Foothills trail users need to go their separate ways.
I'm that mountain biker who lives too fast these days for my dog-walking, hiking and running partners on the trails in the lower Foothills of Boise. I've tried to talk to them but some won't even take out their earbuds long enough to chat like adults. But I bet they'd admit that more and more these days we're just getting on each other's nerves.
I think we should see other people. Pursue new and different paths.
When we first hooked up our trails were designed to be used by everyone, but now, from ridge to river, our system is overtaxed. And because there are so many more people and puppies out there, we just seem to argue a lot lately. I hate it, and I know they do too. But I gotta say, they're not exactly tolerant of my ways. What about my needs? And by the way, I've done more to build and maintain trails than the rest of them combined.
We're just so different now.
We like different speeds. The speeds I can safely travel can anger those on foot and scare the feces right out of a good dog (which can be stepped in everywhere). I'm going faster because our multiuser trails are no challenge for me and my modern bike. They're boring. So I go faster but, people and feelings are getting hurt. It's time to give those guys on foot a break, and I can do that if they'd just give me a little space. But they keep telling me to ride higher instead. Or to haul my bike miles from downtown - that's just not fair. I have rights. I have a solution.
I should get my own place. Call it a trail separation.
I'll design a new way downhill that's away from others. I'll build it myself. I'll maintain it. A place void of foot and paw prints. Easily accessible from Hyde Park, where we all want to be. A place with high banking for higher speeds. Rock features I can enjoy if I choose. Jumps. Not scary jumps, jumps you can just roll over if you want. A downhill-only trail that feels like a roller coaster. Just for bikes. Give me a nonstop flight to my car I can't resist and I'll always take it there. Sure, they'll see me slowly climbing on the usual trails - after all, we'll still have many of the same friends - but after that we should just go our separate ways. And
They'll get more of that "space" they say they need.
When I get the trail I've dreamt about for years, that's where I and my fast friends will go to get down. That'll make all of the trails nearby less traveled by wheels. Foot traffic will dominate. Leashes less loved. They'll run and hike with fewer interruptions. Less wear and erosion all around.
Hey, this can work.
Go look at Drain in McCall. Double-shot on Jug Mountain. Or just drive to the city of Eagle and ride Stormin' Mormon. And while you're spending time and money in Eagle, check out the smiles on the faces of the kids there - we need to think about the children. Downhill-only bike trails are improving relationships like ours everywhere. We need this trail. We'll all be happier.
I just think we'd be better off as friends.
Steve Noyes founded the Big Rocks Mountain Bike Group about 20 years ago. He organizes about 35 group rides per year for a mailing list of more than 160 men and women, mainly in the lower Foothills.