I AM a father, a medical professional and a cyclist.
The last makes me better at the first two.
Cycling allows me a place to release the stress and the strain. I do not race, I am respectful of other trail and path users. I raise my kids to be polite and respectful.
If I ride my bike on the road, I risk death or serious injury.
If I restrict my riding to bike paths I do not get the release I need (too many obstacles) so I take my riding to the dirt.
I get to blow off the week's worth of build-up, then I stop. I look at what is around me, and I relax. Mountain biking makes me a better person. It makes me a better Dad, and a better contributor to my community.
I might be a pain in the neck to some, and some may see me as an environmental vandal, but I am a person who wants to be a better dad, husband, son, brother, uncle and community member, and mountain biking helps me be these things.
There are hundreds of thousands of people like me all over NSW. We pay our taxes, we respect the law, we care for our families and other loved ones, and we contribute to the community.
We are no different to you. We do no more damage to the environment than any other trail user; in fact, we often put more back into the environment than other trail users do.
I encourage my children to ride bikes because it will mean they have better physical and mental health outcomes as they grow older. It is great for their neurological development, and it will mean less of a burden on society as they grow older.
Do you think I encourage them to ride on the road? Hell, no - I want them to be safe.
I will teach them to ride mountain bikes. They will learn to ride in Glenrock. They will remember Glenrock for the rest of their lives because of this.
Daniel McAlpine, Merewether