Do petitions work?

TEAM ROBOT is still undecided on whether petitions do anything, heavily leaning towards “no,” but just in case they make any difference at all you should sign this petition to save the Winchester BMX trails in England. They’re at 10,000, hoping to get 15,000 petitions, so if all five TR readers follow the link, we could really make a big difference:

Winchester Trails BMX Petition

The trails at Winchester, like everywhere else, are important. Kids need dirt, and trees, and unsupervised spaces where they can make good and bad decisions, and eventually figure out the difference. Kids in 2017 are signed up for supervised programs, where coaches or mentors or teachers or parents or supervisors tell them what to do or where to go. Every second is scheduled, and what gets scheduled out is this thing called childhood.

I didn’t really fall in love with Stranger Things, because it was obviously pandering to nostalgia and because I never want to hear those fake ass synth tracks ever again, but I did love the image of the kids roaming around on bikes getting into trouble. Other than Girl Interrupted, Sam Gamgee, and the bitchy Sheriff, there are almost no parents to be found in the show. Good.

“So, we’ll like, get sucked into an inter dimensional wormhole and battle the forces of evil, but I gotta be back in time for Airwolf.”


As a kid, I remember watching Rankin footage from Winchester and the old Ride UK Bar End Jams with my jaw on the floor. Watching these gods among men blasting nine miles in the air on the big straight four pack, riding a paved highway into the sky at a million mph, I knew instantly that I wanted that feeling. The next week, after intense debate and deliberation, Aaron and I went out to the woods to stack all our lips and landings another foot or two higher. If you ever came out to our trails and felt like you were going into orbit, you can thank the guys at Winchester.

I know these videos are horrible quality. Use your imagination and pretend they’re in HD. Or better yet, don’t, and kill yourself.


The video above was mind-boggling to me as a teen. No one has a helmet on, the jumps are super fast, and everyone is a mile in the sky, but everyone is taking the piss, to use the regional parlance. Basket/streamer/ET guy doesn’t seem too stressed.


The Winchester trails are currently at risk of getting plowed to build 14 parking spots for the town. That’s dumb.

12 thoughts on “Do petitions work?

  1. In the phantasmic version of reality, there is no chance to experience true metamorphosis. The caterpillar does not become a butterfly by telling everybody it has wings. It actually buries itself in darkness and grows those wings.

    There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings.

    Thank you.

  2. Petitions, boycotts, letters to politicians and voting: they are great at making someone feel like he “did something” but only naive children think anything else accrues from these trivial, pointless acts.

    They are the equivalent of “bought the DH bike, now I’m a DH rider” mindset. What % of truly notable DH racers was great the first time on a bike (BMX, moto, MTB, whatever your choice of starting point)?

    So, they all landed on the top shelf just because they finally bought that DH bike, right?

  3. @that was good, here’s a dollar:
    I disagree… and democracy would cease to exist if everyone had that same mindset.
    When did everyone become so jaded? When did everyone resign themselves from being human?
    You are right, one person alone will have great difficulty doing “something”, but aim to raise awareness and sway public opinion. Once these ideals for living are thrown aside, you inadvertently condone the insufferable mindset of those who want to make this world a horrible place.
    I think this is an important message carried by those of us who think and feel and do. This is the message which every man, woman, and child around us will erroneously learn. Anyone with critical thinking and a conscience has a responsibility to do the right thing here, regardless of how insignificant it may seem. We are not in the business of measuring what matters to who, after-all.
    So ask yourself if you want to facilitate change for the better, or perpetuate bullshit. In the end, our strength comes from our weakness, and that’s what makes us amazing and human. Not robots.

  4. I think you discuss “democracy” in the sense of a naive child, rather than as a man of the world and a person of experience.

    In that context, your criticisms seem to make some sort of what others call “sense.” In other words, if we accept your mistaken premises as true, your criticisms seem to hold water. However, your premises hold water as well as a sieve.

    Whether a government moves forward on a plan has zero to do with petitions or votes, and everything to do with money, sonny.

    But I’m sure, being DH racer ‘n’ shit, you are expert at these things, right?

  5. If that makes me a naive child, then sign me up. And I’m not a man or a DH racer; I am a woman, but not with a lack of experience. In fact, my area of expertise specifically encompasses urban development and policy change; For the better and the worse.

    Yes, money is a huge driving factor and a tool, but in my experience, it’s not an end-all. Petitions can be effective, and often serve as a catalyst to revisit issues that have been otherwise decided upon.

    Don’t make assumptions, and all I’m trying to say is if you care about something, don’t hate on those who are trying to make a difference. It’s not productive.

    And who knows, maybe you don’t care at all. But that would be weird… because people who care don’t usually take the time to post blog comments. Unless they are trolls.

    Are you a troll?

  6. Look at you, pretending to guess whether I am “hating.”

    At least you admit naivete and immaturity. That explains the guess at mental states!

    Keep predicting my mindset, kiddo. Every prediction wrong, every one a massive tell on your own insecurities & naivete!

    When you grow up — correction, IF you grow up — you will realize what I’m saying in that earlier comment. But until then, keep throwing darts at a target you imagine is me and my mindset, and keep claiming superiority of some bizarre type. It’s worth the effort I’m sure.

    Now let’s get back to my earlier point: why would a municipality in the UK care one whit about a North American suggests for a DJ spot in that UK muni? Because your NorAm voice “counts,” and it “makes the world a better place”?

    Ugly American arrogance wins again. Juvenile, self-righteous and bossy, every time.

  7. “Petitions can be effective, and often serve as a catalyst to revisit issues that have been otherwise decided upon.”

    Junior thinks Chuckles’ website is a PoliSci 101 essay test.

  8. Junior thinks Chuckles’ website is a PoliSci 101 essay test.

    LOL this is so good!

    (PS: Not ‘merican, thankfully)

    🙂 🙂 🙂

  9. Canadian?

    The smug gloating while sorely mistaken would be easily explained by that status.

    If Euro, I’m hoping English is your 2d language, or that your sense of satire derives from A.A. Milne or Jerzy Kozinski.

  10. HA, too much too soon!

    Where did you come from? You need your own “blog”. Fucking amazing. Dying over here.

  11. NFW. Chuckles has the bases covered. Besides, his reader base has to be bigger than any I could cultivate in a billion years of fan-farming. Which is why I limit my trade to half-pithy comments at his wonder-blog.

    FYI, “cover the bases” is an American sports metaphor. Don’t know what they do for “bases” in cricket or other Euro inferior versions of America’s Pastime. None of those matter anyway. The American Eagle created MTBing and every other gift to the world’s finest athletes, save alpine skiing. Hell, we even perfected the game we stole from our natives: lacrosse. That might be a more demanding sport than MTB, but it’s globally invisible, so therefore irrelevant.

    Even at comment counts of 25 or fewer, this is still the sharpest-cracking blog in existence and I thank Chuckles for reviving it, and you for commenting.

    I don’t thank Piss Flaps guy, though. Or Piss Flaps woman. Whichever.

    Trivia time: what game did the Welsh give to the world? Or the Scots?

    At least the Irish gave us Hurling.

  12. Mind blown.

    I am learning so many new things about America here. Far more informative than comparing the nuances between the average Walmart vs Target shopper, McDonalds vs Wendys burgers, ect.

    I was very confused, but thankfully this blog has gotten be back on track.

    Thanks guys (or gals)!

    And not sure what game the Welsh gifted us…. out of my territory.

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