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WHAT HAS SCIENCE DONE!?!
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Mike Vandemen does the North Shore

(with apologies for stealing the title idea from the similarly titled Lance Armstrong post :D )

I didn't realize how much fun mountain biking wasn't....
His letter to the olympic committe is below, more goodies can be found:

http://home.pacbell.net/mjvande/
http://home.pacbell.net/mjvande/overview.htm

There's a good chance this is a re-post, given that I've only been reading this forum for a month or so...but if you haven't seen it, it's damn funny and incredibly disturbing all at the same time.



August 11, 1997 Juan Antonio Samaranch President, International Olympic Committee Chateau de Vidy
1007 Lausanne, Switzerland

Katia Mascagni Stivachtis, Chief, Section of Environmental Affairs Department of International
Cooperation and Public Information International Olympic Committee Chateau de Vidy 1007 Lausanne,
Switzerland

Gentlepersons:

I was delighted to learn (from your web page) that protection of the environment (after
sports and culture) is now one of the main goals of the Olympics. The visibility and
prestige of the Olympics give you enormous responsibility, especially toward young people,
who will be strongly influenced by what they see. As you well know, nonverbal learning is
very powerful, and is for many people (e.g. preliterate children) the primary means by which
the Olympics teaches them about sports, culture, and the environment. People, especially
children, assume that what they see on television, especially in the Olympics, is proper.

Therefore, I was shocked, saddened, and embarrassed when I discovered that mountain biking
has been accepted as an Olympic sport. I am enclosing several papers in which I explain in
detail the harm that mountain biking inflicts on wildlife. But I will try to summarize that
information here.

We are in the midst of a worldwide extinction crisis. According to the IUCN (International
Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources), one fourth of all of the
world's animals are threatened with extinction. The primary threat is loss of habitat. Such
loss includes obvious, outright destruction, such as clearcutting and open-pit mining, but
also the excessive presence of humans, which often causes wildlife to abandon their
preferred habitat. In either case, the wildlife lose access to important resources, such as
certain food sources and potential mates. When judging effects on wildlife, it is essential
to look at the situation from their point of view, not ours. If they abandon an area, the
habitat is effectively destroyed for them, regardless of what we think.

The primary reason why mountain biking is harmful to wildlife, thus, is that it makes it
much easier for people to get into wildlife habitat. Mountain bikers don't just show up at
the Olympics to race. They have to spend many hours training. And where do they prefer to
ride? In wilderness (wildlife habitat). And what kind of trail do they prefer to ride on?
"Single-track" trails, which are primarily in wilderness, or at least the most natural part
of any area. That is also, of course, the area preferred by wildlife. The Olympics are a
powerful motivator. When people see a sport in the Olympics, they identify with the athletes
and want to participate in the sport. Thus, by simply including mountain biking in the
Olympics, you unleash a tidal wave of people buying mountain bikes, flooding parks and
wilderness areas, and participating in races. As is usual when there is an increase in
recreation, wildlife lose more and more of their (already dangerously dwindling) habitat.

The bicycle is a wonderful tool, but like any technological aid, it can be used for good
(e.g. to replace auto travel) or evil (e.g. to expand man's domination of wildlife habitat).
Similar damage arises from the use of the use of other technologies, such as climbing aids
(extending man's reach onto cliffs), rafts (giving people access to the entire length of a
river), night-vision goggles (making night-time access to habitat easier), etc. Throughout
our evolution, technological aids (e.g. guns, the internal combustion engine, etc.) have
given us vastly more power than any other species, and the more we have wielded them, the
more damage we have done. You had the right idea when you banned sports that "depend
essentially on mechanical propulsion". Technological aids have no place (or at most a minor
place) in Olympic sports, which are based on simple physical activities like walking and
swimming that measure the physical (e.g. strength and health) and spiritual (e.g.
sportsmanship) dimensions of a human being, not of his or her tools.

