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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The Pull: Mike Ferrentino | RKP

A very informative and sobering podcast with Mike Ferrentino, editor of Bike Magazine on why it is highly unlikely that the norcal scene, which tends to protect the interests of equestrians and especially hikers, will change to any significant degree in the years to come.

These groups are so heavily polarized and antagonistic to one another's interests, there is essentially zero chance that mountain bikers will make any headway as far as trail access.
 

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Got through 20 minutes of it waiting for them to talk about anything at all. I can't stand podcasts like this where it's just 2 guys randomly BSing and blathering on about nothing. Maybe there's something talked about eventually but I couldn't stick it out long enough to get there.
 

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Follow the money - Hiking gear, clothing. The entire industry is the hottest outdoor market this decade. And they all want you to buy their product and hike in CA

The popularity of thru-hiking is off the charts. Search any Scenic Trail on Youtube and you'll find literal "stars" vlogging their efforts. With half mill of followers tuning in to view their hardships, suffering and progress. Try applying for a PCT, AT or CDT permit. Record numbers of permits issued, increasing annually in the past 5 years.

Paid Lobbyist drive policies.
 

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Not sure what northern California you are talking about? But Humboldt, Trinity, Shasta, and siskiyou have seen a pretty good expansion of legal trail access with more to come. Are you talking about Central California or just the Bay area?
 

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Hella Olde
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Not sure what northern California you are talking about? But Humboldt, Trinity, Shasta, and siskiyou have seen a pretty good expansion of legal trail access with more to come. Are you talking about Central California or just the Bay area?
Good point. There is a ton of positive action in the Trve North of CA that you refer to. I think people get fixated on the SF Bay/Marin as the epicenter of Norcal because of all the press that it gets due to the foul political climate and vocal opposition to mtb access like the Foot-People militia. Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship, MBOSC are other examples of progress. Norcal is not just about SF Bay / Marin county.
 

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Good point. There is a ton of positive action in the Trve North of CA that you refer to. I think people get fixated on the SF Bay/Marin as the epicenter of Norcal because of all the press that it gets due to the foul political climate and vocal opposition to mtb access like the Foot-People militia. Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship, MBOSC are other examples of progress. Norcal is not just about SF Bay / Marin county.
I think people are fixated on the Bay Area because that's where a majority of Norcal people live. It's awesome how much trail access there is outside of the Bay Area though. It motivates me to get out of the Bay Area bubble and into other areas of the state I wouldn't explore otherwise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Follow the money - Hiking gear, clothing. The entire industry is the hottest outdoor market this decade. And they all want you to buy their product and hike in CA

The popularity of thru-hiking is off the charts. Search any Scenic Trail on Youtube and you'll find literal "stars" vlogging their efforts. With half mill of followers tuning in to view their hardships, suffering and progress. Try applying for a PCT, AT or CDT permit. Record numbers of permits issued, increasing annually in the past 5 years.

Paid Lobbyist drive policies.
It's hard to argue against it's cost to benefit ratio. All you need are a pair of boots and you're good to go. Most everyone already has water bottles, or a flask and backpack, not much else is required. A hat and sunscreen and helpful. Sunglasses too. Those are all everyday wear and use items which cost very little.

Meanwhile, the "nice" mountain bikes start at $6K and up. That doesn't even cover the sales tax, or mtb specific backpacks, shoes, helmets, sunglasses, gloves, socks, armor, jerseys, shorts, car rack, the expenses are just endless. On top of that is the maintenance and regular cost of wear items. For many, you are forced to deal with stressed out bike shops with minimum wage employees forced to rush through service orders to keep the shop afloat. No fun.

There's also the issue of safety. MTB is a younger man's sport. You can ride at any age, sure, but the risks associated with injury are far higher the older the rider is. The risk of injury in hiking is relatively modest.

On top of all that is the hooliganism of a significant minority of mtb riders. Even courteous riders riding at high speed can interrupt a serene hike and sour the experience in just a moment. When I've ridden I try to be courteous to a fault to other trail users, but I know this is not the case with every mtb rider. Perhaps they're not the majority but a few inconsiderate riders more concerned with their own stoke than with sharing the trail, can be used to justify banning all mtb riders.

Ferrentino also mentions that trail building is so arduous, he gave up and began hiking instead!

The podcast does mention some of the positives, such as MBOSC, so not all hope is lost. But it also mentions that most of the trail riding in SC is on illegal trails.

Its a very balanced picture from a couple of riders with decades of experience.
 

