Patrick Cusick: Bikers, hikers, walkers and runners - let's try to get along

July 1, 2014 

Foothills trail users need to come together.

I’m a mountain biker, married to a hiker, born of a runner and dog owner. I stop and smell the wildflowers. I take selfies of my bike. I stop and talk to friends when I see them on the trails. I ride alone. I ride with others. I stop for runners, walkers, hikers, climbers, horses and people who are faster than I am. Even the ones who don’t want to share the trails with me. But I don’t mind, because I know that without all of you, I wouldn’t have a trail to stop on.

Lately, some people have been talking about how we can’t get along anymore. They say we don’t understand each other, that we don’t share the same needs, that we’re too different. But all I wanna do is get out and ride. And I know that’s all you want, too. Yeah, I know you don’t like riding a bike like I do, but I know you love your walks. I know you love to run. I know you love your horses. Well, guess what: I love all that, too. So please don’t say we can’t get along. Don’t tear us apart. Baby, I think we should stay together.

I know we have our differences. Sometimes, you spandex guys just go too fast, and you don’t stop for me on Sidewinder when I’m suffering uphill. Occasionally, you runners with earbuds can’t hear me when I approach from behind, saying “On your left!” When you don’t clean up your dog’s poop, and I accidentally run over it, flipping it up in the air and sometimes on my shirt, it hurts me, baby. But I still love you. I really do.

I love it when you smile while I stop for you on Hull’s Gulch. I love the sense of community I feel when each of us looks the other in the eye and says, “Hey, thank you! You have a great hike/ride/walk!” And you know what? I can tell that you mean it. And I mean it. Because I really appreciate you. I see you. I value you. Without you, none of this exists.

So I think we should keep living together. How ’bout it? Will you keep living with me? I know I’ve startled you before by riding too fast, but I can slow down for you. After all: It takes just a few seconds. And I don’t mind. If it means we all get to live together and enjoy the splendor of a beautiful day on the trails, then I’ll do it, baby. Hey, this can work.

Go look at Detroit, Chicago or St. Louis. They don’t have any trails, and everybody’s always fighting. I don’t wanna fight with you. I want us to be together forever. Together, all this can be ours. Because it’ll never be just mine, or yours, or theirs. Or worse, no one’s. If we work together, if we share all this and appreciate what each of us brings to this relationship, we’ll all be happier. I think we’re better off together than we are apart.

Patrick Cusick is an avid mountain biker and a former elected SWIMBA board member. Patrick rides for Team Top Serious, and has no intention of running anyone over, ever.

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