Many mountain bikers also lack sportsmanship. They insist on riding even when their
enjoyment conflicts with that of wildlife and other people. Elderly hikers are being driven
off of hiking trails they have enjoyed all their lives. Threatened species have been killed
by bikers, who then try to pretend that it didn't happen or was insignificant. Anyone who
speaks out against mountain biking is attacked viciously, as I have been and continue to be.
My physical safety and that of my family have been threatened, for simply telling the truth
about the effects of mountain biking on wildlife. Many mountain bikers seem to see their
goal as conquering anything and anyone in their path. I haven't seen such a lack of
sportsmanship in any other sport (with the exception of professional wrestling and one
infamous instance in ice skating).

Mountain biking also destroys vast numbers of organisms that live in and on soil, creating
devastating erosion. One Olympic hopeful, for example, trained in Brown's Woods, DesMoines,
Iowa, where habitat destruction was so bad that the county was forced to close the park to
bikes. The knobby tires used by virtually all mountain bikers are perfectly designed to rip
up the soil and kill the plants and animals that live there. They insist on using those
tires even though they don't need that much traction unless they are traveling at excessive
speed, or riding on steep slopes or wet ground where biking is inappropriate.

The Earth's environmental problems are so huge that they will not be solved without all of
us doing our part. I appreciate that you are striving to do your part, and are re-examining
the Olympics with the environment in mind. I hope you will consider dropping mountain biking
as an Olympic sport, and take another look at all the other sports (e.g. canoeing, which
also intrudes into important wildlife habitat) from the point of view of wildlife.

Sincerely,

Michael J. Vandeman, Ph.D.

P.S. A larger issue, of course, is whether an activity that requires the long-distance travel of
thousands of people can ever be sustainable. I suggest that you recognize that the Earth's oil
supplies will soon be exhausted (estimated by the experts at about 2040), and create a
committee to begin planning for it. (E.g., how do we want to make use of the oil that is left?
Burn it up?!). Every organization should have such a committee!

References:

Ehrlich, Paul and Anne, Extinction: The Causes and Consequences of the Disappearance of
Species. c.1981.

Knight, Richard L. and Kevin J. Gutzwiller, eds. Wildlife and Recreationists. Covelo, California:
Island Press, c.1995.

Phillips, Kathryn, Tracking the Vanishing Frogs: An Ecological Mystery. New York: St. Martin's
Press, 1994.

Stebbins, Robert, personal communication.

Vandeman, Michael J., Ph.D. http://www.imaja.com/change/environment/mvarticles/

 

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Skygrounder said:
There's a good chance this is a re-post, given that I've only been reading this forum for a month or so...but if you haven't seen it, it's damn funny and incredibly disturbing all at the same time.
]
Yep, mountain bikes are right there on the level with heavy construction equipment, interstate highways, and motorboats. We should be ashamed.... :rolleyes:

No worries, this thread probably will generate more hits for those sites than they've ever gotten. Where do i send the nasty e-mail?

Anyways, I'm gonna go run over some coyotes now; if I'm lucky I'll get a bunny stuck in my spokes.

Wilderness = Presevering the land for future generations of ranchers.
 

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don't try this at home
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even tho i hate to put him at the top of the page

Skygrounder said:
(with apologies for stealing the title idea from the similarly titled Lance Armstrong post :D )

Mountain bikers don't just show up at
the Olympics to race. They have to spend many hours training. And where do they prefer to
ride? In wilderness (wildlife habitat).
Really? I thought those guys rode on the same paved roads MV drives his oil consuming, metal built from strip mines, on. I don't know about you but i would think anyone going to the olympics mtbing probably spends more time road riding, then on the trails.

but i guess he did ask where they 'prefer' to ride. :D again MV's version of the 'truth'
 

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Skygrounder said:
(with apologies for stealing the title idea from the similarly titled Lance Armstrong post :D )

Snip MV Eco-Terrorist banter

Geeze. MV is to mountain biking what boils are to a$$es. He's been kicked out of the Sierra Society, angered anyone with any intelligence and has twisted facts to support his odd ideas.

The only way to handle him is to completely ignore him, like I'm sure most of his family and acquaintances do. That man (apologies to men everywhere) is a professional waste of time.
 

