Paul Andrews

Posts Tagged ‘Marin mountain biking’

Always something new in Marin’s hiker-biker wars

In Bicycle advocacy, Mountain Biking, Obama Bikes, Trail Access on August 31, 2009 at 9:37 am

The mtb wars in Marin continue apace. KTVU provides a video report (linked by Cyclelicio.us) updating tensions between mountain bikes and hikers. The report winds up being fairly sympathetic to the biking side, which is something of a surprise. Typical mainstream reports slant the blame toward the bikers.

One bromide does pop back up, concerning kids “screaming down the trails” on mountain bikes, supposedly endangering the health and well-being of hikers, children, dogs and so on. You know, I’ve yet to encounter a documented report of a bike colliding with a hiker and causing serious injury. And this is in nearly 20 years of mountain biking. I think I would have heard.

Not to dismiss hiker/pedestrian concerns, because I’ve been in a situation where bikes ripping down a trail too fast scare the bejesus out of me. But that’s as far as it goes. Yes it’s rude and disruptive. Still, every time I hear a complaint about the occasional bad actor on a mountain bike, I think of the scores of times I’ve encountered trails littered with trash, beer cans and other crap that mountain bikers have nothing to do with. Or the times I’ve been sworn at or blocked (by 3 or 5-abreast squadrons of anti-mtbers) or even swung at with a walking stick while riding on trails open to bikes. They don’t represent the vast majority of hikers, but they do exist.

There are jerks on both sides of this coin. But the majority should not be tarred with them.

The report notes some trails are being booby trapped. The most notorious case two and a half years ago involved barbed wire across an unmarked (that is, not specifically indicated as no-bikes, although not specifically permitted either; we avoid the vague and usually inappropriate term “illegal”) and widely used trail in Marin. Most of the current booby traps are of a less potentially homicidal nature — sticks, brush, and the ever popular blowdowns dragged across connector trails.

I enjoyed hearing Mark Weir‘s commentary, but in the pantheon of spokespeople available to address Marin mountain biking issues, he’s probably not the first guy I’d think of. Still, Mark’s attempt to get official approval for a pump track is worth noting. Not that most local and regional planning authorities even know what a pump track is or have a process to permit one, it’s nonetheless a shame that they turn a deaf ear in this case.

There’s considerable hope on the horizon. Marin has a hugely popular high-school mountain biking curriculum that is going to put a whole new generation of mtbers into mainstream society. Their mindset will be completely 180 degrees from the “ban the bike” intransigence of the old-line environmentalists. Someday, multiple use will be taken for granted in Marin and the U.S., the way it is everywhere else around the world.

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Daily Roundup: Breakthru in Marin access, Bikewise.org in Seattle Times, new SanFran bike park, Snarky Giro, WWJST

In Bicycle advocacy, Bicycle Racing, Daily Roundup, Mountain Biking, Trail Access on May 28, 2009 at 9:06 am

Bill’s Trail in Samuel Taylor Park is a 4-mile, switchbacky joy ride through the redwoods. In what is being called a “historic opportunity,” mountain bikers have a chance to gain access to the trail, one of the first expansions in decades to riding in Marin, mountain biking’s renowned birthplace but also host to its bitterest battles over trail access. Here’s more from Mtbr.com. Along with the planned multi-use redesign of Diaz Ridge above Muir Beach, the efforts indicate that agencies and trail groups are taking a more collaborative approach to access issues. You can help! Click here. Congrats to IMBA and NorCal mtb groups for helping to open the doors to progress.

Seattle Times: “…a cluster of injuries reported at an intersection could get the transportation department to investigate further…” Article on Seattle’s Cascade Bicycle Club’s new online tool, Bikewise.org, previously reviewed on Bike Intelligencer.

Proposed Mountain Bike Park in San Francisco

Proposed Mountain Bike Park in San Francisco

In San Francisco’s McLaren Park, there’s serious discussion about installing a mountain bike park with tabletops, chutes ‘n ladders, dirt jumps and even a pump track! A bit like our own Colonnade, only on steroids…er, make that energy drinks. Anyway, you know what I mean. For all the cycling glory of the Bay Area, it doesn’t have much in the way of Skillz sites, and this would be a great enhancement to its mountain biking resume. Congrats to SF Urban Riders for a great idea, hope they can get the stim funding to make it happen.

Great snarky commentary on this year’s Giro — and the ongoing bicycle soap opera called Team Astana — from Bicycle.net: “While the aforementioned guys who were supposed to have weak moments didn’t particularly seem to, it wasn’t lost on anybody that Levi got dropped off Lance’s wheel today when Lance tried to bridge the gap to those aforementioned individuals. Nor was it lost on anybody that Lance managed to get precisely halfway across the bridge before running out of steam and dropping back to give shade to Levi. The two of them limped home licking their wounds and perhaps rethinking strategies for that little bike race in France a few weeks from now.”

The Cycling Dude: WWJST? (What Would Joseph Smith Think?) Bicycles in SLC? How dare they!