Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Beware the Stick Woman!

This morning I took some much needed vacation time to ride muni at Whiting and Webster Park. I haven't ridden since the Fat Tire Festival, as I've been recovering from a cold.

One of the trails I rode was the Midnight trail, as I have many times over the past few years.

On the double-track road section of the trail, a woman was walking her dog in the direction I was riding. As I do with pedestrains in this situation, I approached slowly and from a distance gave a "Hello" until she heard me. I don't like to startle people or dogs. She reined in her dog and I continued my approach on the half of the double-track she was not occupying.

As I approached she began says something to me about wheels. Realizing she wasn't just giving me the usual "Did you lose your other wheel?" comment but had something more urgent, I began to dismount at the point where I was just beside her. At the same time she made an attempt to poke one of her two walking sticks into my wheel, in an apparent attempt to force me to stop! I KID YOU NOT!! My dismount was quick enough for me to step away and avoid her stick of death.

She said that wheels were not allowed on the Midnight trail. I said it was my understanding, through the Friends of Webster Trails, that they were. She said FWT is wrong.
She said that the covenant that was established when the land was given to the town states that no wheels are allowed.
I explained that I was riding there with the understanding that wheels were allowed.
She continued to say I was was wrong, and I suggested she talk to the town.
She said she already has.

I then addressed her attempt to put a stick in my wheel by saying she can't put a stick in someone's wheel to stop them!
She said, "I'll do what I have to do."
I suggesting that action could land her in jail.
She said she did not think so.
I gave her a look of confusion and said her approach to the addressing the issue was awful.

Feeling like no more value could be added to our conversation, I repeated that I understood I was allowed to ride on the trail and would talk to FWT about it.
After walking ahead, out of stick-of-death range, I mounted and began riding away.
I stopped a moment later, turned back, and asked her why it bothered her so much to have wheels on the trail. She said the covenant says so, and wheels damage the trail.

I specifically recall attending a FWT board meeting two years ago, and being told bicycles (and unicycles) were allowed on the Midnight trail.

So now I'm looking into the legality of riding there. I'm also curious who this woman was and what her role has been for the Midnight trail. I'm positive she's the same woman who had a problem with me leaf blowing the Midnight trail a few years ago.

Again I attempted to ride Whiting's Red trail, the Yellow trail in the steep direction, and steeper hills in Webster Park. I didn't have any huge accomplishments, but I'm still pushing.

UPDATE: I found a document pertaining to the donation of the Midnight Trail land to the town. It says:
The Trail system shall be used for non-motorized recreational uses only, including, but not limited to, walking, hiking, cross country skiing, horseback riding and other uses that neither require nor produce significant surface alteration of the land. There shall be no hunting.

Nothing about wheels or cycling at all.
I've also emailed the leaders of the Friends of Webster Trails, and they forwarded the question on to the Commissioner of Parks and Recreation, Mark Yaeger. He responded:
There is no restriction of wheels on the midnight property. To access it you would need to violate Webster parks rules.

Right, so I can't legally ride in Webster Park, but can in the Midnight Trail. Technically I can carry my unicycle in, and also there is a Webster Park road that gets very close, leaving only a 30 second walk.
So Stick Woman was certainly wrong.

My cycle computer said I rode 14.6 miles. GPS says 13.7.

Muni at Whiting and Webster Park - 2011-07-26

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