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  1. #1
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    Why don't mountain bikers and motorcycles work together

    I know they are different, but that is not how hikers, equestrian users, and hardcore wilderness people feel about it. I know I used to be a hardcore wilderness guy. I am still way more green than the average person, but realize that all users should be able to use our resources in a responsible way. I was mountain biking in Boulder before most of the trails were closed to mountain bikers.

    Hikers want dangerous mtbers off the trail. They are all dangerous in their opinion.

    Equestrian users worry about mtbers spooking their horses and want them off their trails.

    Wilderness people want all humans off the land.

    I worry that if mtbers and moto users don't work together we will be weaker and lose more trails than we need too.

  2. #2
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    When I was first in MTB while I was living on Guam(very much like cali red dirt), the majority of the trails were made by dirt bike/mud trucks. To an extent we would pioneer trails only to come back and see the massive erosion left by the powered brethren or the decent trail would then be eroded almost unusable by a couple that came out during a rain spell. We accepted it as part of the turf since it was less clearing that we had to do, but the environmental impact was tremendous compared to the trails that we would leave.

    Eventually it came to a head when a 4wheeler/moto guy had a big endo and sued the landowner(big time land owner 100+ acres). For a while it led to the land being no-trespassing completely until we were able to negotiate a separation from the other users and get special privilege reassigned to bikes and hikers.

    All by way of saying that while teaming together can have its plusses, it can have it's negatives just as easily by association.

  3. #3
    Big Gulps, Alright!
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    Because I could spend all day riding like a total jackwad and not nearly do as much trail damage as a moto can do in the space of 90 seconds.

    Just because they both have two wheels doesn't mean they should be grouped together. Adding a motor changes everything.

  4. #4
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    I don't moto, but I do know that if not for motos, many of the really fun trails I've enjoyed would not exist if it were not for motos. By their very nature, they are great at cutting trails. So I'm never quick to frown upon the moto community.... we are brothers and we owe them a lot. I can truly appreciate their frustration with being kicked out of areas they have historically ridden. Appropriately ridden, I don't think a moto does all that much damage to a defined trail either. Of course, bad apples can (and often) "ruin it" for everyone in the moto world, just like they can in MTB and any other recreational pursuit you can think of. With all that said, yes, we should be working together in some capacity. The problem, in my opinion however, is there is SO MUCH age old legislation that truly sees OHV as the end-all-be-all evil in the great outdoors. Aligning with moto can hurt us from the association. An example of this would be designated Wilderness. While I truly believe bicycles will one day be able to legally ride in designated Wilderness, motorized vehicles will never, ever be allowed. In less extreme situations, mtb has a hard enough time defending itself as a human powered activity... positioning ourselves with motorized, loud, faster, destructive versions of us isn't going to help.

    There's gotta be something we can do together (to further trail access), but I'm not sure what it is and how to go about it.

  5. #5
    I build my own.
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    Build a trail. A mountain bike singletrack. Build it properly to be fun to ride AND sustainable. Put in a couple of years of sweat equity. Have a moto wreck it in half an hour.

    Then come back and see me.
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  6. #6
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    ^^^^^ That. ^^^^^^

  7. #7
    humber river advocate
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    in my neck of the woods on conservation lands motorized vehicles are banned period so it is not an issue. the mandate is towards multi use trails.

    in areas north of me mtber's are seen as a demanding newbies who have not put in their sweat equity and contribute very little financially to the trail system... i make sure i go out with the motorized group a few times a year to help out on trails (always say i'm am mtber)

    every area is different and requires a different approach.
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  8. #8
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    Never mind I figured that this thread would be worthless before I posted it up. I realize most people want other user groups banned from their playground. Just wait for the equestrian, hikers and earth first groups to push you off the trails you created and maintained.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironbrewer View Post
    Never mind...
    You know, your Why can't we all get along request was good intentioned, but, yes, you knew how it was going to turn out, so maybe you shouldn't have bothered.

