Please. Santa Cruz parks, beaches, and singletrack will be closed from 4/9 through at least 4/15 in an unprecedented effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. The issue at hand is far bigger than what you may consider your right to ride, this is life or death, and not just your own.
In San Diego, several lifeguards have been struck down by COVID-19 as a result of fulfilling their duties in keeping the population safe. Yet there still are some surfers who insist that closing those beaches are “draconian measures” and an overreaction to the challenge at hand. Meanwhile, here in Santa Cruz, my neighbor insists that he is going to have his wife drop him off at his favorite surf spot and thinks all the surfers should get in the water and appeal their tickets to “jam up” the local courts.
In contrast, I have always been impressed by the civic-mindedness of the mountain biking community. Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz built the Emma McCrary Trail in 2013 as physical proof that we could rally together to be a positive force in our town. Ever since then every effort by MBOSC has been supported by the Santa Cruz police department because the trail and rider traffic drove the heroin trade from the Highway 9 corridor. Our partnership with the Wilder Ranch State Park rangers has blossomed since we re-built Enchanted Loop resulting in more refreshed trails like West Engelsman and the opportunity to host the Old Cabin Classic at the ranch. The construction of the Flow Trail at SDSF and the imminent opening of the new Sawpit trail are the result of a years-long relationship with the rangers out there. It concerns me that this nearly decade long trail development effort in Santa Cruz County could be thrown in the bin because of a few self-centered riders.
But what of the bigger issue, the health of our community members, the lives of the very people who have been integral in supporting the development of our trail system? Do you or your friends feel your ride in the next few weeks is more important than their lives? This is the time to show our respect for the health and authority of our rangers and law enforcement officers. Let’s respect the science behind the decision that county health officials have made to close our parks, beaches, and trails. The sooner we knock this virus down the sooner we can get out on the trail.
To keep you stoked during the shelter in place The Ride Guides are developing some bike handling videos that will present skills to practice in front of your house. Please do the right thing and stay in your neighborhood, leaving only for work, groceries, or to catch a little fresh air on your street. Please keep yourself and your family safe by observing social distancing. We all love biking and what it contributes to our lives but now more than ever it is important to think about our larger community and how our actions impact everyone!