Monday, June 15, 2009

Another Wilderness Park Victim...

Jon Taylor's El Mariachi-- it got ruined yesterday in Wilderness Park, apparently the victim of another head-on collision -- It was a great bike whose end came too soon, but ultimately, I'm just glad Jon is OK... I wonder who it was that he hit???

So I went out to Facebook today and almost immediately saw this picture of Jon Taylor's wadded-up El Mariachi -- the victim of a Wilderness Park incident yesterday, apparently. It made me wonder if that weird message that came through last night on the THOR board had something to do with it... Perhaps somehow I'm getting blamed for Jon's accident, or they think that I was the "other party" in the accident.

First off, let me say that I was in no way involved in the accident and that I'm very sorry this happened to Jon and whoever he hit. Based on the looks of Jon's bike, I can't imagine the other person is feeling too spry today...

Second, it's not the fault of Jon or the person he hit that the park is not maintained, directional or effectively marked with signeage. It's not my fault, or the fault of any other recreationalist who rides their bicycle at Wilderness Park. The volunteer work I do clearing overgrowth at the park makes the trail safer, not less safe, for myself and for ungrateful folks like the person who wrote into the THOR I Power Forum last night.

Maybe it's time to start looking at houses in Omaha... What do they have, like five great places to ride mountain bikes within the metro area? If Lincoln isn't careful, they could pretty easily lose the one trail they currently have. I don't know that for certain, but what I do know is that the park's primary bicycle trail maintenance guy is about to quit volunteering his time due the ungratefulness of both fellow riders and the city... That's all I know.

Yep, Omaha's starting to look pretty darn good... Jewell Park was a real hoot a couple of weeks ago. Swanson's an e-ticket fun ride. L&C is all that and a bucket of Gummy Worms and you've got Tranquility right there and Platte River State Park just a hop, skip and a jump away.

Hmmm... Perhaps I'm paling on Lincoln?


-kw said...

Jon's okay. His head-on happened a couple weeks before yours.
P.S. Take the highroad on the anon comments ... figuratively and literally.

Llama said...

Man, I understand your frustration, sounds like the poster was drunk and an idiot. Keep up the good work.

MG said...

Thanks guys... And thanks for the 411 on Jon's deal, Kev. I was totally out of the loop. Been so busy with my own vortex that I hadn't even heard about what had happened.

And I appreciate the perspective on the commentary too... Thank you. You guys really helped make me not as bummed as I was a while ago about this. That's saying a lot.

Thanks again,

Ben said...

Don't let 'em get you down MG, to help you out here's a little bit o humor to shed light on that particular type of person:

Between my recent feature in the LJS and heavily increased traffic to my work sites, I've had to reference that several times lately. Always puts things in perspective :).

Thanks for all the work you do, and the positive PR for Lincoln cycling. I need to ride Wilderness again, been far too darn long.

Cornbread said...

There's always gonna be people that are bummed no matter what is done. Don't let it get to ya Matt. Water off a duck's back.

I appreciate all your efforts and hard work making the trails safer and a better place to ride. Keep that chin up!

MG said...

Thanks Ben and Corey. You two in particular are why I feel more than a little sorry for getting so upset over that whole deal. Thanks for helping me put it back into perspective. A good gravel ride east of town with MW and JB earlier tonight also helped quite a bit too.

Thanks again. It's good to have friends like you guys. I'm looking forward to riding with you all soon.


MG said...

... That comic is hilarious, Ben.

Thanks again,

rokdad said...

Guerilla trail maintenance makes the park more safe. I think lopers should be mandatory equipment on all Wilderness rides. Or maybe chain saws would be more appropriate?

MG said...

Thanks for your thoughts Jon... I was hoping you'd chime in on this. You know exactly the situation. The two of us have come really close to hitting head-on, actually... We've joked about it, so it's kind of sad that, within a couple of weeks, you wrecked your bike and I came close to wrecking mine out there. It's not kind of sad in fact, it's REALLY sad.

We can't give up on what we believe to be right and good just because of a few dissenters and haters. You guys have reminded me of that... Thank you!! I just have to remember that persistence pays and that it's not for the praise of anyone else that I do it -- it's because it's the right thing to do and because I love the park. That'll help make it easy to keep a thick skin and laugh off those jackasses while we all ride and smile!


jxw said...

