The Angry Singlespeeder: Paradise Lost

Opinion
San Diego has some incredible riding, but non-stop, greed-driven development is ruining this former paradise.

Harmony Grove used to be a bucolic country road with a chicken farm and open, rolling hills. Now it’s almost unrecognizable.

Editor’s Note: The Angry Singlespeeder is a collection of mercurial musings from contributing editor Kurt Gensheimer. In no way do his maniacal diatribes about all things bike oriented represent the opinions of Mtbr, RoadBikeReview, or any of their employees, contractors, janitorial staff, family members, household pets, or any other creature, living or dead. You can submit questions or comments to Kurt at singlespeeder@consumerreview.com. And make sure to check out Kurt’s previous columns.

After living in North County San Diego for the past five years, tomorrow I am moving. San Diego has been a terrific place, as I have met an incredible group of lifelong friends here. The riding is very challenging; punchy climbs with extremely technical features including rocks everywhere and giant ruts that will swallow you and your bike whole. There are lots of connecting trails too, enabling huge rides that can be in excess of 60 miles without ever touching pavement one time. IMBA would consider many trails in San Diego “non-sustainable”, but that’s what makes them fun. Many of the trails are on raw, natural terrain that isn’t groomed to appease the masses.

Winter is absolutely the best time of year to ride in San Diego, with moderate rainfall to compact the normally loose and sandy soil and January temperatures in the 60s that make the rest of the country jealous. Summer can get very hot and dry, and it’s typically the off season for most people. But you can still get a good ride in early in the morning or late in the evening when the summer sun isn’t as intense.

So if I have a lot of friends and the riding is so great, why am I leaving? Aside from personal reasons, San Diego is no longer the paradise that it used to be. Sure, the weather is incredible, but that’s part of the problem. The weather here is so good that everyone wants to live in San Diego, and based on the rampant, non-stop development, it seems everyone does.

Although the economic crash of 2008 stopped development and home building for a few years, greed-driven developers are back on track, taking their earth movers and gargantuan excavators to transform beautiful, bucolic areas of North County into wastelands of graded dirt and rock piles in preparation for another thousand or so homes packed together like sardines in a can, littering the hillsides that used to be lined with amazing trails.

Although building a singletrack trail is considered “destruction of natural resources”, this is considered “progress”.

Harmony Grove, Black Mountain and La Costa are three areas in the midst of massive development projects right now where beautiful habitat and incredible riding used to exist. Giant yellow Caterpillars now traverse the hillsides, with hundreds of graded plots just waiting for another tract-hell home built ten feet away from another virtually identical abode.

While I understand “progress” is inevitable, there are still parts of the country where land is abundant and people understand that non-stop development is an unsustainable practice. Where is all the water coming from to supply these new homes? Can the roads leading to and from these new developments handle the sudden rise in traffic that these neighborhoods will generate? What quality of life do you have when you’re constantly stuck in traffic and you can barely manage to pay your bills every month?

Not only are open spaces disappearing at an alarming rate in San Diego, but with the influx of new people and homes, it’s putting undue pressure on what little open space areas remain. Only five years ago, places like Elfin Forest and Lake Hodges didn’t have nearly the same amount of foot traffic they do today. Riding trails on a Saturday or Sunday used to be enjoyable, now they have become a constant game of dodging hikers with strollers and off-leash dogs.

This increased traffic on multi-use trails inevitably causes conflict, which in some cases leads to the closing of trails to mountain bikers, or in places like the Bay Area, it leads to bonehead rangers standing on the side of a trail with a radar gun, writing $300 speeding tickets to mountain bikers who exceed the posted 15mph limit.

What really makes me an ASS is the complete hypocrisy with which governmental bodies and landowners have operated. Take for instance a few friends of mine who were building a singletrack trail in the Double Peak area of San Marcos. The trail is now known as 765, which happens to be the total fine the three guys paid to the City of San Marcos after they were caught building the rogue trail.

