Survey on

7:45 p.m. on January 13, 2009 (EST)
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I saw this so I figured we would get opinions here. BTW on it was 76% aginst.

Are you in favor of opening up more trails in national parks to mountain bikes?

7:54 p.m. on January 13, 2009 (EST)
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Would this be NEW trails for mountain bikes, or converting existing trails into dual usage?

8:00 p.m. on January 13, 2009 (EST)
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It does not say I copy and pasted the question in. I would like to know that also.

8:45 p.m. on January 13, 2009 (EST)
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The big problem for me, and to others whom I have discussed this with is that on dual usage trails (hiker-biker) the bikers can come up on you quite rapidly.
The hikers feel slightly annoyed at having to yield the trail at a seconds notice, and the bikers feel annoyed at having to brake and or detour off the trail because of hikers that don't yield or didn't hear them coming.

Not that there is any ill will on the part of either hiker or biker, but that just seems to be the nature of the encounter sometimes.

The bikers move at a faster pace, of course, and therefore must 'play through' if you will.

I'm not surprised at the survey numbers, I guess most hikers would like to have the trail to themselves.
My personal preference would be for hiker only trails, and biker only trails. But I guess that is easier said than done. I really don't mind stepping off for a second to let a biker pass occasionally. If you could only get them to wear cow bells. HaHa!

Anyhow, where would it stop? This could be a slippery slope, pardon the pun.
Sooner or later someone would want trails just for internal frame packs, and trails for external frame packs. Fortunately common sense usually prevails, and we develop/design some form of trail system that allows us to pursue our different interests to some degree.

Bikes and horses are not allowed on the Appalachian Trail and many other trails.
Here is a link to an article that discusses this topic in detail.

9:10 p.m. on January 13, 2009 (EST)
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Some bikers are RUDE and do not tell you or shout out ahead, COMING UP ON THE LEFT, and it can be even harder if you're hiking with a pet or child.

6:51 a.m. on January 14, 2009 (EST)
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We don't have mountain bikers here, but we have something similar. Condomsuit-dressed skiers that think the track is theirs only. Better watch out if you have a kid or if you are not veeery quick in yelding way for them. They usually come in packs of 5 to 8, chasing each other and "enjoying" the nature through a mist of perspiration. Sure they are training for some competition, and they get enormously annoid even of beeing slowed down the slightest bit. One gets the impression that the competition is on, and that you have spoiled their gold medal.

For this reason I avoid the illuminated tracks. I rather put on my headlamp and walk me and my dog without comments on our own tracks.

To go back to the question of bikers and hikers. I think the two groups are so different that tracks for both will cause problems.

BTW the sun is almost back after the winter. I can see it in some mountain now. Yeepie!

8:52 a.m. on January 14, 2009 (EST)
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I vote against dual usage. While both biking and hiking are good ways to enjoy the natural world (even bikers must stop occasionally) the bikes tend to rut and tear up the trails, their speed is an issue, and the biker is looking down when descending at speed - thus may not be prepared for the appearance around a bend of a pair of hikers.

OTOH, hikers don't require trails, while bikers do. So I would be for relinquishing some hiking trails to bikers/horses.

11:32 a.m. on January 14, 2009 (EST)
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Having had a lot of bad experiences with mountainbikers on our trails around here locally, I am solidly against dual use trails. I will note that my niece, who is taking some time off from her professional competition as a mountain biker while caring for her recent baby (she has been ranked in the top 10 of women mountainbikers nationally), is generally against dual use trails as well.

The local mountain bikers complain loudly about the lack of available trails and there are a large numbers of renegades who disregard restrictions. This has led to a number of incidents when they invade horse trails (equestrian and pedestrian conflicts are serious enough, so you can imagine what happens when the faster mountain bikers appear suddenly around the bend in front of a group of horses). I will note here that the SF Bay area is theoretically where mountain biking "originated", when Gary Fisher first modified traditional bikes and took them up on Mt Tam (Barb and I were in college with Fisher, so knew him "when").

Ideally, I would prefer dedicated trails for foot, horse, and mountain bike (with motorized pretty severely restricted). But around here, the reality is we have to share a lot of the trails.

