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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Local advocacy getting started here in Ottawa, Canada.

The National Capital Commission (NCC) is the land manager that manages Crown land in the area, namely the Gatineau Park and the Greenbelt trail systems. Needless to say we have some work ahead of us to gain any legal access to these trails and some patently incorrect perceptions about the impact of fat tires on compacted snowshoe trails. We aren't even suggesting accessing the groomed XC ski trails. You can see from the attitude of the NCC official that we have some serious work to do

No fat bikes in Gatineau Park - CBC News: Ottawa at 6:00 - CBC Player
 

· Nemophilist
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Geee...

And I thought Canadadians were so fair minded, level headed, and inclusive? Pffffffff.

Typical stupefying ignorance. What is a Jean Wolff, and why is some Carribean Dandy in a suit passing judgement on something he knows nothing about? Because that's the way it works.

Snow shoe trails? Anyone who shoes on packed trails is not a shoer. They are a walker. Shoeing on packed snow sucks. Anyone who knows what real shoeing is knows that. Damage from fat tires? What is damaged snow? When the sun shines and melts the snow, is that damage? When snow falls from the trees and pock marks the ground layer, is that damage? A deer's hoof print? Is yellow snow damage? Leaving tread marks in the snow is damage? Leaving crampon marks in the snow is not? Saying that snow can be damaged labels someone as a cretin right off the bat, an exception being made for skiing double track, perhaps.

Good thing they make such good use of all the taxes you guys pay up there..... God help us!
 

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The one old woman said everything you need to know about access to public lands for ANY kind of biking. "It ruins the tranquility" of her experience. In other words, she is out the "communing" with nature, having a deep and profound "experience", while you horrible mountain bikers merely want to use and abuse nature like a $5 whore just for giggles. I've been riding mountain bikes since '87 and IMO, every "reason" such as "erosion", "trail damage", "wildlife destruction", etc. is 90% BS, just a cover for their own selfish use of public lands.
 

· Nemophilist
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The one old woman said everything you need to know about access to public lands for ANY kind of biking. "It ruins the tranquility" of her experience. In other words, she is out the "communing" with nature, having a deep and profound "experience", while you horrible mountain bikers merely want to use and abuse nature like a $5 whore just for giggles. I've been riding mountain bikes since '87 and IMO, every "reason" such as "erosion", "trail damage", "wildlife destruction", etc. is 90% BS, just a cover for their own selfish use of public lands.
Yeh;

I forgot to include her in my rant. I had the same reaction. I'm fine, but you're not. NIMBY.
 

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It is obvious that none of the people interviewed have any idea what a fat bike is. I am sure the old lady thought it would be a motorized bike (dirt bike). the guy that says "what control do you have on a bike"? He was thinking of tires like a road bike and yes that would be true. Just some education needs to happen. They allow mountain biking on designation trails in the summer it just needs to be transferred to the winter. Don't give up.

PS. just get them to change the rules soon as I am heading to Ottawa in a couple of weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
One would think we were proposing riding bikes over baby seals or something...

I was part of a group of five that dared ride one of the designated snowshoe trails this time last year. We had warm days all weekend when the snowshoers were out in force and then a deep freeze on the Sunday night. The trails were perfectly setup for bikes so we decided to ride one of the newly opened snowshoe trails on the Monday morning - some of the trail shown in the footage actually.

It was awesome. The trail was probably 2-3 feet wide, hard compacted snow. The kind of snow where you can run 20psi and leave barely a tire track. We did this huge loop trail and saw about 3-4 people out walking the trail with snowshoes under their arms. Then we saw a single skate skier on a adjacent skate track who gave us the stink face and we knew the jig was up. We finished the ride and were met by two park officers on snowmobiles (talk about trail damage....)

Three of us received warnings, two received $144 tickets about 4 months later as they were repeat offenders.