All three of them – middle-aged family men with homes, jobs and kids – were hauled into court like criminals and slapped with an offense titled “destruction of natural resources” for building a small trail no more than three feet wide and a mile in length with a couple hand saws. Meanwhile, less than a quarter mile away from this incredible singletrack that is now a legal trail the entire neighborhood uses for recreation, half of the entire mountain is blasted out, dug into and graded flat with massive excavation equipment.

Fencing, signage and Caterpillars are popping up everywhere in San Diego after the 2008 economic collapse.

As we speak another 100 or so tract homes are being built right next to 765 Trail. But decimating pristine habitat for thousands of tract homes isn’t considered “destruction of natural resources”, it’s called “progress”; so long as you have millions of dollars to pay off the government.

This kind of short-sightedness combined with the constant influx of people to an area that can’t handle much more growth is a major reason why it’s time for me to move on. Sure, the weather here is great, but for me, it’s not great enough to justify what’s happening to a place that used to be a complete paradise. It’s a sad reality, as we’ll never get these pristine habitats back. I guess the only option is to live in a place that abuts National Forest where development can never happen. But I’m sure if our government gets desperate enough, even that land may fall into the hands of greed-stricken developers.

A friend of mine tries to put it all into perspective, telling me how much better the riding in San Diego is compared to where he used to live in Florida. While I understand where he’s coming from, I’d never live in Florida in the first place, so the point is moot. The fact is San Diego will never be the mountain bike destination it could have been because municipalities don’t care. People want to live in San Diego for the weather and the allure of the Southern California lifestyle that has become an empty, hollow shell of its former self. Paradise has indeed been lost.

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About the author: Kurt Gensheimer

Kurt Gensheimer thinks the bicycle is man’s most perfect invention. He firmly believes ‘singlespeed’ is a compound word. He sometimes wears a disco ball helmet. He is also known as Genshammer. He is a Gemini and sleeps outside in a hammock.


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  • sal says:

    Sorry you feel that way but you must come to the realization that this problem will follow you everywhere. The population of the world is growing and people have to live somewhere. I guess you will also be finding a new home wherever it is that you are moving to. I am sure that it was also built on a place that was pristine at one point.

    Don’t get me wrong, I get your frustration; but it is the equivalent of getting mad because the tide changes. Good luck on your quest for the never changing city.

    By the way, Florida may not be a riding destination; but there is a committed bike community that constantly tries to improve the trail situation. Best of all, I have never felt like a bike outlaw. Plus we have great beaches, fishing, the keys, and low taxes. (Every place has it ups and downs. It is what you make of it that counts.)

    Sal

    • Paul Mattacks says:

      Ahhh. The old “inevitability” pseudo-argument from sal.

      Sal, did you know humans are mortal, and eventually each of us dies? Since death is inevitable, then we all should commit suicide now. It’s inevitable, it follows you everywhere, so let’s get there sooner rather than later.

      Also, cemeteries have well-planned dead people communities that resemble tract houses, albeit sub-terranean ones. The corpses have steady temperatures, fine woodworked enclosures, and noble granite markers for each home. That sure sounds like a great place to live.

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    Sal,

    I totally agree with you, but did you know that 90% of the US population lives in 10% of the country? There are millions of acres of land out there with no development and sprawl. It’s possible to live without it. Yes, there will always be development. I get that and accept it. But what I don’t accept is unchecked development that goes beyond reasonable sustainability. That’s what’s happening in SoCal.

    I’m not knocking Florida. I’m sure it’s beautiful in spots with a lot of awesome people who ride, it’s just not a place I’d ever live.

    ASS

    • Josh says:

      Kurt, the only way you can escape development is to go somewhere that isn’t desirable. You’re in luck, because very few people actually want to live in Reno so there’s not much development out there. But be warned – there’s a reason people don’t want to live there (hint: it sucks! ;) )

  • Greg says:

    Some of us would say that we would never live in a place like San Diego to begin with :)

    But I’m glad that you got smart and you are getting the hell outta dodge!

