In part 1 of this series, we discussed what active and passive recreational uses were and how they are defined.
As we discussed, to be a passive use, the activity would have to meet 3 criteria:
As point #2 illustrates, it’s not only the activity, but the infrastructure of that recreational use that would be a factor in determining if an activity could be considered passive or active. The example used in the previous article was that of a football field and a multi-use trail.
However, if we have a trail, in this case multi-use, could an activity come along might not be passive use? And where does mountain biking, as an activity, fit in with the idea of active and passive use?
That will be some of the questions we will answer in this second part.
In the discussion of scientific instruments and measuring devices, there are two major categories: active sensors and passive sensors. Active sensors use some kind of directed energy, whether that be light waves, sound waves or kinetic means to measure properties about an item. Passive sensors do not emit any energy, but measure the observed item's own emitted energy, again, light waves, sound waves or kinetic means to measure properties of that item.
Some types of instruments can be in either passive or active types. Microscopes can be passively viewing or, like an electron microscope, they can actively view. Sonar on ships and submarines can do the same, passively listening for other vessels or sending out a “ping” to listen for the echo.
But when talking about active or passive recreational uses, what is being referred to? How can one activity be referred to as “active use” and a seemingly similar activity be referred to as “passive use”. How does this understanding of active and passive recreational use affect mountain biking in urban areas?
When you do laundry, you are well aware of the need to place certain colors and fabrics in separate loads. Cottons, whites, colored. This type of segregation of clothes is important as placing certain clothes together can damage them. Reds and whites are a common example of this, as either the colors will run, turning whites pink or the red will be bleached out.
While we have spent the last 3 parts of this series talking about how to share trails, today we go a much different direction: ensuring these users that previously shared, never share. Much like the laundry, we are going to sort them, segregating them in other words, into their unique experiences. If that is the case, we have some questions we need to answer:
Raising Children Australia, says the following about “sharing”:
Sharing is a vital life skill. It’s something toddlers and children need to learn so they can make and keep friends, and play cooperatively… Sharing teaches children about compromise and fairness. They learn that if we give a little to others, we can get some of what we want as well. Children who share also learn how to take turns and negotiate, and how to cope with disappointment. These are all important life skills.
While it’s safe to assume most of us learned how to share at home and kindergarten, it does raise some questions that are pertinent to the idea of shared trails:
One of the easiest ways to help cities and land managers to feel more comfortable with urban mountain biking is to feel like they have control over mountain biking, but also that it’s not totally on them. From the standpoint of a mountain biking club and the land manager the maintenance of, management of and control of trails, being partners can bring great benefits to all involved.
How can you codify a partnership between your local mountain biking club and the land managers? With a document called a “Memorandum of Understanding". Let’s look at what a memorandum of understanding is and how you can create one that is both useful and simple to understand for all parties.
Photo courtesy of BLM
In the previous article, we described “ride to your ride” as one of the founding concepts of urban mountain biking. We also talked about a model urban mountain bike trail plan. Yet, as we mentioned, no place has the model implemented perfectly and its doubtful many cities could implement that model without some real work. That left us with the question of whether ride to your ride was a myth and fantasy, or something obtainable.
Let’s look at three very different locations and show how ride to your ride happens in the real world.
While perusing this site, you may have noted the term “urban mountain biking” used versus the term “urban off-road cycling”. Why is that?
The first thing that should be acknowledged is that neither term is perfect. Both have their pluses and minuses. Such is the way with terminology used in the sport of mountain biking. The term “mountain bike” makes no sense as there are plenty of places with fun mountain bike trails that have zero mountains. The types of mountain biking also use terms that are confusing. “Cross country”, “all mountain” and “downhill”. At some point, every type of bike does what these terms describe in some way.
“Off-road cycling” is a term that has recently gained some traction with land managers. The primary reason is that this term allows many types of cycling to fit under an umbrella term. The land manager can create a policy that covers everything to quarter acre pump track to 20-mile singletrack trail system. This honestly does have some merit from a land managers standpoint. One bucket for all the things that that involve bikes on dirt.
But there are some serious problems with the use of this term. Some are pretty obvious, some are not. They include:
Both of these are biking off of a road. But only one of them is "off road cycling" (Hint: its the right one.)
Because of these reasons, City MTB will use the term “urban mountain biking” when discussing bicycling wheels on dirt. Let’s acknowledge that it is imperfect and it doesn’t technically cover things like BMX tracks, cyclocross or adventure courses. However, it perfectly describes the largest type of wheels on dirt experience in the United States: mountain biking on singletrack trails.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.