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Thread: Ringing hollow.

  1. #1
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    Ringing hollow.

    Please go here and read, and digest, when you have a moment.

    Nothing spammy at the link, at all -- just some grub for thought.

    Thanks.

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    I'd say spread this far and wide but I fear that most people don't give a sh!t and that's how we wind up here. Great stuff at any rate.
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    Sweet.

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    On point and eloquent as always, Mike.

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    A very good read, as usual for Mike. However, I find it a little harsh. 2 things come to mind:

    1. The well-known touristy places attract a different crowd than the local and lesser known trails.

    2. The downhill and enduro crowd tends be more hard core party types. The cross country and bikepacking/backcountry types are nothing like the people passing you on the highway.

    You are right in thinking that main-streaming of MTBing has diluted the aesthetic of the sport. But it's still mostly good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ddoh View Post
    A very good read, as usual for Mike. However, I find it a little harsh. 2 things come to mind:

    1. The well-known touristy places attract a different crowd than the local and lesser known trails.

    2. The downhill and enduro crowd tends be more hard core party types. The cross country and bikepacking/backcountry types are nothing like the people passing you on the highway.

    You are right in thinking that main-streaming of MTBing has diluted the aesthetic of the sport. But it's still mostly good.


    Thanks for chiming in.

    To your first point, I used to agree that destinations were different. And maybe that holds true yet -- but it seems like the problems I've elucidated exist on every trail system. Every one I've ridden in the past few years, at any rate.

    To your second point, my intent wasn't to single out any one group as "the problem". I thought I made a point of stating that we all blow off steam, and I certainly intended no judgment on *how* people blow off steam. Except in that our trails are taking a beating.

    I also used to (maybe 10 years ago) agree with you that the average XC rider and bikepack type was less likely to exhibit the negative attributes mentioned in the essay. I definitely don't feel that way anymore -- too much direct experience to the contrary in the past ~year.

    More broadly, the point was not to place blame. Doing so is simply not going to solve anything. The point was to get people to be the teeniest bit introspective, to the end of making all of us realize that we've played a role in getting to this point, and that we can also play a part in where things go from here.

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    The sport has changed in all the manners you mention. Compared to the "old" days, there is a ton more shuttling, bikes built specifically for shuttling & park days and as you mentioned, too many endurobro's skidding through every corner they come to, a rooster-tail of dirt flying in the background as if in an attempt to make the cover of some MTB rag.

    As far as calling people out about their bad behavior, it generally doesn't work. Due to societal changes in behavior, you're going to get told to F off, might get your vehicle vandalized or maybe even get physically assaulted. We've all read the stories here on MTBR. Back in February, another MTBR user and I confronted an e-biker about to go out on Gooseberry Mesa where they aren't legal. My riding partner, a BLM volunteer of sorts, explained to the 60 year old professional looking guy with a $60K truck that e-bikes weren't legal. The response we got started with "are you sure"? to "there's no signs so I'm going to ride it anyway" to "F off, we aren't hurting anything. Mind your own business". Even after calling Over the Edge and being told the same thing, they rode anyway.
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    Quote Originally Posted by k2rider1964 View Post
    As far as calling people out about their bad behavior, it generally doesn't work.
    Thanks for chiming in.

    Please note that in every way here I have said "we" and "our" and "us", because while it's easy to point a finger and place blame on others, doing so solves nothing.

    The problem is us as a user group. Ignorance is ruining the trails: Whether we're actively doing the damage or standing idly by and letting it happen we're all to blame.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Please note that in every way here I have said "we" and "our" and "us", because while it's easy to point a finger and place blame on others, doing so solves nothing.
    This:

    "As I labored up the grade, breath ragged and sweat stinging my eyes, I was passed by a virtually endless stream of diesel duallies, #vanlifers, and mini motorhomes, seemingly all with a pile of bikes hanging off their back ends. Shards of music pierced the air as each motored past, puffs of cigarette and dope smoke escaped the windows, there was even a (potentially unrelated?) stereotypical Red Bull can in the gutter adjacent to the steepest bit."

    and

    "Thus their existence remains hypothetical and seems less likely by the day, as each successive ride shows more evidence of shredding endurbro's skidding into corners and cheater-line creating (and maintaining) dolts veering off the trail and through sensitive soils -- all in the name of shaving a few seconds so that their name climbs higher on an online list populated by similar miscreants."

    Those passages seem to be calling out "others."

    I get what you're saying, believe me, I just don't get bothered by the reported behavior. Probably because to you, I am a Strava-using endurbro. But, as Slick Rick says:

    "Lodi dodi, we like to party, we don't cause trouble, we don't bother nobody."
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    Thanks for chiming in Noah.

    I did use those examples -- not as a means to judge or castigate, but to explain how I came to be thinking on this topic in the first place. The demographic has changed.

    I'm not bothered by the reported behavior. I'm bothered by the end result, and the big picture implications.

    The trails are changing, faster than ever before. You probably ride a lot more than I do these days -- do you not see it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    The trails are changing, faster than ever before. You probably ride a lot more than I do these days -- do you not see it?
    I don't think trails are changing any faster, like there is some new trend, no. Rude, competitive people existed before Strava. And on that topic, IMO there is way more trail damage done by riders avoiding trail features and obstacles because they're scared or just stubborn than trying to cut seconds and climb the virtual leaderboards.