MG No worries buddy!! The simple fact that you spent any time maintaining the Wild is grounds for applause. Wild is what, 11 miles long x 2 sometimes 3 separate trails. Nothing in Omaha even compares as far as how much trail needs to be maintained. And one guy can only do so much. My hat is off to you for doing anything out there.

MG said...

Thanks Jim -- It's a big job, to be sure. I know Omaha's definitely got plenty of trail to keep clean, but Wilderness has some special challenges. Not the least of which is the fact that, unlike Omaha, Lincoln Parks and Rec requires three distinct hike, bike and horse trails, which is not only an antiquated method of trail management, it's also proven to be a dangerous method as well, based on the number of head-on accidents and resulting personal injuries that have accumulated over the past several years.

Unfortunately, when you talk to Parks and Rec representatives about the prospect of making a loop trail, their response is "ride out on the bike trail and ride the Jamaica back."

What I don't understand is why everywhere else in the world easily deals with multi-user trails, where hikers, runners and cyclists coexist on trails with no problems (they even do it in Omaha), yet in Lincoln, Nebraska, our Parks and Recreation department thinks we're too stupid to co-exist together on trails, so instead we have to risk our lives riding a bike trail two directions instead of in a multi-user loop (while hikers still poach the bike trail anyway).

Wouldn't it be better if Lincoln Parks and Rec simply managed the park effectively, and the way it's actually being used -- as a multi-user trail? Then they could install effective, directional signage that made it safe for all users -- hikers and cyclists. So cyclists weren't coming at speed against eachother.

A safer park can happen, but it's not going to happen if we're the only ones who want it to happen. Lincoln Parks and Rec has to want it too... And right now I'm not convinced they are ready to make real, impactful changes yet. I'm not sure they get it yet...

Jason said...

You know you want to move to KC - Swope is coming along FAMOUSLY.

Various hidden jewels

Steve Fuller said...

It's unfortunate that Lincoln Parks and Rec is that way. The IMBA Trail Care Crew is coming to Des oines this weekend. We have meetings set up with state and local land managers today and tomorrow, as well as with the Iowa IMBA affiliates on Saturday. We'd still be happy to have additional people from your area over. I'd even cover the costs for the Lincoln Parks and Rec people out of my own pocket if they want to make the trip.

MG said...

Unfortunately Steve, right after your comment came in, I made a couple of calls, and while I was willing to give up my planned weekend of racing to drive to Des Moines to do it, the folks I spoke to didn't feel it was even worth running it up the flagpole with our Parks & Rec contacts due to the budget cutbacks they've had recently... They felt the chances of us getting someone to say yes, especially with this little notice, were somewhere in the slim-to-none range. I really appreciate the offer, Steve, but honestly, I think we need to get the folks from IMBA in here and have everyone sit down... or better yet, go out to Wilderness and get out on the trail together and discuss the issues as we're seeing them first-hand. In all honesty, that's what I think we need to do to impact a real mind shift. We need to help Parks & Rec realize that it's not just Jim, Matt and "the Lincoln mountain bikers" that want this to happen. This (trail safety and multi-user off-road trail development) is something that we're very much behind the national standards on... and if there's anything Lincoln government doesn't like to be behind on, it's national standards. It's just an antiquated management philosophy, and if IMBA comes in and gives their advice on how we can accomplish a safer, better running trail system, I think it will be better heard and honestly, they might have some ideas we might not have thought of -- and I'm totally open to that.

But ultimately, we need for them to see the lay of the park and I also don't want to take away their focus from what you guys have going on in the Des Moines area... You're a very generous person to offer up some of that limited forum you have with them, and then offer to pay for us to come over and take it, to boot. What an awesome friend. Thank you Steve! I won't forget the gesture.

Have an awesome weekend, my friend. I don't know if these guys are the same guys that are meeting with Julie Harris and the Activate Omaha folks coming up soon, but if so, please pass along my phone number to them and have them get a hold of me before they're going to be in town. I'll also be touching base with Julie about the meeting (I just learned about it yesterday), so it sounds like someone from IMBA is going to be in Omaha sometime soon at least...

Thanks again Steve. Talk to you soon.

My best,