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  1. #1
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    What's the public image of a mountain biker?

    This last year I've experienced more user conflicts than in all my life before. I hadn't lived in WA, either. Perhaps there is there a correlation?

    In the last year, I've:
    1) been angrily yelled at by a hiker that "you mountain bikers destroy all the trails."
    2) had a couple old ladies with their dog telling me "Thanks for not running us over." as I slowly passed them - and they weren't smiling nor joking!
    3) had a couple hikers looking scared from behind trees as I was coming down a single track behind another group. Saying 'hello' and wishing them a good day didn't do much.
    4) had a couple hikers get really annoyed when they saw me on a bike and telling me to please pass them right away while they went way off the trail for me to pass.
    5) had lots of unfriendly/cold encounters with equestrians.

    BTW: Somewhat ironically, my encounters with motorcycle riders have been mostly positive.

    Before this weekend, I didn't know why hikers would advocate to close trails to mountain bikers. Now I do, and I feel ashamed to be a mountain biker. I rode with a group of mountain bikers on public trails this Saturday who showed little consideration for other trail users. And, I didn't say anything. Shame on me.

    If we want trails to not be closed, we will have to be responsible adults who care for the environment and respect other's right to have a peaceful walk in the woods.

    I realize that there are areas that are considered mainly for mountain biker and I am not trying to rain down on those. Galbraith, Tiger, and Tokul come to mind.

    And, I know there are many bikers who are ambassadors of the sport in WA and who are making an effort to slow down and smile when they encounter someone else.

    Just my 5 cents on this issue. And, yes, I've gone too fast sometimes as well, and I will try to be a more responsible mountain biker in the future.

    Peace.

  2. #2
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    this guy always comes to mind:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails What's the public image of a mountain biker?-bush_lite_mtb.jpg  


  3. #3
    FM
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    I am all for courtesy, but at the end of the day what really counts is getting new legal places approved and built for us to ride. That dissipates traffic on shared trails, and creates mountain bike specific trails where conflicts are a non-issue.

    Otherwise... on legally open trails we have as much right to be there as they do. People who don't like the resulting dynamic (MTB's included) will just need to find some other place to recreate.

  4. #4
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    In 20+ years of mountian biking, I've had very few negative encounters with other trail users. I always slow down, and try to say something pleasant. For example, equestrians seem to like it if you stop and complement their horse.
    I have been the victim of some of the angry comments you mentioned, and honestly it ruins my day. Perhaps the mere sight of me ruins their "peaceful walk", but their nasty comment ruins my entire day.
    All you can do is slow down and be nice and friendly. Some folks are just angry people. It's too bad, but in my experience most people out in the woods, hiking, running, bird watching, or any thing else are in a pretty good mood, and fairly nice.

    I once got yelled at by an equestrian, because of the noise my SPD made when I unclipped while yeilding the trail to her. The funny part was the horse was as calm as any horse I've ever seen.

    In all aspects of life all you can do is try. You'll never make every one happy.

  5. #5
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    I have experienced a lot of grief on my dirt bike on established motorbike trails. Hikers were always mad at us. Enviro groups will do anything to shut down a trail. Next they will move on to mountain bikers.

    Why? I think it's because they're partly crazy. Anything that isn't pure nature is a target. They care very passionately about this topic and are motivated to lobby and gather funds. Whereas most of just wanna be left alone.

    I suppose they'll require no hiking boots eventually - you gotta go barefoot! Nevermind millions of cars driving around every day.

    Anyway for the most part the crazy ones are rare. I just be careful and always pull over for hikers. Try to stay clear from the horses. Slow down a bit on the blind corners if it's a shared trail. Be nice.

  6. #6
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    The only acceptable place to ride as fast as you want is at a lift resort. Image you are railing a berm feeling awesome and around the corner you plow over some little kids out for a hike with their dad. I think about that all the time and yes it does ruin the experience. Duthie at least has signs warning people. Tiger does not. St Eds does not.

    But mountain biking (aside from mellow bike path riding) is a selfish, self-centered and egotistical activity so I doubt anyone will change their riding habits. Thats also why we get along so well with the dirt bikers.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by FM View Post
    Otherwise... on legally open trails we have as much right to be there as they do.
    We have a right to be there _because_ the trail is open. That is a privilege, not a right. Trails can and do get closed by land managers. The 'Leave if you don't like the way I ride' attitude is what ends up as
    a) 'Trail closed to mountain bikers', or
    most definitely b) animosity and hostility.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by firstlog View Post
    But mountain biking (aside from mellow bike path riding) is a selfish, self-centered and egotistical activity so I doubt anyone will change their riding habits. Thats also why we get along so well with the dirt bikers.
    What are you talking about? Mountian bikers have never got along with dirt bikers, and it's no more selfish than any other hobby. In fact, I can argue, it's less selfish that others, due to the amount of trail work we do.

  9. #9
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    Sell your bike!