2:12 p.m. on January 15, 2009 (EST)
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Having had several unpleasant experiences with mountain bikers on trails, I'm strongly opposed to opening up more trails to their use. It's the only segment, with the exception of snowmobilers, with which my negative experiences outnumber the positive. My "favorite" was when my wife was literally run off the trail by a duo of loud, obnoxious mountain bikers screaming down a trail in the White Mountains. I was seriously torked, as she was very nearly injured and they didn't even slow down, and to this day I occasionally have to fight an urge to press the local legislature to make it legal to hunt 'em when I see 'em misbehaving. And I am a long-time cyclist myself!

Because of this sort of stuff, I don't think dual-use trails are a good choice pretty much anywhere.

2:43 p.m. on January 15, 2009 (EST)
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No. But little of my time is spent in NPs, so maybe 'yes,' if doing so would keep them away from places I hike more frequently. Anyway, dual use is is untenable in my limited experience.

I agree with the general tone of the replies. I find that bikes mess up trails (and off-trail shortcuts-the bastards), and in the spirit of full-disclosure, I find mountain bikers to be typically obnoxious and their motivation for backcountry use to be dubious. I even prefer snowmobile users of the most redneck persuasion because they, at least, don't feel self-righteous about their 'sport.' I rue the day that the formally suburbanite yuppie decided that the conquest of nature was also an expensive personal sporting endeavor.

6:56 p.m. on January 15, 2009 (EST)
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Hi Perry Clark,

"Hunt 'em when I see 'em"
Hmm...maybe some para-cord tied across the trail. Oops, there goes my clandestine nature again.

Hi goyo, as a refined, educated redneck, I'll take that as a compliment.
I like the last line of your bio on your profile page, I feel the same way a lot of times.

10:42 p.m. on January 15, 2009 (EST)
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Being that I am from Canada I’m not sure how much my opinion will count. For what it’s worth here goes.

Short version - NO!!!

Opening up more trails in National Parks for mountain bikes would be a very short sighted move that would end up being detrimental to the NP’s for a very long time. IMO mountain biking is a FAD, Trend, Short term adventure that will in a few years (relatively speaking) die out. Once that has occurred, the damaged, destroyed, trails depending where they are will take generations to recover. These comments will probably generate much negative comment, so be it.

The evidence is already in about trail damage, root damage, erosion, and destruction of property by mountain biking. Not all are irresponsible, however those who do not stay on the designated trails, do damage the land. As your country has designated areas as National Parks, they are for all people to enjoy, in their natural state. Opening up these park lands to mountain biking, changes the use and intention. The recovery would take years if not centuries.

In my youth, way back when, I did ride bicycles of road. The old “Mustang”, “Ten Speed”, or whatever type was available at the time. Yes we had fun, and yes there was damage to the trail, as well as to the bicycles. Ten Speed’s did not do well at all. I can not claim to be innocent, rather, I have learned.

Take it for what its worth.

Perry Clark – much more words, great.

2:21 a.m. on January 16, 2009 (EST)
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100% Against and I enjoy mountain biking. There are plenty of other options... the mountain does not need to be conquered just because it is there.

Putting mountain bikers on backcountry hiking trails, or any hiking trails for that matter is akin to putting a moped on the same track with a superbike. No one is happy in the end.

2:37 a.m. on January 16, 2009 (EST)
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I say NO! too

I have run across a few in my travails and there 50/50 some are rude some are decent. But the cons out rule the pros in my opinion

7:34 a.m. on January 16, 2009 (EST)
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I would have said yes until a number of years ago when I wiped out into the gravel on a narrow "shared" path at 76 km/h(47.5 mph)while avoiding a group of hikers hanging out on a bridge over a stream. Bridge was at the bottom of a STEEP hill with a bit of a curve at the end. By the time I saw the people I was about 10 feet from the bridge and I KNEW that if I tried to blow through I would most likely kill someone. So I bunny hopped the 12 - 15 foot wide steam and the 20 or so foot wide ditch it was in. ALMOST. The back wheel clipped the far edge of the ditch and well... I never knew that when front suspension shocks collapse completely they RING like a bell. Also never knew that one could snap the handlebars off of the headset at almost 50 miles per hour and live. Only ended up with a 1/4 inch scuff on my knee and some ragged hiking shorts, but learned a very good lesson that day. (Hikers should be BANNED from shared trails!) Ha! Not! More like, "THAT was STUPID! You almost killed yourself or some innocent hiker! No more biking "shared" trails! Too fragging dangerous!" So, to make a long answer even longer, No to more shared trails! (Unless they are as wide as freeways and you can see what's coming up from a long way away.)


