Monday, July 18, 2011

Trash talking

Don't Be Trashin' The Trail
All in all, the River Trail stays pretty clean of litter. Bank fishermen everywhere seem to be plagued with an inability to carry out the crap they haul in, and their behavior along the trail is no different. Most of them leave their debris along the water, a quick peek at the riverbank near any well-used access point telling the tale. Though it's unacceptable, it's almost to be expected from these folks. Many of them are poor and literally putting food on the table. Culture is slow to change. What is not expected and shouldn't be tolerated is the same kind of act from folks using the trail for fitness and recreation. I'm not trying to create class warfare here, but, on the whole, recreational trail users are fairly well educated and affluent. They know better. This was brought to mind last week as I stopped to visit an old friend as we crossed paths while on our bikes. He was fuming about a rider casually tossing a gel package on the trail. As we spoke, the guilty party rode by, and he turned out to be a local racer that I know. Disappointing behavior, to say the least. It is almost understandable, though no more acceptable, to toss that Gu package while in the heat of a race or a fast training ride, when the pack is tight and there is a near-desperate need to slam some nutrition as efficiently as possible, but even the Tour de France has become sensitive to the image of riders tossing litter on the roadside and has taken steps to stop it. For this racer-dude, on a solo training ride less than 2 miles from his place of employment, there is no excuse. I stopped last week near the S-turn bridge to pick up a broken styrofoam ice chest full of beer bottles and Rock Star energy drink cans and balanced the mess on my bars for the half-mile ride to a trash can. I had passed the pile a few times and decided to clean it up rather than continue bitching about it. Surely, 'dude' can fold up the gel pack and stick it in his pocket. It is a simple matter of respect for the River Trail and for the rest of us.

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