    Quote Originally Posted by firstlog View Post
    But mountain biking (aside from mellow bike path riding) is a selfish, self-centered and egotistical activity so I doubt anyone will change their riding habits. Thats also why we get along so well with the dirt bikers.
    I'm not sure if you own a bike or not, but my advice is to sell it. It's doing nobody any good right now.

  10. #10
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    The first decade of my mountain biking was spent in Western WA. Much more contentious there it seems than out here in Idaho. I wondered back then if not part of the problem was that all the most of the hiking guide books (published by The Mountaineers) were written by a couple guys that were totally anti-anything that was not hiking, and basically included what seemed to me like inflammatory remarks regarding any other allowed users at various trails. Or so it seemed to me. I always felt that that contributed to the WA attitude.

    There is a much more collaborative culture here in Idaho. but I think that is easier here seeing as there are a lot fewer people here too. I do everything in my power to be polite and courteous to other users to try to preserve the collaborative attitude as long as possible.

  11. #11
    FM
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    Quote Originally Posted by carbonguy View Post
    We have a right to be there _because_ the trail is open. That is a privilege, not a right. Trails can and do get closed by land managers. The 'Leave if you don't like the way I ride' attitude is what ends up as
    a) 'Trail closed to mountain bikers', or
    most definitely b) animosity and hostility.
    Missed my point completely.

    Right or Courtesy, trails are OPEN to us because we have shown a commitment to advocacy, trail building & maintenance. Commitment = funding, representation, physical resources.

    Once the trail says open to bikes, you have a RIGHT to ride your bike on that trail.

    Every user group may be mostly polite and have a few bad apples. Land managers aren't running a popularity contest.

    Anyways. Hope to see you at the DNR & Parks Dept meetings, that will provide more benefit than another MTBR thread.

  12. #12
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    I agree with FM, get involved. Working swing shift and a lot of Saturdays it is hard to get to many meetings. But I do as much as I can. That means being a member of my local bike club (Evergreen) contributing money and time when I can. Sunday the 27th I will be out at St Ed helping with the trail re-route. Up from the South End. The more we do the more, IMHO, ability we have to have a say. I would have loved to go to the Black Diamond planting party tonight but I can't.

    Having said that my encounters with other people are usually pretty good. Most of the time they smile, say hello, and step out of the way. I even had a trail walker urging me on as I was riding up a hill; "you can do it". I also keep an eye out for others, slow way down when necessary, and announce my presence when coming up from behind. Check out Evergreen's video "It Pays To Be Courteous" video on youtube.

    If I have any complaint about hikers it's when their dog comes charging at me and they are saying the whole time "he is such a nice sweet dog".

    And how close should we be when we announce our presence? I sure don't want to sound like I am yelling at them.
    Slim

  13. #13
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    The further you get away from King county/I90 the less user conflict I here about.

    The Seattle/ King county superiority inferiority complex makes people do funny things here. Yes I said superiority inferiority complex.
    Epic trails get built in the Northwest by epic people!

    Sustainable quality trails please.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ser jameson View Post
    What are you talking about? Mountian bikers have never got along with dirt bikers, and it's no more selfish than any other hobby. In fact, I can argue, it's less selfish that others, due to the amount of trail work we do.
    I disagree with the above statement. At least in the Inland NW and Idaho, if it weren't for guys on motos with gas cans and little chainsaws clearing the downfall some trails would NEVER get cleared. From what I've seen the guys that like to ride motos in a reasonable manner hate the bad examples of their own sport too.

  15. #15
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    People. Western WA peeps are mostly left-wing socialists... This brings along with it all kinds of silly "protect" everything and discuss everything in group meetings ********. I have a lady in my neighborhood that keeps going through my recycling to make sure I don't put anything in there that's not recyclable (I once tried to recycle a a small BBQ to get her gears going ). Crap like that never happened when I lived out east. It's all this pretentious righteous mentality. Everyone feels like they need to tell me how to ride, where to ride, what to ride, etc because some dumb ass bird is going extinct or a hiker doesn't have the common sense to stay out of the way of bigger things. I'm exaggerating but not by much... Trails are just dirt and organic crap, they regenerate extremely quickly, just go walk around a trail that's been re-routed or closed a year ago and you'll see. I don't buy this whole mountain bikes destroy nature talk, it's just a way for people who have too much time on their hands to make themselves feel important and unfortunately there's a lot of those out here.

    Also, I'm not an ******* on trails to others, I just mind my own business so don't assume I'm ruining your "image" or "swagger" as a mountain biker.

  16. #16
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    Re: What's the public image of a mountain biker?

    The IMBA "rule" is "always yield the trail"

    I've heard some creative definitions of yield and even Oxford makes a mess of it:

    http://www.oxfordlearnersdictionarie...nglish/yield_1

    Intriguing about "yield" is that the yielder has to give up something. In the definitions they mention yielding to the faster lane and to someone's demands. No wonder we all have a hard time. We are faster, The history of "always yield the trail" is the hikers out number us at least 10:1.

    In 1995 I created the BBTC boot camp because I wanted to look you in the eye and explain we had never won a battle for a park once negative publicity takes hold. On shared trails this will always be the case.

