|Just because you're on a bike in the|
mountains, doesn't mean you're
Monday, November 15, 2010
I may never have really given the issue of trail categories a second thought if I hadn't started writing and publishing trail descriptions, guides, and reviews. In fact, I didn't even really need to ponder the category issue on my own trailsnet website or trails network blog because the sites specialize in multi-use, multi-user trails that are used by people of all ages and abilities.
However, when I started writing trail guides and reviews for other companies/websites/ blogs, I was asked to classify the trails as either mountain bike or road bike. That quickly became frustrating, because most of the trails I rode fell into neither of those categories. They definitely were not on the road, because I avoid road-riding whenever possible. And mountain biking is what I used to do, back when I was childless, immortal, and invincible... oh yeah, and when I spent a lot more time in the mountains. But alas (or thank goodness, depending on your perspective) those days are behind me.
Then I started looking for trails, that were family friendly, knee friendly, and, well, just plain friendly. That's when I discovered rail trails and other recreational trails that weren't necessarily mountain bike trails. These trails were scenic, they were fun, they allowed riders to pull tagalongs and strollers. And life was good...
Except for two problems. First, the trails were hard to find because there weren't any websites for them; and two, there was no official category for this type of biking. And there still isn't. As you can see, it isn't mountain biking because it often isn't in the mountains and it isn't the crazy, roller-coasterish type biking that is associated with mountain biking. And (my favorite part) it isn't done on the roads.
So my solution is apolitical. I say we just call it trail biking. It's not only for the gonzo, speed-demon, over-the-top daredevils (although it does not necessarily exclude them) that are drawn to mountain biking. It can be practiced in any part of the country by seniors, youth, parents, toddlers in bike trailers, athletes, non-athletes, commuters, recreationalists... the list goes on.
It is a very inclusive type of biking that encourages family togetherness, exercise, ecotravel, energy conservation and so on.
I think that by adding the category of trail biking, it would be more inviting and less intimidating to those, like me, who just like to venture forth on our bikes for a relaxing jaunt on the trail, whether that trail is a half mile or 150 miles.
I know that's a bit of a ramble, but I'm on a roll. It's time to open up biking to everyone.