Sunday, September 16, 2007

Advocacy, it's a funny bunch

I have recently started to get involved with local advocacy in Pleasanton, where I work.
It's strange because I really find most of the people involved in these groups to have more time to complain about things they don't understand then to try and take the time to learn about why things are done a certain way and make viable changes from an informed position. I find that they tend to be very good at politics and getting their voices heard, the problem is they tend to not really know what they are talking about because they are too busy with the politics to learn or immerse themselves deep enough into cycling to understand the lifestyle.
However, they usually know just enough to toss out a couple of buzz words that would make them appear knowledgeable to the non-cyclist. In other words they know just enough to really cause a lot of problems for the rest of us.

A part of me would like to leave well enough alone because it is a big headache and my teammates will tell you I have enough on the plate. At the same time I can't stand idly by and watch bad decisions be made that effect our little community. So the passion consumes me, even if some what reluctantly.

The reason I am becoming passionate about advocacy and continue trying to make an impact and bring folks up to speed is for a couple of reasons:
1. As a signal and roadway designer I have seen uninformed bicycle advocacy groups causing cities to incorporate dangerous and just plain wrong design standards. (I don't want to see that happen here in my community). A bit of NIMBYism I guess.

2. I don't want to see my cycling friends and teammates get hurt from poor or misguided design decisions being made by people who just don't understand how the avid cyclist thinks or functions on a bike.

My intent is :
  • To make things better for those who are already on their bikes (these numbers are in the 100s round these parts)
  • Grow the sport by making our community more cycling friendly
  • Put attention into education and development for those who are just getting started or those that would like to reach new levels. (I would like to reach new levels)
I don't know though, I am not sure it's worth the stress, but I don't see anyone picking up the torch. Well, those of you who know me know that I am too damn neurotic to just let the torch sit on the ground and burn out. It shows in my racing too, I always tend to do too much I have been told.

Anyway, some feedback from the blogger world might help me move forward or let the torch go.

P.S. GroovyT picked up second place yesterday at LARPD Cross #3. OK, so there were only two of them, but she improved big time on her dismounts and she seems to be having a blast. I am just so damn proud and enjoy watching and cheering her on.


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