Needless to say, now we are working with our local IMBA affiliate to try and gain some legal access with teh NCC. Lord help us....
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It is obvious that none of the people interviewed have any idea what a fat bike is. I am sure the old lady thought it would be a motorized bike (dirt bike). the guy that says "what control do you have on a bike"? He was thinking of tires like a road bike and yes that would be true. Just some education needs to happen. They allow mountain biking on designation trails in the summer it just needs to be transferred to the winter. Don't give up.

PS. just get them to change the rules soon as I am heading to Ottawa in a couple of weeks.
There is no mountain biking on those particular routes in the summer either. They are newly created hiking/snowshoe routes that opened last season to address the growing demand for official snowshoe routes in the park. When I picked up aluminum framed Redfeather shoes about 15 years ago I was catching lots of sh!t from skiers who didn't even want us on the sides of existing groomed runs.

The growing popularity of snowshoes has brought lots more people into the park - none of whom even have to pay for a trail pass like skiers do. And now they have designated, signed and groomed runs. GROOMED as in they run a snowmobile down them and lay down some sweet corduroy.
 

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The one old woman said everything you need to know about access to public lands for ANY kind of biking. "It ruins the tranquility" of her experience. In other words, she is out the "communing" with nature, having a deep and profound "experience", while you horrible mountain bikers merely want to use and abuse nature like a $5 whore just for giggles. I've been riding mountain bikes since '87 and IMO, every "reason" such as "erosion", "trail damage", "wildlife destruction", etc. is 90% BS, just a cover for their own selfish use of public lands.
None of the people interviewed had anything but opinions and none of those opinions seemed backed up by experience.
Even the gentleman from the NCC didn't quote any studies or proof that fat bikes damage trails.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, I look at it as summer use versus winter use trails, as does the NCC. The parkway are closed to cars in winter and groomed for xc skiing. The gravel MUP pathways are closed to bike and foot traffic in winter, groomed for skiing. These trails were created specifically for snowshoeing in winter and hikers may use then in summer. Opening these trails in winter to bikes when conditions are favorable does not mean having to open them to bikes in summer
 

· Superflying on Haven
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Well, We finished the ride and were met by two park officers on snowmobiles (talk about trail damage....)
Three of us received warnings, two received $144 tickets about 4 months later as they were repeat offenders
Are NCC officers allowed to physical intervention / constraints. What if you wear goggles and you don't stop ? Are they going to bully you to stop you. I mean they are not police...

I met a NCC officer before the trails open last year in April. He was in a truck and yelled at me to stop but I just kept riding and reached home through the maze of trails.
 

· Nemophilist
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Another thing that bugs me...

In trail use disputes like this, they always default to needs of the Greatest Common Denominator; Walkers. Why is this? Majority to access rules? I don't give a fat rats arse about walkers. They do not factor in any of my decisions where trail building & maintenance are concerned (and a certain group of them are actually a hindrance to other users). Someone on foot needs nothing more than the outdoors to do what they do. Shoers are very little different than walkers. They can go over, under, around, and through virtually anything they have a mind to, and need no human intervention to do it. This cannot be said about any other user group, and yet, the walkers are catered to like they are fragile, to the detriment of other users. Groomed shoe trails... really? :skep:

If this Ashley Burke really wants to do the job that people in her profession USED to do - investigate & report - someone should give her a hand and offer to let her see for herself what Fatbiking is about. Loan her a bike, suit her up in her finest lodge cruising winter wear, and let her try it for herself. She might even take you up on it! Then she can speak with some veracity.

Wouldn't it be nice....
 

