The other day while I was cruising Twitter to see what was up in the world I came across a Tweet- and I have to say this, but some Tweets I see I have no idea how they show up in my timeline. I don't follow these folks, they aren't re-tweets, etc. Anyway...... algorithms, I suppose.
So, yeah, I saw this oddball Tweet in my timeline but it struck me as being something gravel riders need to be conscious of. That being that we are becoming litterbugs. First, here's the Tweet: "This really bothers me. If you have a gel while racing, make an attempt to throw it in a trash can. Don’t just drop it in the middle of the road. I get it -(It) stinks to hold a gel for a mile or two to a water stop but make an effort to get it to a trash can. It’s still littering."
How many gravel events have you been to at which you have seen gel wrappers and more on the road, obviously discarded by a rider you are behind? I bet many of you reading this that go do those gravel events know exactly that which I am talking about.
And here's the thing: It is easy to blame the other rider, go on riding, and complain about it afterward. But what does that accomplish?
Absolutely nothing. You are just adding to the noise.
I actually re-Tweeted the text and added the following quote:"While this is aimed at runners, the gravel riding community needs to clean up its act too." And by "gravel riding community" I mean everyone. Myself included. We all need to speak about this at events. Say it isn't okay. Call it out when we see it, and ultimately- we need to clean up after the offenders.
Yup! I get it- "It wasn't me!", but that ain't how the world will see it outside the gravel riding community. Stop. Pick it up. Dispose of it properly. Who cares if it takes you 30 seconds, a minute. Nobody will ever care afterward, but you will be helping keep gravel clean and everyone will benefit. So- here's my challenge to all of you for 2020. At any gravel event you do, if you see one gel wrapper, an energy bar wrapper, a tube- whatever came from a cyclist- stop and pick it up. Just one item at every event. If we all do that, there will never be any issues with littering accusations against this community of riders. Call out offenders. Talk this up at events. Tell people you are doing this, and challenge them to it as well. I challenge event promoters to make this part of their events. Make a prize contest out of it. Make it "a thing". I'm in. Are you?