I decided to lay low last week and fight off a cold that was lurking around the edges and threatening to take me down. Fortunately, the strategy paid off and I never really got sick—just spent a few quiet evenings falling more out of shape.
So it felt good to hit the trails Saturday morning and be reminded that some things never change. I still get sluggish after a week of reduced activity. Fat biking is still fun anyway. I still frequently forget what I’m doing and say “hi” to Nordic skiers. And they—most of them, anyway—still scowl like selfish pricks whenever they see a bike.
Allow me to pause for a moment and mention at this juncture that I don’t want to see a single comment from anyone attempting to tell me that “most mountain bikers are skiers, too,” or that I should be nice and not write or say divisive things because we should all just get along and share the trails. I know all that shit. That’s why I’m annoyed.
I’ve been trying to play nice with XC skiers in this town for years. I stay off their “ski-only” trails. I’ve attended meetings between user groups. I’ve been vocal—even obnoxious—in encouraging other riders to practice good trail etiquette on a year-round basis. I’ve tried to remain friendly when encountering skiers, only to have 90 percent of them glare at me as if I were some sort of criminal. Countless other winter riders have spent years making the same efforts as me. And what has it gotten us?
Kicked in the nuts, that’s what it’s gotten us. Over and over and over.
Arrogant skiers still treat us like second-class citizens. They still accost us on the trails and question our right to be there. They still fight our efforts to gain access to public lands. And personally, I think they still believe that if they resist long enough, we’ll give up and go away.
Fuck ’em. I’m running out of patience with their attitude. I’m tired of playing nice and getting kicked in the nuts. And if they think winter mountain bikers are going away, they’re out of their narrow little minds.
I’ll continue to be a responsible trail user, but I own the public trails as much as anyone else. I’m gonna ride my bike. I’m not going to apologize. I’m not going to beg for acceptance. And I don’t care who doesn’t like it.