Edit for strategy update! THIS IS HAPPENING! The tide is turning! 4-7 PM this Tuesday Dec 4...see the end of this post for details.
First, you must show up!
Numbers are everything at these events! Bring your spouse, your kids, your friends, anyone! Tell your riding buddies and your local bike shop! It doesn't matter if you can't be there at 4 PM or if you can't deal with public speaking. This is an open house: you can show up whenever you like, and you can talk with MROSD reps one-on-one, or just silently stand there in your helmet. Even getting there at 6:30 PM will make a big difference so long as you make your presence known.
Please wear your helmet
if you have one, and bring extras if you can. We want all the MROSD staff to have helmets in their field of view at all times during the evening, so that they are constantly reminded of our presence even when we aren't talking to them directly. DO NOT WEAR SPANDEX OR BIKE GEAR! Dress sharp...business casual, even a suit if you normally wear one to work. You are a normal taxpaying citizen who just happens to ride a bicycle.
Most importantly, our position is this: Cyclists are legitimate trail users and deserve the same access equestrians do.
There are legitimate reasons to make trails hiking-only, but if a trail is safe for horses to share, it is safe for bicycles to share. And if equestrians feel they can't share, then we need to have our own bicycle-only trails in compensation. Period. No more discriminatory Jim Crow laws! "The colored bathrooms are over in Skeggs, what's your problem, boy?"
Here are some points you can bring up to the MROSD reps and anyone else who asks. Pick a couple that you like, or come up with your own:
0) All of the meetings and public comment periods indicated a strong desire for bicycle access by the local community, as repeatedly stated in MROSD's documentation of these events. Yet MROSD has completely ignored this.
1) Study after study has been initiated by parks districts, at the behest of anti-bike zealots, to try and prove that mountain bikes destroy trails and harm wildlife, and they all prove the opposite: that fire roads and surface runoff are the main problem, followed by use trails and cutting of switchbacks. I am printing out and bringing this report from Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland:
with the following telling quote: "Surface water runoff was determined to be the dominant erosion mechanism acting on the park trails. Erosion generated by horses, bicycles, and hikers was determined to be a minor erosion mechanism on established park trails.
" Note that the impact is so minor that they don't even bother to differentiate!
Here's the Skeggs report, with the same conclusions. Feel free to bring it up, since it's the MROSD's own study!
2) Many people, especially the aged, have injuries or illnesses that prevent them from hiking long distances, but are perfectly capable of riding a bicycle. Prohibiting mountain bikes shuts those of us with arthritis or other joint problems out of our open space.
3) Banning bicycles from trails just makes trail conflicts worse on the remainder. The reason multi-use trails get so much bicycle use is that there are so few of them. Imagine how many horses would be in Skeggs if they were banned from most other preserves the way bicycles are! The more trails that are open to bicycles, the less bicycles you will see on any one trail.
4) Unlike horses, cyclists do not require MROSD to construct and maintain gigantic parking lots for their trailers.
5) As a hiker, I'd rather share the trail with bikers than horses, because bikers don't force me to walk through huge smelly piles of their feces. Nor do they require that trails be bulldozed out to a six foot wide freeway so they can pass each other.
6) There is a formal, legal designation for prohibiting bicycle access: it's called "wilderness". A working ranch with a network of fire roads and trails does not meet the definition of "wilderness".
7) Mountain biking gets kids off the sofa and out of doors. You can't expect kids to enjoy quietly reading Aldo Leopold...that comes later, but only if they learn to enjoy being outside in the first place. Otherwise they grow up with the idea that the outdoors is for losers, and they don't care about acquiring open space or passing parks bonds.
=============== original post ===============
We all know that MidPen has gone back on their promises of 60% bicycle access to preserves, created byzantine petition procedures that they then proceed to ignore, and so on. We all know they have completely ignored the results of their own series of public workshops for La Honda Creek. We all know this is completely insane, but that nothing we've done so far has mattered, and we need to step it up somehow.
Here's what we do:
WE ALL WEAR OUR BICYCLE HELMETS TO THE UPCOMING MEETINGS, OPEN HOUSES, AND DRAFT PRESENTATION PLANS. No bicycle jerseys or gear! Wear your regular street clothes, shave and dress sharp, keep the suit on if you wear one to work, you are a solid taxpaying citizen. But WEAR YOUR HELMET. It's the tricorn hat of our revolution.
Imagine the upcoming La Honda OSP meetings with 100 mountain bikers attending, all of us wearing bicycle helmets. Imagine the MidPen representatives addressing the crowd and looking out over a sea of people that they've just voted to completely exclude. Even better, imagine putting out news releases to the press, and having news cameras show a huge crowd of taxpayers completely unable to use the open space that their own tax dollars have paid for, because MidPen has ignored their own policies and their own long series of public workshops. It's a great visual.
Right now MidPen officials and anti-bicycle zealots can live in their own little fantasy world, where mountain bikers are a tiny minority that they can safely ignore, because we don't look any different than anyone else. They're wrong, and we can bring that home to them in a very dramatic, newsworthy fashion.
The best thing: this is totally legal, totally non-violent, and almost impossible to spin badly, because we're not doing anything other than we normally do at meetings. No chants, no obstruction, no bulls**t, just a sea of people in bicycle helmets all politely yet firmly demanding that MidPen follow their own recommendations from their own public workshops and provide equal access to the open space we've all paid for.
Obviously this only works if there are more than three of us there. We need FIRM COMMITMENTS to show up. We need people to copy flyers and hand them out at their local bicycle shop, at local group rides, and tell their friends...this isn't just MTBR, this is everyone.
The revolution starts here, at the La Honda OSP Draft Plan Open House:
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
The Mountain Terrace
17285 Skyline Boulevard
Woodside, California 94062
(At the corner of Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35) and Woodside Road (Highway 84), across the street from Alice’s Restaurant)
I'm doing this.
Who's coming with me? Post your commitment here. Can you make a flyer? Hand out flyers? Bring a group? Post your commitment here.
(For the slackers that can get that day off, how about a group ride at Skeggs beforehand? Bring street clothes and leave plenty of time to clean up...call it 12:30 at the main lot.)