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"Ride Lots" - Eddie Mercx
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it's bad enough

that he spams the alt.mountain-bike newsgroup with his drivel, don't give him reason to start coming here.

he's a quack and he's been known to perform internet searches on his own name to see who's talking about him. if you're going to rebroadcast his demented rants here, at least change the spelling of his name or something or else he may end up spewing his garbage here on a semi-regularly basis. of course, gregg and/or francois can always ban his IP address so that's a good thing.

YR
 

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Yummy
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Monte said:
Please do us all a favor and edit your post and delete all of the content. MV doesn't deserve the bandwidth and linking to his sites just adds fuel to his 'cause'.

Monte
And I'm still trying to figure out what the article has to do with the 'North Shore' anyway ...

Kn.
 

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Probably drunk right now
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A little common sense, please....

First, the article/letter/etc. is 7 years old.

Second, MV is a zealot. A zealot who is unwilling or unable to consider any point of view other than his own. You would have better luck persuading a tupperware bowl to become a piece of fine china than to change MV's opinion on mountain biking.

So why try? All we're doing by giving him this space is feeding his ego. He's not worth our time.

Ken
 

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Lol!

"...better luck persuading a tupperware bowl to become a piece of fine china..." Too funny, Ken. But true. I have one too; He takes hot air and raises it to record temperatures.

I wonder how far into one of those letters officials can read before they just quit, spit or ****. I guess they need to read it all if it's Cc'ed to others. What a burden he places on people with *actual* important things to do.

Bb, [ Vandersquat will never die. It's the right thing, but he just won't do it. ]
 

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don't try this at home
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oldschool said:
Don't post any MV sh*t here. Ensuing arguments pretty much killed the rec.bike... lists. MV will snif this out, and then come here....
Thanks,
Tim
i think he showed up on the old boards once but was quickly disposed of. :D
 

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WHAT HAS SCIENCE DONE!?!
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
One of the reasons I poseted this was because I hadn't seen it before, and was pretty shocked at the inaccuracies, assumptions, generalizations, etc. when reading it. I figured I'd pass it along because it's important to know these people are out there. The good news in my opinion is that this type is so zealous that they wind up wrecking their own argument because even the average uneducated-on-the-issue person is likely to spot at least one major lie in it, thus undermining the zealot's crediiblity entirely.

I apologize if this thread is likely to cause anonyance to the admins. If this guy is so out of control that he'll actually cause problems here, then the admins should please delete this thread.
 

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(school of funk that is)
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No worries bro....

My post was kind of, supposed to be, sarcastic.

The guy is just a nut and can consume a LOT of energy. Never enter a debate with him. Logic and proportion are things he just will not publicly grasp. I applaud his efforts in trying to save what's left. I just don't understand why he decided to battle mountain bikes instead of many more flagrant and destructive activities/issues.

Tim
(who can't help but turn on lights, ride in a vehicle, and poop in a toilet every now and then)
 

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WHAT HAS SCIENCE DONE!?!
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
No offense taken, I wasn't replying to anyone in particular, just talking to the general opinion that the M.V. shouldn't be mentioned.

oldschool said:
No worries bro....

My post was kind of, supposed to be, sarcastic.

The guy is just a nut and can consume a LOT of energy. Never enter a debate with him. Logic and proportion are things he just will not publicly grasp. I applaud his efforts in trying to save what's left. I just don't understand why he decided to battle mountain bikes instead of many more flagrant and destructive activities/issues.

Tim
(who can't help but turn on lights, ride in a vehicle, and poop in a toilet every now and then)
 

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It's not that....

Skygrounder said:
No offense taken, I wasn't replying to anyone in particular, just talking to the general opinion that the M.V. shouldn't be mentioned.
It's not that he shouldn't be mentioned. Your indignation over MV is certainly justified. I don't think anyone was is suggesting that yo were wrong for posting your question but rather pointing out that Mikey isn't worth the energy and effort of a harsh reaction.

Any emails sent his way will be dismissed by him without consideration unless of course, he can deride the sender with his version of "the truth" which usually revolves around his contention that "all mountain bikers are liars". Reacting or responding to MV simply isn't worth wasting the time or effort to do so.

Ken
 
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