Bikes on the PCT?

12:28 a.m. on October 11, 2012 (EDT)
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What do you think about the movement underfoot to start allowing bikes on the PCT?

the proponents:

http://forums.mtbr.com/passion/big-news-feds-consider-allowing-bikes-pct-816289.html

and the opponents:

https://www.facebook.com/SavethePCT

3:20 a.m. on October 11, 2012 (EDT)
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I put in a good 25+ years as a mountain biker as one of my main means of summer fun. I decided pretty early on to stay off hiking trails and stick to old logging roads in mostly out of the way places where there is not a lot of traffic. I think mountain biking and hiking are fundamentally incompatible, especially on single track trails. It's just not possible to stay out of each other's way. So, much as I used to enjoy riding (I run now instead) I think it would be a big mistake to allow bikes on a national trail.

8:42 a.m. on October 11, 2012 (EDT)
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There is a good size chunk of open space, well at least for central Connecticut, near me that has a crisscross network of single track trails.  I've been running and hiking out there for about ten years.  In all that time I've had maybe one or two negative encounters with mountain bikers.  I typically see two or three groups each time I'm out and they are always pleasant and go out of their way to share the trail.

As long as the bikers do not pose a danger to hikers or cause trail erosion I think that there is an advantage to letting them use trail networks.  The more people who use a open space the more likely governments will purchase and maintain new open space.

5:17 p.m. on October 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Yes for mountain bikes

6:55 p.m. on October 11, 2012 (EDT)
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no for mountain bikes on the PCT

7:15 p.m. on October 11, 2012 (EDT)
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No.  Mountain bikes cause a lot of erosion.  And once it starts, it turns into a vicious cycle as the trails funnel rainwater.  There are even tires for sale - "The Excavator" - that seem to revel in the destruction they cause.  With the new trend of "Fat Bikes" catching on as well, I only see bad things ahead for trails that allow mountain bikers.  In addition to all this, the mountain bikers in my neck of the woods don't typically turn around to pick up their trash.  When I hike along my local single track, I always end up with a day bag full of Gu wrappers, water bottles, plastic chunks of visors, bike computers, etc.  This isn't to say we as hikers can't do better, but to me the difference is noticeable.  

8:10 p.m. on October 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Many sections of the PCT are used not only for hikers, but for equestrians and packers. While hikers and those mountain bikers who are considerate of hikers can exist together, mountain biking and equestrian and pack traffic do not mix at all. As a hiker, I don't appreciate "horse du-vers" on the trail, but they have been there since before the PCT and especially the JMT section of the PCT were even thought of. There are plenty of other places for the mountain bikers to go where they can safely share with hikers and not have the problems with equestrians (lots of times, equestrians and hikers don't mix well either).

I should add that, growing up in the middle of the Sonora Desert, where all us kids quite literally "grew up to be cowboys", I do have a lot of affection for horses (can't afford to keep one at present costs). And one of my nieces was for a number of years continuously in the top 10 women mountain bike racers. So I have a foot in all the camps. Still, in our local mountains (one of which, Mt Tam is the putative birthplace of mountain biking), I have had way too many encounters with "rogue" mountain bikers, including getting knocked off the trail by a couple exceeding the posted speed limit for bikers on those trails.

So sorry, no, opening all or any part of the PCT to a mix of hikers, horse, and bike traffic mix is a really bad idea.

8:15 p.m. on October 11, 2012 (EDT)
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No... unless they only want to go uphill.

3:12 p.m. on October 12, 2012 (EDT)
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Bikes would be cool but I think wilderness rules would prevent them. 

3:34 p.m. on October 12, 2012 (EDT)
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I would say okay as long as the watch for hikers.

5:48 p.m. on October 12, 2012 (EDT)
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When I lived and rode in Colo the rules were very clear and the trails were multiuse except ones with wilderness designations. All multiuse trails had a sign posted at trailheads indicating bikes will yield to hikers and horses. Downhill traffic yielded to uphill traffic. It was adhered to most of the time.