    I think trails generally get better with age. The lines become more natural and flowy, the surface gets faster and harder, and what rocks that remain are of the more trustworthy, embedded variety. As a trail moves from new to established, the challenge naturally shifts from simply "cleaning it" to riding it with greater and greater speeds.
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    Judging by pictures of Charlie Kelly and the originators of mountain biking, I think they have a lot more in common with the "endurobros" as you call them then XC riders...

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    Quote Originally Posted by 93EXCivic View Post
    Judging by pictures of Charlie Kelly and the originators of mountain biking, I think they have a lot more in common with the "endurobros" as you call them then XC riders...
    Look at these new-fangled endurbros skidding into corners

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    But...but...but.... We need to grow the sport!!!

    Well said as always, Mike. Seems more and more like the behavior you mention is finding its way into the backcountry rather than just the front country.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    I also used to (maybe 10 years ago) agree with you that the average XC rider and bikepack type was less likely to exhibit the negative attributes mentioned in the essay. I definitely don't feel that way anymore -- too much direct experience to the contrary in the past ~year.
    Quote Originally Posted by NoahColorado View Post
    I don't think trails are changing any faster, like there is some new trend, no. Rude, competitive people existed before Strava. And on that topic, IMO there is way more trail damage done by riders avoiding trail features and obstacles because they're scared or just stubborn than trying to cut seconds and climb the virtual leaderboards.

    I think trails generally get better with age. The lines become more natural and flowy, the surface gets faster and harder, and what rocks that remain are of the more trustworthy, embedded variety. As a trail moves from new to established, the challenge naturally shifts from simply "cleaning it" to riding it with greater and greater speeds.
    I've noticed plenty of bad elements from pretty much every user group I've been exposed to. Certainly not everyone in all those groups is guilty of them, but it's pervasive enough that the trails absolutely do take a beating. IMO, however, the worst impact is more social. Negative interactions with other trail users, and especially other users enjoying the trail differently. Be they hiking, riding a horse, or even just riding a bike differently. As trails become busier (as mtb becomes more mainstream, as more people are crammed into smaller areas, etc, etc), it's the social impacts that are the worst part of bad behavior on the trail.

    IME, that bad behavior comes from selfishness, simply enough. People who can't be bothered to ride anywhere other than the wettest trail in the area after a heavy rain. People who can't be bothered to avoid freeze/thaw conditions. People who aren't willing to slow down when they pass other trail users. People who can't be bothered to use friendly and courteous language with other trail users (saying "excuse me" instead of yelling "ON YOUR LEFT!").

    I'm not sure you can really generalize how a trail responds to age. I've seen it on all sides. Some trails do get better with age, for sure. But for others, age is far less kind. A well built trail usually does age well. But poorly built trails get shredded, especially with increased use and bad behavior like skidding, shortcutting, and riding around chunk (or riding off-trail to ride something chunkier).

    Living in an area that's a riding destination, I definitely do see that a lot of people from out of town are less likely to respect the trails or other users. And that's especially true on the trails that are popular downhills. It takes some real motivation to shuttle here, but there are a couple of trails that are shuttlable, and the recent FS proposed trails plan has some unfavorable aspects (for mt bikers) because of some problems between mt bikers and other trails users that have been reported to the FS staff. My understanding about these problems is that it pretty much centers around downhill riders and inconsiderate passes.

    Riding like a selfish idiot will definitely have negative repercussions for all of us, and we have to hold each other accountable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NoahColorado View Post
    I don't think trails are changing any faster, like there is some new trend, no. Rude, competitive people existed before Strava. And on that topic, IMO there is way more trail damage done by riders avoiding trail features and obstacles because they're scared or just stubborn than trying to cut seconds and climb the virtual leaderboards.

    I think trails generally get better with age. The lines become more natural and flowy, the surface gets faster and harder, and what rocks that remain are of the more trustworthy, embedded variety. As a trail moves from new to established, the challenge naturally shifts from simply "cleaning it" to riding it with greater and greater speeds.

    We are agreed that the problem goes way, way beyond strava.

    Some trails do get better with age. Tech trails -- where by definition speed is not the goal -- generally do not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 93EXCivic View Post
    Judging by pictures of Charlie Kelly and the originators of mountain biking, I think they have a lot more in common with the "endurobros" as you call them then XC riders...

    Mountain biking existed a long time before that era.

    But you pointing it out in the way that you did seems to indicate that you missed the greater point: We are all part of the problem.

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    In central PA we don't have those problems. Most people are generally nice here. I do get some tude from dog walkers but usually just slow down and say a nice hello and that brightens up the encounter.

    I have talked to a DHer, well build crossfit type who went on and on about the great rides they were on only to exclaim that they hate riding in PA. Why? too much pedaling. LOL I guess the best trails are only for coasting. I also came across a person on the trail asking where the hills were. They seemed to react as though the hills here only go up. LOL

    Just be nice to slow movers and ride where coasters don't like to go and biking will be fine. Still some dead quiet places to ride around here if you don't mind pedaling.

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    I think it is all about attitude. You have a shit attitude you are going to have a shit time. You have a good attitude you are going to have a good time.

    I was on the Kokopelli trail a little more than a week ago. Rode from Dewy Bridge up to Fruita spent the night and rode back. Met some friends at Dewy and rode with them around 20 miles up to a great campsite.

    I saw few people on the trail other than a group of 100 that were part of an annual church group who were going in the opposite direction. Absolutely no problem and everyone was polite. The few motorcycles and jeeps along the route were also pleasant. Not one negative incident the whole time.

    My friends who continued on to moab had a great time too.