  • old school says:

    Some dude probably spewed the same rant when your house was built. No one likes to see trails lost, nor government hypocrisy. Living in developed CA and complaining about CA development, only to run off to the next not yet developed area seems pretty hypocritical as well.

  • Brian Howard says:

    I do small scale construction in Seattle and someone accused me of this “Progress”. I don’t know where you got this term and how many people actually say “Progress” when referring to development. I sure wouldn’t call it progress and i build “green” homes. What it is, is meeting a demand. and by greed do you mean to say that the construction workers are greedy for having jobs? sounds like you are kinda greedy for thinking that you deserve your trails over someone else’s desire to live in a beautiful part of our beautiful country.
    I hate sprawl too. So i build homes densely in the city. and guess what. I get tons of complaints about building “ugly” homes. Or gentrification or being too loud or….. Guess what the world is moving and shaking baby.

    Ps. I wish the world was one big trail that nobody lived on and i could ride and ride and ride. but that isn’t how it works…

  • Brian Visser says:

    I moved from SanDiego to Boise 30 years ago….for want of space. You don’t know the half of what has been lost. I know those coastal canyons, hills, and beaches from when I was a young person…..they are only fond memories now, and that’s all. Going back there is always like being in a science fiction movie where everything in the future has gone terribly wrong…..and it has, but it’s not fiction. And it’s not the developers who are probelm, it’s the people who keep moving there that create the problem….you know, people tired of tornados, hurricanes, and ice storms, and then chose a temperant sardine can in exchange of their past real or percieved travisties. Every winter I bear through about three months of mild north west winter, and in exchange I get trails into the foot hills and mountains that JUST KEEP GOING AND GOING. Come up anytime, we don’t mind the company.

  • Dan says:

    It’s not necessarily hypocritical, Old School. It is possible to build and still leave corrdors of open space, including trails. It requires planning and vision on the part of local and regional governments. It’s hard to do, but it’s not impossible.

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    I don’t think all developers or contractors are evil. As I’ve said more than once, I understand development will happen and accept it. But what I don’t accept is the unchecked development that goes on. Cramming 5,000 sq ft homes on a 7,000 sq ft lot one after another for as far as the eye can see is not sustainable building – it’s greed, pure and simple. That’s what’s happened here in SoCal.

    As Dan has mentioned, there is a way to build sustainably while leaving plenty of open space for people to enjoy. Smaller homes on bigger lots. Instead of 10 homes on one acre, how about one or two homes on one acre? It won’t ever happen because a company like Lennar can’t maximize profits.

    - ASS

    • 953 says:

      Not sure I follow your argument here.

      I get the part about un-sustainable building practices, poor planning, not leaving adequate open space, but would you rather lose 1 acre of open space and trails for every 10 houses built, or 5 acres for those same 10 houses?

      Pushing for lower density housing isn’t going to alleviate your concerns about sprawl and loss of open space and trails.

  • John G. says:

    As a former developer and avid mtn. biker, I see both sides of this. What some see as greed driven progress, others see as good American entrepreneurship, job creation and meeting a demand. The Vanderbilts donated what is now Pisgah National Forest and the politicians of the state of North Carolina luckily hadn’t stolen all the money the year Dupont was acquired. Unfortunately these are rare occasions where either the super wealthy donate part of their winnings, or the sorry politicians actually do something proper for a change. If you want to get to the heart of any problem, follow the money. Big money gets people elected and in return big money gets bigger- that will never change. Don’t live in a desert and expect to grow water lilies

  • Chadster says:

    You are right, San Diego is the only place in the US where this is happening. I have no idea why any mountain biker would want to live there. Please do move immediately and don’t bother returning in the winter when everywhere else is cold, wet, or frozen.

    From your posts you would do well in Idaho where there are more angry people like yourself.

