It’s normal at this time of the year to begin making new year’s resolutions; grandiose plans that are typically forgotten when the first obstacles of life pop up to knock you off your resolve. This year I planned to ride loads more. For one reason or another I think I actually ended up riding less than the year before – but that’s sometimes just the way it goes.
So maybe I should temper my resolutions a bit this year? Calm my ambitions and be realistic? ‘Ride more’ is a given – it’s not really a resolution is it? So what should I aim for then?
Well there are a few things which I’m aiming for in 2019; some maybe a bit of a stretch, while others I really think are within reach.
The Peak District is a real challenge. A mish mash of landowners, land managers, park authority, local councils, parish councils, county councils – and that’s before you overlay the various groups who want to get out there for some fun. I’ve been navigating these – alongside groups like the excellent Peak District MTB – for a number of years now, and though I’ve said we’re getting close to a tipping point before, I really believe that in 2019 we’re going to see some real progress for mountain biking in the national park. So, what about those resolutions then?
- Finish the Cut Gate project.
We’re just a few thousand pounds from hitting our £74000 target for Cut Gate in the Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million project. To have achieved that is incredible – it really is – now the focus shifts to the actual work itself. We’ll likely begin this year, so working closely with PDMTB and Ride Sheffield with Moors for the Future to ensure the path is something which we can all be proud is one of my main focuses this year.
- Change the relationship with some key landowners.
On any patch of land in the Peak you can have perhaps four or five people with an ownership or responsibility for it. Rarely do those stars ever align long enough to allow mountain bikers to get access. Even if they do, it can be just the smallest negatively perceived thing that gets that access taken away again. Strava on a sensitive trail. A few curt words between people. The perception of recklessness. That all happened in 2018 and set back advocacy work. However, there are a few green shoots of promise coming though that suggest that we might be able to begin opening up some more access. If I can help to do that I’ll be really happy.
- Get everyone on the same page.
Cut Gate’s already been a big help for this, but basically when you talk to the other groups who use the same kind of tracks we do, you soon realise that we all want the same things. More access. Sensitive repairs. If we can all, together agree on what we want, we can put more pressure on to achieve more. Let’s work together more. And that doens’t just mean different groups. Even within our own community we’re not all on the same page. Some are seemingly wilfully against what advocacy groups are doing on one hand while enjoying the fruits of those labours on the other. It’s a bizarre contradiction which I’d love to see change. Like I say though, some of my ambitions may be a stretch. Doesn’t mean I won’t try.
- Ride my bike more.
But I said I wouldn’t say that.
So there’s my little list. I’l revisit it in a year and see where we are. Happy New Year everyone, here’s to a cracking 2019 for you all.