Category: <span>Advocacy</span>

The discussions I’ve had (online and off) about my March series of blog posts examining some of the factors that discourage seniors from engaging in off-road cycling has led me to the conclusion that those factors are relevant for the general population of people who ride bicycles, not just seniors. That’s the bad news.

The good news? I’m convinced that there are some things that could be done to mitigate those factors and that it’s time to experiment to see what might work. A summary of the problematic factors:

Advocacy

Chance Glasford Cottage Grove Bike Park

I blogged twice last year about the development of the Cottage Grove Bike Park.  I’ve been following it closely since A) it’s relatively close to my house (45 minutes); B) it’s huge; and C) it’s been the passion of Chance Glasford, fellow MORC Board member and the guy who taught me how to pump.

2014BellBuilt_FinalistPoster_CentralFinalists 2014_BellBuilt_Facebook_WallPost_CottageGrove

The park is a finalist in the Midwest region, competing for a third of the $100,000 grant offered by Bell Helmets in conjunction with IMBA. The winner is determined by popular vote going on now through May 4. 

Advocacy Trails

Too much of what the average person sees in the media about mountain biking portrays the super fit, dripping with sweat, in their Spandex-accentuated buns of steel; or the pro young bucks, flying off cliffs, with their Red Bull-infused nerves of steel.

And even mountain bike bloggers like me contribute to the problem.

Several of the comments in the Facebook discussion thread I started (publicly viewable) referred directly or indirectly to the image they have of mountain biking that discourages many people from trying it.

For example, Myrna Mibus wrote:

Advocacy

In the online discussion threads (see the list in part 2), many people mentioned the fear of injuries from falling as a reason for not considering mountain biking.

Double track dirt trail, MN River Bottoms between the Mendota and Cedar Ave bridges

I touched on it in that post, arguing that beginners should not have to accept falling as a necessary part of recreational mountain biking on flat, wide, smooth, obstacle-free dirt trails like the dirt double track trail along the MN River Bottoms between the Mendota and Cedar Avenue bridges.

But what if you’re wondering if mountain biking could become a sport for you?  What if you’re curious about what it’s like to ride on some singletrack, especially trails with some of that ‘flow’ that you keep hearing about?  What if you’re tempted to engage in a little skill development, either on your own or with some coaching?

Advocacy Protection

I asked the question here on my blog last week: Why aren’t there more seniors mountain biking? I’m trying to understand what’s behind the relatively few number of my age-related peers (AARP crowd, baby boomers, seniors, geezers) who are out there mountain biking regularly.

I also posted the question to:

Tim Walsh, Griff Wigley, Dean Davis

This morning, I met and had coffee with two of the guys who’ve been participating in the MORC discussion, Tim Walsh and Dean Davis. Tim is 64 and has been mountain biking for 30 years. Dean is about to turn 66 and starting mountain biking last year.

After a couple hundred online comments, plus my conversation today with Tim and Dean, I’ve got a somewhat better understanding than I did a week ago about seniors and mountain biking. There’s a lot to sort through and explain so I’m planning a series of blog posts, each one tackling a factor or issue related to seniors and mountain biking and what could be done. 

Advocacy Learning to ride

On tap, indeed.

MAMB Brewery Fundraiser

My mountain biking colleagues Clay Haglund and Doug Janni and their Mankato Area Mountain Bikers (MAMB) club members are hosting a fundraiser next month at the Mankato Brewery. “There will be music, beer, food, games, merch, and a raffle with great prizes from local businesses” says the flyer which I printed out and put up yesterday in a few key spots around Northfield. See their Facebook events page for more details

Advocacy Fundraiser Organizations

seniors mountain bikingIt seems to me that relatively few of my recreationally-active, age-related peers (AARP crowd, baby boomers, seniors) are mountain bikers.  I just don’t see many out on the MORC trails in the Twin Cities area where I mostly ride. (I don’t have data to support my hunch so if you’re aware of any that would support or contradict it, attach a comment or contact me.)

Skiing seems to be a close cousin to mountain biking, with elements from both cross country and downhill skiing.  And when I’m XC skiing or snowboarding here in the Midwest, I see plenty of seniors.

I’d like to author an in-depth blog post about this and follow it up with another one on what could be done. But I need some help.

What might be the contributing factors to the lack of mountain biking seniors? Fear? Cost? Areas to ride? Image? 

Advocacy

Advocacy Organizations

I attended the 2014 Parks and Trails Council Day on the Hill on Tuesday with my MORC Board member hat on, as I’m paying close attention to the bonding bills (HF 2497 and SF 2144) that have been introduced at MN Legislature. (See the March 6 blog post by the MN Parks and Trails Council titled Over 100 gather to advocate for parks and trails.)

Ed CrozierThe bills include $2.5 million in funding “to develop the Minnesota Valley Trail from the Bloomington Ferry Bridge to the Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in Bloomington.” Among those invited to speak about various trails seeking funding was Ed Crozier, Friends of the MN Valley Trail Advocacy Group. Ed’s presentation included a video explaining his group’s rationale for adding a paved segment to the trail system.

Advocacy Organizations Photo album

At last night’s MORC board meeting, there was some interesting discussion about the pros and cons of MORC taking a public position on the addition of a paved trail along the MN River Bottoms in Bloomington. (See my previous 5 blog posts about advocacy related to the MN River bottoms issue going back to last July.)

L to R: Kent Karjala, Dennis Porter, Matt Andrews, Don Youngdahl

Wearing my citizen/taxpayer hat, I’m personally against adding a new paved trail between 169 and Cedar as I think the maintenance costs would be outrageous. But I’ve been arguing that it’s best for MORC to not publicly oppose it right now till we know more.

I wrote back in November:

Advocacy

Last week I moderated a webinar and Q&A session with MORC President Reed Smidt and MORC Executive Director Matt Andrews.

Here’s my lightly edited 1 hour and 12 minute video of the session, with a Table of Contents of 46 clickable segments on the left side that allows you to quickly jump around to whatever interests you most.

Advocacy Organizations