I was just reading the DaMinion thread and it brought up something that bothers me and I’m concerned is actually detrimental to the end game of more people on bikes and more places to ride. I’ve noticed a trend on how other trail users are communicated about on the forum. There are a lot of default blaming dog walkers/hikers/trail runners for changes to the trails or anything about a trail use that isn’t up to par.
None of us like being blamed for poor behaviour of mountain bikers at trail heads yet the status quo around here is to default blame other users for anything that is unliked on a trail.
The reality is that McRun has opened up trails to a lot of new people and covid has brought even more people to the woods than ever before. We need these people if we want more sanctioned trails built around the city. We need trail users in general. This consistent “us vs them” isn’t constructive and it feeds community resentment. It feels a lot like the dude who went off about the ages of people using McIntosh Run on facebook not that long ago.
How we talk about other trail users here on the forum or at a trail head or at the bar impacts how mountain bikers are perceived in the community. Words matter. Especially when you don’t actually know who’s listening and paying attention.
Right now we have a lot of extra work to do in building good relationships with our communities (I’m thinking of McRun specifically, but it goes for all trail systems in any community). We’re not seen favourably by a lot of people - rightly or wrongly it doesn’t matter. Point is, we need to go above and beyond to be respectful of others and when a trail change or something is noticed immediately blaming a group of “others” when the facts are completely unknown just sucks.
Anyway, rant over - just wanted this off my chest. Thanks for reading.
(Signed a trail runner & hiker & dog walker who is also a mountain biker and is really over the lumping of people together as the “problem” with trails in the area.)