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Do Marin Mountain bikers need an advocacy group?

The poll is currently on the Home page of the IJHome - Marin Independent Journal

Nice work MCBC!

Marin County Bicycle Coalition will work to open trails for mountain bikers
By Mark Prado
Marin Independent Journal

Posted: 09/19/2011 05:40:03 PM PDT

John Taheny of Mill Valley Calif. rides his mountain bike at China Camp State Park on Monday,...«12»John Taheny of Mill Valley Calif. rides his mountain bike at China Camp State Park on Monday, Sept. 19, 2011, in San Rafael, Calif. The Marin County Bicycle Coalition is preparing to help promote mountain biking in the county. (IJ photo/Frankie Frost) Frankie Frost THE POLITICALLY POWERFUL Marin County Bicycle Coalition announced Monday it will work to get more trails opened for mountain bikers and plans to hire an off-road biking advocacy director to help make that happen.

The bicycle coalition - known for helping create bikeways on roads and streets in the county - will use its new arm to participate in the trail-planning process along with government agencies, land managers, environmental organizations and the public, bike officials said.

"We are not going to be yelling and beating on doors and making demands until we get what we want," said Matt Adams, chairman of the

coalition's bike committee and president of the Mike's

John Taheny of Mill Valley Calif. talks as he prepares for a mountain bike ride at China Camp State Park on Monday, Sept. 19, 2011, in San Rafael, Calif. The Marin County Bicycle Coalition is preparing to help promote mountain biking in the county. Taheny custom built his bike from the ground up. (IJ photo/Frankie Frost) Frankie Frost Bikes retail outlet. "We will take a professional approach and will work together with various groups."

The issue of mountain bike access on Marin's slopes has been a hot-button topic for years in the county as hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians jostle for space on trails, in particular on Mount Tamalpais .

The coalition is aware of the conflict, but it believes the demand for new trails for mountain bikers is too strong to ignore, Adams said.

"We have always been fearful of the controversy, but with the success MCBC has had with its road programs we felt it was time," Adams said. "You can't deny the popularity of the sport and that people are doing it in Marin."

There are roughly 2,000 dues-paying members of the coalition.

News of the new advocacy arm of the coalition is raising red flags for the Marin Conservation League, the county's preeminent environmental and land protection group.

"It will dilute our interest in supporting the coalition and we are very, very concerned about an aggressive approach to open up more single-track paths and trails for bikes," said Nona Dennis, second vice president with the league.

Dennis said areas such as China Camp State Park, which allows mountain biking, have become difficult for hikers and equestrians to use.

"It's basically unsafe, they have taken over China Camp," Dennis said.

The Marin bicycle lobby has grown into a powerful political force in the county and mountain bikers stand to benefit as the bike coalition launches its agenda to open trails.

Since the late 1990s, the bicycle community has become more organized, with its representatives at virtually every key transportation meeting in Marin where they press the case for bicycle and pedestrian interests.

Most notably the coalition played a key role in helping reopen the Cal Park Hill Tunnel linking Larkspur and San Rafael for bike users. Safe Routes to Schools, an offshoot of the coalition that helps get children on bikes to school, has also thrived, becoming a national model.

The group is also credited with helping pass the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit sales tax in 2008 by getting a bike path included as part of the project, bringing in votes from bike riders.

Mountain biker John Taheny of Mill Valley, who was riding in China Camp on Monday, was pleased to hear of the coalition's newest campaign.

"All the single tracks are illegal for us to ride, it's all focused for hikers," he said. "They (the coalition) have already done a great job with the bike paths, they have made it easy to get around the North Bay. But there is nowhere to ride for mountain bikers. It's limited. More trails are needed for bikes."
 

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Old,slow,still havin fun.
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News of the new advocacy arm of the coalition is raising red flags for the Marin Conservation League, the county's preeminent environmental and land protection group.

"It will dilute our interest in supporting the coalition and we are very, very concerned about an aggressive approach to open up more single-track paths and trails for bikes," said Nona Dennis, second vice president with the league.
Classic, just classic.

Let me translate that quote from the Marin Conservation League : "we support the MCBC as long as they don't do anything".

Go go MCBC!
 

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It's about showing up.
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Marin already has a mountain bike advocacy group called the Marin Bicycle Trails Council.

What is happening here is that the Marin County Bicycle Coalition has generated a strong organization that has executed a mission with a simpler problem than off-road access. As such it has decided to take on off-road access issues.

The Marin Bicycle Trails Council as had limited success in building itself amidst the extremely difficult problem of off-road access. Vested interests in control of institutional lands have been very hard to shake up. Though this group contains some of the most wonderful mountain bike advocates you will ever see, it is hard to create and sustain an effective organization in that context.

What is not included in this article is that the Marin Bicycle Trails Council has donated funds to the Marin County Bicycle Coalition which has chosen to pick up the gauntlet. The Marin Conservation League, "the county's preeminent environmental and land protection group", is clearly taking notice and continuing to express its distorted view and peddling fear. Through the Coalition's already successful organization and methods a substantial step has been taken to move the issue to a more fair understanding of off-road use.

This could get good.
 

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Paper or plastic?
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True that, for sure. But if we can't win a lame little newspaper poll, what can we win?
In Marin, probably not much in my lifetime. I'd love to be wrong, but opponents are not interested in compromise, are well heeled and entrenched. Good luck to MCBC. In the meantime, there is still plenty of night roaming opportunities to enjoy the present. That's the one thing that the crazies cannot stop.
 

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trail rat
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There is also Access 4 Bikes.
Access4Bikes

DoTheWork_RideTheTrail is the person here to contact as well, but lack of response to previous posts might have discouraged them. (You can search for more posts from that user.)

Some are not as blind crazy determined as some others of us. ;)
 
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