Email with someone who doesn't think he'ed enjoy our Mountain Bike Park

A Mountain Bike Park--correspondence

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First is my response. The original message I am responding to appears below.
Subj: Re: Mountain bike park
Date: 96-06-09 01:15:35 EDT

Thanks very much for your comments. I will presumably post them at my site with this answer (but without your name unless you ask me to include it, which I would be happy to do.) I realize that your comments are basically negative, but then, you *do* wish me luck with the venture!

Anyway, here's my answer: I basically agree with everything you say about "why we ride" and I think that is "why we ride"--most of, maybe even almost all of, the time. I would be surprised if more than a few people buy season passes to this place, considering that it will indeed have elements of "crass commercialism"--it's unavoidable. It will have marked trails, and rules and stuff (like, you can only tailgate your friends, and you have to yield to a "track" call). But I think also, everyone enjoys a good unearned downhill rush now and then. Two or three or four thousand feet of plunge.

I couldn't build it in upper NY because, of course, you only have half a year, opposite ski resorts. We expect to do well in the winter when the ski resort mountain bike areas are closed.

As to the "unnatural features you would never find in a natural wilderness", what you find in the natural wilderness are trails built for hikers, and fire roads, and that's about it, unless you go to Moab or some place like that. All I'm really asking is that the trails be designed for the inertial pleasures of a mountain bike ride, taking advantage of what a skilled rider can do. Especially the base run-out of each trail.

One trail might be mainly made of well-rounded hills while another has a lot of banked curves. Still another route down the mountain would have lots of everything--very skilled riders only, please.

Anyway, I hope you'll come visit the park and if everybody trys it once, they'll have a blast and still spend most of their lives on pristine fire roads and trails build for hikers--and have a blast there too, no doubt. That *is* why we ride. Certainly, I love remarking to my fellow riders at some point, that we can see for miles in virtually every direction, or even IN every direction, and not see a road, a house, or a human artifact.

I still like a good downhill sometimes, and if you do too, please come to the park when/if we get it built, and look me up (I'll have some title between chief trail designer and garbageman, I assume.)

Russell Hoffman

At 12:43 AM 6/9/96 -0700, P* K* wrote:
June 9, 1996


Your idea for a mountain bike park may be sound for megaopolises like Los Angeles, where there is a big problem with overcrowded trails and animosity between hikers, equestrians and riders.

It also may be a good idea for places like Marin County, Calif., where land-access problems threaten mountain biking.

But in places like pristine upstate New York, and I don't mean 15 miles north of the Bronx, a mountain bike park is a foolish idea. There is tons of singletrack, fire roads and challenging terrain within 30 minutes of my home in Syracuse, N.Y. It is desolate, inviting and completely devoid of commercialism.

Best of all, it's free.

I ride to escape "theme park" concepts and crass commercialism, such as bike company booths. The biggest problem in mountain biking is that so many riders are concerned with the "trickest" parts and bikes rather than just riding.

While I think your park concept could give more riders more access to more trails, there's no way I would pay to ride at a glorified ski area complete with whoop-de-doos, jumps and all sorts of unnatural terrain features that you would never find in the natural wilderness.

I wish you good luck. But I don't want mountain biking to take the ski resort route. We don't need an Aspen-style mega-resort for mountain biking.

There are plenty of unexplored trails out there. People just have to look for them. That's half the fun of this sport.

P* K*

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