    I managed on the way home to camp along the rainbow rim trail and due to the north rim being closed had the whole place to myself. ON my ride along the rim trail I saw absolutely no one.

    A month prior to that I did the Escalante Grand Staircase loop and we saw a lot fewer people than I expected and there were huge stretches where we saw no one. Everyone we ran into were super nice and talkative and it was a great experience.

    Locally we have a lot more trails and areas to ride than when I moved here almost 30 years ago. Weekends are busy but certainly not crowded and during the week the traffic is very light. Again just about every interaction with other users is positive.

    Life is what you make it.

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    We all ride for different reasons, for me mountain biking means endorphins and adrenaline. I enjoy fast trails and drifting corners and as mentioned time and use generally improve trails in that regard, so from my point of view I don't see a problem. I don't live in a crowed area though so I would actually welcome more users whether they be "stravaholes" or otherwise, a lot of the busier areas I've visited seem to have some pretty nice trails.

    I generally avoid really techy trails because they aren't my thing, and when I want to focus on the surroundings and nature I prefer to use my feet. On a mountain bike I'm completely focused on the 30 yards of trail in front of me because anything less could result in an er visit.

    Anyway that's just what I think. I'm off for a mellow road ride now where I can enjoy the views without risking my neck
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    We all ride for different reasons, for me mountain biking means endorphins and adrenaline. I enjoy fast trails and drifting corners and as mentioned time and use generally improve trails in that regard, so from my point of view I don't see a problem. I don't live in a crowed area though so I would actually welcome more users whether they be "stravaholes" or otherwise, a lot of the busier areas I've visited seem to have some pretty nice trails.

    I generally avoid really techy trails because they aren't my thing, and when I want to focus on the surroundings and nature I prefer to use my feet. On a mountain bike I'm completely focused on the 30 yards of trail in front of me because anything less could result in an er visit.

    Anyway that's just what I think. I'm off for a mellow road ride now where I can enjoy the views without risking my neck

    Great points. If the way you're using the trails isn't damaging the trails nor diminishing someone else's trail experience, then I'm right there with ya.

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    Quote Originally Posted by richwolf View Post
    I think it is all about attitude. Life is what you make it.

    Wow -- it's that easy? If I accentuate the positive then I didn't just get run off the trail, those braids don't exist, and the ruts forming on a descent are "happy ruts"?

    Your reality isn't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Some trails do get better with age. Tech trails -- where by definition speed is not the goal -- generally do not.
    But, but, I like to do the tech trails as fast as I can. Who's to say what the singular "goal" of any particular trail is? Your goal may be a dab-free session, other's may simply want to survive, and I might just be trying to go end-to-end in under 45 minutes.

    "Tech" is also relative a term, at least in the sense that *most* people would call every square inch of the Lunch Loops "tech," whereas we'd probably reserve that term for a couple sections here and there, Eagle's, and, of course, Moore Fun out west.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Mountain biking existed a long time before that era.

    But you pointing it out in the way that you did seems to indicate that you missed the greater point: We are all part of the problem.
    After reading your rant, this rings hollow.

    Your derogatory names for user groups supports this as well.

    IMO we need to be tolerant and understand other's reasons for being on a mtb are just as valid as ours, our mtb experience is not superior or more important than others'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davec113 View Post
    IMO we need to be tolerant and understand other's reasons for being on a mtb are just as valid as ours, our mtb experience is not superior or more important than others'.
    This only works insofar as we apply it to ourselves. But when other people willfully ignore other trail users' experiences in favor of their own, we owe it to ourselves and to our continued access to the trails in question to call them out on it. that behavior is NOT okay on public trails.

    the validity of your reasons for riding ends as soon as you start acting like a jerk to other trail users or as soon as you start trashing the trails you're riding.

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    I guess I need lessons in being angry but I am sort of digging my alternate reality!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Please go here and read, and digest, when you have a moment.

    Nothing spammy at the link, at all -- just some grub for thought.

    Thanks.
    Good article. Every point is spot on. On my local trail we have been invaded by the "straightlining shuttle monkeys" as the article describes them. I recognized I was part of the problem by ignoring the problem so now I try to block off as many of these shortcuts as I can. They do not give up easily though.

    One of the arguments I have heard is that a faster trail is more fun. That maybe the case but illegally modifying a trail to achieve that goal is not the way to go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Great points. If the way you're using the trails isn't damaging the trails nor diminishing someone else's trail experience, then I'm right there with ya.

    I don't think I damage the trails, alter them maybe but not for the worse. As far as diminishing anyone else'e experience I sure hope not, I do my best to be cordial and friendly but there's no way to please everyone.

    Trails pockmarked with hoof prints really cut into my strava times but I don't let it get me down because I know that there's other people with different interests than me enjoying the same space and we all gotta get along.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brodino View Post
    One of the arguments I have heard is that a faster trail is more fun.

    One of the local shop owners used to be a pro DH racer. He was (is?) fond of saying something along the lines of "Don't take the smooth lines fast -- take the fast lines smooth". In other words: Make yourself a better rider, don't bring the trails down to your level.
    Last edited by mikesee; 3 Days Ago at 08:44 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NoahColorado View Post
    But, but, I like to do the tech trails as fast as I can. Who's to say what the singular "goal" of any particular trail is? Your goal may be a dab-free session, other's may simply want to survive, and I might just be trying to go end-to-end in under 45 minutes.

