Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Rubberneck Goose
Joined
·
105 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This thread originated from my previous thread entitled, "First ever descent of Mt. San Bernardino" The story is this, I broke the law and rode Mt. San Bernardino, crossing into wilderness/National Forest Service land. My initial thread elicited quite a bit of controversy. People saying that I shouldn't post my experiences of the ride (since it is illegal). Everything from the title of "Einstein" to awards that should be issued to me for my accomplishment! All in sarcasm. I think that the controversy draws at a larger issue, the right of mountain bikers to have access to national forest land.

Rules are rules, but some exist without reason and stand in the way of people enjoying opportunities that exist. When it comes to wilderness trail boundaries, mountain bikes are lumped into the category of gas powered machinery, motor cycles and the likes. Horses and pack animals are allowed trail access while human powered bicycles are banned. The fact these laws exist is a travesty! Mountain bikes cause less trail damage than horses or motorcycles and potentially cause less damage than foot travel if ridden responsibly. I am a good tax paying citizen, and my taxes go to support entities such as the National Forest Service. I may pay there salaries, but have no voice over the laws that are put into place regarding the use of public wilderness land that is operated by the national government.

I personally believe that there are many trails including wilderness trails that should allow mountain bike access. There are no organizations that I have found that actively speak for the mountain biking community and work to open up trails that are closed to mountain bikes. So instead of abiding by a law that I don't agree with, I blatantly break the law and ride within wilderness areas. When I do so, I abide by a set of trail rules and etiquette that I have established that are aimed toward influencing the other trail users (hikers), and thereby show through example that mountain bikers are ok.

My trail etiquette/rules are as follows:

1.) Be courteous
2.) Ride in control
3.) Give all foot travel right of way
4.) Ride on the inside portion of the trail (riding on outside leads to trail sloughing)
5.) Walk up portions of technical ascent where you risk spinning out

The mountain biking community would do best to be proactive about issues like these and form a representing body that is able to fight for our right to have access to these trails. Until this entity exists, I plan to continue riding on closed trails and to ride them with courtesy! And by the way I packed out a ton of cellophane food wrappers that other hikers left on the summit. The ride down was fantastic!

To the people that said I shouldn't post of such experiences on this website due to the discordance of my actions and the laws that exist, all I can say is what better place to discuss these issues? We have to be proactive!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
318 Posts
While I don't condone your actions I can totally understand them. Being an off-roader, and a professional in the off-road industry, I see how the anti-access groups effect my hobby and livelihood. That said, they have a huge advantage since they're better organized than we are. They also have done a great job dividing us (see the Sierra Club and IMBA) and making MTB's hate the off-roaders.

For my part I don't poach hiking trails, pick up all the trash I see, and give way to all hikers and horseback riders. I give to pro-access groups and try and stay up to date on trail access issues.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
729 Posts
I don't understand the logic at all.

How does riding on trails that are against the rules do anything to open them up? On the contrary, it provides fodder for people to say "see, mountain bikers are a bunch of law breaking hooligans, we shouldn't allow them on any trails!" There's nothing positive to come from poaching other than your personal gain of "I got to ride such and such that nobody else did."

As for organizations working on access, anyone heard of IMBA?

I personally believe there should be areas that are closed to various users. There's plenty of area to have trails we can use and others that are hiker only or closed completely to stay 100% wild.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
I totally disagree with your position.

I personally believe that there are many trails including wilderness trails that should allow mountain bike access. There are no organizations that I have found that actively speak for the mountain biking community and work to open up trails that are closed to mountain bikes. So instead of abiding by a law that I don't agree with, I blatantly break the law and ride within wilderness areas. When I do so, I abide by a set of trail rules and etiquette that I have established that are aimed toward influencing the other trail users (hikers), and thereby show through example that mountain bikers are ok.
As soon as a hiker sees a mountain biker in an obvious wilderness area they will think--hey, this guy is not supposed to be here!!! --- , you will get no points for etiquette and you will be another example of "irresponsible mountain bikers".

Your method will only hurt our cause to open more trails. Look up IMBA for more info and more credible/effective efforts.
 

·
Rubberneck Goose
Joined
·
105 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I am in favor of IMBA and support their work. I don't want to further endager our ability to access trails! I also don't want to condone other people braking the law.

