Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fighting the Good Fight...

It's been far too long since I last posted on the Blue Sky Blog. It's been a really crazy busy time for me (and I'm guessing for many of you cyclists out there spinning your wheels). I guess better than creating a lousy summary statement of what's been going on in my not too terribly thrilling, broken bone prone life, I thought I would bring up something important to me about cycling here in Boulder County.

In my secret life, when I'm not sporting the red, white, blue and black attack of my BSV kit, I live a dark underlife of suspense and intrigue as a board member for BMA (Boulder Mountainbike Alliance - yes, I know "Mountainbike" should be two words, and yes, I have tried to change it, but the forces that be have thwarted my attempts many a time until I caved).

This part really isn't that important. It's what I learned in my book "how to write humorous blogs and what to do when you're just not funny" is called "background". Ahem, as I was, I am serving on the board of BMA. What is BMA? Well, if you weren't aware, it's the mountain bike advocacy organization for Boulder County. That means that people who are members of BMA build trails (when the government (from here forward, know as "the Man") says they can) and talk to all of the people who make the decisions about where trails are and what they are used for to try to get more riding trails.

Okay, I promise, we're almost to the important stuff here... crack another cold one, or if you are riding your bike and reading this on your iPhone (oh please say it ain't so), shift into a really high gear and grunt for a second.

This year has been personally tough for me. I have had a lot of setbacks and I have had to challenge myself some days just to get up and get going. I have worked my booty off trying to start a civilized conversation with some people who simply do not wish to discuss what the future of cycling in Boulder is going to be like.

My background is in both ecology (MA in Biogeography, BS in Ecology) and Business (MBA in Sustainable Business). I feel strongly that if we are going to move into a future that is free of fossil fuel (most people now seem to think that this is an inevitable as the smell of Greely on a warm day) we need to plan on a lot more people on bikes. Also, I see kids these days riding the wii instead of a BMX bike. Needless to say their increasing backsides still don't cushion well against those boxy controllers when they try to mount them and that people who don't get out into nature don't really appreciate it.

My work this summer has been trying to get trails that allow people to ride from town to out of town, but still be in open space. It's been really hard. I had to wear dress pants and a nice shirt a few times - that's how hard was (although I did wear spandex underneath to stay in touch with my true nature - and for some extra support which is always nice on a rough day). I spoke a bunch of times to people who would listen and even more times to people who wouldn't listen.

Here is the important part... really...

There are several issues coming to a head right now in the Boulder area that deal directly or indirectly with biking and I really could use the support of our "Nation".

First, the County Ballot Issue 1B. You've probably heard something about this already unless you don't read the Daily Camera or Longmont Times-Call (have to say I can't blame you if you don't - man, the public comments make me cry).

Basically, the County has used up it's money to buy and do cool stuff with open space. If you're like me, you're probably thinking stuff along the lines of, "Dang, I lost my job this year and I haven't been able to find more than a few hours of tutoring to pay for a new set of tubular wheels. Why the heck do I want to pay more money for open space?" Well, you might not be quite as underemployed as me, but I'm sure you get the idea.

But, here's the deal: I talked with the head honcho at County Open Space (aka "the Man" Open Space) - Ron Stewart, and he said that one of the main targets of this dough would be to purchase a place called Gold Hill Open Space. You might recognize the name as it's been damaged by the Fourmile Fire. They have to get this land from another government agency and as part of the deal THEY HAVE TO PUT IN TRAIL ACCESS. This area would be like another Hall Ranch only further up in the mountains and it would be open for hiking, biking, bird watching and probably lolligagging.

The other big thing that they want to get ahold of us a property along Hwy 36. The current owners can't afford to keep it and it's zoned so that it could be more than 250 homes. If you ride 36 and look off to the east between Nelson and St. Vrain Rds., you are looking at "the Leukonen Property". The County is trying to pick this place up. If they get it, several things are going to happen. 1) There won't be a huge bunch of homes, 2) The Man has said that putting in a "regional connector path" is a possibility, and 3) the land will stay in agricultural or ecological use in perpetuity (sorry if you were hoping for a new Wendy's on your riding route). Also, if you live in Longmont, this is an area that would change your view from rolling hills in front of the foothills into homes in front of the foothills.

Wonder where this is? Click on this link:

Here is a view of the area looking from Hwy 36.

I am reaching out to you, the Blue Sky Nation, and asking you to support cycling through this ballot initiative. If you spend $100, you only pay a tax of 15 cents (that means that if you spend $10 on a burrito and a beer you could plunk down one penny and then with your massive strength, cut another one in half and leave that behind and it's what you'd pay for this tax). Heck, if you threw down some massive cash and got a shiny new Yugo for $10,000, you'd only be paying $15 for open space.

I do feel strongly that Boulder County has become so beautiful because we have done well in preserving our land. Our quality of life an property values reflect that (for reference, feel free to drive to Brighton to our east and check it out). Seeing the Leukonen Property turned into homes, I feel, would be a blight on an otherwise wonderful scenic ride along 36 (especially now that they've covered the chip seal with tar).

Also, if you vote for it and come tell me, I'll give you a beer. No joking. No kidding. I'll give you a beer (or a soda pop or fruit drink beverage bag with a straw if you are a teetotaler). Really, you could even lie if you want to and I'd drink a beverage with you and I'd be cool with it. Believe me, I really need to relax after this summer. Just come tell me next time you see me and I'll get you a cold one. Honest. Think of the economics! One beer is about $1.50. That means that I just covered all the tax you would have to cough up for $1,000 worth of purchases!

If you don't believe in this proposition, I understand. My only request is that we can all be in a state of Fonziness* and not be mean to each other!

* Fonziness - being like or of the Fonz. Cool. See Arthur Fonzarelli.

Oh, and if you've read this far and just wanted something that didn't have to do with local politics, here is a video clip I took of a Bull Snake doing an impression of a Rattlesnake. Bull Snakes aren't poisonous, but their way of scaring of predators (or skittish hikers) is to imitate a Rattler - complete with shaking tail. But, unlike their poisonous cousins, the rattle noise comes from some tricky breathing, not rattles on the tail.

Oh, and here is a picture of some of the rangers and staff from around the state of Colorado at a an open space conference I went to a couple weeks ago. We all went out and rode the Centennial Cone (in Jeffco). Most of them really kicked butt - even in their silly ranger duds! So, one bit of advice - if you are on the trail, unlikely you could outrun the Man! :)

Seriously though, they were really nice and had lots of great things to say about riding around the Front Range!

Hup Hup everyone!


1 comment:

Jeff said...

You just might get this center-right republican to vote for THIS open space issue (no beer needed...cuz when my hard-right bretheren try to perform an exorcism on me I don't want reveal (in between vomit spells), that I actually had civil discourse with someone to my left). I will take a serious look at it.