    "Tech" is also relative a term, at least in the sense that *most* people would call every square inch of the Lunch Loops "tech," whereas we'd probably reserve that term for a couple sections here and there, Eagle's, and, of course, Moore Fun out west.

    You're right on many levels here -- thanks for continuing to chime in. You're also a somewhat rare bird in that you have both the skills and the motor to go fast on what anyone would consider a tech trail. If you can do that without cutting corners or taking cheater lines to skip the cruxes, then you're right: No one can say that you shouldn't or can't. More power to ya.

    We're getting pretty far off of the original point, which was simply that we can all make a small difference in the future of our trails.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davec113 View Post
    After reading your rant, this rings hollow.

    Your derogatory names for user groups supports this as well.

    IMO we need to be tolerant and understand other's reasons for being on a mtb are just as valid as ours, our mtb experience is not superior or more important than others'.

    If you got stuck on the names you missed the bigger point. That's your choice.

    You're right that tolerance needs to happen across the spectrum. I haven't said nor implied that my experience is better, more important, nor more worthy than anyone else's, have I?

    Please don't twist the meanings around to make them anything other than what they were intended to be. I'm asking people to pay attention and, in whatever way makes sense to them, get involved. That's really it.

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    Spot on, IMO.
    "Failing to educate new riders on etiquette.

    Failing to criticize the actions of fellow riders.

    Failing to listen when they criticize us."

    Look at any modern MTB video and you will find an emphasis on dirt flying. There is a whole generation (or two) of riders who don't realize the implications of dragging their back wheel down the trails. These f'ing clowns from the UK think this is an essential skill:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fq3Sg7aIeDE
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNsAm-XSPD8

    I have been calling out videographers every chance I get but I don't think they are getting the message. They just think I'm a dick.

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    mikesee, while your points are valid, I think there are very few people who observe/notice what you are seeing. Oh, it's all there. But it's outside of many people's scope of concern or powers of observation. Bringing it to their collective attention would require something on the scale of a national billboard campaign. While that seems impossibly unattainable, it is still worth mentioning.

    Tourists do not see trails the same way a local sees them. They don't know what it was like "back when..." Many probably don't even consider that there was a "back when..."
    People in/from other regions do not even experience this tourist-type crowd. In short, they can't fathom what you are talking about. It would be hard for them to support a cause to which they cannot relate. I've never seen such crowds at a trail. I've only heard.

    The educational process seems to move at a geological pace. We are doing pretty well here - with probably 99% locals, and 1% visitors - but most people don't learn unless they are caught in some breech of etiquette anyway. Hence, the mind-numbingly slow progress you make with an ever-changing population of visitors. Even if you had staunch support from land/park managers, it's still impossible to "catch" all the infractions and harder still to impart knowledge.

    For things to change, it would seem that an education course would need to accompany each bike purchase. Maybe IMBA could do that.
    What I got out of it:
    ...education, and specifically on recognizing that just getting people outdoors is no longer enough -- you have to prepare them to behave appropriately and respectfully, toward both the land and each other,...
    -F

    PS - and sharing your thoughts, whether to initiate change, seek validation, or just for fun, takes some guts - so I give you credit for that. Everyone's a critic.


    edit to add: Near me, people want to build houses in the few remaining wooded areas. In the effort to "get close to nature" or whatever their motivation, they pretty much scare nature away.
    Last edited by Fleas; 3 Days Ago at 05:29 AM.
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    [QUOTE

    Look at any modern MTB video and you will find an emphasis on dirt flying. [/QUOTE]

    When viewing some videos of trails around the Oakridge OR area the other day, I was struck by this very thing. At the speed that was being carried, and the approaching corners, I pictured myself just being out of sight; and knew that I would feel VERY uncomfortable at their approach!

    I ride to take in the treasures of nature, speed is never a goal, it is a time to recharge the spirit within.

    The rider of the video, like myself, was recharging his spirit within also. But our approach and excution...when the two meet on single track...two adverse reactions...one only...or a polite exchange from both?

    Pick one.

    Still, a part of me wishes I had the skills to ride like that; not that I would, so much, as could.

    The only attitudes that anyone has the power to change, lies totaly within each individual. Influence has an affect only when the 'other' has a listening attitude that extends into corrective action.

    Take heart, Mike, you have noticed a problem, and raised the alarm; thereby playing a part for the solution.

    What can I do? Pracice training myself to not be a hinderance to others striving towards the same goal; and giving voice when seen in others.
    "Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway" John Wayne

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    great post, as always....

    and I am in the even more rare class of people who would not apologize for calling people out when they are doing things that are insensitive to the bigger picture. The issues you bring up related to biking, and trail usage are just a reflection of the bigger cultural picture that has evolved (or devolved?) over the past 20 years.

    The whole notion of "me" instead of "we". "I" instead of "us"....their has been a defiitely loss of respect for things around us, including other people. "Civility" is dying for sure in the name of "personal freedom".

    To many people think of it as "the trails I ride", or "my trails", rather than the Trails we all ride, or that they are sharing.

    I personally think that this society in general needs some calling out. People who do the wrong thing need to be made aware of it, and need to feel bad about doing it.

    We need a little more of STFU. Not everyone gets a trophy. Not everyone is right. You are not always supposed to get things your way

    STFU and think

    STFU and listen

    STFU and watch

    STFU and learn

    STFU and respect

    ...none of this happens anymore, and you can definitely see the results in all aspects of life...not just on the trails.

    ok, old guy rant over. Now you damned kids get off my lawn and take your full squishy, electric, dropper post, tubeless, carbon gravel-enduro-drag racing bikes with you!!!
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    I shared this and the linked article "Sorry, but your stoke won't save us" with some friends. I think it's a conversation we need to have. I think our "love" of nature is often too one-dimensional.
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    There is one potential solution I can think of. scyclerist pointed it out already. I would say the problem has everything to do with your location.