I think you may be wrong about the impression hikers have of encountering a mountain biker within wilderness territory. They are initially surprised, but I usually stop and talk with the hikers. I explain to them that I value trails as much as they do and they have all been supportive of me riding within wilderness boundaries. I expect that a forest service ranger would feel differently, but I expect that. I have had no negative encounters with any of the hikers I have come across.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
You may ride with a "code of trail behavior" but I would be willing to bet that others who follow your example will not. It doesn't really matter how well you rationalize or justify your behavior it is still wrong. Why can't you just be happy with the many trails that are available in the SBNF that are perfectly legal for you to ride? If you are really trying to make a point to open a wilderness area for biking I just fail to see how this is the way.
 

·
Rubberneck Goose
Joined
·
105 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Since it seems that people see my actions as unanimously wrong. I would prefer to move the direction of the forum toward peoples thoughts and opinions about opening up national forest service land/wilderness territories to mountain bikers.

I would also be interested to hear peoples opinions of how effective IMBA is in there plight to support and allow access to mountain bikers. Are there any other agencies that act in behalf of mountain bikers? Any other good ideas to encourage trail access?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
263 Posts
In my many years of riding Socal trails, I can say without a doubt that the trails we are allowed to ride are those that can take abuse. I started riding in the early 80's before there was considerations to bikers. At that time we could ride just about anywhere. But then the encounters started and rules about which trails are most suitable for biking came into play.

Forward to today...
Almost every trail has the brake bumps, extra wide berms, avoid the puddle excursions, and of course the "shooter" trails off the main trails. I won't even get into the added "features" folks build. That is why we get the trail we get. This behavior to National Park Wilderness land that is not patrolled or maintained the same would be environmental suicide.

It extremely difficult to control the behavior of riders so the best chance is to allow trails that can take the abuse.

--
Bill
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Rubberneck Goose,

Please check out this link to IMBA's newsletter it lists some of their accomplishments for 2009.

http://www.imba.com/news/trail_news/22_4/IMBA ITN 22.4 R4.pdf

I know that if our local Palos Verdes CORBA group did not exist all the trails in P.V. would have probably been closed to mt biking.

So....yes we have advocates and we need to support them with money and some occasional trail maintenance time. This is the only way to earn true cred as a concerned mountain biker.:thumbsup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
729 Posts
My local area has hundreds of miles of open trails. So much that I've only scratched the surface, and so have most others. I've been riding these trails for 23 years.

Not that many people are open to doing a 40 or 50 mile MTB ride all the time.

So considering that, I have no problem with sections of the area being either only open to those on foot, or open to only the condors and other wild things. It's important to have wild areas where nature can do whatever it does. We can't box in things like mountain lions or bears and expect that somehow there won't be conflict.
 

·
suspension whore
Joined
·
702 Posts
Rubberneck Goose said:
Since it seems that people see my actions as unanimously wrong. I would prefer to move the direction of the forum toward peoples thoughts and opinions about opening up national forest service land/wilderness territories to mountain bikers.

I would also be interested to hear peoples opinions of how effective IMBA is in there plight to support and allow access to mountain bikers. Are there any other agencies that act in behalf of mountain bikers? Any other good ideas to encourage trail access?
Most bikers would agree with you that MTB impact is negligable and they would love to see more access to national forest service land/wilderness territories. Unfortunately your "open defience" campaign is only going to change the minds of hikers who dont have a say while providing ammunition to the small vocal minority that actively works against mtb access to the trails you want to open.
If you really want to try to change the status quo rather than just justify yur own poaching you really should contact IMBA and Corba and direct your energies there. They have been working on access issues for years and they do have lines of communication open with the people who make these decisions. Attend some meetings , talk to those guys and find some like minded people who can get you up to speed on those who have gone before you and what you are up against. The MTB community needs advocates to make this happen, you sound motivated and passionate- step up.

cheers
 

·
jerks for yer mug
Joined
·
28 Posts
Life's too short to wait for Trail Politics to become reasonable. By the time MTB's are allowed in wilderness, we may all be dead from old age..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
258 Posts
I do agree that national forest boundary rules are stupid man laws created to squash my fun. but it sux we as bikers only want one day a week or evan month to let loose and are never given anythng but lower crap......
 

·
Who's riding today?
Joined
·
1,419 Posts
I would LOVE to ride down the Johnson Ridge trail from Mutau flat (Lockwood Valley/Fraizer Park). Then his the Sespe Creek Trail and ride east to Lion Camp. ;) That would be one awesome use of a day (correct use of the word awesome).

LOOKS so doable, but is 90% in Wilderness...........:madman:

Someone PLEASE send me a PM when I can do it :thumbsup:
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top