The PCT-L is pure comedy. Here's one of the better gems... shows the mindset of these folks, which is crazy :crazy:
In some parts, the Forest Service relies on mountain bikers to maintain the Perfect Cycling Trail. When was the last time you saw hikers and equestrians lending a hand. Not around here. I'd even finally pay for the double tax called the "Adventure Pass" to sport my mistress in public.
Crazy? Are you kidding? Take a walk in their shoes.
Originally Posted by Czar Chasm
Hike all your life, reach the age of 40, discover all your favorite local hiking trails are now allowing mountain bikes, get run off the trail countless times and see what you'd have to say if you were them.
I'd have some 'crazy' **** to say about mountain bikers.
There isn't some 1% of us tarnishing our reputation. It's a much larger percent than that.
Mountain bikers make up for a lot of trail stewardship, but that's a lasting impression that doesn't ward off the first impression that many experience as they get dusted when they step off the side of the trail to yield.
To those of you too immature to acknowledge the impression that some mountain bikers give off, grow up. I'm not saying any of you are one of them, but seriously, we impress some and piss off other's. If you fail to acknowledge that we have confliction with and have hurt the feelings of other user groups, it looks really bad for the rest of us when you can't see through someone else's eyes for a minute. There isn't any right or wrong on this issue, it's a conflict of interest.
Well yeah, if I got to play golf on a private golf course all my life, and there were usually only 2 other golfers somewhere else on the course, then suddenly I find out I might have to share my golf course with several other foursomes... some of which might drive their carts past the "no carts beyond here" signs, might make me wait at the tee box for my shot(!), might rudely demand to play through, or might possibly hit/injure me with their golf ball, hit from a different fairway, I'd be upset too! I want my golf course private, and don't want to share it with others... especially if they dress funny too.
If backpacking was the most important thing in my life, I'd fight for exclusion too. And I'd fight dirty as well. ("Phony photo-ops of fake trail maintenance"???). There... I put myself in their shoes :)
The hiking contingent essentially says "you have enough bike trails, leave this one for us." I say "You're incorrect about "enough"... and you've had this one to yourselves for 24 years... plus you also have all the Wilderness Areas and National Parks already (not to mention regional areas/trails). Time to share."
If bicycles weren't unjustly banned in '88, we wouldn't be having this discussion. If the rule changes, we won't be having this discussion in 2030. The PCT will not die. Thru-hikers won't disappear.
I've come across more than 50 people in my years of exploring the PCT on a bicycle. 1 person went ape$hit, a couple scoldings, several dirty looks, and tons of friendly conversations with happy hikers and a few equestrians. Hikers are usually just happy to see someone, especially someone that provides trail info, maybe some water, and often times a chocolate chip cookie. Nobody I've come across has ever been forced off the trail, had to jump off the trail, or been injured... well, the ape$hit guy might have been emotionally injured from yelling and screaming at a friendly person walking a bike on dirt.
Please feel free to voice your opinions regarding bikes on the PCT to our hiker friends. I encourage you to be civil and show folks how friendly their future trail-mates can be. Consider this to be a reciprocal link.
From a PCT hiker's perspective
While I don't expect to convince you that the PCT hiker is right, I will give you my perspective as a PCT thru-hiker and hopefully convince you that our reasoning is not malicious or intended to keep the trail exclusive. I hiked the entire PCT in 2007, I have volunteered on trail maintenance crews, and my wife is on a local chapter of the PCTA.
I think our set of arguments against allowing bikers on the PCT come down to one common factor: the speed disparity between hikers and bikers. Speed disparity comes through in each of the following arguments:
-"Loss of the wilderness feel" Let's say for the sake of simplicity that mountain bikers on average travel twice the speed of hikers. On a hiker-only trail, two people traveling by foot can hike for an entire day in the same direction, separated by as little as a half-mile, and never see each other. The same separation is never maintained when the person behind is traveling by bike.
-"Safety/Annoyance" I frequently hike on multi-use trails near my home that are major mountain biking destinations, and find that it's a very common occurrence to have bikers come from behind on downhills at high speeds. I am in almost every occasion the one who is must move from the trail (sometimes to avoid being hit). It could be just my human nature to avoid fast moving objects. But in many cases, the biker does not even announce their approach. I don't think they're doing this out of neglect or for mean-spirited reasons; it's just the nature of the situation: the biker is moving fast, flying around a corner, and in many cases just does not have the time to give enough forewarning. Regardless of the reasoning, this can be annoying, particularly in the near-miss cases, and this effect is amplified on narrow trails like the PCT.
