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Why? Bikes cause no more trail erosion than hiking boots, and less than horses. Boots cause erosion of g-outs, while bikes don’t, but bikes create braking bumps.
 

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https://www.patagonia.com/stories/why-wilderness-matters-more-than-you/story-90114.html?utm_source=em&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=091220_TCL_unfenced

I'd say I would strongly disagree with Mike Ferintino's take on riding bikes in the wilderness, and will stop buying anything with a Patagonia label on it.
He comes off like an over - zealous ex- smoker.
Do as I say, not as I do(did).
We actually have a wilderness area in
Hoosier National Forest in southern IN,
and I have never poached it, never even really considered it, simply because I follow the law/ rules whether they seem just or not.
I don't need to be shamed into being law-abiding.
On the other hand, if the local land manager
thinks there is a way to allow mtb in wilderness, I'm all for it.
It's not like we are demanding all-access
everywhere.
 

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Why? Bikes cause no more trail erosion than hiking boots, and less than horses. Boots cause erosion of g-outs, while bikes don't, but bikes create braking bumps.
When a cyclist rides a trail that is designed for mt. biking AND is making a conscious effort to not cause trail damage - maybe.

Not hard to find a gazillion YT videos of bikes ridden in such a way as to cause significant damage, far more than any hiker can do.

I think the mt. bike community and the thousands of very pro-active clubs have done a remarkable job over the 30 years I've been mt. biking to develop trail systems that can withstand damage, but I don't agree that the damage is less or equal to a passing hiking boot.

As well, factor in the coming deluge of Class 1 e-bikes as well as all the Class 2 & 3 that people will use, disregarding the law in the process, and I can better understand why the need to keep mechanized vehicles out of wilderness area's.
 

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As well, factor in the coming deluge of Class 1 e-bikes as well as all the Class 2 & 3 that people will use, disregarding the law in the process, and I can better understand why the need to keep mechanized vehicles out of wilderness area's.
This is what changed my perspective on it. I was in favor of wilderness access until e-bikes started becoming so prevalent that I couldn't see any way that they could be kept out of wilderness while allowing regular bikes.
 

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I've been hiking in 2 wilderness areas in CO just in the past 3 weeks. The thought of allowing bikes on these trails, which would both have been ride-able, makes me sick to my stomach. You know where it sucks to hike? On single track shared with mountain bikers.
Agreed.
=sParty

P.S. People will chime in on this thread to say things like, "Well they let horses in Wilderness and horses destroy trails worse than bikes do." While this is true, such statements miss the point entirely. Just because something is wrong doesn't mean it's okay for anyone/everyone else to make things even worse.
 

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I've been hiking in 2 wilderness areas in CO just in the past 3 weeks. The thought of allowing bikes on these trails, which would both have been ride-able, makes me sick to my stomach. You know where it sucks to hike? On single track shared with mountain bikers.
Agree. I spend about as much time in Designated Wilderness on foot as I do on a bike (on bike trails that is) and I would hate to see all kinds of a-lines, b-lines, trail sanitation, and all the other stuff that comes with biking nowadays. There will be a few bikepacking type guys who say they don't ride like that and even if they're being truthful you KNOW there will be way more people out there to send it and shred. That hasn't even factored in the ebike crowd, which you also know would take advantage. Then there's the massive increase in new mountain bikers as a whole who've just taken up the sport during the pandemic and haven't yet learned the least bit of trail etiquette.
 

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I get what y'all are saying, but what I can't stomach is when people use Wilderness designations specifically to exclude mountain bikes from trails they've had access to for years or even decades. Some cranky old hikers told me specifically that they support Wilderness designation specifically to exclude mountain bikes.

I would be fine if not a single mile of trail in Wilderness changes status, but that the trail access decisions were given to the specific land manager rather than being a blanket top-down mandate in order to remove the use of Wilderness designations as a weapon against mountain bikers.

Bonus points if trails that had historic access to mountain bikes were reopened to bikes on top of it.

Because wouldn't it suck if we lost access to all quiet backcountry trails, and only kept access to increasingly-crowded frontcountry parks?

The trail damage comparisons, as far as I'm concerned, are moot. I see little overall difference between popular trails for mountain bikers and popular trails for hikers. The details differ, but the overall impact isn't really different. Horse use is widely permitted, but generally pretty light, so even though one horse impacts the trail more than one bike or one pair of boots, the overall impact of all horse riding is a lot lower locally.

There is quite a lot of Wilderness acreage locally, and I'm good with not having access to ride any of the trails there. Mountain bikers have access to lots of trail miles here right now, and AFAIK, have never had access to the trails in the Wilderness areas in the area. There ARE a couple areas, though, where there are current mtb trails and some folks want there to be new Wilderness designation. As long as it's possible for that change to kick bikes off of trails, I won't support it. When a new Wilderness designation won't kick bikes off, then we'll talk.

