George Babbitt has a new column where he blames rogue trailbuilding for the growing anti-MTB sentiment.
George can't see what his own activity has done to cause the anti-MTB sentiment. But then, why would he look at himself that way? He's George Babbitt! Boosting is his essence, and his driving value, and his whole existence.
When you "grow the sport" by enticing people to participate when they weren't already going to become riders by individual drives alone, you create a whole mess of Fad Followers who haven't devoted themselves to riding. They buy expensive shit, which is what Babbitt really likes and why he works as he does. The more expensive shit we see coursing through the waters of commerce, the happier Babbitt is. This is why his writing is always boosting. This is why his criticism is always tepid and for the most part, distraction under pretense of objectivity.
"Grow the sport" faddists get expensive new bikes that they don't know how to ride. These expensive bikes have great suspension and handling circa 2014 (as compared to the pre-boom era that existed a scant decade ago), which means faddists haul ass at speeds well above where they can brake effectively and sufficiently avoid collisions and other trail mishaps.
The faddists come careening down hills thinking descenders have the right of way. Of course they do, right? MOUNTAIN DEW, BRAH! EXTREME! explains one of the perspectives thinking this way. STRAVA RECORD IN THE MAKING, BRO! explains another. Rookie ignorance is the underlying cause. Rookie was boosted into the sport with the puff-ups offered by Babbitt and his boys at stinkbike. And by the jr high school-level "informed commentary" you can find at VitalMTB. And by the Trinkets-R-Us! discussions found at NSMB.
With so many faddites riding well over their heads, bad trail encounters are bound to happen, and with so many people operating under the Spoiled Fucking Brat mindset that grows out of Every Child A Precious Unique Snowflake perspective, the wrongdoers can't even imagine they are riding like assholes.
But they are. Straightening chicanes, widening trails into tracks, shortcutting wherever the trail might slow them down or make them feel less than Godlike. Removing rocks & roots because that's what bikepark is!
All of this has been sold to Internet Viewers of MTB Related Content during the past decade of boomtime, and it's really ramped up in the past 3-4 years to the point that now, if you observe any of what I've just said, you're accused of being "elitist" (as if that really means anything useful or adds anything useful to analyzing the problems) and told that you need to help "grow the sport".
On top of what I've just said we have the general pitch now offered by all MTB Babbitts -- that everything should be "flowy" or otherwise resembling a BMX ish layout proceeding down a hill; that everything should be groomed; that everyone should feel immediately gratified despite rookie status; that nobody should ever work on improving their skills.
Because, y'know, that way nobody would buy expensive shit. OOPS. There goes Babbitt's badass industry insider job.
I'm sorry, Richard Cunningham, but you're far more to blame for what's happening now than any rogue trailbuilder.