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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Aug 2015

    More mountain bikers on the trails?

    I just watched a video on bicycle retailer about e-bikes. One of the comments was e-bikes will get more taxpayers out and be beneficial to trail access and funding.
    I have been riding for over 20 years and have seen a steady year after year increase of mountain bikers in my area. Because of this I have also seen some of my favorite trails shut down to mountain bikers. Some trails for safety reasons have become one way. I used to be able to go riding peacefully with my dog, now the trails are just too busy.
    Our trail network has gotten larger, but none of the new riders do a lick of maintenance.
    I love or sport, and I support anyone in our MTB community. And would really like new users to embrace the lifestyle of riding and maintaining rather than using until the next best thing comes long.
    Paying taxes shouldn't be the only thing you do to support our hobby.

  2. #2
    Sneaker man
    Reputation: mik_git's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    I recently moved back to the area where I started mtbing, back all through the 90's i'd go riding on my local trails 3 or more times a week and unless there was a race or an organised shop ride from 92-98 I can only remember coming across 1 other person on a ride (maybe more, but only remember that one). So no that many people riding here and there were 3 bike stores n town and only 2 doing any good.
    Come back 20 years later or so, a while back on local forums getting into arguments with people about riding wet trails and how its not really an issue, quickly realised that, well it is a problem as there are huge numbers of people riding now. Yesterdays ride, I came across 30 or so people out riding (quite a few kids too which is great) and thats just the ones I saw, there were loads of cars at the trailhead. They run a summer race series midweek evenings which is just a turn up and race for fun and there are so many people, more people at 1 race than we got in a while race season combined back in the 90's. And ow there are 6 bike stores and they are all booming, nearly half the cars you see have bike racks, they are putting in huge trail networks all over the place, it's great.
    All the gear and no idea.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Scott O's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    I totally agree. We should all try to do this together. I'll post up a link later. Wait, what was the question again?

  4. #4
    Ambassador of Chub
    Reputation: Smithhammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    So....on the one hand, you think trails are becoming too busy, and that this is hurting access, but on the other hand you think that encouraging more e-bikes will help?

    Agreed on maintenance and supporting local trail building organizations, tho.
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

  5. #5
    Moderator Moderator
    Reputation: Harryman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Ebikes will certainly get people out that never really rode before or haven't in ages, almost all of them will be on bike paths though. Many of them will be older adults, not many of them are going to take up mountain biking, since it requres a certain commitment to gain the skills to be able to ride a variety of trails and enjoy themselves. They're just not interested.

    Based on what I've seen in Europe and on UK/EU ebike forums, almost all riders of emtbs are existing or past riders of mtbs. They either switched or are coming back to the sport after a layoff. So, I wouldn't expect a huge increase in new riders on the trails compared with the growth you'd see with mtbs.

    Hardly any users, regardless of their chosen use, are likely to help out with trails, either by donating or volunteering time, that's just the way things are, ebikes aren't going to change that at all. So, while it sounds nice, I wouldn't expect that ebikes are going to help access or funding in any significant way. If anything, it'll make it harder to get new trails built in some locations.

    I've been riding the same trails since 1985 and have obviously seen exponential growth over the years, and being involved in trail design and maintenance, I know there is definitely a sweet spot where you need a certain number of riders to keep a trail clear and the lines packed down and fun. Like most places, we're way beyond that, I wouldn't mind less riders. Would anyone? Seriously, think of your favorite trail, would you want to see more or less riders on it?

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    It's the get off my lawn crowd versus the lazy yuppy millennial l scum!

    More seriously though, in the last decade I've seen a lot of positive changes in my neck of the woods, included greatly expanded access and lots of new trails. The sport is growing which brings lots of good things, but certainly there are some negatives, too.

    Best thing you can do I think is encourage membership in the local MTB groups, like IMBA chapters or what have you. If people are at least contributing $$, that's a huge start, and it enables things like the NEMBA purchase of land to enable mountain biking in Milford, MA. If people start going to group meetings and drinking beer with people who build and maintain trails, it is also a good bet those people will end up coming to trail work days and the like.

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