I think Ferrentino both misses the mark AND hits the nail on the head. His last sentence is spot on:

Not that we shouldn't enter; we should just do so carefully, with respect and awe and leaving as few footprints as we're able, letting nature exist in a state of hopeful grace.
Where he misses is by ignoring the fact that it IS possible to do those things on a bike. He's been a part of the mountain bike media for a long time and is probably inundated with the enduro-brah get rad mentality that's not helping mountain bikers here. Maybe he's unable to see other types of bike riding from his perspective, but bikepacking absolutely fits with this general philosophy. Sure, riding in Wilderness should neither be easy, nor especially accessible. It shouldn't be conducive to short day loops or downhill shuttles.

He also misses the point by saying that it seems to be a form of entitlement. It's not that, either. Concentrating more and more riders onto ever smaller chunks of land is actually the wrong track to take if you want to promote the mentality of going more lightly upon the land. People need to be doing that more everywhere, frankly. Riders shortcutting turns because it's faster. Removing obstacles because people can't be bothered to walk something hard. Riding off trail to find a technical side line. Schralping and roosting and drifting and otherwise displacing soil that contributes to erosion. Hikers shortcutting switchbacks (gave a guy hell about that last weekend, in fact). Leaving trash behind. Graffiti. Carving into trees. Improper backcountry hygiene. The list is practically infinite of the ways people behave badly and disrespect our public lands. Excluding mountain bikes from Wilderness areas isn't going to magically make a difference on these issues, either, because hikers suffer the same faults.
 

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I've been hiking in 2 wilderness areas in CO just in the past 3 weeks. The thought of allowing bikes on these trails, which would both have been ride-able, makes me sick to my stomach. You know where it sucks to hike? On single track shared with mountain bikers.
How do you feel about trail runners? I know guys that can run 4 minute miles going downhill on tough singletrack.
 

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How do you feel about trail runners? I know guys that can run 4 minute miles going downhill on tough singletrack.
You're doing it now, juan.

I'm not answering for jestep here, rather calling you out for doing exactly what I said people would do in this thread: Whining that if other people/user groups get to burn it down, then why shouldn't mountain bikers get to burn it down, too.

But as long as I'm here, I'll give you my opinion. If runners are allowed in Wilderness, then let them run there. This includes you.
=sParty
 

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I don’t have that much desire to ride Wilderness trails. I have a lot of Wilderness within a half hour drive of my house and having hiked them, they are in the worst shape of all trails and wouldn’t be very fun. They are made that way by a lack of maintenance and legions of equestrian pack trains. No thanks.

What I’m staunchly against, however, is the continued designation of more and more Wilderness in areas that I’ve ridden and maintained for decades. In most of these places, the only change that will occur to the landscape is that there won’t be bikes. They are not under threat from development or anything else. If anything, the lands are at risk of devastating wildfire because of an abundance of fuels that has been allowed to build up unnaturally— and W designation will only ensure that that continues.

I live in ground zero for eco-Nazis that want us banned EVERYWHERE. These nutcases even put logs, sticks, and rocks on our designated bike trails (in blind spots)in the front country. For many, the Wilderness designation is merely a way to get rid of us, which is seemingly their number one goal. For many of these folks, no amount of Wilderness is ever enough until it’s ALL Wilderness.

Finally, Patagonia has led the charge in trying to get more of my local trails designated “W.” That company will never see a penny from me again as long as I live. I would encourage everyone here to boycott their MTB goods especially. Hypocrites.
 

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There've been a few studies that show biking is similar to hiking as far as trail damage and erosion. You should see some of our "hikes" around these places that are either no-bikes or not traditionally biked, it's a cluster-**** of parallel scree routes and erosion all over the place, rocks strewn everywhere because the slope is too steep, etc. My point is that many of these hike-only routes and areas are simply trashed from a trail design and maintenance perspective, it damn sure isn't because of bikes.

I'm ok with prohibiting bikes from some wilderness areas and keeping them more "pristine", but it has to be handled evenly, that means no horses/pack animals either. If something is open to horse/pack animals, it should damn sure be open to bikes.
 
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I have to believe someone paid him some good coin for this treason. His statements throw mt. bikers under the bus but don't mention impacts from pedestrians and equestrians... which is where he lost me.

I wonder if MtotheF (Ferrentino's handle on MTBR) will chime in here?

"Now when I think of Wilderness with a capital "W," I picture a place where we humans exercise as much restraint as possible. Not that we shouldn't enter; we should just do so carefully, with respect and awe and leaving as few footprints as we're able, letting nature exist in a state of hopeful grace."
Uhh... Mike? I do that on a bicycle ALL THE FREAKING TIME!
 

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I mostly agree with Michael Ferrentino's article and support Patagonia's efforts toward's preserving the environment. Most of the wilderness trails I've hiked on are too rugged to ride without "improving" them. Keep the wilderness rugged!
 
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