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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday while riding up Chinquapin trail on UCSC my friend and I saw what looked like the pretty serious aftermath of a fall. 2 ambulances, looks like they had to wheel a rider out on a stretcher from down the hill a bit. Anyone know what happened? I'm hoping for a speedy and full recovery for the fallen rider.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I think I saw the same 2 walking 3 bikes. I asked if they were all OK, and they said "yeah, I guess", then we saw the ambulances.
 

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First, I hope the rider is okay. Second, I am getting more and more disturbed by the increasing frequency of these significant injury events being reported. Yes, I understand that these incidents are highly related to two elements stemming from Covid:

1 - TONS of new riders (in essence growing pains of the sport)
2 - The same new riders going down trails / hitting features they are not ready for.

We can't help #1, and #1 isn't a bad thing honestly. A larger # of participants should (in theory) equal a larger voice for access and dealing with LMs. Hopefully, these new riders DO get involved with advocacy and access.

We absolutely can do something about #2. I believe the very real "X-gaming" aspect of the sport is over-emphasized and held up as the highest standard in media, marketing, and discussions around MTB. I am not saying the extreme elements don't have a role or aspirational element for riders, it is just, do we need to focus so heavily on it given I am a firm believer that the majority of the riders will never progress beyond "blue" trail level difficulties outside of a bike park?

Riding jumps / features on "real" trails relies on the riders internal self judgment and knowledge that you can't no brake most real trails. There will not be a 15' long x 10' wide landing on the backside, and you may need to be immediately ready to brake / modulate your speed in order to not crash. Real trails mean real world skills and judgment to stay within a reasonable risk tolerance given rider skill.

I am not advocating limiting anyone's ability to any thing and/or trail, ultimately CA law has it right, MTB is an inherently high risk activity that can lead to injury or death, but should we "collectively" rethink the advertising of our sport? Maybe we should be glorifying the vibe, the beauty, and the flow just as much as the jumps, the air, and the gnar? Do we as more experienced / seasoned riders send the right message to the newbs? Do we encourage mileage and time on the bike over immediately trying out black / double features? Do we correctly destigmatize and encourage walking features / sections of trails that the rider is not confident on?

Just some musings from this morning over coffee.
 

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First, I hope the rider is okay. Second, I am getting more and more disturbed by the increasing frequency of these significant injury events being reported. Yes, I understand that these incidents are highly related to two elements stemming from Covid:

1 - TONS of new riders (in essence growing pains of the sport)
2 - The same new riders going down trails / hitting features they are not ready for.

We can't help #1, and #1 isn't a bad thing honestly. A larger # of participants should (in theory) equal a larger voice for access and dealing with LMs. Hopefully, these new riders DO get involved with advocacy and access.

We absolutely can do something about #2. I believe the very real "X-gaming" aspect of the sport is over-emphasized and held up as the highest standard in media, marketing, and discussions around MTB. I am not saying the extreme elements don't have a role or aspirational element for riders, it is just, do we need to focus so heavily on it given I am a firm believer that the majority of the riders will never progress beyond "blue" trail level difficulties outside of a bike park?

Riding jumps / features on "real" trails relies on the riders internal self judgment and knowledge that you can't no brake most real trails. There will not be a 15' long x 10' wide landing on the backside, and you may need to be immediately ready to brake / modulate your speed in order to not crash. Real trails mean real world skills and judgment to stay within a reasonable risk tolerance given rider skill.

I am not advocating limiting anyone's ability to any thing and/or trail, ultimately CA law has it right, MTB is an inherently high risk activity that can lead to injury or death, but should we "collectively" rethink the advertising of our sport? Maybe we should be glorifying the vibe, the beauty, and the flow just as much as the jumps, the air, and the gnar? Do we as more experienced / seasoned riders send the right message to the newbs? Do we encourage mileage and time on the bike over immediately trying out black / double features? Do we correctly destigmatize and encourage walking features / sections of trails that the rider is not confident on?

Just some musings from this morning over coffee.
As to #2, I think you are correct. It is compounded where I ride in Briones in that it is happening on poach trails, so the lines and runouts are often not optimal. It has the collateral effect of bringing pressure to close trails that might have otherwise been ignored (increased traffic, increased complaints, plus liability fears).