6:40 p.m. on October 13, 2012 (EDT)
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went on a car camping trip last week during which I hiked a section of the pct. and what do you think I saw? MOUNTAIN BIKERS. as far as allowing them, it is a moot point. they're already on it. they're going to ride it wether they're allowed or not.

6:50 p.m. on October 13, 2012 (EDT)
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GaryPalmer said:

I would say okay as long as the watch for hikers.

 That will never happen. There are already videos up of mountain bikers hitting hikers esp on downhills and blind curves

2:42 p.m. on October 14, 2012 (EDT)
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I think it should be allowed under extraordinarily strict regulations designed to keep would-be "shredders" and weekend warriors off the trail. Charge very high permit fees, restrict to certain areas of the PCT unless someone very ambitious wants to do the entire PCT on an MTB (and for them charge an extremely high permit fee, akin to expedition costs). restrict the number of registered bikers allowed on the PCT at a time, and levy huge, 4 digit fines on regulatory violators. Getting a permit should be laborious and slow to progress for all applicants. permitted riders should be required to wear large ID tags (w/ permit numbers) like racers so that they can be reported for violations (like license plates on motorcycles). Non-permitted bikers found on trail should be fined per above AND be required to serve 16 hours of trail renovation as punishment. 

There would also be strict standards on the mtb equipment allowed, ensuring that the damage is as minimal as possible (tire size/type and bike type - no downhill or all mountain types). Also, 8 hours worth of trail maintenance per permit applicant would help compensate for the trail damage, and must be done before the rider can use the trail. Restrict bikes on the PCT trail to certain seasons/days to avoid multiple use traffic. As part of the permit, biker has to sign off on being liable for physical damages, bodily injury, and rescue costs for all parties in the case of an accident. Impose specific speed limits that are tracked based on required GPS logs on each bike, so that a ranger can stop a biker, check their GPS tracking log, and fine them if they exceeded the imposed limit. Impose 4 digit fines for any trail modifications or off-trail mtb use. Maybe bikers are only permitted to use the trails on the days that are historically low-traffic for hikers/bikers...

This is my position as one who loves to mountain bike anywhere it's permitted. Like Ed, I have my ties to all parties that share trails, but properly regulated, there would be only a small number of bikers who would be willing and able to get a permit. Those who make it through the process would likely be the type to respect the PCT for what it is, repair it before using it, respect other traffic types, and proceed with caution. 

3:01 p.m. on October 14, 2012 (EDT)
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XterroBrando, posted:

This is my position as one who loves to mountain bike anywhere it's permitted. Like Ed, I have my ties to all parties that share trails, but properly regulated, there would be only a small number of bikers who would be willing and able to get a permit. Those who make it through the process would likely be the type to respect the PCT for what it is, repair it before using it, respect other traffic types, and proceed with caution. 

 

Unfortunately bikers are already on the PCT illegally so much for that respect of the PCT

11:17 p.m. on October 14, 2012 (EDT)
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I'm not surprised to hear that. Disappointing to say the least. A comprehensive program as described would help to counteract some of the negative effects of the current violators and hopefully fund enforcement of the laws. I bet the idiots who get on the pct now would think twice if they new that getting caught would cost them as much or more than they paid for their bikes. A pipe dream I know...

5:35 p.m. on October 16, 2012 (EDT)
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I have hiked on trails shared with MB'ers. I don't like it. They are trying to go fast and then they have to encounter us and that seems to frustrate them and they get snotty. the trails they like are the ones that are the hardest to co-exist on due to winding and steep drops that are fun for them but make it difficult to share. No. Here, we also have a huge trail complex for them so that works out pretty well.

3:11 p.m. on October 17, 2012 (EDT)
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Other places to ride. Thousands of miles of logging and forest service roads, many abandoned and unused. Leave the PCT to hikers.

5:35 a.m. on October 20, 2012 (EDT)
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I agree with OR.  Love the PCT. Love to see bikers getting their "outdoors" on...not a good thing to blend the two. 

I've hiked on open trail before...the trail was beaten up and nasty by ORV's, bikes, horses-- plus it made for uncomfortable encounters on the trail.


With the miles of logging roads, and other trails available, I think it's OK to leave a few designated sans wheels. (or horses, or...)

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