    There are certainly pros to living somewhere fun and progressive, etc. Where I live (oddly similar to scyclerist though not the exact same) most people think of as backward, not cultured, I think some people refer to it as flyover country.

    But I love the area I live in. Mostly I love the people. I don't tend to ride with people but when I run into someone on the trails they're generally good folks. I would say the trail system near my house is an absolute gem -- friends of mine who have come to visit and ride from far away agree. Other than on really nice Saturdays the one thing that always strikes me on rides is how NO ONE else is around. I'll ride 18 miles and pass zero people.

    To me, it's worth the trade off of being somewhere that isn't as cool to live. I visit the cool places once or twice a year for biking and skiing vacations. It works great.

    BTW, Mike, you built me a set of wheels a few years ago. Still enjoying them.

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    regarding this and most topics, it would be helpful for people to travel more. everything I know about "enduro bro" and the sterotypes that come with them is from videos and online discussion. there is a HUGE mtb community where I live, but I have never worried about #vanlife people chugging Red Bull. I can't remember the last time I saw someone with a full face helmet. they save that for when they drive to New Mexico and rent a bike for the week!

    for the past few weeks, there is an evening XC ride in the 75+ mile trail system in our suburban area that over 65 riders attend. none of them shuttle or skid because there's nowhere to do that. everyone just rides their faces off as fast as they can and most of them ride their bikes home from there.

    there are enduro races in central Texas, dirt jumps, XC races, gnarly rock garden/ tree gate trails, sketchy sub-legal trails, official trails in city, county, and state parks, and everything but actual mountains. maybe that's the difference- you can't ride down a hill around here unless you're willing to pedal up it first.
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    I may throw you letter up on my blog, thanks for taking the time.
    Like anything it’s all about education and that has to come from
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    I think this guy was waaaaaaaaaaaaay ahead of the curve in ringing the bells!

    Wildlife Need Habitat Off-Limits To Humans! Mike Vandeman's Second Home Page

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    Quote Originally Posted by richwolf View Post
    I think this guy was waaaaaaaaaaaaay ahead of the curve in ringing the bells!

    Wildlife Need Habitat Off-Limits To Humans! Mike Vandeman's Second Home Page

    While it's all well and good MV is able to use words to portray a glimpse of the Planet as a collective-whole, MV activism and tactics (preaching at Bicycle Shops in the mid-eighties for example) have been encroaching on others who had yet to discover the great outdoors. MV is able to retreat to his media proliferation, but acting untoward the public as a whole in order to gain attention performs what as a service to the Habitat of the Planet?

    Taking away others personal sense of security in their profession and also their contributions to a good greater than one's self is just as apocalyptic as whatever doom and gloom as in the original article.

    Tried reading it; is decidedly under-developed and grainy.

    MV wants an image of this planet-protector type of person who has all the answers and is shocked each time something encroaches upon his fickle mindset. My way of thinking is individuals like this only act out when they have adequate support and feel there will be some type of result, if not only increases in frustration of the parties involved.

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    I have mixed feelings about all of this. As others have said, it greatly depends on the area in question. Have I seen signs of this general behavior? Yep, but locally we're not there yet. *Not quite.* But since literally 4000 new people move to my "small town" every year (and that figure is increasing exponentially), we're in for it. What I've noticed with the majority of these people is they are not even from the Rocky Mountain region, nor do they care to get to know the culture nor do they even care what it was like before they arrived. Our town is a playground to be exploited, and many a trustafarian has told his/her 20something independently wealthy friends of its spoils. #livingthedream.

    I can remember the days when I could visit nearly any local trailhead and count on one hand the number of cars in the parking lot. A lot of times I was by myself, which is the way I prefer it.

    Nowadays, I can go to most trailheads at 5:30 in the morning during the summer and there are others there 5/10 times.

    On weekends, our popular trails are a shitshow. I almost feel bad even being there, because I feel like even though the majority of us are recreating responsibly -- we are creating a visible impact to other users who very likely hate us to begin with.

    If someone were to look at me, they might label me as an "endurbro." I am much older than I look, however. I just enjoy modern gear, and, truth be told, I like to ride fast. I've always ridden fast even in the 80s on completely rigid 26ers. That element has always had an allure for me. That said, I try to select my rides based on the likelihood of NOT encountering a large number of other users, and I always ride at a speed that is within my visibility. I do not skid, cut corners, or alter trails other than to clear fallen trees, divert standing water, and move random loose rocks and debris when it is out of character for the trail. I take pride in the way I present myself to other users, and have never had a close call. But besides that, I ride a mountain bike just as much because it is an escape from stress, sorts out my thinking, and I just plain love being in the mountains and the solitude that nature provides. For me, there is no dichotomy between riding "aggressively" and enjoying nature-- they're part of the same package.

    The biggest offenders, in my experience, are riders in the early stages of their riding careers. They have just enough skill to be dangerous, and don't realize how fragile our access is, nor how much is at stake. We need to educate those riders, and it might get messy.

    The problem will only get worse as our land managers close even more access to us via wilderness and wilderness study areas. But looking at the poor behavior of some, I almost think those measures might have some validity. It's sad that some of us could handle the responsibility and get what we need out of the experience, but I fear we'll keep losing access.

