Phoenix; a dusty rock jungle of heat plus the unwanted insertion of humidity have demonized our local trails. Monsoons brought out the worst in the Phoenix heat. I found myself migrating north on a weekly basis, more than ever in search of new trails, new excitement, and cooler weather. I have found it in several spots, and many more circled on the map. With a few friends joining in the adventure I have come across a dangerous conundrum. Is shuttling my bike a crime?
In most cases, no, it is not actually a crime. That is not really the point I am getting at though, so sit down you legal types.
Last weekend we did a bit of shuttling. We were able to put some serious miles down, and had a blast, but I noticed early on a trail sign had been vandalized with a sticker reading, “Every time someone shuttles Schultz, a kitten dies.” My first thought- At least they aren’t puppies. My second thought- What dies when trail signs are vandalized? Then I took a double take and a third thought plopped out of my brain- Wait, people are against this?
My mind spun around like a poorly collaborated 80’s movie drug scene. I pictured each and every biker’s face as we drove by them, my truck passing them on their hideous dirt road ascent: each one, mean muggin’ us as we cruised by. We weren’t trying to beat the system, just trying to access a couple trails our abilities may not have allowed access to. I created my own defensive argument as I prepared for some Lycra wearing thug to confront us, screaming at the top of his lungs, rigid single speed in hand swinging about in its 10 pounds of bicycle glory.
Luckily for us, there were no confrontations that day. We didn’t have to fight off a 95 pound macho man and no one complained about our shuttling, but it did get me thinking about the concept.
There appears to be a great deal of hostility between cyclists. From Roadies, to XC, to All Mountain, to Downhill folks, and a kind hello back on the trail is a rarity. I am uncertain why. Are we too similar? Our passion to push ourselves? Our love for the outdoors? Our ability to shop for the same exact cars? Is it one of those things that make it impossible to get along? Maybe we are like an urban gang- We beat each other in order to create a sense of community? I am not sure, but it appears we should be on the same team. Obviously there are those who are disrespectful of the trails and create unnecessary issues, but it is illogical to assume that anyone shuttling is one of those people (go ahead and stand up again legal types). With that speculation you are merely stereotyping individuals, a slippery slope without just cause.
The bottom line: Shuttling gave a few friends and I access to some of the most glorious riding we have ever experienced. We had fun, we exercised, and we loved being on our bikes. How we got to the top shouldn’t matter. So put your bike down, grab a beer, and put on some appropriately fitting clothes, we don’t need to see those tights post ride.
PS: Say hello to your fellow riders, you aren’t as cool as you think you are.