Do Unto Others
On my second day working at Dirt Rag my car died seven tenths of a mile from work. I still lived on the southside of Pittsburgh and the notion of commuting 20 miles on a BMX bike was way beyond my ability. My new coworker Karl Rosengarth was quick to offer his car, noting that he had both a truck and motorcycle he could rely on. He did ask that I not make any sudden trips to Florida, but nothing else.
Rich and Karl are just two of the many mountain bikers I know would give you the shirt off their back. I know that this world isn’t perfect, but there are an awful lot of good people involved in our little niche sport, and we really need to reward and encourage that sort of ethic. Unfortunately, a lot of times good people let themselves be taken advantage of—not because they are naïve but simply because it is in their nature to be kind and trusting. Although a good time was had by all at this year’s New England Pedro’s Fest, but the memory of an otherwise cool festival will be tainted for a few individuals.
Last year when I met Tom Brown from Bricktown we talked about music and the town I used to live in. This year we only talked about a bike—his friend’s bike that had been stolen at the festival. In my two short years of traveling to bike races and festivals, I have never locked my bike. It is generally presumed that nobody at a cycling event would have the gall to do more than covet their neighbor’s ride. Tom has a tattoo of a stack of books on his arm with the word “learn” inscribed above. I would have liked to have asked what that design meant, but Tom seemed more predisposed to kicking some lowlife bike thief’s ass than to talk tattoos, so I just promised to keep my eyes peeled. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that Tom’s friend will be lucky if he can make an insurance claim.
I used to run a sign shop, and I charged a minimum of $50 and up to and over $1500 for a single banner—even for a steady customer who bought new banners every season. Obviously banners are not free, but unfortunately some people see the capture of a company flag as a symbol of their dedication to that manufacturer’s product. During the middle of the day, someone walked up to the Cane Creek expo booth and underhandedly stole a table banner in broad daylight. The same night, a thief was nabbed red handed trying to rip off a Break It Fix It Ride It banner. The RockShox crew was not so lucky—somebody stole an expensive custom trailer skirt during the night.
One week later Shimano created a fenced in, secure area for people to demo the new XTR product at the NORBA finals. Though at first it smacked of a publicity stunt, the truth is they already lost one test bike in Europe, and weren’t prepared to lose any more.
I’m not sure if Shimano’s method will prevail as the new norm for mountain bike festivals, but I would certainly hope not. I liked being able to leave my drivers silence with the Gary Fisher rep and taking a demo bike for a real trail ride. I don’t want to ride in a pen.
I heard Pedro’s Fest Promoter Renee Hicks say that next year they will attempt to increase security in the campsites by shining lights on the field until 10:30 or 11:00 PM. Personally, I would rather have an unobstructed view of the sunset and subsequent starry sky.
I don’t want to go over the details of a cool bike just because I’m playing detective. It pains me to hear about someone’s bike getting stolen, and that feeling is compounded because it’s only human nature for us to sit around and talk about the few negative aspects of an otherwise cool event. I want to spend time talking about tattoos and bikes and beer and all the other things that make us mountain bikers get along. So here’s a simple plea that you’ve heard before. Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.
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