March 03, 2008

a slipup, I love the trails

I finally went out to the Dump, the local mtb park here in Victoria last weekend. The Heartland / Mount Work is a beautiful area just north of Victoria. Beautiful, that is, if you ignore the fact that a great deal of that area is devoted to Victoria's landfill, and that the power lines supplying the city with electricity, slice through the park leaving a treeless, buzzing, electric highway as far as the eye can see. So maybe it's not the most appealing recreational area you could find around here, but mountain bikers take what they can get. And besides, this area actually IS quite beautiful in spite of it's drawbacks and that is Vancouver Island for you. The location of the park, next to the power lines and the dump, is not an unusual one in the mountain biking world, and the thing is, that you can forget about all these things once you're on the trails. The park is managed by the South Island Mountain Bike Society in collaboration with the Capital Regional District. This alliance is a delicate one. Mountain bikers are allowed this one place to legally ride within the CRD's park system of 28 parks. However, this location is not even secure. Every year the CRD has a different issue with the park, and the latest one is an issues with SIMBS's insurance for the trail maintenance volunteers that work in the park on every third Sunday of the month, donating their time and energy to upkeep CRD property. Seems to me that the CRD takes every chance they get to crack down on mountain bikers, who are just trying to enjoy the one park where their allowed to ride. A fair note here is that the Heartland dump, is not even an exclusive mountain biking park, it's a multi use trail system, albeit maintained almost exclusively by mountain bikers. Victoria is dubbed as the "cycling capital of Canada" but the CRD needs to get of it's high horse and treat cyclists better, if it is to stand up to that moniker. Perhaps they're not interested in that. Perhaps the other nickname, "the garden city," requires less effort and is therefore more desirable than anything that might possibly imply that the city is healthy, young and hip?... SIMBS is doing a great job at Heartland and they deserve all the praise and support the can get. The CRD however is looking increasingly sheepish and conservative in all their efforts, or lack thereof, regarding the park. Which is just sad, really. And so much for all that. Where did all that come from anyway? From some deep and wretched place, I'm sure. A place that disappears when I'm out on the trails, along with other worries and annoyances.

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