  • SLP999 says:

    I agree 100% of your article. Once I pay off my home in Ventura County, I’m renting it out and getting the F out of dodge. Sick of the over populated So Cal lifestyle. I’ve been here my whole life…but between the corrupt left government and the influx of dirty breeds taking over…I’m out! Good luck and keep the articles coming!

  • Greg says:

    Sorry, but this smacks of NIMBYism. You’ve got your home (or did) and now no one else should come behind you. The new homeowners are trying to get their slice of paradise just like you did. You are right about your water worries and some other points – those all need to be managed – you mention in the article, but you don’t suggest solutions except to agree with someone else in the comments section.

    San Diego County (and the towns like Ramona and especially Temecula) does need a sustainable growth plan, but then it’s somehow got to have the will to enforce it, forgo lost property taxes (a major contribution to funding schools and roads), etc. There is so much navel gazing in any large metropolis that it will always be difficult to reach consensus and someone will always be dissatisfied. Mountain bikers are a small slice of that metropolis so we have no voice without a lot of personal activism. It doesn’t help that larger voices defending nature are groups like the Sierra Club who don’t want us out there even if some slice of nature is preserved.

    Mountain bikers may need to accept corridors rather than wide open spaces. Preserve your 765 trail and accept that there will be houses right next to it. Look at Orange County for some examples – Aliso Viejo, Laguna, and Crystal Cover are all now surrounded by houses (built in the late 1990s / early 2000s), but they continue to exist. Is there epic riding there? No, but it is a compromise that may need to be accepted anywhere there are 15 million people (in the LA metro area) sharing a relatively small slice of real estate.

  • rain says:

    The infestation has ruined Austin too.

  • joel says:

    Hits close to home as just moved here. All I can say is, the grass is always greener, bro’. I’ve lived in the Midwest (IN), East Coast (PA) and Rockies (CO) before SD and each have their pros/cons in terms of trails and riding. As sickening as the SoCal sprawl is, the year-round season is hard to beat. Plus, even though you can’t find a parking spot on the beach you might only pass one or two other mountain bikers on a typical ride here. There are many places in the country that have directional trails and on/off MTB usage days because of all the mountain bike traffic. A little pressure on the SD MTB community to get organized and try to protect some trails may not be such a bad thing, anyway, as it seems to me a little organization and signage is much better at creating a MTB destination than kicking out developers. I’ve always felt the “locals only” mentality is for surfers, but mountain bikers should be bit above that. Great trails require many people to build, maintain and use them; and this is one thing SoCal has an abundance of.

    There are days I miss the rooty, twisty East Coast rides. Lord knows, I miss the bomber descents in the Front Range in CO. Some days I long for the Midwest dirt that grips your tire like rubber cement. There are great trails all over this country. As long as we have the luxury to argue about better places to ride, we’re doing OK. SD is definitely not paradise, and I doubt it ever was, but it’s a damn good place to ride.

  • SD mayor says:

    Nice piece of writing but I see it as just another rant complaining about the problems of which you are part of the root cause. Good luck finding your paradise and please take a few people with you.

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    It would only be NIMBYism if I still owned my house, lived in San Diego and complained about it. But guess what? I moved. I’m doing my part to relieve the overpopulation of Southern California.

    And trust me Chadster, I won’t bother returning in winter because I like winter. I like snow and cold. I like seasons. I also like wide open spaces, peace and quiet where you don’t have to sit in a log jam of cars to get anywhere.

    ASS

  • niterider says:

    Good luck getting a permit from the feds to build a trail in a National Park. it’s been done, but it can be tough to do.

  • Brendan says:

    I moved to San Diego from Boston in the early 2000s and came to the same conclusion as you, and moved back east after 5 years. There is a distinct absence of civil organization in Southern California, which I believe can be attributed to the transient nature of the population. Anyways, no once in San Diego wants to do anything about conservation. Go visit a SD MB Association meeting sometime.

    Now take compare that to the New England Mountain Bike Association for example; they are practically a lobbying force in the area and actually own land purchased with donations. C’est la vie. San Diego appears destined to become the Necropolis with the best winter weather in the US (if you can see through the smog).