  42. #42
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    I went out on my standard training ride tonight. Mixed surfaces. No bikes, few cars, great weather and scenery and it got me thinking about this whole thread and this is what I came up with and this will be my last post on this subject:

    I get that you are pissed off about what is happening to your trails but you live in what is arguably the mountain bike “mecca” of the world. There is nothing that you can realistically do about it. The crowds ain't going away and will likely get bigger.

    So you have a couple of choices. Either suck it up or move.

    I can't think of a plan that is going to get 100 or even 50 percent compliance with what you wish. Fewer people, not changing features, not braiding trails. Even if people stayed on the trail all the time just the sheer volume of traffic is going to change it. Young guys are full of testosterone and love speed and taking risks damn the torpedoes.

    I used to kayak down in LaJolla and back in the day there were only a few of us out there. You had to own a boat to do it and it was early on in it's upward trajectory. Today with the rental businesses down there it is just an endless sea of plastic boats. I don't like it but it is what it is Never go down there anymore to kayak and sold my boats.

    I have biked in Colorado since the late 80 and I concur it is getting all messed up.'I can't think of a place in Colorado where I would want to move to.

    I am lucky enough to live in an area where I can enjoy what I want to do without the crowds.

    In the whole scheme of things we are fortunate enough to live during a fairly peaceful period and if the worst that happens is that we get upset about trail issues then we should consider ourselves lucky.

    Smoke a dube, find religion, start a new hobby, be a mentor, coach, volunteer, move if you have to. If you want to live life all pissed off trust me there is an endless amount of things to be pissed about.

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    An interesing read, and made me realize the contrast with our bike scene in MN/WI/MI and how grateful I am to live here.

    I think the problems you guys have out west is just capitalism run amok...there's so much marketing coming at people now and everyone wants a piece of the lifestyle portrayed in the marketing to help escape their miserable office life.

    Life's too short to be pissed off...maybe consider a change of scenery and get away from the craziness?
    whatever...

  44. #44
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    I live in a destination town and if I don't ride on the weekends, I won't see another rider. Having two bike parks with a third opening soon takes a lot of the wear off the trails.

    In these parts, it's the high school bike team that was damaging trails by skidding and cutting corners. That was solved by an email to the coach who organized some trail maintenance days. Now these kids have some skin in the game.
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  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by richwolf View Post
    I went out on my standard training ride tonight. Mixed surfaces. No bikes, few cars, great weather and scenery and it got me thinking about this whole thread and this is what I came up with and this will be my last post on this subject:

    I get that you are pissed off about what is happening to your trails but you live in what is arguably the mountain bike “mecca” of the world. There is nothing that you can realistically do about it. The crowds ain't going away and will likely get bigger.

    So you have a couple of choices. Either suck it up or move.

    I can't think of a plan that is going to get 100 or even 50 percent compliance with what you wish. Fewer people, not changing features, not braiding trails. Even if people stayed on the trail all the time just the sheer volume of traffic is going to change it. Young guys are full of testosterone and love speed and taking risks damn the torpedoes.

    I used to kayak down in LaJolla and back in the day there were only a few of us out there. You had to own a boat to do it and it was early on in it's upward trajectory. Today with the rental businesses down there it is just an endless sea of plastic boats. I don't like it but it is what it is Never go down there anymore to kayak and sold my boats.

    I have biked in Colorado since the late 80 and I concur it is getting all messed up.'I can't think of a place in Colorado where I would want to move to.

    I am lucky enough to live in an area where I can enjoy what I want to do without the crowds.

    In the whole scheme of things we are fortunate enough to live during a fairly peaceful period and if the worst that happens is that we get upset about trail issues then we should consider ourselves lucky.

    Smoke a dube, find religion, start a new hobby, be a mentor, coach, volunteer, move if you have to. If you want to live life all pissed off trust me there is an endless amount of things to be pissed about.


    It's fascinating that you keep painting me as "pissed". Your word.

    I'm not pissed. Not angry. Bewildered and frustrated are more apt. So I've made an attempt at engaging people on the subject, because number one there are a lot of people that are waking up to where we are right now, and number two the situation is not going to solve itself.

    We are looking hard at moving. To a place with lots of public land but no mountain bike trails per se. But that doesn't solve the greater problem, and I'm not willing to just walk away from it. It needs addressing. It can, and will, follow us.

    As for the pissed part? Since you don't know me -- we've never met, never talked -- my suggestion is that you're implying something that either isn't there or is coming from you. Your prerogative either way.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vader View Post
    That was solved by an email to the coach who organized some trail maintenance days. Now these kids have some skin in the game.

    Awesome.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by richwolf View Post
    Smoke a dube, find religion, start a new hobby, be a mentor, coach, volunteer, move if you have to. If you want to live life all pissed off trust me there is an endless amount of things to be pissed about.
    Agreed!

    Taking life too seriously seems to come with some seriously negative results. Not saying this about anyone in particular.


    I guess I just don't see the trails around here getting beat down by massive amounts of users, and we do have massive amounts of users on some trails. Even super-popular trails like Hall Ranch in Lyons, CO has been changed much more by natural erosion processes than users. And of what users are responsible for, I hate to say it, but 90% has got to be horses. Most of the trail is pretty much the same as it was 10 years ago, except the rock garden, which has significantly eroded for the better.

