Portrayal of mountain bikers on trails unfair

I am disheartened that your paper has given voice to “a North Cowichan resident”, Ian Milne and his depiction of downhill mountain bikers.

Re: “Cycling interests pushing hikers out: resident”, (Citizen, Nov. 23)

I am disheartened that your paper has given voice to “a North Cowichan resident”, one person: Ian Milne and his depiction of downhill mountain bikers. He has warned councillors that the municipality is “appeasing the cycling community” in its new Parks and Trails Master plan and favouring their interests in particular. He said another big concern was that “bikers are pushing other recreationalists off trails with their aggressive behaviour.”

“I walk or run through parts of the forests: I frequently experience a lack of etiquette by cyclists. I was on Mt. Prevost and received an absolutely abusive attack by a cyclist and I know that’s not uncommon.” He uses words like hijack and anarchy when referring to downhill mountain bikers. How insulting. Can you imagine how people would feel if hikers were portrayed as such?

Please describe to me what a downhill mountain biker looks like? Who are these scary, discourteous trail anarchists? Are they 56-year-old, hard working discourteous mothers? Are they time selfless mountain bike enthusiasts who dedicate countless hours to building the trails that both mountain bikers and hikers alike enjoy? According to Ian Milne these people abuse every hiker while creating and riding on these trails. According to Ian Milne, these downhill mountain bikers need to be policed by bylaw enforcement officers, in order to keep all hikers safe.

The next article you publish along these lines should include a balanced portrayal of who these hooligans really are. I for one have been cross country mountain biking on these trails for 15 years and have yet to have an altercation with a hiker. The people I choose to spend time with on the mountain are fit, energetic, fun, tax paying, community minded, exceptional people and his portrayal of us is unwarranted and ignorant. The fact that Ian Milne has painted us all with this unfair brush, and your choice to highlight it on your front page is unjust and misrepresenting.

One of my favourite quotes is by Einstein: “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds”. I would say that this just about sums it up.

 

Linda Morden

Cobble Hill

Cowichan Valley Citizen

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