Seth’s Bike Hacks, one of the most popular YouTube channels, recently produced a video about Bentonville, AR and its many trails. It was a great way to spotlight Bentonville, AR and urban mountain biking.
There is a lot to love in the video, if you haven’t seen it yet, watch it below.
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.
The state of North Carolina urban trails have been added to the trails inventory.
If you are regular viewer of Seth's Bike Hacks, you probably know that North Carolina is no slouch in the mountain biking department. What you may not know is that North Carolina is blessed with a decent amount of urban mountain biking too. From the coast to the mountains, North Carolina comes equipment with trails that are everything you wouldn't expect in an urban environment.
In honor of adding of North Carolina state trails, we have to have The Carolina Chocolate Drops who, much like urban riding in North Carolina, are an underappreciated gem:
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?
We have all been there. You open up your local paper or a weblink to an article and read about a mountain biking trail you have some knowledge about. Somewhere around paragraph three your jaw drops at how much the reporter got wrong. How did this happen? How can a simple (seeming) story about mountain bike trails go so off the rails and come out looking like it’s a story in Pravda about capitalist pigs?
So how does this happen?
None of the mentions or recommendations where paid for or sponsored by any of these brands or companies. These brands and items are recommended based on actual experience.
Before some heavy articles come up, let’s all take a moment to have a little fun and talk about some great bike wear that is either high quality or more ‘blue collar’ in pricing or both.
While an article is forthcoming regarding IMBA and some things that are going on, IMBA has a new survey for mountain bikers, members and non-members alike. Its important to take the 10-15 minutes to fill this survey because:
All in all, there are a lot of questions in the survey that need answering by all of us if we are to help steer IMBA.
The survey can be found here: https://ohio.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_e8ugn6H4uebaBRH
We’ve all heard it, “I’m not an anti-mountain biker, I just think that…” Or maybe you have heard “calling me an anti-mountain biker is a pejorative”.
That raises some questions, of course. What is an anti-mountain biker and anti-mountain biking? Is it a pejorative to say a person or group is anti-mountain bike? If it is not a pejorative, why should anti-mountain biking persons and groups be correctly identified?
“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?
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.