News » Opinion

Mountain High



You know it’s illegal, you know it’s dangerous, but when you jumped on your bike in an early morning rush you didn’t plan on such a long day at work or school, forcing you to pedal home in the dark. But every year as the nights grow longer, an effort gains momentum to force Missoula’s cyclists to get their lights on. In other words, authorities are gearing up to bust your unlit ass.

Specifically, the City of Missoula and the UM Office of Public Safety are targeting cyclists who lack luminosity during non-daylight hours. According to a press release from Missoula’s Department of Public Works, during the week of Oct. 19–25 “both Missoula and campus police will increase their efforts at ticketing cyclists without lights.”

Until then, agents of the city and state will be “educating” riders about the dangers and illegalities of no-light riding by slapping up posters and tagging bicycles with “reminders” that all vehicular laws also apply to bikes. In other words, whatever wheeled contraption you tool down the city’s darkened streets needs to have lights both front and rear. To encourage this, “bicycles with headlights will receive a coupon good for a free treat at one of five on-campus businesses” on Thursday, Oct. 16. If you’re spotted by a coupon carrier, that is.

Speaking of bikes, Free Cycles Missoula, an organization that’s helped community members repair and ride away on more than 1,500 bicycles in the last seven years at a cost no greater than elbow grease, is looking for a new home. Requirements include at least 800 square feet of heated space with electrical access to empower a winter cycle shop, an after-school bike program and an interactive sustainable transportation center. If you or anyone you know has a usable indoor space for these dedicated volunteers, give Jonas Ehudin a call at 542-9545. And remember: Donated space is tax deductible.

The ASUM Office of Transportation is working double-time to get folks out of their cars and onto self-powered transportation. As part of the “Cruiser Co-op” program, a new two-person “Date Bike” has been added to the fleet of cycles available for check-out by anyone with a Griz Card. This smooth-running tandem allows for a front rider to navigate Missoula’s streets on a bicycle built for two while receiving back massages, in-ear whispers and other date-like behavior from the rear. Check out the super-stylie ride for a few hours or a couple days—just stop by the Office of Transportation at UC 114 to saddle up.

Montana’s water junkies will rejoice in Helena District Court Judge Thomas Honzel’s ruling requiring officials to more strictly regulate the amount of bovine fecal matter and other pollutants that can “run-off” from cattle feedlots. Gravity being what it is, “run-off” means “into rivers,” and a few years ago the Department of Environmental Quality loosened regulations on excrement leaving the state’s cattle feed lots. Fortunately, swimming in Montana’s rivers and streams may soon be a little less, well, shitty.

Powder junkies looking for a preseason fix of world class turns and absurd airs in front of heavenly backdrops should point it to the Wilma Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 17, for a showing of Focused. This is the latest of Matchstick Production’s always stunning and award-winning ski flicks, and is some of the best armchair adrenaline available.

The jaw-dropping action in Focused should encourage small groups to gather and begin their powder prayers in earnest, readying folks for Montana Snowbowl’s (549-9777) used gear sale, Oct. 18–19 from noon to 5. There are a variety of ski and snowboard packages for kids and adults starting at $45, so get there early and get outfitted on the cheap for Montana’s upcoming—and deepest ever?—winter.

The Missoula Road and Track Club’s Pumpkin Run, a 400m kid’s run and a 5K run/walk, will loop the flatter-than-North Dakota trails of Maclay Flats on Saturday, Oct. 18. The kiddies (12 and younger) start their sprint at 9:45 a.m. ($3.00), and the adults at 10:00 ($5.00). Proceeds benefit the Poverello Center, so get your cup of coffee, head on out to Blue Mountain’s riverside trails and register by 8:45. Call Great Pumpkin Ben Schmidt (542-1257) to get on course.

The Rocky Mountaineers will be hiking to one of the biggest bang-per-buck vantages in Western Montana this Saturday, Oct. 19, when they head up the Seeley/Swan Valley en route to Turquoise Lake. This spectacular and tucked-away gem lies at the end of a 6-mile walk, and the fall colors and brilliant blue lake will likely be enhanced to mountain-high perfection by a dusting (or more) of the winter white. While the first half of the hike trudges up an excessively switch-backed trail, the last few miles will have you walking through high heaven, weaving through small alpine (frozen?) lakes and surrounded by towering granite peaks that offer endless exploring options for the intrepid. Call Bret Doucette (728-6461) to access the alpine before it’s a winter wonderland.

Send your powder prayers to:

Add a comment