Sunday, 21 April 2013

Dirt jumping, Sideshow Bob, COP eastlands

Sideshow Bob is a classic northwest Calgary within city bounds trail.  Dries out relatively early and is fun, and in the longer days ahead, even can make it as part of the evening commute home.

The portion along the gravel pit has some low areas that have been a no mans land of derelict industrial equipment for years - and a decent setup for some people who've built a set of dirt jumps.  It's out of site, out of mind, and probably not a bad place for enough people to turn a blind eye to.

Issue is, some dirt jumping aficionados are building more.  And they're building them in places that are very very visible to the rest of the public.  And in the process of building them, they're also digging up the existing trail.  Sideshow Bob is on an escarpment that's prone to erosion.  It's one thing to add a mild kicker to a rolling portion of trail that fits existing contours, so a rider has an option of a little air.  It's another thing to cut J bends across/perpendicular to erosive slopes.  Those are disasters in the making from a PR perspective.

If you're these dirt jumpers, please use better judgement.  I was asked by a walker this weekend if I was "up there doing those jumps".  I pointed out to them that I've loved riding those trails for 20 years, but those weren't mine, and the kind of bike that I was on can't really do that.  But it was apparent that they were looking for someone to be upset at.

That type of excavation draws very apparent attention to other users.  I support people's passion for riding, and dirt jumping.  Hide yourself in the old part by the gravel pit, or head over to COP.  If I have to give up a place I've ridden for 20 years cause one spring a bunch of jumps got [poorly] excavated, I'm not going to be a happy camper.  You might graduate from dirt jumping to just "regular" mountain biking and wish you hadn't brought the hammer down on everyone who wants to enjoy that area by a few short sighted jumps.

As a side note, this will happen at the COP eastlands too eventually as there's some huge, erosive, and poorly made jumps cut into public land in sensitive areas.  For now they're mostly out of the public's eye, which doesn't make them right, it just doesn't make them a flashpoint just yet.  Please don't cause an issue that will get the privilege of use revoked for the responsible end of the two wheeled spectrum.

Northwest citizens that use the trails for running, dog walking, or riding, or City employees - please understand this isn't all people on two wheels - and if you see them out, please address the topic with them!  That piece of land is a resource for everyone.

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