Canadian Cyclist


March 2/09 23:15 pm - Declaration of Advocacy

Posted by Editor on 03/2/09

by Rita Nygren

Flying off the handle is fun, but it's hard to land with dignity. Think about these points, and what your reaction will be the next time you are defending your trail.

We hold these truths to be self-evident:

• That there is a bad apple in any group. Not all mountain bikers are going to be responsible - some speed inappropriately or leave broken chains in the woods. Not all hikers are either - some are belligerent, or leave trash, or pick flowers.

• That every group is going to look out for it's best interests. A birdwatcher is interested in a stretch of woods with no other humans, an ATVer is interested in big jumps and a mountain biker is interested in singletrack.

• When interests conflict, someone has to compromise. Most likely, one or both parties are going to be unhappy. Win-win situations are largely mythological.

• The folks from any group who are willing to compromise will be respected by the folks in the other group, but vilified in their own group - especially if they "win".

• That there will always be someone from a group who views a compromise in "their favor" as a toe in the door, showing they are morally superior, and that the other group is crumbling before their might. This person's ego trip tends to do more damage then the original conflict.

• That no one belongs to only a single group. Mountain bikers also hike, watch nature, are interested in geology, even ride horses or motorcross. Hikers, et al have similar renaissance natures.

• That well over fifty percent of the arguments after the original conflict are semantics or miscommunication due to differing definitions. These are almost always accidental.

• That when a group continues to make arguments proven as false, they are likely actually hiding their real argument of "but I want it my way." This holds true not only for "bikes cause erosion" but also for "if the hikers can't get along with me, then they are the problem."

If you have any questions, concerns or comments contact IMBA's Canadian office at: IMBA PO Box 23034, Kitchener, Ontario, N2B 3V1,


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