    And fwiw, I love the Endurbros at Hall ranch because they yield for downhillers in the rock garden. That alone is gold and I hope others take a hint. Not that up should always yield to down, but there are times it makes more sense and to see people do what makes sense instead of demand what they feel they are entitled to is nice to see.

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    Not all doom and gloom here in MA. Sure lots of riders out there. But some good turn outs at trail work days as well. How do you educate the next generation of trail workers and trail users? That seems to be the question. A fair amount of younger faces at group rides and trail days too I notice. The HS mt bike race teams are really popular as well. Braiding makes me sad, how do you change that behavior? I'd like to know. Love to try to get some answers/ solutions.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Not all doom and gloom here in MA.
    Yeah, we've got it good.
    Lots of cross-pollination across disciplines up here, so people tend to have appreciations and respect for more than just one little niche of riding they've locked themselves into. Many of the same guys and grils hitting the lifts on the weekend are out building trails and riding XC during the week and off season. Sure, some don't mix it up, but even those are very likely to be friends with others that do.
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  50. #50
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    Thankfully we are not seeing similar issues here in CT. Some places can get crowded on summer weekends but 90% of the time we have the trails to ourselves and never see anyone. It's a big country with varied terrain and there's big differences between what we all are seeing and experiencing where we ride. There's no such thing as 'shuttled' access here so I wouldn't know an endurobro if I saw one!

    I would be equally frustrated if I was seeing what the OP describes. Reading what some have to deal with in higher populated areas makes me appreciate our relatively undiscovered world. Tough call on how to stop it but those of us with a passion will at least try and make things better in our own little way. Leading by example, and providing feedback to newer riders that appear to be oblivious to the 'we' vs 'I' concept sounds like a good start.
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    We are looking hard at moving. To a place with lots of public land but no mountain bike trails per se.

    UH...why did you move out of northern Mi again?

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Not all doom and gloom here in MA.
    I'd tell you not to let out the secret of our little mountain biking paradise, but then I'm pretty confident the shitty traffic, cold winters, and high real estate prices will keep most of the yahoos at bay.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpdemello View Post
    I'd tell you not to let out the secret of our little mountain biking paradise, but then I'm pretty confident the shitty traffic, cold winters, and high real estate prices will keep most of the yahoos at bay.
    You're in the wrong part of MA.
    We get the winter thing, but the traffic and high costs disappear once you get a little ways from the city.
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  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    The trails are changing, faster than ever before. You probably ride a lot more than I do these days -- do you not see it?
    I agree with this. There is a love of "flow" trails and all rocks and roots must be removed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpdemello View Post
    I'd tell you not to let out the secret of our little mountain biking paradise, but then I'm pretty confident the shitty traffic, cold winters, and high real estate prices will keep most of the yahoos at bay.
    But it's not a mt bike " destination" and we don't have any huge climbs, so no one want to come hang out with us ma$$holes, I'm ok with that. Did a 20 mile " commute" home from Boston on Wednesday, got 8 miles of singletrack in, really sucked, one of my shoes got wet

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    I remember when mountain biking really took off big in the '90s and then crashed in the early 2000s. The same thing appears to be happening now. When people move on to something else and biking loses its massive popularity, hopefully things will mellow out and settle down a lot.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

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    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    I remember when mountain biking really took off big in the '90s and then crashed in the early 2000s. The same thing appears to be happening now. When people move on to something else and biking loses its massive popularity, hopefully things will mellow out and settle down a lot.

    It feels to me like growth is still going vertical. Likely because of where I live and the time of year.

    But let's say you're right and things are starting to taper off. No time like now, then, while catching our collective breath, to figure out what to do before the next cresting wave approaches.

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    During my 71 years the population of the US has more than doubled; 150,697,361 in 1950, and 308,745,539 in 2010. Population growth only serves to intensfy the weakness in human nature.

    In an ideal enviroment, there would still exist those who rebel against common logic. The ability to do so is called free will. Like someone said, you can't fix stupid.

    In this day in history, the whole world is in a mess. those making regulations and laws that we live under no longer serve, but serve to control.

    Just this mourning reading about a young lady at Kent State, who after graduation toted around a AR style rifle. As a student she was prohibited, but as a non student, was permited.

    So...it was at the hands of the military...that 4 students were killed. So...in order to protect the students...the students were denied!

    Caused me to laugh, and shake my head at the "wisdom"...lacking.

    How many understood her point?

    How many of us sense a change in the air...a chance for hope...a chance that people are waking up...

    How many readers understand that this post is not about the details of the post, but that the details were raised to express hope and evidence that more responsible riding can/will take place on our trails.

    In another post, a letter was sent to a high school coach with positive results. Thanks to whom ever wrote that letter, and to the poster who reported it to us.

    And thanks to you, Mike...for raising your hand.

    Hope.

    Hope shared...begets Hope.
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  59. #59
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    FWIW we have bigger problems in the U.S. than people's behavior on mountain bikes. Kids mass murdering kids over and over, and over, and over...? WTF?

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    FWIW we have bigger problems in the U.S. than people's behavior on mountain bikes. Kids mass murdering kids over and over, and over, and over...? WTF?
    I see, so that's an excuse to misbehave in all other facets of life?

    This is a mountain bike forum, after all.

  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    It feels to me like growth is still going vertical. Likely because of where I live and the time of year.

