breakfast this morning was disturbed by a front-page article in the des moines register, which--TWO MONTHS AFTER THE FUCKING FLOODS--has an article about the "rocky road to repairing water-ravaged rec trails" and sub-titled "years to build, months to restore, washed away in a flash." there's a photo of a cyclist--who obviously has ignored the barricades and closed signage--riding down the great western trail south of des moines. poorly designed, shoddily constructed, and then ignored--instead of maintained by the departments who should be ever-mindful of their use and needs, these trails are truly the bastard children of the city, county, and state.
now mind you, this neglect knows no season, as it just happens that the obstacles now causing grief to users and would-be users of these bicycling main arteries were the result of heavy rains and floods IN FUCKING JUNE, but damage also occurs at other times as the result of wind storms, downed trees, snowfall, and general neglect and failure to properly build and maintain 12 months a year because officials don't get that these trails are NOT just recreational trails but bicycle highways for many.
the register gets non-passing grades for not noting this in their coverage, but the biggest offender [seen in the above photo in the center, in red] makes his appearance on page 6a, when "mark wyatt, a bicycle enthusiast from north liberty, said bikers are being patient and understanding about the problem. ... during the floods in iowa city, the bicycle became one of the main ways to get around town because traffic was backed up so much, said wyatt, executive director of the iowa bicycle coalition, a non-profit advocacy group."
WHAT THE HELL IS MARK THINKING?
jesus christ, mark, you are PAID to ADVOCATE for us. bikes haven't just RECENTLY become a main way to get around. god dammit, man, light a fucking fire, would you?
i, for one, am NOT patient and understanding. not with the officials who build these shitty little trails to get us off their precious roadways and then do NOT maintain them but let them fall into dangerous states of disrepair, but also with the elected officials [remember crawford county, dallas county, dickinson county, and now madison county?] who try to legislate us OFF their precious highways onto these same shitty little trails because their fucking roadways aren't safe for us.
having YOU, mark wyatt, speak for US--the people who actually RIDE bicycles a LOT--is like having dick cheney invite oil company executives into the white house to devise and set the nation's energy policies. this post has been brewing in my mind for months, and the article in this morning's register set it loose.
mark wyatt must go.
he is NOT the voice of iowa bicycling, and has totally failed to live up to the goals--even just the reasonable ones, not the lofty ones that all cyclists that i know would hope for--that the iowa bike coalition holds for itself. i'm a paid member of the group [i coughed up my $25 at the continuing behest of steve goetzelmann, FORMER board member, who finally convinced me to join so i could have a legitimate voice with which to opine about the coalition's failures], and i think my $25 deserves a better--nay, MUCH better--advocate on behalf of bicycling here in iowa.
it sickens me to read, hear, and see all these civic leaders--NONE of whom i would rate above "avid" cyclist at best [and if you know or read me, you KNOW how i disdain the self-described "avid cyclist" label--it's right below "snake shit"]--go ON and ON about making des moines--and all of iowa--bike friendly. just last night, i saw des moines mayor cownie crowing about the virtues of "complete streets." des moines now has one, cottage grove, that stretches about 700 metres from the drake area over i-235, ending at mlking drive, just across the complete bridge.
OH, THAT MAKES ME CRINGE!!!
complete streets do NOT make for a bike friendly community, people. i suspect that to be really "bike friendly," the majority of des moines motorists would need electroconvulsive therapy for a quite a good while. mind you, i realize that a "bike ride of a thousand miles begins with the first pedal stroke," but i SERIOUSLY believe that, no matter now well mark reassures us that his heart is in the right place, his HEAD is not, and that for mark wyatt, HIS bike ride of a thousand miles would begin with a drive to the trail head.
that's NOT who i envision as MY bicycle advocate.
now, i know that folks are gonna jump on me, saying that [as mark once told me] "this is not the time or place for this discussion," and he suggested that such matters were not what mark wanted when he took the position of executive director of the IBC. well, you know what, if we had actually HAD this discussion a couple years ago [the topic then was the IBC response to bicyclist deaths and the failure of prosecutors aggressively to respond], then maybe we now would HAVE a spokesman who REALLY understands the needs of iowa bicyclists AND who is willing AND ABLE to really act as an effective advocate. [to me, that means you're gotta ruffle some feathers, mark.] folks are gonna tell me that, once again, i'm not making any friends this way, and guess what? once again, i'm gonna say "i don't care. i'm doing and saying what i think--really, truly believe--is in the best interests of ALL who ride or would like to ride bicycles in iowa in a safe and welcoming environment.
and THAT is something i have yet to see mark wyatt do.