A few years ago a chap wrote an article entitled “Rise of the Idiots” which chartered the seemingly unstoppable proliferation and acceptance of the common or garden moron.
It was a simple push back against them. A rallying cry for the quiet majority of intelligent, diligent….normal people to say ‘Enough!’ and call the moron for the moron he was; expose him and let the world carry on, quietly forgetting this embarrassing little blip.
Sadly, the moron masses judged ‘Rise of the Idiots’ to be ironic, and the erstwhile author was crowned their new hero; embraced as a genius by the very people he disliked so much in the first place.
“What the bloody hell are you on about?” I hear you ask. Well, in recent days there seems to have been a rise of this kind of mindset in the little biking community of which we are all part. Pockets of riders who guffaw and cackle as they “do what the f*** they like” and “screw the rule makers”.
They do this while being members of trail advocacy groups. The same trail advocacy groups run by volunteers who work tirelessly in their own time to build the kind of relationships which allow amateurs to race downhill against world champions in land owned by wildlife trusts; which allow mountain bikers to wield spades on paths in national parks; which allow diggers to sculpt and shape the land to create tracks that give those self-same morons the very thrill they look for in the first place.
Perhaps it’s this recent growth in provision which has given them a sense of entitlement? Whatever it is, it’s a problem.
Maybe they are trolling, but more often than not, it seems that they simply don’t understand how damaging their actions can be to the fragile relationships which are being established between mountain bikers and landowners or the authorities; that they simply don’t understand or much less care about the amount of work which has gone into getting mountain bikers a seat at the table. Look at it like this, if a landowner asks the biking community to avoid riding in a certain area, but concedes some previously inaccessible path as a result – you work with them. You don’t go ‘cheers for that, we’ll take this and this and this too’.
If a number of your fellow bikers suggest you reel your neck in a bit as they can see the fuel you’re throwing on the ‘anti-bike’ fire, you swallow your pride and reel it in.
I’ve heard the Kinder Mass trespass used as justification; some bizarrely misplaced suggestion that by blasting down a footpath the rider is invoking the spirit of Benny Rothman and open access will miraculously be granted. How on earth this is seen as a plan is anyone’s guess.
These same riders will then argue that they are right in their bloody-mindedness; ignoring the simple fact that groups looking for any reason to push back against our fight for open access will most likely be reading their thoughtless bullshi*.
So what can be done? Nothing, I suspect, for the morons. They will continue to selfishly carry on, reaping the rewards of others’ fine work in one hand while undermining it with the other. But for everyone else; loads. Be the ambassador, the voice of reason, the ‘good egg’. Keep doing your bit to make us, mountain bikers, look like the responsible and influential group we are.
For every ‘rider/idiot’ who threatens to “poke anyone who tells me where I can’t ride in the f***ing eye”, let’s have 10….20….30 who will stop, listen and talk to someone who has complained.
There’s a part of me which says we should give these people enough rope to hang themselves, another part that says just ignore them. But they ride bikes for fun – they can’t be entirely asshats, can they? They ride bikes in mud as a passtime after all. I don’t know.
Perhaps as the sport grows we’re simply bound to get more of this attitude and behaviour popping up. Let’s not let them make more of an impact on the people that matter than those of us who really care eh?
Keep it livid. Keep it dense, yeah?
Self-facilitating media node, KoftheP
5 thoughts on “Rise of the Idiots”
Regardless of the rights and wrongs of your argument, branding anyone who disagrees with you as a ‘moron’ isn’t exactly a winning strategy is it? It seems calculated to perpetuate the divisiveness that you claim to oppose.
You might think they’re ‘morons’, but they might just be people who haven’t thought fully through the implications of what they’re doing. They might even be people who’ve thought through what they’re doing, but disagree with your point of view.
Maybe it’d be more constructive to try and persuade, educate, inform and reason rather than just play the moron card? Just a thought, though I guess you’ve probably already decided I’m a moron eh?
Not at all Jon, you make an interesting point. I would counter, however, that threatening to “poke someone in the eye” if they have the temerity to suggest you are riding somewhere you’re not technically allowed to or telling numerous people to “f*** off” when technically in the wrong, and loud enough that many other people can hear you despite them being a distance away, and then berating those self same people for trying to persuade or educate you are indeed the actions of a moron. You may disagree.
Yeah, those particular people sound like idiots. But the problem is that your piece takes things a whole lot further and seems to brand anyone who disagrees with you in the same way. That doesn’t seem constructive. If I choose to ride footpaths occasionally in a polite and considerate way does that make me a ‘moron’ in your book, because that’s how things seem to read. And if I read it that way, I suspect there’s a good chance that plenty of other riders who will do the same. So am I a moron?
In that context, no.
And I would suggest that my comments about being one of the ’10….20….30 who will stop, listen and talk to someone who has complained’ would ring a bell?
I think you have to be careful throwing black and white paint around, it tends to go everywhere to the detriment of your argument. Anyway… relieved not to be a moron after all 🙂