  • Boner says:

    Boo f*cking hoo.

    Let them have SoCal. It’s not worth the fight. I know, I lived there for 6 years. The more development that happens during the recovery, the slower people will move to the mountain states, bringing their bullsh*t attitudes and California sense of entitlement with them.

    In the meantime, we’ll continue to get trails built and keep them maintained with the cooperation of local land management agencies and other trail users. People who really want to live the SoCal lifestyle should be encouraged to do so…and they’re welcome to visit us and ride our trails. Take only pictures and video, leave only your money.

  • RM says:

    Call someplace paradise, kiss it good-bye!
    There are lots of good places to go. Good riding and skiing in PNW.
    Sedona is Boom town for mountain biking. Bend and Moab are awesome but seasonal. Too many people every where. Yogi Berra said “No one goes there anymore, it’s too crowded!”

  • AZBikeFreak says:

    I grew up in SD during its heyday. I remember the SD of old when you could ride your bike to the beach and back without risking your life on the overcrowded streets. I remember getting mile from the dairy farm where Admiral Baker’s Golf Course is now. I remember riding my skateboard to Oasis skatepark under the 805 bridge. I remember playing BB gun wars in the canyons of Del Cerro. I raced BMX at Kearny Mesa, Rancho and the Morley field. Man, those were great memories of a great town.

    I spent 20 years of my life in SD before leaving town and I use to brag to friends about how great SD was. However, that’s all changed now. These days the crime rate is ridiculously high, the traffic is absurd and the overcrowding just scares me.

    You can’t go to the beach on weekends without having to camp out overnight to save a spot. You can forget about catching any waves. The hoards of surfers at the popular breaks is nuts. Doing anything in SD is like being part of infestation of humans. Too many people too little space.

    I recently rode up Cowles Mountain from the Santee side. The ride up was great but the ride down was so crowded with hikers that it wasn’t worth the effort. It wont be long before bikes are banned on all the local trails.

    Living outside of SD for 23 years I’ve realized that there are much better places to live and ride. Quality of life is not judged by the amount of sunny days.

  • ginsu says:

    Came to Oregon from San Diego in ’89. Well the weather initially sucked, but Global Climate Change has impacted us greatly. Just this year we lost 15″ of rain! And we usually get like 23″ by now….I now tell my neighbors…”WELCOME TO SUNNY CALIFOREGON!!!”

    The trails have been dry all year…the riding is incredible everywhere here…and you do get an occasional drizzle and cool nighttime temps…so pretty much perfect right now….but, of course, who knows for how long.

  • honkinunit says:

    This article could be written about every decent-for-MTB metro area in the US. In CO, Ft. Collins, Boulder, even Grand Junction and Durango have the same issue. There is no solution unless you are independently wealthy and can move to Aspen/Park City/Sun Valley/Steamboat or some other place that is surrounded by public lands and thus astronomically expensive.

    When I moved to the Boulder area many years ago, you could ride awesome trails on a weekend afternoon and pass a handful of people. I tried to ride Walker Ranch last Sunday and had to stop every 300 feet to let hikers/dogs/horses/strollers(on rocky singletrack!) and uphill riders pass. I gave up and went home after a few miles. The areas around Boulder are protected open space, but there are only a handful of trails, and they are so crowded as to be unreadable on many days.

    I wish you luck on your escape, but don’t be surprised if you are leaving Tahoe in a few years.

  • walt lees says:

    So you are complaining that you can’t ride on the private land you used to? I hope you’re moving to somewhere with more abundant public lands and that you’ve figured out the difference. Also not quite clear on your math: 5000sq.ft homes on 7000sq ft lots is sprawl? Wouldn’t 21000 sq ft lots be three times the sprawl? Good luck with your relocation… and your math skills.