Rather ironically, I know through friends that two of the people that had to be carried out this year from Briones were both experienced riders. One got a medivac helicopter ride after crashing on the fire road, just hooked a tire and went down hard enough to break ribs and collapse a lung. More people, more chances of injury, experienced or not.
 

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We absolutely can do something about #2. I believe the very real "X-gaming" aspect of the sport is over-emphasized and held up as the highest standard in media, marketing, and discussions around MTB. I am not saying the extreme elements don't have a role or aspirational element for riders, it is just, do we need to focus so heavily on it given I am a firm believer that the majority of the riders will never progress beyond "blue" trail level difficulties outside of a bike park?

Riding jumps / features on "real" trails relies on the riders internal self judgment and knowledge that you can't no brake most real trails. There will not be a 15' long x 10' wide landing on the backside, and you may need to be immediately ready to brake / modulate your speed in order to not crash. Real trails mean real world skills and judgment to stay within a reasonable risk tolerance given rider skill.

I am not advocating limiting anyone's ability to any thing and/or trail, ultimately CA law has it right, MTB is an inherently high risk activity that can lead to injury or death, but should we "collectively" rethink the advertising of our sport? Maybe we should be glorifying the vibe, the beauty, and the flow just as much as the jumps, the air, and the gnar? Do we as more experienced / seasoned riders send the right message to the newbs? Do we encourage mileage and time on the bike over immediately trying out black / double features? Do we correctly destigmatize and encourage walking features / sections of trails that the rider is not confident on?

Just some musings from this morning over coffee.
Or… if there was trails available with MORE features and jumps the general public could progress their skills and wouldn’t suck so much when they come across a 2ft log drop. Ever been to Bellingham or BC? Massive biking communities and stuff like this exists on extremely popular public riding areas.

But we live in Ca, so one can dream…
Sky Bicycle Tire Wheel Bicycle wheel

Wheel Bicycle Tire Plant Bicycle wheel
 

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Or… if there was trails available with MORE features and jumps the general public could progress their skills and wouldn’t suck so much when they come across a 2ft log drop. Ever been to Bellingham or BC? Massive biking communities and stuff like this exists on extremely popular public riding areas.

But we live in Ca, so one can dream…
This is the right answer.

Are there actually more frequent severe crashes at UC than prior years? I'm more inclined to believe the online reporting has increased. You would think COVID increased the number of riders, but I'm not sure people have progressed into the hard stuff at UC during this short period of time. Most of the increased demand was for <$1200 bikes that go to Calero or around the neighborhood. I thought the shortage of enduro bikes is more on supply chain issues than an overall massive increase in enduro riders.
 

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Or… if there was trails available with MORE features and jumps the general public could progress their skills and wouldn’t suck so much when they come across a 2ft log drop. Ever been to Bellingham or BC? Massive biking communities and stuff like this exists on extremely popular public riding areas.

But we live in Ca, so one can dream…
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I'm 100% on board with this, and I guess I was thinking that maybe the larger volume of riders could eventually translate to this. But ultimately, I would say this is a #3, in the context of my original post / thought" and not something we realistically have the ability to change right now. Hopefully in the future and once again, I am 100% on board with it!
 

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First, I hope the rider is okay. Second, I am getting more and more disturbed by the increasing frequency of these significant injury events being reported. Yes, I understand that these incidents are highly related to two elements stemming from Covid:

1 - TONS of new riders (in essence growing pains of the sport)
2 - The same new riders going down trails / hitting features they are not ready for.

We can't help #1, and #1 isn't a bad thing honestly. A larger # of participants should (in theory) equal a larger voice for access and dealing with LMs. Hopefully, these new riders DO get involved with advocacy and access.
"Get off my lawn!!"

This is part of the sport. I have a very different perspective. I'm surprised the "serious" injury rate isn't much higher. I think that means most people are doing a pretty good job mitigating their own risks. It's not for us to sit around and tell people what they should and shouldn't right.

Most of the people I see riding UC aren't riding the "hard" trails, much less the noobs. And same goes for Pacifica. You see some noobs poking their way down/walking mile, or dragging their brakes down the jump trails maybe, or going around the jumps on Boy Scout. But I can't remember ever seeing some beginner blasting this big stuff and thinking "oh wow they're way over the head".
 

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Some people go into a state of panic and overreact during type of injury/illness, especially if they haven’t experienced it before.
Without a doubt. And none of us know the details. It's best to error on the side of caution. Still, when you're riding in that area it's best to think through the possibilities and how you'll deal with them. And the cost of an ambulance ride is no small factor for many of us!
 

