Social media has become a fact of life now. It has inspired positive in the world around us, brought us closer to lost friends and brought a stream of great cat videos. It also has inspired negatives in the world around us, enabling genocides, given rise to fringe politics and letting your parents (or grandparents) to share all sorts of fake news.
The British sitcom The IT Crowd hilariously lampooned social media in a faux commercial for a social media site called “Friendface” from the episode with the same name:
But can social media be a boon for mountain biking clubs and land managers who what to let users know about trail conditions and other trail updates?
City MTB will be spending the next few days in Grand Rapids, MI at the MTB State Summit.
Jointly hosted by three mountain biking organizations: Jersey Off-Road Bicycling Association (JORBA), Vermont Mountain Bike Association (VMBA) and the Michigan Mountain Bike Association (MMBA), the State Summit will bring mountain bikers from all over to learn about making mountain biking stronger and more diverse.
We hope to see you there!
This story has been in outline form for some time. However, it lacked a seemingly complicated (and easy enough) example to access and research. Then a little plane accident happened and it appeared a complicated and fraught enough example had (literally) fallen from the sky. It was quickly added to the article. Outwardly, it seemed like the perfect example: easy to discuss, emotional, but not related to current controversies.
Fate is a weird thing. On the day before this article was to be published, here in the United States an horrible and cruel example of Antisemitism tragically cost 11 innocent and beautiful souls their lives. The story was to auto-publish that next evening. Clearly it was held up. The question became whether it would ever be published and if so, in what form.
However, in the end, it was decided it should go forward. This article is about complicated subjects. Whether we are talking about urban mountain biking, iconography or the stupidity of bigotry, we should be able to talk about complicated things and do so without others reducing those subjects to a cartoon. So this article is presented in its full, original, form.
The best thing we can all do is promote love and acceptance. The second best thing we can do is talk about hard topics, like Antisemitism, with the better angels of our nature. In the spirit of the best of what humanity can be, please take the time to donate to organizations like HIAS because, seriously, those assholes can't be allowed to win.
A lot of the parts of creating urban mountain biking experiences are hard. Whether it is discussing environmental impacts, trail management, volunteering or funding of trails, a lot of little things can add up. Additionally, some things are subjective to the time, location or usage. In other words, it can get complicated.
So how do we, as advocates, talk about complicated things without confusing or upsetting our audiences? How can we get the context right in the simplest manner possible?
Let’s find that out. But first, let’s talk about an airplane crash in California to see how the lesson there can teach us why understanding complicated things is important to what we are trying to do. Let’s also use that understanding to figure out how to talk about the complicated things of mountain biking to an audience.
For a good section of the country, winter time brings out the hardiest of the hardy: winter bikers. It takes a special type of person to ride their bike in the winter. But it also takes special work to make the trails fun for riders. That special work is known as grooming.
Grooming for winter use is becoming more regular and normal across the snowy north, but still can fall into the “black art” territory. Why groom? What types of grooming are there?
“Be a team player.” You probably have heard that phrase from the first years of your schooling. It’s almost always used in conjunction with the idea that doing a project or activity with others will produce a better result. Whether that is always true is debatable.
But the one area where collaboration can produce positive results is in the field of urban mountain biking public meetings and in trail layout. And there is one method that manages to take both those disparate parts of the process and combine them. That method is known as Collaborative Ecological Layout.
Why should we consider this method? What is Collaborative Ecological Layout? How does it solve many of the issues common to mountain biking trail proposals in urban areas?
Signs and symbols are a specific part of graphic arts, called iconography. Merriam-Webster defines iconography as:
Trails, just like any other infrastructure conveying human beings, need signage of some kind to help direct users and get them to be aware of various realities on the trail. But bad signage can be as bad (or worse sometimes) then no signage.
So how can a trail system do trail signage right? What can help direct users without overloading them?
Your bike, just like you, needs a wash after it plays in the dirt.
Yet, bike wash stations at local trails can be all too rare. Why then are bike wash stations an important part of the infrastructure for urban trails? What styles of bike wash stations are there? How do you get one?
Get your sponges out and suds up as we dive into bike wash stations!
On April 6th, 2018 Bicycling Magazine took a break from telling its readers they needed the latest $10,000 super bike to post an article by Ayesha McGowan. The article is about diversity, or more correctly, the lack of diversity within the cycling community.
Before going any further take a few moments to read Ms. McGowan’s article.
Ms. McGowan’s article is so powerful not only because she points to a real problem in the bicycling world, but includes relatively simple fixes to these problems. While the article is aimed at the corporate/industrial side of bicycling, the fact of the matter is that bicycling is more than Specialized’s graphics department. It’s all of us that use bicycles and love bicycles, whether we ride to work or on the trail.
What are other ways that the industry and us, as cyclists, can help ensure cycling appeals to everyone?
While man has always sought to fly, in the post-World War 2 time period, there was a growing interest in the idea of “flying cars”, that is personal flying devices that could pull into a garage and then whisk their inhabitants off to a location. At the time, it seemed like the stars had aligned for just such a reality. Thru the war, 2 inventions were refined that seemed to make this possible: the gas turbine and the helicopter. In fact, German engineers had developed the intermesh helicopter, a type that auto hovers. Many of those engineers and scientists found their way to the United States via Operation Paperclip.
On paper, a flying car sounds great. Faster than ground transportation and able to go point-to-point versus following roads. However, in practice, the idea of a flying car is a nightmare. Besides the complexities of actually flying an aircraft, there is the matter of preventing all these flying cars from running into one another. Then there is the fact that conditions in air are always changing as the atmosphere takes on many properties of a fluid in a vessel, with competing air currents and changes in air flow. From that time till today, history is littered with failed flying car ideas, some famous, some not so famous. In the end, the idea of the flying car remains (and likely will always remain) an idea.
When it comes to user management techniques, there is one that sounds like a great idea on paper, but a nightmare in actual usage: Alternating Use. This leads to the following questions:
Let’s see how the idea is not matched by the reality.
Many things come in boxes, from the small boxes for jewelry to the large heavily built boxes for appliances. In mythology, it was Pandora’s Box (though in the original Greek it was a jar) that contained all the ills of the world that were let loose when Pandora decided to take a peek. In religious connotations, the Jewish Ark of the Covenant was an ornate box to hold the original tablets of the commandments.
There is another type of box we will consider, one containing mountain bike trails. This type of use is known as Boxed Use. To know what comes in that box, we need to answer the following:
Let’s lift the lid and see what Boxed Use all about!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.