  • Michael9218 says:

    It’s already been said, but I grew up in San Diego in the 70′s and left in 1985 because the San Diego I knew was gone. It’s rather funny and ironic that the “new” locals want to stymy growth now that they’re “in”. San Diego was a great place in the 70′s, but now I happily live in Atlanta and have no desire to ever return to San Diego. I guarantee you that the riding, both road and mountain, is better in Georgia than San Diego.

  • Yoshi says:

    Move to Wisconsin… You’ll still see the same issues with illegal trail building, but it’s because the environazi’s want nothing done with the land. No Trails, or Homes… Just a Natural state of whatever natural is. We do have some awesome terrain and trails though especially on the West Coast of WI. I’ve Riden most of the places you write about since my father lived in Escondido while I was growing up. I’d take green forests over the desert anyday on my SS.

  • Dave says:

    This is another of those “Everybody wants to be the last one in” articles. While I certainly understand the sentiments of the author, I also understand that anytime there’s a place that lots of people view as desirable, that place is going to eventually be overcrowded, unless it’s prohibitively expensive. When I was younger, Aspen and Telluride were cheap, relatively speaking, and nearly empty, and they were amazing places to recreate. I spent a lot of time running the highest passes and ridges, skiing the back country, and hiking and climbing some of the 14ers in the area, and I rarely saw another human being. Then the “beautiful people” discovered the towns, and that was that. When I lived in Orange County, houses seemed expensive–this was 30 years ago–but would have been a relative bargain, given the prices now. And the population density then, the same one that pretty much drove me out then, seems like paradise now. When I rode my dirt bike and mountain bike in the Silverado Canyon area, it seemed like it took forever to escape the development, but given what’s happened since, that development was pretty tame. And when I lived in Grand Junction, the place was a virtual wasteland–no 24-hour radio, two TV stations (pre-cable), and all the open space you could want. It’s still relatively open there, but nothing like it was. I used to have the mentality of this author, which is to say I got angry at every development and every new person who screwed up “my” trail, “my” ski run, “my” Jeep road in the San Juans, “my” favorite mountain towns, “my” view, and “my” solitude. But all that is, is what Ed Abbey wrote decades ago, that everybody wants to be the last one in a cool place and then insists on shutting everybody else out of it. So I came to realize that the people who were in Aspen, Telluride, Grand Junction, and Orange County felt the same way about me when I rolled into town and ruined “their” trail, ski run, Jeep road, mountain town, view, and solitude. Living in a desirable place means you aren’t the only one who desires it. So you make your peace with the reality that “it isn’t going to be like it was,” and you live with it, or you do what some of these posters did, and leave. Complaining about “the next guy” moving in and wanting what you wanted is illogical, not to mention selfish and immature. That isn’t accusatory, by the way because, as I said before, I used to feel the same way.

  • me says:

    Well said, Dave.

  • Rich says:

    Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out! You should change your name to Always Angry! Ha ha!
    You will be Angry anywhere you go! Waiting to hear your angry rants about Reno.

  • criscobike says:

    Your quick point about the water is actually a MAJOR point!!! The whole SW is basically fed by the Colorado River…a river that doesn’t even make it to the ocean any longer. It can only support so many people.

  • TJS says:

    I have to disagree about San Diego mountain biking. From what I’ve seen, it’s dreadful.

    You said it yourself: “The riding is very challenging; punchy climbs with extremely technical features including rocks everywhere and giant ruts that will swallow you and your bike whole.” Translation: miserably maintained dirt roads that go steeply up and down and are strewn with loose round baby-head-sized rocks.

    If it’s not that, it’s a boring ride through a canyon with little character (Peñasquitos Canyon, for example). At best you get something like the Elfin Forest, which wouldn’t excite anyone in the Bay Area.

    I’ve seen a couple of exceptions, like the Anderson Truck Trail. Probably up by Cuyamaca State Park there’s some decent mileage. But most of what’s available in San Diego County would merit one star on mtbr’s trails reviews.

