Hopes For A Positive Spin

Despite the Griffith Park Wayist blog rarely failing to take opportunities to present its inflexible opinion of all mountain cyclists as reckless and criminal, I’ve managed as an advocate of responsible and considerate mountain biking not to take it personally or let that discolor my overall enjoyment and respect for the important work it does to promote and protect such a civic treasure.

Anytime that I’ve found posts condemning the activity and its advocates (usually as related to attempts to allow it back into GP), I’ve simply chimed in with a diplomatic and respectful perspective hoping they at least recognize some bad apples don’t spoil the whole bunch, and it’s a shame that a few have to spoil it for the many. Generally the writer will acknowledge that (or at least that I’m the rare good apple in a bushel of rotten ones), and that’s some consolation at least until the next inevitable post which so harshly judges and righteously disparages mountain bikers lumpsum as incorrigible evildoers who should be exterminated from accessing any trail that might be walked upon by man or beast.

Could you imagine the uproar if I repeatedly called for trails to be closed specifically to foot traffic because of encounters I’ve had with the legion of less-than-exemplary hikers who litter, urinate, defecate, graffiti, allow their dogs to roam untethered and unpicked-up after, and destroy the flora and fauna in countless ways?

I’d be crucified by all the double-standard bearers for so shamefully and disingenuously attempting to discriminate against one group for the benefit of another.

Which is exactly what GPW has done again with the post found there this morning, but this time going way outside its boundaries and urging its readers to contact the superintendent of Malibu Creek State Park — where the activity is legally allowed — and voice their objections over a proposal to extend mountain bike access to the park’s Yearling and Lookout trails. Not only  are they righteous in their support of the long-standing ban of bikes on Griffith Park’s trails but there is an entitlement to pursue actions that will make the activity unavailable to me beyond them.

I’m not suggesting they’re not allowed their opinion or can’t voice it about issues beyond the park that is their central focus, I’m just saying it’s unfair and I’m done enduring the dirt they indirectly kick in my face and I posted a final still-respectful comment accordingly:

I’ve long accepted you as Griffith Park Nayist in demonstrating an inflexible anti-mountain bike bias in Griffith Park and still been able to enjoy and respect this blog. After all, you have the law on your side.

But I’m tremendously disheartened to see this extension of your demonization of the activity to a park where it is legally allowed and tolerated.

One flip-side of this opportunity being considered in Malibu Creek State Park is that access to the new trails will widen the range and reduce congestion for all trail users. But I imagine that’s readily dismissable by you as well.

Sadly I expect the day will come (if it hasn’t already) when you attack and encourage the revokation of my privilege to responsibly mountain bike the Verdugos and San Gabriels, much closer to home than Malibu Creek but still beyond the local realm you so jealously protect and defend.

For what obvious little it’s worth beyond symbolic value, I’ve dropped the blog from my links list and won’t be visiting much anymore — if at all. I’ve also taken their negativity and positively channeled it by renewing my lapsed Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA) membership. Then I went and did the opposite of what they wanted in contacting Malibu Creek State Park Superintendent Craig Sap:

Dear Superintendent Sap,

In response to a post on a local blog encouraging readers to contact you directly and urge the exclusion of mountain cyclists from the Yearling and Lookout trails, I am writing instead to encourage their inclusion.

As a Los Angeles native and responsible trail rider who’s suffered the demonization of the entirely legitimate activity via its long-standing ban in Griffith and Elysian parks (and in fact every city park), I felt compelled to voice my support for the proposed access, which can be of benefit to all trail users in reducing some of the existing congestion in Malibu Creek State Park.

I am helpless to do anything about mountain bike access where it’s been summarily prohibited throughout the city, and am forced to grin and bear the abject hatred of those whose aim it is to ultimately eliminate all mountain cycling from every trail, but I can’t sit by and allow it to be further criminalized in a place where it’s already and legally available, not without at least speaking up and expressing my hope that you will be inclusive in your decision, not exclusive.

Thank you for your consideration.

Will Campbell

As more predominately an on-road cyclist I’ve been scoffed at for equating mountain cyclists’ ever-uphill battle to rightfully stay on the trails with the fight to maintain and increase our fair and equitable place on the streets. The trouble is, I’m not just fighting the Griffith Park Wayists. Too many cyclists fighting that good fight for safer streets look upon off-road enthusiasts not as brothers in arms, but as a fringe whose marginalization is an acceptable loss in their long-range goal of making the city more bikeable. They may even hold the same opinion of us all as renegades. But I say to any cyclist who allows or ignores our exclusion is ultimately helping all cyclists lose.

For anyone interested in lambasting or ridiculing me for my position and decision, have at it. Unlike some, I’m open to opposing points of view and find those most strident and condemning to be the ones that readily make my case for me. But for those interested in taking a more proactive stance on the the issue, there’s information about the upcoming decision to be found here on the CORBA website.