    From my perspective the big problem is the amount of destruction that can be wreaked upon the land by a particular user group. Obviously, with the power available to them, motos can do a lot, and I think we have all seen examples of it. There are local trails that I used to enjoy riding but eventually abandoned because, due to throttle twisters, they became miles of churned up earth that is a pain to pedal thru and no longer enjoyable. Similarly, I've had favorite hiking trails that were absolutely destroyed by equestrians. I'm willing to concede that those groups need somewhere to go, but I think it should be limited to areas where the damage can be contained.

    But, back to your premise, I think there are situations where it would benefit us to work with other groups, but I think you have to decide on a case by case basis. I don't see enough benefit in teaming up with the motorized crowd to justify the potential guilt by association that could go with it, but I could be persuaded in special situations. Equestrians seem to have a disproportionate amount of influence, for reasons that I have never grasped, so I suppose it usually pays off to at least consider them when looking at trail access and construction. I always try to find ways to keep relations good with the foot-traffic crowd. Piss off enough hikers/runners and your life will become hell, no doubt about it.

    The green crowd is always going to be there. I think that most of them are well meaning, but do get a bit over-the-top at times. I think infiltrating their ranks to soften their resolve and come to mutually agreeable solutions will deliver better results than trying to overpower them.

  10. #10
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    Here in Austin, there is one public park that is designated as moto-accessible. Emma Long / City Park.

    Mountain bikers ride there a lot as well. It's rocky and hard-packed caliche, so deep rutting doesn't seem to be as much of a problem.

    I support there being 'some' trails designated for moto. I love riding motorcycles, but still I don't think motos should be allowed on all trails. That doesn't mean I wouldn't support their lobbying efforts for at least having something to ride.












  11. #11
    inexperienced at large
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    Ummmm braaap is kinda cool, but they wreck trails out here. Most places don't have the terrain to let them sit together.

    Sent from my Desire HD using Tapatalk 2

  12. #12
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    Hmmm. An electric motor on a DH/FR bike = okay ?

    Electric Motocross | The Straight Dirt | MountainBike.com


  13. #13
    I build my own.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironbrewer View Post
    Never mind I figured that this thread would be worthless before I posted it up. I realize most people want other user groups banned from their playground. Just wait for the equestrian, hikers and earth first groups to push you off the trails you created and maintained.
    I build mountain bike singletrack. In my lifetime I've hand built over 50 miles of trail. It's taken me over 40 years. I build trail by the foot. On average it takes an hour to build 10 feet of singletrack by hand in good conditions. A motorcycle or ATV can destroy about 10 feet per second.

    I advocate, build and maintain trails in 2 different types of areas. Public parks (multi-use, non-motorized, hike, cycle and most times, equestrian) and private property (multi-use, non-motorized, hike, cycle and equestrian).

    I've done the leg work. I went to the local land owners or the government to ensure that we had legal access to the land. I designed the trails and had the trail systems approved. I went to the meetings when the hikers "found" our mountain bike trails and complained that people were riding bicycles on them and scaring their puppies. I went to the meetings when motorcyclists and ATV riders "found" our trails and insisted that they had a right to use them.

    The accepted use for the trails I've built isn't going to change in my lifetime. Both the government and the land owners I deal with, have made it very clear that motorized vehicles are not going to be allowed on multi-use non-motorized trails on their land.

    I've repaired the damage done by motorcycles and ATVs when they used the trails after they were told they couldn't. I've replaced the signs they tore down, I've replaced the locks they cut, I've rebuilt the bridges they tore out because they were too small to handle the machines.

    I've advocated for space for motos and ATVs simply because I don't want them on the hiking and cycling trails. I've educated hundreds of kids in the local school bike club in how to get along with hikers and horses on the trails. I've attempted to educate adult cyclists in the same subject with relative success. I've spoken with local horse riding clubs and individual riders and as a result, we have a very good rapport.

