Well that’s been quite the week.
From a comment in a blog about an advertorial magazine to national news and radio it’s been interesting to see – and a little bit disappointing – that it takes this kind of thing to grab the attention of news outlets rather than the magnificent work being done to improve relationships between outdoors groups.
But it has given us a great opportunity to talk about the great work being done by mountain bike advocacy groups.
Work like the brilliant increased access delivered by the Eastern Moors Partnership with Ride Sheffield along the edges in the Derwent Valley. Work like the permissive access opened up on the Roaches estate in Staffordshire by Peak District MTB. Work like the amazing collaborative effort to fund-raise £74,000 to protect the Cut Gate path in the Peak; a project kicked off by the mountain bikers.
The positive stuff coming out of the mountain biking world locally massively outweighs the isolated challenges like this. But of course, we must remain vigilant. I said it this week: these obstacles do not discriminate. They could hurt biker, horse rider, horse, dog, walker, runner alike. Call anything in on 101 if you come across something. But recognise that there are many, many more things these groups share views on aims on – increased access, trail etiquette, #BeNiceSayHi. Regrettably, this is one thing that has brought us all together. But it does unite us. Let’s make something of that – work together to improve things for the whole.
To be completely honest with you, this week’s coverage wasn’t expected nor planned. It’s been something of a distraction from promoting the good work of advocacy and the great stories of responsible riding we get week in week out. More basically, it’s also meant that the trail updates have been knocked sideways – but KoftheP is always quiet in summer anyway.
What it has done is put mountain biking – the type done by the vast majority of riders – into the national consciousness. Hopefully I spoke articulately and sensibly enough to have shown that we are a nice bunch in the main who are simply out there to enjoy the great outdoors and get on with others. Hopefully the coverage will bring those groups closer together against this nonsense. Do I fear copycats? Yes, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t – but I wouldn’t be able to live with myself knowing these things were happening and having not done something if someone – walker, horse-rider, runner, mountain biker – got hurt. Advocacy is now being talked about. Let’s embrace the opportunity.
But for today, I’m going for a ride on my bike. With my six year old son, and maybe my 4 year old too unless he wants to bake with mummy. Family bimblers uniting and going out to enjoy some of the finest mountain biking the world has to offer.
See you out there.
PS: UPDATE THE TWITTER FEED!