Friday, February 12, 2010

Why Wyoming, Why?

OK we're gonna get all serious today. Sort of. Monday night was the DCR/NEMBA/Friends of The Fells meeting up in Med-fid. I apologize to my readers...excuse me, make that reader in Bulgaria, but we're going to talk about something that really only relates to people living in the Metro-Boston area today. So sorry Aleksandar (I don't really know if that's my Bulgarian reader's name, it's just the first name that came up when I googled "popular Bulgarian boys names.") you are excused from reading today's post.

You know what's funny (besides seeing someone get kicked in the nuts so hard that they fart)? I also only have one reader in Idaho...and in North Dakota...and in Arkansas. Hey one guy in each of those respective states, tell your friends to read The Big Bikes OK? They might think I'm an annoying, whiny, idiot, who makes crazy crap up and doesn't know what the hell he's talking about — just tell them I'm a lot like Glenn Beck...without as much crying like a big fat baby-man.

I'm sorry, I just love my country. Even the jerks in the state of Wyoming who don't even read Big Bikes AT ALL. That's right, no readers in Wyoming, not a one. I've even been to Wyoming and ridden mountain bikes there. Right outside Laramie. Do you guys hate me because I once bit the head off one of your state birds, "The Western Meadowlark?" I can see how you might take that the wrong way. You have to understand, my meeting with the execs from CBS wasn't going well, they were getting cold feet about producing "Big Bikes: a Karaoke Rock Opera" (Which really just involved me singing along to Danzig...atonally...totally naked. Well, not totally if you count my "Natural fur sweater." But ya, it covers up the wrong bits, I know. ) I had to salvage the thing somehow, so I bit the head off a frickin' whaddaya call it...Meadow Lark, for effect. They didn't go for it and the rest, as all four of you know, was never even made into a VH1 Behind The Music special.

Of course now you Wyoming-inians will come over here and read this. Why? Because you're narcissistic like everyone else (That's right, still #1 Big Bikes and #1 Thom Parsons according to, I mean Google) and you'll be up late one night googling your state name and your state bird and "jerks in Wyoming" (just to see if somebody's talking smack about you), and you'll come across this post and then you'll leave me 143 hate comments. Please don't kill me Wyoming.

What were we talking about?
Advocacy, right...

The meeting went well, only a couple of the yellow-toothed, gray haired, neurotically twitching whack jobs from Friends of The Fells got all aggro and started shouting and acting like crazy people. I'm leaving out a lot of back story here, but we gotta move along. Basically the FOTF wants to limit access for mountain bikers to The Fells, i.e: ban them completely and then, if possible, have them stabbed, doused with gasoline, set on fire, and dumped in the Mystic River.

I just got the folowing email from Adam Glick, Greater Boston NEMBA. What we need to do is get as many emails as possible into the DCR so they know the primary users of The Fells are responsible mountain biker-types, not nine angry men who want the place to themselves so they can, uh...fornicate with flowers. Read Adam's guidelines below and fire that email off! Hey, I did it and I don't follow through on anything. I swear I'm still going to learn Spanish with my Rosetta Stone cassette tapes while working my abs on my Bowflex. I did not buy them for nothing.

Adam's email:

Last night was a high water mark in a long, long dry season of MTB advocacy at the Fells.

Time to get back to work however.

It was clear that DCR *wants* more comments submitted. This is **very** important to DCR. They are counting them all up - they had nice bar charts summarizing them. What struck me was that the bar representing "Expand Mountain Bike Access" wasn't very much higher than its opposite "Don't Change a Thing" bar. We must do better.

Action Item: We need everyone who hasn't sent comments to send them in. Keep them short and to the point. Here's the original DCR source page:

Some suggestions:

Simply state that you:

1. Support increased mountain biking opportunities.
2. Support a change to the winter closure policy.
3. Support increased NEMBA volunteerism
4. Support after dark riding.
5. Support separating loop trail overlaps
6. Support providing access to the reservoir trail systems
7. Support improved signage

You don't need to answer all the questions -- just the ones that are important to you.

There are some basic principles we hope riders will support:

1. Fair and equitable access policy
2. Access to singletrack
3. More marked loops
4. Positive use to replace illegitimate use

It's even better if the comments are in your own voice and express your own concerns. We're not trying to control the message -- it's the getting a message out to DCR that is really important.

If you are looking for other ideas, here's some stuff that Greater Boston NEMBA has come up with (look at the bottom of the webpage):

Email your comments to:

When you send them please also cc:

Spread the word. Tell your friends. Make a point of getting the word out about this.

This is like when you are on the last leg of an epic ride and you can feel yourself beginning to bonk. We need to find that extra energy to keep us going and get us home because we have a lot of traction right now.

Hi, it's me again. If you're still reading this is the email I sent out:

Hello Paul,

I'm just writing to voice my support for increased access for mountain bikers at The Middlesex Fells.
The Fells are just a few minutes away from my house, I use them for running, hiking (that's really just a fancy name for walking),
cross-country skiing and mountain biking. I am over there, enjoying the place in some capacity several days a week, year round.

I would love to see more opportunities for NEMBA members to oversee trail building and maintenance. Well built, managed, and maintained trails
are much more durable than the kind of hiking and default trails that mountain bikers now ride on.

Allowing nighttime access and instituting a "Mud Ban" rather than winter closure would be great.
Night-riding only disrupts two of the nocturnal species in The Fells — partying high school kids lighting fires and naked men running.
The winter ban keeps bikers out during the months when the trails are least vulnerable. The trails are either frozen
or covered in snow. NEMBA members are always very good about keeping off the trails when they're muddy.
NEMBA rides are canceled due to muddy conditions.

On behalf of my 62 year-old mom I'd like to say that allowing access to the roads around the reservoirs would be excellent.
Many riders are like my mom and would much rather ride on semi-smooth dirt road than single-track. They really aren't hurting anything in there.

Another point of concern is the Dark Hollow area. I know my mom won't go near the place (though I'm not sure
she has much to be worried about), and my 16 year-old friend Nathaniel (who might have something to worry about) won't even go into The Fells
because of all the talk about "undesirable users" in that area.
I feel strongly that a trail running through that swath of land would only displace one type of wild life...
and I'm not talking about newts.

Thanks for your time,

Thom Parsons

Note my use of clever euphemisms for "sketchy men cruising and having sex in the bushes all the time." Newts...newts aren't that size or color and they have those gill things on the side. Dead giveaway...the lack of gill things there.



Bullitt said...

People in Wyoming work 15 hours a day breaking horses, harvesting grains and caring for livestock and mining and producing petroleum so girly New England "men" like you can sit on yer bum for 4 hours every night blogging a eating yer donut sausage thing.

: )

Cary said...

Just sent my email.

diamondback said...

Haha good stuff. I'm sure the good people of Wyoming will come around :).

megA said...

NEMBA gets most of its political power through its numbers. That's why joining NEMBA is important too--especially those folks who can't put in time maintaining trails. Your membership fees help us purchase tools and lumber to build bridges, attend IMBA trail building sessions to learn how to maintain and build trails responsibly and fund fun kid-based trail rides and helmet give-aways.

Thanks for writing this Thom.

PV NEMBA VP, not a made-up title, I swear