    In fact, check out the comments on the Tecolote Canyon Trail. (Tecolote is Spanish for owl.) Here’s one: “as other reviews have pointed out, this is a pretty dismal area with powerlines, sewer vents, poor trail system and very eroded single track.” And here’s another: “I just moved here from Colorado so I realize I am spoiled, but this was the first ride I did in San Diego and it was so bad that I went out and purchased a road bike that weekend.” http://trails.mtbr.com/cat/united-states-trails/california-trails/california-san-diego/trail/tecolote-canyon/prd_165599_4521crx.aspx

    Let’s not kid ourselves. A lot of American cities and urban counties have lousy mountain biking. Portland, Oregon is one, and San Diego is another.

    • criscobike says:

      The weather is fantastic! But that’s about it. I visit my old home frequently and am always disappointed by the trails I get recommended. Fire roads with loose “ball bearing” pebbles, sand, trails that have no flow, short canyon trails that make me feel like I am about to get mugged. Fact is, whenever my bike friends come up to Utah to ride, they all talk about moving up here. Give me 20 miles of riding in the pines any day!

  • Satch says:

    largely true, but to what point.

    i remember sitting in on committee meetings for the del mar mesa area (see erik basil and aaron martin, above) and listening to the horsey riders lamenting about the days when they could ride all day long and hardly see another person. of course, those were farms there in those days, and these were the very people that sold their farms to the developers, then some even became real estate agents to sell the pretty new multi-million dollar homes, and yet they bellyache about the good old days? yes, days they were farmers and not millionaires and they had to work hard for a living and had calluses on their hands and bad backs at an early age. now they have little else to do but too maintain a controlling vote on the park committee so they can still enjoy riding the trails on land they sold to the gov’t. have your cake and eat it too? not a bad deal if they weren’t so anti-multi-trail use because mtn bikers ride fast. ever see a scared horse? in a public park? i’ll take my chances with the mtn biker any day.

    in short, an abuse of power and privilege by people with selectively short memories and hypocrisy steeped higher than the horse pies they leave behind on the trails. but what city doesn’t have that?

    personally i’ve found san diego a great place to bring up my family and take the occasional ride on some pretty nice trails. has it changed? definitely. for the better? probably not. but as with anywhere, you either go with the flow and do the best with what you have, or leave for somewhere you think may prefer. the author chose the latter, i choose the former. everyone wins.

  • derby says:

    Rather than run away from your problem, get involved in local politics. This is the closest activity we have to real democracy in the USA. YOU, a single individual, can really make a difference locally.

    Campaign, pound the pavement, knock on doors, kiss babies. Ask your constituents indirectly, by promoting the benefits of your agenda, to raise their property taxes or increase local sales tax to buy up desirable open space. This has worked in other areas, such as my home county, Marin.

    But it does require deep commitment, and and getting into politics means hard work, for no or little pay, but you do increase personal connections for promoting your business interests, or your other personal agendas.

  • geotrouvetout67 says:

    “Although building a singletrack trail is considered “destruction of natural resources”, this is considered “progress”

    Well put, so very true.

    I used to live in the Chicago area where a forest preserve was my only playground available. There were terrible mosquitos infested illegal trails in the (non-maintained) forest banned to mountain biking and cops patrolling to fine bikers (I never got caught though) but that’s all I had. Yeah, mountain bike is so destructive in the forest but building soccer fields, parking lots, ice cream concessions and an asphalt trail for strollers, wheelchairs and road wheels across endangered natural wetlands around the forest was not. Go figure.

  • Gregg Kato says:

    Good point, derby. A.S.S. for Mayor of SD! He’d get my vote!

  • uberbox says:

    It baffles me how so much land is constantly being developed. Especially anywhere in SoCal where the prices are just ridiculous. How can so many people afford to buy $500K+ homes? The irony of the development is the California effect in close-by western states. People jump ship from CA due in part to the problems you site here and end up spreading the same destruction to other areas. Denver area is a perfect example. So many new people are putting a strain on the resources and space we have.

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