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Hella Olde
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I think people are fixated on the Bay Area because that's where a majority of Norcal people live. It's awesome how much trail access there is outside of the Bay Area though. It motivates me to get out of the Bay Area bubble and into other areas of the state I wouldn't explore otherwise.
Yep I live in the belly of the beast and find it necessary (and fun) to travel to Humboldt/Shasta/Tahoe/DV/Monterey to ride.
 

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7 million people sharing too few trails. That's the basic issue. Throw in a good dose of hiker entitlement and the result is the current state of affairs in the Bay area.

Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
7 million people sharing too few trails. That's the basic issue. Throw in a good dose of hiker entitlement and the result is the current state of affairs in the Bay area.

Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
Both podcasters have traveled to Europe and they claim that equestrians, hikers and bicyclists share trails amicably. Trails often pass directly through people's backyards and residents smile and wave and are friendly. Although not explicitly stated they imply that trails receive heavy use throughout Europe and of course population density is much higher in many of the smaller countries.

It's something besides population size or level of use, it's the culture of the states. They find it difficult if not impossible to pin down although they make some attempts to speculate but ultimately throw their hands in the air.
 

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It's hard to argue against it's cost to benefit ratio. All you need are a pair of boots and you're good to go. Most everyone already has water bottles, or a flask and backpack, not much else is required. A hat and sunscreen and helpful. Sunglasses too. Those are all everyday wear and use items which cost very little.

Meanwhile, the "nice" mountain bikes start at $6K and up. That doesn't even cover the sales tax, or mtb specific backpacks, shoes, helmets, sunglasses, gloves, socks, armor, jerseys, shorts, car rack, the expenses are just endless. On top of that is the maintenance and regular cost of wear items...i
That's like saying you only need a bike to MTB REI would happily disagree.

Stop in any BA location on a weekend if you dare and watch as the throngs fondle and buy every hiking gadget or designer puffy that can be rushed to market. If your clothing doesn't say Patagonia or Arcterex then you better upgrade! And the online market is even hotter

For every one of us that plops down $6k plus on a new ride, there's hundreds more hikers paying $600 for the latest pack or outerwear or UL shelter or InReach/Garmin or...

No one uses boots to hike anymore.

Trail access follows the market. Believe this, ride (and hike) the trails you like and live a happy life :)
 

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I think NorCal has amazing trails and access. Mountains-awesome riding! Deep dark coastal woods-awesome riding! Mixed conifer/cedar/dogwood/bigleaf maple river canyon remoteness-awesome riding! Chaparral dotted with some of the coolest looking oak trees anywhere-awesome riding! Miles and miles and miles of amazing trails in spectacular scenery! Crystal clear swimming holes! Year round riding season yahooooooooo! Multi-sport seasons because of elevation variance yahooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
Even if it is not right there it's all in pretty close proximity.

Not making light of the Bay Area's local access issues but if zoomed out even slightly it sure is good! And the variability of types of ride one can have is top shelf!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
That's like saying you only need a bike to MTB REI would happily disagree.

Stop in any BA location on a weekend if you dare and watch as the throngs fondle and buy every hiking gadget or designer puffy that can be rushed to market. If your clothing doesn't say Patagonia or Arcterex then you better upgrade! And the online market is even hotter

For every one of us that plops down $6k plus on a new ride, there's hundreds more hikers paying $600 for the latest pack or outerwear or UL shelter or InReach/Garmin or...

No one uses boots to hike anymore.

Trail access follows the market. Believe this, ride (and hike) the trails you like and live a happy life :)
I rarely if ever visit REI. I think we are in agreement that hiking is popular. It is VERY popular among boomers, and they have a ton of disposable income overall.

The podcasters point out though that the popularity of hiking cannot explain why hikers and equestrians in the US are so strongly opposed to sharing the trails with bicyclists.

They note that in the European countries they visited, trails are shared by all, with zero tensions: not just hikers and bicyclists, but equestrians and even motorcycle riders. They are all friendly towards one another.

It's exactly the opposite here in the states and the podcasters can't offer up a good explanation as to why. All they know is that the situation is highly unlikely to improve.
 

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The podcasters point out though that the popularity of hiking cannot explain why hikers and equestrians in the US are so strongly opposed to sharing the trails with bicyclists.
I'm not sure that's true throughout the US. Hikers, equestrians, and mountain bikers seem pretty amiable to each other around here (SW USA)

I do think having some trails that are exclusive to one particular group can be mutually beneficial for everyone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I'm not sure that's true throughout the US. Hikers, equestrians, and mountain bikers seem pretty amiable to each other around here (SW USA)

I do think having some trails that are exclusive to one particular group can be mutually beneficial for everyone.
It would be a good start to identify the communities with amicable, even strong relationships between user groups on trails to potentially identify commonalities.

