Friday, October 4

Bikepocalyptic Dreams

Congress is holding us all hostage.  News of a shooting near the Capitol yesterday made me think maybe the revolution had started in earnest, but it was a false alarm.  I’m sure a few congressional type people thought so too, and maybe had to go find a fresh set of undies after the lock down was lifted.  They should be that scared.  But knowing what I do about this Congress I have a feeling they aren’t.
Anyway, so what does this mean for the rest of us?  Lots of new mountain biking opportunities.  A climber friend lamented on facebook that he came down with the flu just as the shutdown settled over the Red River Gorge.  His opportunity to go bag that project he’d started  a few years ago just before it was fenced off by the Feds had suddenly materialized.  Except for the sniffles…
I’ve had a few conversations over the years with other mountain bikers about riding in the RRG back in the good ole days when the regulations concerning bikes were poorly defined and of more modern pinings about riding on the existing trails.  And of course I’ve bemoaned the poor design of the solitary mountain bike (actually “multiuse”) trail in the area.  Then there is the blatant state and Federal destruction of existing fire roads in the Big Bend area and other places…  I won’t even get into the shenanigans that have gone over at Cave Run or in other parts of the Daniel Boone.  
So the temptation to employ the beautiful limitations of the bike, slide past the locked gates at Tunnel Ridge Road, Chimney Top Road, and Rock Bridge Road, and ride all over the place until my little heart bursts from contentment has grown to an almost insanely unmanageable level in my brain.  I live near dozens of miles of off-limits world class singletrack and no one is there to say ‘no’ so long as Congress keeps holding the country hostage.
Bureaucracy is its own worst enemy.  I’m not one to go on about Big Government or on implementing more social programs.  I’ve said for years that this country needed a drastic reform on health care.  But what I had in mind was getting the profit incentive out of my medical needs.  I don’t even think the ACA goes where I think we should have gone with the reform.  There will still be too much influence by Big Pharma and Big Insurance for the system to be to my liking.
Wow, political rabbit hole!  Gotta get outta that one.
Anyway, where am I going with this, you might ask.  Nowhere.  I’m going nowhere.  And you didn’t see me do it.
Bureaucracy is its own worst enemy.  The USFS has been obstructing the use of the National Forest in this area for too long.  In an economically depressed region of an economically stressed state there is no good reason to prohibit recreational development that is pretty much standard operating procedure in other parts of the country.  It’s not right that Appalachia is denied the opportunity to develop its wealth of natural resources into useful and sustainable endeavors while westerners have been building trails and managing recreation for decades in ways that benefit the communities in and around the National Forests of the American West.  
Atlanta.  The problem must be in Atlanta.
But the solution is in Congress right now.  The solution is Congress.  The longer they keep the lights off the greater the temptation grows.


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