Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 20 of 52 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I felt compelled to post due to my experience today on my after work ride.

I invite a coworker to try out some local Novato trails. Plan was leave my house ride to the end of Simmons lane go over the gravel bike legal road to butterfeild drive, use surface roads to get to the Rush Creek open space. Do a loop ride back to my house using the same path we used to get to the Rush Creek Trail head. All bike legal trails should be fun and no issues. This is a common path many cyclist take in Novato to access Rush creek and avoid fast moving traffic on San Marin Dr.

Leave my house, co worker and I proceed up Simmons, cross San Marin Dr and then I notice a car just following us and not passing. This car follows us about 100' behind and never passed. This goes on for about a 1/3 of mile to the gravel road. This gets me wondering what this person is up to and they are obviously tailing my coworker and I or trying to find an address. As we pass through the gate to the gravel road the car stops right at the gate and is not parking. I stop and look at the car and the person is taking photos of us. I turn around walk over to the car and as the person why they are taking photos of us. A woman says "I can not ride here and she is taking pictures of criminals." This type of harassment is not uncommon if you ride in Marin and I am sensitive to this. So I tell her "to read the sign 2' feet in front of her car and that I am doing nothing illegal. I am completely with in my rights to be riding on the gravel road." At this point I am super irritated and ask her "who are you and what are you doing taking pictures of people?" She says "she is photographing illegal activity." I say then "why don't you call the police if I am doing illegal activity." She then holds up some giant walkie talkie, indicating she has some sort of radio hotline to the authorities. I say, " go ahead this is not the first time some misinformed, illiterate dumb ass with nothing better to do than harass people has threatened to call the police for a mountain biker!" I then ride off and spend the first half of the ride complaining how all these people in Marin hate mountain bikers and have zero reason to. The elitist attitude in Marin is off the charts and the older I get the more irritating it is. It is complete discrimination, in fact it is the definition of discrimination. These people have plain unjustified hatred for mountain bikers in this county.

I suspect the radio the woman had was to contact open space rangers as it the same type of radio. To me this means the Open Space District is condoning this type of harassment which makes me even more piss off.

What pisses me off even more is this woman is going to use these photos completely out of context. The gate to the gavel road is also the trail head for a single track trail that is not bike legal that goes up into Mount Burdell open space. The single track trail has a separate gate behind the gate that allow authorized vehicle access the gravel road. We did not get any where near the gate to the single track trail. She is going to put 15 more of this same photo of other mountain bikers in the same location as I was and claim evidence of illegal trail use purely due to the proximity of a non bike legal trail.

I want anyone riding in Novato to be aware that there are probably more of these people staking out trail heads and probably on the trail ready to take photos of mountain bikes to use against us no mater if you riding on a legal trail. Obviously the local anti mountain bike groups are going for a smear campaign during a time when when trail use is being debated and negotiated.

Hopefully the next cyclist that confronts this woman does not loss their cool as I did. Wish I could go back have her take pictures of me, but instead of an angry red face I would have put on my happy neighborhood cyclist smiling face then she would not want to use the pictures.

Description of Woman and Car:

  • White ford Explorer, 5 - 10 years old
  • White woman
  • Dark hair
  • Age 50 -60
  • Average weight and height

Woman is using the professional office parking lot to the east of Simmons lane and on the north side of San Marin Drive to wait for cyclist to pass on Simmons Lane. She then exits the parking lot on Simmons lane and tails you to the trail head.
 

Attachments

·
NedwannaB
Joined
·
12,792 Posts
So she's staking us out in the office building lot where they're doing a re-roof? I've been using that access road between Simmons and Butterfield as you say on my rides to/from Rush Creek lately. I'll have to check it out and GoPro her if she confronts me.

On a better note, in case you're not aware (I just recently found it) there's a gravel path that heads down between the Buterfield subdivision and onto the cross-train circuit course across from FF that eventually takes you all the way out to the Redwood Blvd frontage road. You can cut thru under the overpass that's being worked on and onto the east frontage road then down to the Rush Creek th. Keeps you off San Marin Dr and having to go thru the lights on the freeway overpass to get around the park/ride lot etc.
 

·
Save Jesus
Joined
·
3,059 Posts
If you tell somebody to "go ahead and call the cops on me", then you are supposed to stick around and watch as the cop explains to her why you are doing no wrong. You aren't supposed to ride off like you are running away.
 

·
I'm really diggin it!
Joined
·
3,099 Posts
As lame as it is to have to read about this stuff: Thanks for documenting it. It is amazing how a dozen people with nothing better to do can ruin things for everyone. The land managers brought this onto themselves but in a way I feel sorry for them. What a bunch of kooks, I'm guessing the walkie talkie was just for show. In fact I'm guessing all of it is. These tactics are just what you described. Harassment. The anti bike people know we are at a crucial time so they are trying to divide and conquer. On one hand they are being generally horrible and harassing cyclists on the other hand they have "joined forces with the cycling community". This gives them the illusion of legitimacy for land managers and the community in general.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,767 Posts
Pictures. Document the woman, her vehicle, license plate, etc with your phone camera or GoPro. Then call the police. If the cops receive multiple reports of the same behavior, backed up with pics, they will have to do something.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If you tell somebody to "go ahead and call the cops on me", then you are supposed to stick around and watch as the cop explains to her why you are doing no wrong. You aren't supposed to ride off like you are running away.
I agree leaving is like admitting wrong doing, but in the past (I have been riding in Marin for 20 years) you could wait for an eternity for any authority figure to show up, if they even show up at all.