    So, to answer your original question. I don't work with motorcyclists on advocating for access to trails because the ones I have tried to work with don't understand that hikers/equestrains and motorcycles don't belong on the same trails. The equestrians and hikers I've worked with realize that they can co-exist with bicycles on the same trails.
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  14. #14
    beer thief
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    In our area, motorized use (except by snowmobiles on designated trails) is not allowed in town conservation lands, state park lands and in the White Mountain National Forest. There are areas where motos and MTBs coexist peacefully but land manager prohibitions make it impossible here.

  15. #15
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    Disclaimer: I no longer own dirtbikes but started riding at age 6 and sold my last dirt bikes at age 46. I have been riding MTB's for 20+ years. The only place I've ridden MTB's where dirt bikes were also present is outside Durango and they presented ZERO problems....no trail destruction, no safety issues.

    Now on to my rant. You people that make blanket statements about dirt bikes ruining trails in 10 seconds are guilty of the same nonsense that whacko greenies and equestrian riders make about mountain bikers ruining trails. Where I live, dirt bikes aren't legal on public lands unless we go 90 miles east into the desert so all the trails I ride are used my 90%+ mountain bikers and 10% pedestrians of some type. Shocker alert!! There are plenty of trashed trails, rutted corners and no shortage of illegal trails and nary a dirt biker in sight.

    What bothers me the most about all this stuff (at least in my area) is that MTB groups build 90% of the trails and make up well over 90% of the users but that's the group that gets banned first. Pretty screwy if you ask me.

  16. #16
    I build my own.
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    Quote Originally Posted by k2rider1964 View Post
    Disclaimer: I no longer own dirtbikes but started riding at age 6 and sold my last dirt bikes at age 46. I have been riding MTB's for 20+ years. The only place I've ridden MTB's where dirt bikes were also present is outside Durango and they presented ZERO problems....no trail destruction, no safety issues.

    Now on to my rant. You people that make blanket statements about dirt bikes ruining trails in 10 seconds are guilty of the same nonsense that whacko greenies and equestrian riders make about mountain bikers ruining trails. Where I live, dirt bikes aren't legal on public lands unless we go 90 miles east into the desert so all the trails I ride are used my 90%+ mountain bikers and 10% pedestrians of some type. Shocker alert!! There are plenty of trashed trails, rutted corners and no shortage of illegal trails and nary a dirt biker in sight.

    What bothers me the most about all this stuff (at least in my area) is that MTB groups build 90% of the trails and make up well over 90% of the users but that's the group that gets banned first. Pretty screwy if you ask me.
    It was not intended to be a blanket statement. It was my experience. cmc4130 showed an example where dirtbikes don't destroy trails and they co-exist with MTB. You've showed another where it's likely MTB and hikers damaging trails.

    I know for a fact that it takes about a second for a moto to destroy 10 feet of singletrack that it took me an hour to build because I've watched it happen. I don't have to guess who did what.

    You people that make blanket statements about dirt bikes ruining trails in 10 seconds are guilty of the same nonsense that whacko greenies and equestrian riders make about mountain bikers ruining trails.
    I re-read the entire thread and didn't see where any made a blanket statement like that. In my experience, the complaints I've had to deal with from hikers and equestrians have always been about safety on the trails, not damage.
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  17. #17
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    Actually there is more good discussion in this thread than I thought. In Colorado the OHV community decided to tax themselves to raise money for trail maintenance in the form of a sticker system. I regularly give my time to do trail maintenance. In Colorado Springs a trail system was just shut down to motorcycles, because of a rare fish in the streams. The OHV community did trail maintenance, paid for and put bridges across all water crossings. Guess who the next user group to be banned from those trails will be. You got it MTB riders.

    Yes inexperienced or reckless motorcycle riders can damage trails, but that is not the only reason people lose access to trails. In Boulder we lost miles of trails for mountain biking , back in the 80's, due to bad hiker MTB interactions. It only takes a few reckless MTBers to rail past the wrong hiker to get trails closed.