-"Trail Damage" I am no physicist, but I know that faster things move more dirt. Fast rivers move more sediment, hard winds blow more dust. Bikers move faster than hikers, and skid, break, and jump to avoid obstacles. These things damage trails. Whereas I can understand bikers thinking of the PCT as "any old trail", it's not. It actually ties an entire community together. There are numerous volunteers that work hard all summer to keep up with the current level of trail maintenance (fallen logs, drainage,..), and in many cases they can't keep up. And the people that tend to volunteer are the people who have thru-hiked, intend to thru-hike, or are connected to a thru-hiker. The volunteers TEND not to be the casual hikers who just happen upon the PCT for a weekend. And since bikers will likely never be able to "thru-bike" the PCT (Wilderness act), they are less likely to join that community and feel the community obligation to the trail. Thus by introducing a new group who inflicts more damage on average per user, we should expect that the PCT will be in much worse shape.
Thank you for reading, and see you on the trails,
Hi, Nick -- Thank you for taking the time to post these arguments. I for one am trying to grasp and understand the antibicycle hikers' mindset and point of view. It helps that I've backpacked about 125 miles of the PCT. The best way to reach a satisfactory outcome is for people to try to be as open-minded as possible.
I for one appreciate your honesty and civility. While I don't necessarily agree with you on all your points, I respect you for coming here, being polite and expressing your point of view in a calm and rational manner. Kudo's to you.
It looked like that PCT-L guy does not know that mountain bikes dont have motors. This seems obvious to us but many people think that MX bikes off road are mountain bikes. Why are the hikers rights more important than bikers rights. As I understand it you are asking for bikes to be allowed back, not allowed for the first time. If you have been taking something you have no moral right to and that opportunity dries up you can be pissed off but that doesnt mean you ever had a right to it. It sounds like hikers are just annoyed that they have to give up something they had no right to in the first place.Like using a tax loophole for years and then finding the law has changed. They have a right to go slow we have a right to go fast (remaining safe of course). Any argument about trail damage is ridiculous if they allow horses.
Their mentality is absurd and it does make them appear crazy. Look at how they equate us to motorcycles. Look how they try to use the Mike Vandeman arguments about trail damage while they accept pack animals and horses even though it's beyond obvious hiking on any heavily used wilderness trail that they cause major amounts of damage. It's simply a matter of ignoring reality because it doesn't suit your own self interests.
I personally have little to no interest in riding over crowded trails like the PCT. In Eastern WA/North ID we ride trails with horses, hikers, and even motorcycles all on the same trail and maybe 1% of them act like these people do. Most of the PCT in my home state is in wilderness anyway. But what interests me most about this is seeing how it plays out, because I think it could set an example for future trail access decisions.
The thing is though, most people learn about the concept of sharing before they turn 40.
Originally Posted by ehigh
I think that your view of this world is dangerously optimistic then. Call me a pessimist, but these people like real foot path singletrack, not mountain bike singletrack. And they don't want to lose that. I wouldn't either.
Originally Posted by PerfectZero
lol "dangerously" optimistic.
Small world Nick! My wife and I thru hiked the PCT in 07 too. What was your trail name?
Originally Posted by nickelforanegg
I'm conflicted about this, honestly, since I do a lot of hiking and started mountain biking a couple years ago. I can see the points of both sides, and have been on both sides at some point. I think it is important for everybody to listen and for each side not to dismiss the other side's arguments without trying to understand them.
I agree with most of Nick's point and would like to expand on them from my experience. We encountered mountain bikers a couple times on the trip. Some were good, some were bad.
Many parts of the trail are quite exposed and could be extremely dangerous for hikers/bikers to encounter each other. We encountered one group as they came from behind and they had to follow us for almost a mile before it was safe to pass. They were fortunately the good ones.
We encountered another group later which were quite antagonistic after they were told bikes were not allowed on the PCT. Fortunately it was not as dangerous a location and they rode around us quickly after giving us a piece of their mind.