I have discussed this type of harassment in person with Marin co. sheriffs and I was left with the impression that in their mind none of the parties are really doing anything illegal or dangerous. So responding to this type of call is complete and total waste of their time even if it is their job. This encounter also occurred after 5 pm so the open space rangers are off duty.

The way this type of harassment plays out in my experience even if authorities show up and explain to these people they are just harassing is the following:

  • No tickets are given out
  • Maybe a verbal warning
  • Some information is taken down from both parties
  • All parties leave completely irritated and no resolution is met
  • The person being harassed is just as likely to be harassed in the future
  • The person harassing continues the same activity since there are no repercussions
  • The person being harassed has just wasted 2 hours of their life when they could have had a nice 2 hour ride

The above reasons is why I don't stick around.
 

·
Hoolie Ghoulie on Strava.
Ripmo
Joined
·
3,532 Posts
Thanks for the heads up, as I ride from High school up to Burdell a few times per year, rules be damned. I will have to ULTRA IGNORE this woman as she takes pictures of my arse as I ride away (can you blame her, I wear spandex j/k). I am probably someone she hates, and she has never even met me. A docent in a vest at China Camp was trying to take my photo 3 weeks ago at China Camp, but I turned my back, then she ran away. I assume she was looking for coverage to text a ranger, but who knows. I don't care anymore. I ride, I pay my tickets, and I ride some more. Grew up in Mill Valley in 1970's, dealing with issue for 30 years, it won't go away. I don't confront anyone, it would ruin my zen. Half the time I'm in the wrong anyway. So SUCK IT Hoolie!
 

·
Hoolie Ghoulie on Strava.
Ripmo
Joined
·
3,532 Posts
By the way, I think us riding a 2 foot wide trail is less threatening than widening hwy 101 from 2 lanes each way in the 1970's, to a nine lane mega structure. People die on that hwy all the time. That lady in her Ford Explorer doesn't seem to get bothered by that. Or the Novato Costco mall that was built on marshland. It's weird. We rarely kill anyone on our singletrack.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Go to the MCOSD web page
Marin County Parks: Open Space
Click on the contact us link and then the report incident link
Then put in a report of what happened to you and your friend. Open Space needs to hear about this and it will give The Dahl something else to think about.
Good call I will do this. I have done this before about 10 years ago to report an open space volunteer who was harassing me for riding on the same gravel road. He was using the same logic as the woman described above. I am on a bike in proximity to single track, I must be breaking the rules because I am on a mountain bike. I received no response from the open space district and I still see the volunteer out there with his brown vest stopping ever person on a mountain bike and interrogating them. I know his name (John) and I tell him every time he stops me that he has stopped me 50 times in last 10 years and I know where I can and can't ride.

I asked him a few years ago why he was targeting mountain bikers. He said "he was almost hit by one and they are dangerous." I asked him if he was hit or almost hit? He reiterated "almost", meaning he was not hit. He may have been startled by a person on a bike which would have been poor form on the cyclist part but I don't believe that is illegal.

This is same story I have heard for the last 20 years from the different people who have stopped me on a ride just to yell and harass. None of them have been injured and they are just anti mountain bike for no reason and they have no clue what trails are multi use and which ones are not. I think the only thing I have heard of where someone was injured in the last 20 years and some one on a bike was involved was the recent incident at Indian tree trail in Novato.

The good thing is I only run into these anti mountain bike people once in a great while.
 

·
Hoolie Ghoulie on Strava.
Ripmo
Joined
·
3,532 Posts
The people that ALMOST get hurt usually have a legitimate gripe. Too many Mt bike riders go too fast for a particular area. They don't care about hikers right of way. Those of us that tend to be courteous get the brunt of their anger. Jelly side down baby. Tough cookies for us.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I am with you things are ass backwards around here as to what is really important and what is not.

Consider one thing when these people are taking photos, you are providing them with the photographic evidence to support their vendetta. It has been said photos are worth a 1000 words. If I chose to ride on trails I should not be on I would make every effort possible to not get photographed doing so. These photographs make the work of those fighting for more trail access even more difficult. Call the detour from your desired path so they can't take your picture doing your part to gain more access to more trails.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
110 Posts
Good call I will do this. I have done this before about 10 years ago to report an open space volunteer who was harassing me for riding on the same gravel road. He was using the same logic as the woman described above. I am on a bike in proximity to single track, I must be breaking the rules because I am on a mountain bike. I received no response from the open space district and I still see the volunteer out there with his brown vest stopping ever person on a mountain bike and interrogating them. I know his name (John) and I tell him every time he stops me that he has stopped me 50 times in last 10 years and I know where I can and can't ride.