    Not all work to keep access to trails is lawsuits exc. Most of is is just educating the various user groups.

    Just about every trail in Moab was pioneered, designed, built, and maintained by OHV groups. I can't stand it when I get dirty looks from mountain bikers on slickrock. The slickrock trail wouldn't exist if it wasn't for motorcycles.

    I always try to be courteous to all trail users. I stop for hikers, mountain bikers, and pull over, turn off my bike, and take off my helmet (helmets sometimes spook horses, my daughter rides horses) for equestrian users.

    MY RANT When you say it only takes a second for a moto to destroy 10 feet of singletrack, that sounds like any moto that rides a singletrack will destroy it. Responsible riders will not destroy your singletrack. A mountain bike can put a huge rut in an entire trail if it is muddy. Maybe they should be closed to mountain bikes because they might ruin them. The answer to that is no they shouldn't be closed to mountain bikes, just because one selfish dickwad might ride the trail in the wrong conditions.

  18. #18
    I build my own.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironbrewer View Post
    ...

    MY RANT When you say it only takes a second for a moto to destroy 10 feet of singletrack, that sounds like any moto that rides a singletrack will destroy it. Responsible riders will not destroy your singletrack. A mountain bike can put a huge rut in an entire trail if it is muddy. Maybe they should be closed to mountain bikes because they might ruin them. The answer to that is no they shouldn't be closed to mountain bikes, just because one selfish dickwad might ride the trail in the wrong conditions.
    I agree with your entire post. I'd like to address this part.

    Responsible moto riders didn't destroy my singletrack. I know that.

    The situations I spoke of where the trails were destroyed were on trails built for mountain bikers, by mountain bikers. They were designed and built to be ridden by any mountain bike in any weather conditions.

    I'm also aware of areas that can be ridden by irresponsilbe moto riders and they couldn't hurt the trail.

    On a related note.
    There is a local situation that is ongoing. The end result is going to be bad. I'm not involved as this area is 3000 miles away from where "my" trails are. It's just where I happen to be living at the moment.

    A local trail system is on a very large piece of land owned by the federal (Canadian) government. It crosses 4 different municipalities and up until about 10 years ago was not officially anything. It's part of the St. Lawrence Seaway. It has been used by hikers, horses, motos, OHV's and MTB's for many years. About 10 years ago the federal government was to close access to this land due to lawsuits leveled by people who had injured themselves while using the land. The 4 municipalities approached the federal government and made an agreement to allow public access to the land in exchange for the municipalities taking responsibility for the land.

    Recently, in one municipality a new subdivision and golf course was built adjacent to the land. Few of the new residents ever ventured on to the land but they did lodge a complaint with the local municipality. Their complaint was simply that they didn't like the noise of the motors. As a result of this complaint, the municipality decided to pull their support. The other 3 municipalities quickly followed suit.

    As of a week ago, the federal government has announced that they will close access to the land. For everybody. Fences and gates will go up and security will patrol.

    Is this the fault of the motorized users? Absolutely not. They were legal users of the land. They weren't doing anything different than they had been doing for years.

    Did they get blamed for it? You bet.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Ninja View Post
    I agree with your entire post.

    If you agreed with my entire post, I'm not sure why you would not like to increase our power by joining forces (I'm kind of selfish because I love both sports). I know some battles are not winable for everyone involved. Sounds like in the case in Canada, maybe the motos should have bowed out gracefully. If mountain bikers had worked with moto users on other access issues over the years and built up a certain level of trust and camaraderie, maybe they could have gotten the motos to bow out gracefully. I don't know the issues well enough, but that may not have helped. Maybe the land owners just wanted an excuse to end a practice they had gotten sick of.

    Access is kind of like a marriage. You need to know how to pick your battles. Sure honey I'll clean the garage, by the way I'm going riding for 4 days in Moab.

  20. #20
    I build my own.
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    In the case I cited, nobody had a chance to do anything. The first news anyone got was that the fences and gates were going to go up in the new years and the lands would be closed. No debate, no public input.