I, too, can identify very clear traits in norcalers after having lived in multiple states and cities and visiting many more. I am often surprised by the bizarre displays of hostility between norcalers which seemingly explode out of nowhere.

I took a bus shuttle to the airport a few years ago out of an undisclosed location in the Bay Area. It was a "happy" group, just about everyone was going on some adventure somewhere. There was an air of joviality. I boarded early.

I saw a mid 30's guy get on board, he had that nerdy nor-cal look: glasses, bangs with a part through the middle. I didn't think he could be a 'menace' at all.

A lady of a certain age: 80's probably, was getting on board. Slowly, as one might expect. The man stared at her and shouted at the top of his lungs: "move!!!"

I was shocked. Well, not really. I've seen many similar incidents and far worse. She was not threatened in any way shape or form of course. She was a norcaler and this was par for the course. The guy wasn't hostile, not from any local's perspective. He was "joking." It was all in "good fun." This type of sarcasm, hostility masked as a joke, is how people operate.

But after having lived elsewhere, I could feel the extraordinary sense of relief after not having to deal with this type of behavior. The lack of respect for elders, the hostility and sarcasm interwoven with frivolity or even friendship. No clear distinction between jokes and fun vs. animus and even violence.

If you've seen Mike Ferrentino in his Bike mag video reviews he is quiet, self effacing, and rarely engages in any type of upsmanship. I can see why he would retire to his own estate, rather than dealing with the day to day in the bay.

He can't quite figure out what's going on since he doesn't resonate with the type of banter and exchange which constitute the daily pulse of the bay.

I actually have a very good idea of what's led to such a chaotic and poisonous situation, as it's been told to me by the people who have left, and Mike Ferrentino kinda sorta fits that profile.

And based upon this information, I do agree with Ferrentino. The situation will not improve in the Bay Area (as opposed to norcal if you want to argue semantics and apparently there are always many willing to engage) to any significant degree.

I suppose I could add the obligatory "but I hope I'm wrong" but as population pressures continue to press people together in large waves, it is likely the opposite will occur. And yeah, I do hope I'm wrong here.
 

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What puzzles me is how many hikers hike on multi-use trails with bikes around when there is tons of amazing hiking-only trails everywhere. When I hike, I go to hiking only trails because I don't like bikes buzzing around.
 

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Both podcasters have traveled to Europe and they claim that equestrians, hikers and bicyclists share trails amicably. Trails often pass directly through people's backyards and residents smile and wave and are friendly. Although not explicitly stated they imply that trails receive heavy use throughout Europe and of course population density is much higher in many of the smaller countries.
That description fits Tenderfoot in Mill Valley perfectly. Starts in someone's backyard, ends in someones backyard. In an extremely dense area, inhabited by plenty of entitled people. It's also not the norm for Marin legal trails as it's actually technical. I see a hiker nearly every time I ride it, and have never had a bad experience. People understand that bikes are allowed on it, and suddenly somehow, against all odds, we coexist. Nearly all the bad experiences with HOHAs are on fire roads and garbage doubletrack like 680. These HOHAs will fight tooth and nail to keep bikes off Kent trail, Collier Spring, etc. which I have never seen a hiker on and highly doubt the Novys and Parulisses could even find.

As said above, it's cultural. There's absolutely zero reason why MTB should be excluded from technical singletrack, it's the LEAST likely place to have any kind of conflict. The old guard of HOHAs and equestrian boomers have the time to continually fight against access to trails they don't even know exist. Our advocacy groups in Marin are a joke, will quickly concede any point just to call another terrible trail like 680 or Azalea Hill a victory. Until MCBC, A4B, etc. come together and draw a line in the sand that ALL singletrack should be bike legal (will never happen), we'll continue at the same pace of getting a sad mile of doubletrack every 5 years.

Edited to break up wall of text for phone posters.
 

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7 million people sharing too few trails. That's the basic issue. Throw in a good dose of hiker entitlement and the result is the current state of affairs in the Bay area.

Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
True, and yet things have gotten way better in the last 5 years in every corner of Norcal--there are LOTS of success stories, even in parts of the Bay Area. I guess people see what they want to see (this thread is just a wee bit dramatic).
 
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