I asked him a few years ago why he was targeting mountain bikers. He said "he was almost hit by one and they are dangerous." I asked him if he was hit or almost hit? He reiterated "almost", meaning he was not hit. He may have been startled by a person on a bike which would have been poor form on the cyclist part but I don't believe that is illegal.

This is same story I have heard for the last 20 years from the different people who have stopped me on a ride just to yell and harass. None of them have been injured and they are just anti mountain bike for no reason and they have no clue what trails are multi use and which ones are not. I think the only thing I have heard of where someone was injured in the last 20 years and some one on a bike was involved was the recent incident at Indian tree trail in Novato.

The good thing is I only run into these anti mountain bike people once in a great while.
You may not get a response but it will go on record. I've been in a few meetings when The Dahl starts ranting about how her Monday mornings are spent going over complaints, reports and e-mails about people behaving badly.
I would fire off the incident report then hit the trails. Looks like a killer day out there!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
I think you are worrying way to much about this.

Not sure how a photo of riders on a legal trail is a problem. If the photo is used to support an argument that bikers are riding illegal trails, they will look pretty stupid when its pointed out to be a legal trail and will lack creditability going forward. It should be very obvious to anyone in the open space district where the photo was taken and whether or not its a legal trail.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
598 Posts
The people that ALMOST get hurt usually have a legitimate gripe. Too many Mt bike riders go too fast for a particular area. They don't care about hikers right of way. Those of us that tend to be courteous get the brunt of their anger. Jelly side down baby. Tough cookies for us.
This bares repeating. Every encounter we have on the trail shapes public opinion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Brad you are correct, I make every effort not to scare other trail users or make them uncomfortable because I want more access to trails in Marin. That is why this woman's activity makes me so irritated because I am a very conscience of the perception of mountain bikers and this woman is going to go out there and paint a completely inaccurate depiction of us.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Below is my message to the open space district.


I wanted to report a case of harassment on the Mt. Burdell open space.

My coworker and I where harassed at the vehicle entrance gate at the end of Simmons lane in Novato on the creek side fire road on 4/4/14 at approximately 5:45pm. Listed below is a description of the harassment.

I invite a coworker to try out some local Novato trails on our mountain bikes. The plan was to leave my house ride to the end of Simmons lane go over the gravel fire road to butterfeild drive, use surface roads to get to the Rush Creek open space. Do a loop ride back to my house using the same path we used to get to the Rush Creek Trail head. This is a common path many cyclist take in Novato to access Rush creek and avoid fast moving traffic on San Marin Dr.

I left my house on xxxx and my co worker and I proceed up Simmons lane, cross San Marin Dr and then I notice a car pull out the professional complex at the corner of Simmons and San Marin. The vehicle was just following us about 100' behind and never passed. This goes on for about a 1/3 of a mile to the gate to enter the creek side fire road between simmons and butterfeild. This gets me wondering what this person is up to, are they are obviously tailing my coworker and I or trying to find an address. As we pass through the gate to the gravel road the car stops right at the gate and is not parking. I stop and look at the car and the person is taking photos of us. I turn around walk over to the car and ask the person why they are taking photos of us. A woman says "I can not ride here and she is taking pictures of criminals." So I tell her "to read the sign 2' feet in front of her car and that I am doing nothing illegal. I am completely with in my rights to be riding on the gravel road." I ask her "who are you and what are you doing taking pictures of people?" She says "she is photographing illegal activity." I say then "why don't you call the police if I am doing illegal activity." She then holds up some giant walkie talkie, indicating she has some sort of radio hotline to the authorities. I say, " go ahead this is not the first time some misinformed person with nothing better to do than harass people has threatened to call the police for a mountain biker!" I then continue on my ride to the Rush Creek open space.

This type of activity if very disturbing to me. I am aware we are in a trail use review period and cyclist are working with your team and others in an effort to justify greater access to open space trails for cyclist. I am very certain this woman works with one of the groups that feels cyclist have not place as a user of the open space areas of Marin county. I believe this woman will use the photos of myself and other cyclist at the very same location and make a claim that the cyclists in the photos are using the Simmons trail even though the photo is of cyclist using the creek side fire road. She will be presenting completely fictional information in an effort to impose her beliefs on the trail use assessment process. Her activities are the definition of discrimination.

The woman's radio looked exactly like the radios the rangers carry. Is this woman a volunteer or an employee of the open space district? I sincerely hope not, as her behavior is in no way courteous or professional. I would be very upset as a Novato and Marin county resident that the taxes I pay go to support an organization that would allow a person of their staff to discriminate and harass the public.

The woman is parking in the profession building complex at the corner of Simmons lane and San Marin drive.

Description of the woman and car:

White ford Explorer 5-10 yeas old
White woman
50-60 years of age
dark hair
average height and weight


Please reply to me indicating you have received this message or if you have further question. Also please confirm this woman is in no way affiliated with your organization and that you do not condone this type of behavior of your staff or volunteers.

Thank you
 
1 - 20 of 52 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top