    To answer your question, I wouldn't join forces with motorcyclists because in my experience they would not help my situation. They would be a detriment. I find it pretty easy to get access for mountain bikes and hikers, a little tougher to get access for horses. If I mentioned motors that would be the end of the conversation.
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  21. #21
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    I do both moto and ride my mtn bike.Both have their places to play but moto aint as bad as most think either.

    As far as fighting together it wont happen thats why the sierra club and similar are succesful in shutting trrails down they know how to divide and conquer and do well.They can single out motos on trails and get bikers support to rid the motos then after that they work to get the bikers off too while the moto guys say F you you never stood up for us.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Ninja View Post
    Recently, in one municipality a new subdivision and golf course was built adjacent to the land. Few of the new residents ever ventured on to the land but they did lodge a complaint with the local municipality. Their complaint was simply that they didn't like the noise of the motors. As a result of this complaint, the municipality decided to pull their support. The other 3 municipalities quickly followed suit.
    That's eerily similar to what's been happening in NorCal for the last 30 years... rich lady moves to the Sierra foothills, right next to an OHV park. Hates the noise. Does everything in her power to not just get the motos banned there, but essentially get OHV banned on any forest road/trail that crosses a meadow or stream. It's been working. She's sue happy. She's Enemy #1 in the OHV community around here! (And rightly so!). MTB's are next
    Google "Karen Schambach".

    Trail Ninja - just curious, what are the motos doing that destroy your trails so quickly? Roosting uphill? Or just general weight of the moto?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by 77charger View Post
    I do both moto and ride my mtn bike.Both have their places to play but moto aint as bad as most think either.

    As far as fighting together it wont happen thats why the sierra club and similar are succesful in shutting trrails down they know how to divide and conquer and do well.They can single out motos on trails and get bikers support to rid the motos then after that they work to get the bikers off too while the moto guys say F you you never stood up for us.
    I don't know if it's by design but it certainly works out that way.
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  24. #24
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    Oh its by design. That why the 2 groups should work together.

  25. #25
    I build my own.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_Beer View Post
    That's eerily similar to what's been happening in NorCal for the last 30 years... rich lady moves to the Sierra foothills, right next to an OHV park. Hates the noise. Does everything in her power to not just get the motos banned there, but essentially get OHV banned on any forest road/trail that crosses a meadow or stream. It's been working. She's sue happy. She's Enemy #1 in the OHV community around here! (And rightly so!). MTB's are next
    Google "Karen Schambach".

    Trail Ninja - just curious, what are the motos doing that destroy your trails so quickly? Roosting uphill? Or just general weight of the moto?
    Different areas have different problems but it's mostly roosting. Not necessarily uphill. They like to drift the corners under power. I'm not sure what the term for that is. That action will tear out a small berm in one pass. There are some trials riders who also use the trails. If I didn't hear them, it would be hard to tell they were there. If they were all like the trials guys I'd have no problems.

    I've dealt with my share of Karen Schambach's over the years. None of them have been successful but it's a long hard battle nonetheless. I'm not an advocate by choice. I'm a builder. Advocacy is a necessary part of building that I would much rather have MTB groups do.

    When I started building bicycle singletrack, it would be another 10 years before the term "mountain bike" would be coined. Then another 10 years before people started building mountain bike specific trails. Then another 10 before they started to do it legitimately.

    In the area where "my" trails are, (Vancouver Island, B.C.) most riders either think that trails just "happen" or that you need to sneak on to private property and crown land and build renegade trails. Even though they ride on about 30 miles of trail that was built legally with the land managers blessing.

    On an unrelated note.
    I had the pleasure this summer of riding on a trail that I built 46 years ago in Eastern Ontario. Somebody else has been maintaining it for the last 35 years or so but it's holding up quite well. I could still see my rock work. It just needs brush trimming every year.
    Last edited by Trail Ninja; 12-19-2012 at 10:01 PM.
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