2:51 p.m. on January 16, 2009 (EST)
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I do both biking and hiking and find they don't mix well in the woods. I find myself slamming on the brakes or jumping out of the way too often depending on what I am doing. I tend to avoid mix trails if I can do it....

1:46 p.m. on January 17, 2009 (EST)
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I am against mountain bikes on hiking trails. It is a bad mix. I don't want to see them on trails in places like Yosemite, where they are restricted to the roads. Sorry, Redpatch, they are not a fad. I have one myself and bought one way back in the mid 80's to use as a touring bike.

Unfortunately, too many bikers I have encountered have no concern for hikers and I have almost been hit more than once on a local trail. They act as if you are walking down the middle of a street and demand you get out of their way.

8:38 p.m. on January 17, 2009 (EST)
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against. incompatible. ditto what TomD says.

oh yeah, don't they rip up the trails to a greater degree than Vibram?

10:04 p.m. on January 17, 2009 (EST)
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The problem isn't the bikes, it's the riders. Mountain bikes CAN be ridden responsibly. I led guided mountain bike trips in historic Jim Thorpe, PA for a few seasons. Most of the riders I took out were perfectly happy to plod along the trails and look at the flowers, trees, and wildlife - because THAT'S how I led my rides. There were those (hammerheads we called them) who insisted that they should go as fast a humanly possible, jump over every obstacle, splash in every puddle, cause hikers to jump out of the way, and make as much noise as they could. These hammerheads ruined the trips for me AND most of my clients. I dealt with them in the only way I could. I told them to 'Just go ahead of the group if they wanted to act like that.' Sometimes they did, and sometimes they got the hint and settled down.

One instance that nearly put me over the edge was when I saw a baby Copperhead snake sunning itself on the edge of a railroad trestle, over the Lehigh River. I stopped to show it to the group and this mid-life crisis, macho, city boy hammerhead walked right up to it and kicked it into the river. "Poisonous" he said to the group, and got back on his bike. I informed him that 'He was no longer welcome on the trip and he should return to town - no refund.' As he road away, the rest of my clients cheered me and booed him. One lady (I think she was related to him) told me I should have kicked HIM into the river.

Again, I say, It's not the bikes, it's the people.

10:10 p.m. on January 18, 2009 (EST)
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Tom D
You are right the bikes have been around for a good amount of time. I guess I should have said For a large number of people mountain bikes are a fad. They buy em, ride em, break something and stop riding them. You are right, too many bikers have no concern for hikers, or for nature.

Its funny how difficult it is to try and stop, or control a full speed down hill bike. I too have tried mountain biking, at least that’s what I called it when my son and I would take the “Mountain Bikes” up a logging road and try to ride them down the mountain at a dangerous speed. Hard to navigate between large rocks on road top, tree branches, potholes. Stopping was just about out of the question. It would take about 30 - 50 feet to stop the thing if I didn’t want to crash into the trees. Gota tell ya though. One and a half hours up hill, down hill and back to camp 20 minutes.

F Klock
Great Job. Well done.

11:47 a.m. on January 19, 2009 (EST)
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Its the speed difference not the vehicle.

I get lambasted by trail runners, especially if they are full tilt down hill. It is tempting, but have yet to put a trek pole between somebody's legs or spokes. The treks cost more than satisfaction.

If everybody plods along at the same speed (including pack animals AND bikers), the only thing you can then emotionally comment upon are the outlandish outfits, from chaps, neckerchiefs and big brim 10 gallon hats to the cute colors, cut, fit and advertisements under the funny looking helmet.

You don't need specific trails. You need speed limits. And it better not be minimums.

I do like the wilderness rules: No wheels, no motors.

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