Everyone should remember that compared to bikes, hikers and horses move slow. Encounters between groups of hikers, and between hikers and horses were not a surprise (unlike the bikes). I spent a significant amount of time hiking "in the zone" when I would have reacted quite slowly to the arrival of a mountain bike. The ability to do that was part of the beauty of the PCT. Most of the people I hiked with and spoke with enjoy being away from it all.
Please also consider that most hikers will probably not be looking out for them. And that in an encounter between a hiker and a biker, the hiker will probably lose. Similar to how between a biker and a car, the biker will lose. I'm sure most bicyclists that have ridden on the road have experienced a jerk in a car who drives too close or cuts you off. To the driver in the car it's no big deal, but to you the cyclist, it's much more serious since it can result in your death. Similar thing with hikers and bikers.
I'm not sure every biker really understands that. I know some of the people I've ridden with, or encountered on the trails do not. They don't understand what it is like to have a bike come out of nowhere on a scary piece of trail. The experience level of the hikers on the trails vary greatly too. You have the hard-core Triple Crowners as well as the section hikers, weekend warriors and families with kids.
On the other side, I'm not sure I completely buy the trail damage argument. At least the physical part (the volunteering part makes sense). Portions of the trail in Oregon and Washington, as well as multiple campsites, were in horrible condition due to the combination of rain and horses, and horses are allowed on the PCT. There are irresponsible people everywhere.
I think the "loss of wilderness feel" is a big factor in this. If you have never been out on a long hike, you might not understand what the hikers are concerned about. I'm not sure I am able to explain that without this turning into a novel.
That all said, I'm not sure where I sit on the issue of bikes on the PCT, but if the policy is changed, it hope it is done intelligently with minimal impact to the current users. As Nick said, the PCT is not "any old trail." It is unique and I feel lucky that it was around for me to have experienced it.
IMO, the mountain bike community should step up and try to show what they can contribute to the PCT and how they can help make it better, rather than just argue that it is their "right" to bike there.
Btw, some of the mountain bikers should come experience the hiking side and the PCT community. It's amazing!
If I read one more post (here or on FB) about "could be injured" or "could die" , I might barf. I know it's just a tactic, but puh-leez. It's gotten old. I don't believe there is a single person out enjoying a trail on wheels, foot, or hooves that's looking to hurt another person. Worried about being injured or dying? Stay home!
Some thoughtful points above, Patrick... although I don't believe there is a single thing the mountain biking community can say or do that would change the mindset of 99.7% of the vocal PCT hikers/equestrians. I could offer a $10M donation and I'm sure they'd turn it down if it meant letting me ride on the PCT one time.
And for the "jerks" that get "caught" riding on the PCT... if it were legal, there wouldn't be f-bomb confrontations where holier-than-thou hikers try and educate non-compliant riders on the rules. There might actually be more kinship and dialogue... but I guess that spoils the hiker's wilderness experience. Oh well.
The Official stance of the PCTA (as of today):
The PCTA has issued this response:
Pacific Crest Trail Association
Response to inquiries about mountain bikes and the PCT
To our members and supporters:
We are receiving many inquiries from you about information being posted online about mountain bikes and the PCT. We want to assure you that we are well aware of this growing campaign to open the PCT to bicycles. We are monitoring the decision-making process and we are working on a strategy to thoughtfully address this issue.
The US Forest Service has been contacted by a group of citizens requesting a review of the bicycle prohibition but has not made a decision regarding a review process. Public notification and an environmental analysis would have to take place before any change in the bicycle prohibition would be considered.
The Pacific Crest Trail Association opposes bicycle use on the trail. We will be reaching out to all of you when we know more about the process and what influence we, as hikers and equestrians, can have. We will keep you informed of our progress and your potential role in this important matter for the PCT.
Thank you for your support of the PCTA and for all you do for the trail.
- Liz Bergeron, PCTA Executive Director and CEO
If you do contact please be civil/nice. Many of these people have it deeply ingrained that MTB'rs are bad, and riding is bad....based on nothing more than anecdotes and 'feelings'.
If it is possible to change their views it would benefit all involved.
I couldn't have said it better. This is what we need to to AS A COMMUNITY, and I believe without a shadow of doubt that we can contribute in a mutually beneficial way.
