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Boulder Bike Access: This Time It's Personal

Serving as IMBA's communications director job is a great gig — I'm energized by the people I work with across the nation, and around the globe.

Tonight, I'll have the chance to bring together my professional and personal lives here in Boulder, Colorado, as the city council hosts an open house. The issue is whether to open a few trails in a key parcel of open space to bicyclists. My plan is to arrive early, sign up for a few minutes of precious microphone time and help make the argument for better bike access.

Boulder has struggled with this issue for decades. Like Marin County, California, and other communities where mountain biking first became popular, riders here endured some of the earliest bike bans. To be sure, the situation has gotten loads better for mountain bikers since I moved to Boulder 12 years ago. I'm hoping it will take another big step forward tonight as the council considers adding mountain biking opportunities in the West TSA area.

The Boulder Mountainbike Alliance (I'm a member) has been fighting the good fight on this issue, with assistance from IMBA staff.

The debate has gotten fairly intense in recent weeks, leading to calls in the local paper for more civility — particularly from the anti-bike forces.

If I get a chance to speak at an open house event with the city council tonight, I'll invoke many of the same arguments I advise IMBA members and clubs around the world to employ when they face access issues: that biking causes similar impacts to the natural world as hiking, that trails bring communities together and that the perception of user conflicts is often exaggerated.

I'll talk about the value that trails have to my quality of life, and how much my entire family enjoys biking, hiking and running on our town's wonderful trails. I'll talk about taking my kids on bike excursions and teaching them to share trails responsibly. And I'll point out that mountain bikers aren't asking for access to every trail in the West TSA — but we should be allowed to ride on some of them.

Will the council approve bike access on a handful of trail miles? I don't know. I hope so. I'll definitely give it my best shot.


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