda passion. Hell you never know, maybe if i ride as much as some of these guys i might grow to the $1000 worth of tools, books, whole shebang kinda passion but atm i am not and i think that is AOK.
Going back to the topic of people he ride with that thinks BMU guys are ruining the trails and acting like locusts he explained the concept came from the fact that we usually ride Appin Appin Appin Manly Manly Manly which i found no sense with since we just ride what we feel like without any pre-programmed thoughts on riding a certain trail into the ground before moving onto the next. If anything we ride a particular trail in respect to certain trails crappiness in dealing with wet weather. This shows me that the people he is talking to that is associating BMU with this image really isn’t being fair. They don’t know the whole story but are quick to judge and hand down judgements. He stated he saw this coming from a long time due to the way our forum operates. That is to say we post up a lot of event threads and post up pictures post ride and hence it gives the impression to people that we ride “heaps” and do nothing to maintain the trails. To which i asked what do we do? Do we stop posting pictures? To which he answered. No, wouldn’t change anything, i love the pictures and videos.
Ok, just so we have a mutual undersatnding.
- BMU members posts pictures and videos and event threads to host and remember rides and promote our sport in general. Threads that people that think badly of BMU actually enjoys reading.
- People see posts and inadvertently thinks that we ride “heaps”.
- They see lack of forum activity in relation to trail maintenance or at least less then they accept as the norm.
- They label BMU community as locusts for moving from one trail to another to avoid possible wet weather trail issues ie riding the least effected trails in the wet or trails with the best drainage.
I can’t help but feel that “these” anti BMU people ain’t getting it. They aren’t getting that there is different levels of passion and they aren’t getting that everyone commits differently to our sport/hobby. If they looked at it with a fair view they would realise that there is actually trail work being carried out on the forums. There might be a smaller commitment but there is commitment non-the-less. People on bmu do have a passion for the trails and isn’t just riding them into the ground. This is not a question about who participates most in trail work. This is a question of whether it is ok to not have the same level of dedication and passion as them.
There are so many wrongs i wouldn’t even know where to begin. I mean what happened if we didn’t post any threads and really did ride trails into the ground skidding at every possible chance? The collective amounts of rides that people on BMU does is also most likely nothing compared to what people on Rotorburn or other forums do. What about nob mob? Do they do as much trail work as people expect them to for the given ratio of rides they do? Do they garner the same image as well from these people?
Basically from the phone conversation i have gathered these personal points for me to reflect upon.
- People have different levels of passion and commitment and that is OK. However some people thinks it is not OK to have different levels of passion and commitment and want everyone that rides to accept their levels of acceptable trail work ethos.
- Some people are simply judgemental and have no idea about certain things.
- We market ourselves very well ie posting pictures/videos but we aren’t paying enough marketing bills X where X is the amount of trail work that these people have in their mind is acceptable given their preconceptions on how much we ride. Which is a lot from what i gather. It seems like we organise 2 rides everyday 🙂
- It’s life. People are always going to misunderstand you and assume things in the worst possible manner. Whilst you might want to correct/explain these misunderstandings to each one of them it isn’t always worth it or possible. Chances are they are so deep in their own views nothing you say will change anything they think.
Am i worked up about this? Well, like i said to him, it isn’t nice to be associated with the wrong image no matter what. Wearing my jersey i like to “represent” proudly and not as locusts. Should we give in and do more trail work? That is up to you. The whole point of my two posts is to say that we should have a choice in what we do, you shouldn’t be judged down because you do one or the other *unless you purposely try to ruin trails or have no concerns for them* and that yes, maybe, some of you have being treated unfairly and you have nothing to blame but life *and maybe those individuals that does not get my aforementioned points*.
Congratulations if you reached this spot and you understood my garbled writing. The more passionate i am about a subject the more of a mess i write. Here is a gold star for you.