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"Get off my lawn!!"

This is part of the sport. I have a very different perspective. I'm surprised the "serious" injury rate isn't much higher. I think that means most people are doing a pretty good job mitigating their own risks. It's not for us to sit around and tell people what they should and shouldn't right.

Most of the people I see riding UC aren't riding the "hard" trails, much less the noobs. And same goes for Pacifica. You see some noobs poking their way down/walking mile, or dragging their brakes down the jump trails maybe, or going around the jumps on Boy Scout. But I can't remember ever seeing some beginner blasting this big stuff and thinking "oh wow they're way over the head".
Go to you tube. Type in Mailboxes, enjoy!

P.S. And I am not saying Mailboxes is a “hard trail” just the example that came to mind of video after video of people eating **** or skipping nearly all of the features or narrowly avoiding death on the ones they do hit, lol.
 

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Mailboxes IS a hard trail if you hit all the features. It IS an easy trail, not even blue square (or barely so) if you skip all the features. One reason I like it so much. Choose your own adventure!

Lockemup? Not a choose your own adventure! You choose to ride its way. Or don’t ride at all!
 

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Calling 911 for a couple possible broken ribs is breaking Fight Club protocol. Check out Nate Escoto's crash last month on IG. He self-rescued (of course, he was by himself).
Seriously. I crashed on a legal trail recently and got a gnarly contusion on my ribs and still rode out and drove home. Also - there’s no shame in wearing pads to avoid this.
 

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I have found the #1 issue wearing pads is people (non-cyclists in real life, and MTBR-er's for keyboard commandos) think they can **** with you if you are wearing pads and look the slightest bit dorky.

"oh, here's a guy I can bully. he looks like a dork on his bike with pads"

For keyboard commandos, it's always e-bike related. Like "oh that guy on the trail riding an e-bike and wearing more pads than a 5th grader football player is obviously a **** who doesn't know how to ride a bike and is messing up 'our' great trail system."

I've never been heckled by cyclists in person for being padded up. I suspect too busy enjoying their own life to be shallow towards others. I HAVE been heckled for being on an e-bike by other cyclists.

No room in MTB for feeling shame. Anyone feeling shame should probably take up knitting, 'cause jerks are everywhere.
 

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I have found the #1 issue wearing pads is people (non-cyclists in real life, and MTBR-er's for keyboard commandos) think they can **** with you if you are wearing pads and look the slightest bit dorky.

"oh, here's a guy I can bully. he looks like a dork on his bike with pads"

For keyboard commandos, it's always e-bike related. Like "oh that guy on the trail riding an e-bike and wearing more pads than a 5th grader football player is obviously a **** who doesn't know how to ride a bike and is messing up 'our' great trail system."

I've never been heckled by cyclists in person for being padded up. I suspect too busy enjoying their own life to be shallow towards others. I HAVE been heckled for being on an e-bike by other cyclists.

No room in MTB for feeling shame. Anyone feeling shame should probably take up knitting, 'cause jerks are everywhere.
I’m sure I would have done that to someone wearing a full dainese suite at anywhere other than a downhill park back when I was 16 or whatever, but now days you can have rib, back, and shoulder protection in a package that’s hardly noticeable beneath your jersey.
 

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I’m sure I would have done that to someone wearing a full dainese suite at anywhere other than a downhill park back when I was 16 or whatever, but now days you can have rib, back, and shoulder protection in a package that’s hardly noticeable beneath your jersey.
I also don’t hit big jumps or ride an enduro bike these days, but if I did, I’d wear pads
 

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Or… if there was trails available with MORE features and jumps the general public could progress their skills and wouldn’t suck so much when they come across a 2ft log drop. Ever been to Bellingham or BC? Massive biking communities and stuff like this exists on extremely popular public riding areas.

But we live in Ca, so one can dream…


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I have spent some time in the past 18 months riding in TX. They have a number of places that have "progressive learning" for jumps and other features. The 512 guys/gals, link below, do a great job at this. One notable difference there is almost all the trails have difficulty signs (like ski areas). Many of these signs also point to the bypass for the feature. I don't know why they don't do things like that here. I think a "double black" sign on some trails/features would make unsure riders not take the chance.


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