Monday, August 9, 2010

Is there really a constant need for speed?

I've been involved in an ongoing online dialogue about bollards on trails. For those of you not familiar w/ the term, a bollard is a device used on trails to keep motor vehicles out. (see enclosed pictures.)
In the course of the discussion, I mentioned that riders/bicyclists could avoid dangerous collisions w/ bollards by limiting their speed. One member of the discussion asked "Don't we like riding fast ?"
My simple reply to that is, "NO!" Not always. In fact, when it comes to trails, for me the answer is never.
There are so many places and activities where fast seems to be the default speed. Some examples of perpetually fast(er) vehicles include motorcycles, road bikes, planes, trains, & automobiles. Okay, I'll grudgingly give them their "need for speed."
But what about trails? Can't we have just one place where we can escape speed? Can't we have a place where we can relax and enjoy the scenery? How about a place where we can relax and enjoy each other w/out constantly being angry that someone is going "too slow?"
And no we can't just leave it up to each individual; because then trails will just end up like the road: just another place to get frustrated w/ one another.
Bikers already have a bad name. Automobile drivers don't like them because they're a nuisance. Pedestrians don't like them because they're too fast and dangerous. And much of that criticism is rightfully earned.
But I'm a complete trail fanatic. I love trails, not because they're another place to put the race in "rat race." I love trails because they're a place to slow down and enjoy the world. They're a place to enjoy the view and stop to chat with fellow trail-users.
So it's a very short, one-word answer to your question. "NO!" We do not like riding fast. Not everywhere. And we don't like constantly worrying about others who ride fast. I'm not saying you can't ride fast, but please do it on the road or the race track or the velodrome. Please allow the rest of us one place for tranquility, harmony, peace, and all those other 6os words.
Trails are a special place, and we should keep them that way.


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