Originally Posted by triplep
Cheers to you kind soul . . . cheers. :thumbsup:
IMO, it is one thing to get injured doing something dangerous because you do something dumb yourself, and another thing because somebody else does it to you. People often do things that endanger others not because of malice, but because of negligence.
Originally Posted by Empty_Beer
Maybe there isn't a way to change the mindset of the vocal community. But the MTB community looking to increase their access, and thus I believe it is the responsibility of the MTB community to address the concerns of the current users. Addressing it with dismissiveness and contempt will only hurt matters. However, by talking in a constructive, understanding way, you might sway the people who don't have a strong opinion, and that probably silently make up the majority of the PCT community.
Originally Posted by Empty_Beer
There was a similar situation in MA where I live with the Fells. And even though there were very vocal opponents, a good resolution was arrived at after the mess. Change can happen. It might not satisfy everybody. And it might not happen tomorrow.
You could argue that there would be more kinship and dialog if the mountain bikers didn't break the law while simultaneously advocating their view.
Originally Posted by Empty_Beer
I think a good strategy is to ask them how they plan on adapting, if the USFS allows bikes on the PCT. Once they start thinking about potentially increasing membership from welcoming mtn bikers, their tune might change. Getting support from outside the mtb community would be awesome. :thumbsup:
Originally Posted by CHUM
It's a better strategy than relying on a community that's has an image created from the racing scene, the mtb films, the news of the "delinquencies" like poaching trails and unauthorized trail building, calling in airlifts off the trail greatly overshadowing the "good" or so-called "true" image people think mtbing has. Also a better strategy than trying to get them to give reasons why they oppose us and trying to counter them.
If we agree to support PCTA, and they support us, it could lead to a favorable outcome in the USFS's decision. Maybe it'll even lead to a start of good relationship with "them" (the hikers and equestrians) which can remedy all sorts of problems, even if they are simply "misunderstandings".
I agree with much of what you're saying about the right approach to the skeptics and I for one am going to try to take that approach. I also completely agree with you that the gonzo image that comes from some advertising, YouTube posts, racing flyers, and the like makes gaining access to trails harder. That's true even if the mountain bike skeptics overreact to those things, because it's kind of understandable that they do, given their lack of knowledge about riding a bicycle on a trail. SUV manufacturers may run ads showing their vehicles rampaging through pristine landscapes, spraying water and mud and roaring through streambeds, but most people understand that only 1 in 100,000 vehicle owners drives that way. There's no similar familiarity with how mountain bikes are actually used, so displays of gonzo riding hurt.
Originally Posted by Varaxis
The research is out there and gets presented to the hiking groups and land managers on a regular basis showing that mt bikes are far less damaging to the trail that horses, and land managers are getting it. That issue is slowly becoming less of an impediment to access than other issues
The biggest one that isn't going away is the relative speed difference issue. I would not go so far as to say that car:bike::bike:hiker, but bike>>>horse>hiker in the speed department and there is no fundamental truth that will change that. But that does not mean it cannot be managed through smart trail design and user management. Sure, the whole trail will not be appropriate for bikes. But there are segments that are now and segments that could be with minor work.
There is growing demand for bikepacking routes. Bikepackers use a trail differently than the weekend warrior. Just like backpackers use a trail differently than trail runners. And backpackers and bikepackers use trails more similarly to each other. There should be cameraderie there.
And yet opportunities for bikepacking are hard to come by. People in some states have to travel a very long way just to find a suitable route. Opening enough segments of the PCT to bikes to allow bikepackers to piece together another long route would be quite the resource. Even if those PCT segments had to be linked to other existing mtb trails to connect them and bypass no bike zones like Wildernesses and other spots.
Good points, NateHawk.
I'd point out that, almost invariably when mountain bikers ask for access to an existing trail, the current users predict doom. Then, almost invariably, when the land manager allows mountain bikes to use that trail, everything turns out to be fine and nothing is heard from anyone again. The stock response to this regular result from the naysayers is that mountain bikers have driven all other users away, but they've never come up with any evidence for this assertion.
Regarding both bikepacking and day rides: one thing that would be very helpful would be for people to post the opportunities in their area that would open up if access were legalized. What good rides would become available that weren't before? What out-and-back rides could become loops? And, if you feel like being candid, what problems could arise from mountain bike use on those trail miles, and how could any such problems be solved?
Great idea. :thumbsup:
Originally Posted by imtnbke