· Superflying on Haven
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My rules :

- Do night rides. Not much officers on the trails after 6pm.
- Don't park your car near the trails. A license plate is easy to identify.
- Wear ski goggles. Officers or people may have a camera and take pictures but they need a clear identification of your face (It is the law).
- Have a plan B. Know perfectly the trails in the area and figure out how to ride away. On a bike (with a good cardio ;-), you are faster than most skiers, snowshoers, walkers and snowmobiles can't access the tight trails.
- Ride on packed / groomed trails. Your bike rolls faster on these trails, if you need to flee, and there is less risk to crash than in deep snow.
- Have light wheels. I have two wheelsets : Rolling Darryls for float and 47mm trials rims. I only use the 47mm on groomed trails « at risk » as it is much more easy to breakaway and speed uphills.
- Stay away from groups.
- Never stop. I thing no physical intervention is allowed to force you to stop (Can't confirm however)
- Memorize a false address / name. Some officers may have a computer (A friend who was arrested told me his address was being checked in a truck) but most on the trails couldn't likely check the information they receive.
- Wear a powerful light (900 lumens) on your helmet not on your handlebar. It is easy to see that you are on a bike with a light on the bars. With a light on the helmet, people you meet are temporarily blinded and think you are on skis but by the time they see you are on bike... you are gone.

So far, so good...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I've had close calls in the shoulder season on XC rides - but as you say it's usually pretty easy to get away if you peel off the main route and down some single track. When we were busted we parked near but not at p19 - which turned out not to be the best spot to park.

We've also been okay in mid to late April and early may riding the parkways, when they are closed to cars still and there isn't enough continuous snow for the skiers to get to wound up about it.
 

· will rant for food
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I get what they're for, but these short news spots are often, as in this case, too short. The guy who was skeptical of bikes having control in snow - we didn't get to hear the specific question asked. We didn't get to hear if he's aware fat bikes have brakes, or if he's had the opportunity to ride a fat bike.

Maybe contrast the shot with another shot of a fatty doing a ****ing stoppie on snow?

We can assume likely answers to those questions, but without the due diligence it's just distilled "this camp, that camp" fluff.

Even the NCC guy, while likely clueless about fat tire trail fitness (if you will) wasn't allowed much unedited room to speak.
 

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I'm not sure advocating outlaw behavior on a public forum is the best course of action if we are trying to expand our winter riding opportunities.
On top of that, at some point in my life the thrill of being a scofflaw wore off and now I would prefer to demand and work for equal legitimate access to public property than sneak around hoping not to get caught. I spoke with a friend last night who is responsible for re-opening a couple large state parks to mountain bikes and he confirmed what I said earlier. Safety, trail destruction and wildlife are the reasons publicly given by groups that want mountain bikers banned, but the real reason is they just don't want a loud, rowdy, fast NEW group of users one THEIR trails. Ironically, they conveniently forget that most of the trails were initially blazed by MOTORCYCLES which have long been banned!

He gained access partly by acknowledging their safety concerns, but mainly through working on the trails with the other group. Since most members of the other group are quite elderly the mountain biking group is now welcomed with open arms since they are the ones who do the heavy lifting when it comes to trail work.
 

· Nemophilist
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On top of that, at some point in my life the thrill of being a scofflaw wore off and now I would prefer to demand and work for equal legitimate access to public property than sneak around hoping not to get caught. I spoke with a friend last night who is responsible for re-opening a couple large state parks to mountain bikes and he confirmed what I said earlier. Safety, trail destruction and wildlife are the reasons publicly given by groups that want mountain bikers banned, but the real reason is they just don't want a loud, rowdy, fast NEW group of users one THEIR trails. Ironically, they conveniently forget that most of the trails were initially blazed by MOTORCYCLES which have long been banned!

He gained access partly by acknowledging their safety concerns, but mainly through working on the trails with the other group. Since most members of the other group are quite elderly the mountain biking group is now welcomed with open arms since they are the ones who do the heavy lifting when it comes to trail work.
Been there, done that;

Agreed across the board. When other user groups find out that bikers are the most proactive group in terms of trail work - usually the ONLY group that actually DOES work on the trails - they change their tune. There's little like expanding a network and the opportunities it offers with well thought out and interesting trails to win friends and influence people. Why we seem to be stuck with this "The Wild One", skate punk label is beyond me. I don't know any bikers like that...

... except maybe those that poach illegal trails.
 
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