    But let's say you're right and things are starting to taper off. No time like now, then, while catching our collective breath, to figure out what to do before the next cresting wave approaches.
    I don't think that we've hit the inflection point just yet. Another economic crisis (bubble economy) and there will be a lot less bikers out on the trails. Less bikers will mean less erosion, less conflict, etc. It seems that once you hit a certain point of crowding on the trails, etiquette and overall friendliness disappears.
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  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by radair View Post
    I see, so that's an excuse to misbehave in all other facets of life?

    This is a mountain bike forum, after all.
    not an excuse, but a result of the same mind set: "I want attention; I am going to do what I want, screw everyone else; it is all about what is fun for me" etc. etc...

    our behavior reflects the bigger lack of respect, focus, and leadership, and the resulting negativity is manifested in all aspects of life, from mountain biking to school violence
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    Quote Originally Posted by sXeXBMXer View Post
    not an excuse, but a result of the same mind set: "I want attention; I am going to do what I want, screw everyone else; it is all about what is fun for me" etc. etc...

    our behavior reflects the bigger lack of respect, focus, and leadership, and the resulting negativity is manifested in all aspects of life, from mountain biking to school violence
    I agree....all symptoms of the same problems.

    And FWIW, Mike's article in Adventure Journal is getting some real mileage on social media at this point.

  64. #64
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    Exactly what I was getting at, only you said it better. I had an extremely grueling 12 hour day at work yesterday and was impacted mentally by yesterday's events (I teach kids). Needless to say, I'm highly disturbed by the direction our society is headed.

    The issues brought up in this thread are certainly a symptom of a greater societal breakdown-- but let's keep things in perspective. All I was saying-- I apologize if I derailed the thread.

  65. #65
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    I hope all the horse crap never follows me out on the single tracks.
    So far It never has.

    When I'm out there It's mostly just me and the trail, I tend to ride into remote areas and at times when others are not there.

    "the direction our society" Many talk about this, some loudly, no one takes action that counts, Pick a tv channel and watch the talking heads go at it,,Pfft just useless hot air..

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    I done figgert that out Boyz, got past It,,

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  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by sXeXBMXer View Post
    not an excuse, but a result of the same mind set: "I want attention; I am going to do what I want, screw everyone else; it is all about what is fun for me" etc. etc...

    our behavior reflects the bigger lack of respect, focus, and leadership, and the resulting negativity is manifested in all aspects of life, from mountain biking to school violence
    I'm in total agreement with all of that. As a society we've changed to a me first, F U attitude. Sad

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    Exactly what I was getting at, only you said it better. I had an extremely grueling 12 hour day at work yesterday and was impacted mentally by yesterday's events (I teach kids). Needless to say, I'm highly disturbed by the direction our society is headed.

    The issues brought up in this thread are certainly a symptom of a greater societal breakdown-- but let's keep things in perspective. All I was saying-- I apologize if I derailed the thread.
    I teach as well...in fact, at 3 of my schools, we did our "active shooter drills" this week...the whole time I was thinking WTF has it come down to?

    My students (middle school and high school) talk about it like it is a video game...how they would "smoke the shooter just like in ---------- game"....how f-ed up is that? They have been completely desensitized to the reality

    I have made a pact with myself to not pay attention to anymore media coverage of any of the shootings...I don't want to be part of the machine anymore. I am not going to give the media what it wants....which is a drooling audience waiting for the next round of sensationalism and ad opportunities
    "It's about having pointless fun in the woods...." - Walt
    '15 Surly Krampus
    '87 Mongoose Californian Pro
    LET IT SNOW!!!

  68. #68
    This place needs an enema
    Reputation: mikesee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    11,403
    Quote Originally Posted by NoahColorado View Post
    I think trails generally get better with age. The lines become more natural and flowy, the surface gets faster and harder, and what rocks that remain are of the more trustworthy, embedded variety. As a trail moves from new to established, the challenge naturally shifts from simply "cleaning it" to riding it with greater and greater speeds.

    I was thinking about these statements over my past few rides. And if you use the same sentiment but reword it, what it says is that trails get faster over time because people ride around all of the existing obstacles. Take an honest look at any given local trail next time you ride it, and you can't help but to see it. Every one of our trails has at least a few if not many "figure eights' these days, where instead of riding over a rock -- as the trail was laid out to have you do -- people are riding around. Some go left, some go right. So instead of singletrack -- which I think most of us can agree is desirable -- we have something less desirable.

    So, to your point: I emphatically don't agree that they are getting better with age. I can only agree that they are changing, and the reasons for the change are, to me, unacceptable.

  69. #69
    CEO Product Failure
    Reputation: bingemtbr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    847
    This is VERY spot on. I've had the same observations from a different perspective: it used to be you could go out and "ride your ride". Meaning, if you were out to cleanse the soul and hit the reset button, you were free to do so. No longer. On 15 out of 20 instances over last weekend's rides, my ride was interrupted or imposed upon by other rides.

    Here's what would occur-I was our JRA'ing. I'd pass a group of stopped mtb'rs (they could've been stopped to drink, smoke, BS, take a photo or whatever). No less than 15 seconds after I passed them, they start out chasing me. I wasn't out on the trail to race. I wasn't out on the trail to ride with strangers. I wasn't out on the trail to have people breathing down my neck. Unfortunately, this was the reality of my weekend and after the 4th time this occurred, I started counting...15 out of 20 times.

    To all the noobs guilty of these transgressions, RIDE YOUR OWN EFFING RIDE. If I wanted to race you, I'd pin a race plate to my bike and pay the entry fee. My asking you if "everything is OK" or "if you need anything" is NOT an invitation for you and your bro-posse to chase me like a rabbit.

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