    This sermon ends with all of us nodding our heads agreeing the best practice to keep our precious access is to dismount and be a hiker for five seconds and pass merrily such that life is but a dream.

    My advice is either ride where "they" ain't, avoid busy times of day, use a bell, and its the best part of your day so enjoy it with all trail citizens.

  17. #17
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    This:

    My advice is either ride where "they" ain't, avoid busy times of day


  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jalm111 View Post
    People. Western WA peeps are mostly left-wing socialists... This brings along with it all kinds of silly "protect" everything and discuss everything in group meetings ********. I have a lady in my neighborhood that keeps going through my recycling to make sure I don't put anything in there that's not recyclable (I once tried to recycle a a small BBQ to get her gears going ). Crap like that never happened when I lived out east. It's all this pretentious righteous mentality. Everyone feels like they need to tell me how to ride, where to ride, what to ride, etc because some dumb ass bird is going extinct or a hiker doesn't have the common sense to stay out of the way of bigger things. I'm exaggerating but not by much... Trails are just dirt and organic crap, they regenerate extremely quickly, just go walk around a trail that's been re-routed or closed a year ago and you'll see. I don't buy this whole mountain bikes destroy nature talk, it's just a way for people who have too much time on their hands to make themselves feel important and unfortunately there's a lot of those out here.

    Also, I'm not an ******* on trails to others, I just mind my own business so don't assume I'm ruining your "image" or "swagger" as a mountain biker.
    If you live in the Lake Union floating home community, I know which recycle nazi your talking about.
    I'm sure there are plenty of others...

    Back on topic,
    my quiet little backyard loop of DNR land recently got a nice fancy new parking lot built and now I'm dealing with a whole new influx of the off-leashers that never knew this spot existed before.
    It really sucks, but I just try to keep slower around the corners, smile and make nice, dodge the poo and stick to Galbraith on the weekends.

  19. #19
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    Aside from Grand Ridge, I have to say my experience has been pretty positive too.

    I don't yell out orders at strangers. I just say "hello." When I'm on access routes choked with stroller mommies, I sit up and go slow.

    While I often want a workout and an adrenaline kick on my rides, I'm not out to prove anything. It doesn't really hurt my workout to slow down for a moment.

    And most of the time, my bike lets me get further up the mountain faster than the crowds. The runners and hikers at higher elevations seem a lot more mellow.

    I did have a bell on my bike for a while. Seemed to help along the I-90 corridor. My usual haunt lately is Galbraith, and I just don't see a lot of people on foot there.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  20. #20
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    carbonguy, totally the opposite of my trail experience. I find that most trail users are really nice and friendly to me, but I do take extra effort to reach out and be friendly. Maybe we ride in different places? I do avoid busy areas like Grand Ridge at peak times, and ride slower around corners there since it has poor sight lines.

    I'm pretty fast (and controlled) on DH segments, but I always yield to all other users, both up and down (I figure I'm the expert and they're the average rider, so why not?). I smile, say hi. I find people out on the trail generally to be cool people, especially mt bikers.
    Issaquah & Seattle real estate agent. Buy or sell a home with me and I donate $500 to Evergreen MTB Alliance
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunvalleylaw View Post
    The first decade of my mountain biking was spent in Western WA. Much more contentious there it seems than out here in Idaho. I wondered back then if not part of the problem was that all the most of the hiking guide books (published by The Mountaineers) were written by a couple guys that were totally anti-anything that was not hiking, and basically included what seemed to me like inflammatory remarks regarding any other allowed users at various trails. Or so it seemed to me. I always felt that that contributed to the WA attitude.

    There is a much more collaborative culture here in Idaho. but I think that is easier here seeing as there are a lot fewer people here too. I do everything in my power to be polite and courteous to other users to try to preserve the collaborative attitude as long as possible.
    Did you know the authors of those books(100 hikes) are also founding members of the Issaquah alps hiking club? That's where the I90 attitude comes from.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kliemann53 View Post
    Did you know the authors of those books(100 hikes) are also founding members of the Issaquah alps hiking club? That's where the I90 attitude comes from.
    I have been toe to toe with Harvey Manning about the mountain bike issue in 1992 when Tim Hill was county ex. The angry old hiker is usually the Alpers mentality of they are the chosen ones. I've been a hiker , Mt biker, Moto biker, Horse rider. Even now the one with attitude are usually ones with out street cred. The horse riders who hassle me about maintaining trails don't maintain themselves, Because I am side by side with my horse friends doing so and they are not. The hiker groups who complain are the first to pick up their dog crap and leave the bag of plastic and poo along side the trail saying they will get it later. It never happens. The moto guys are a mix bunch of either rednecks asswipes or people who are over zealous trying to please everyone just to loose everything.(Goldbar as an example) I have learned from my dad who was instrumental in Capital forest being a multi use since the 70"s, about attitudes and conflicts of different users. Look at recent history and how so much has changed. We used to ride horses everywhere, we used to ride motorcycles every where, 4x4 everywhere, mountain bike everywhere. Now we are so restricted even with recent trail openings it feels crowded..

  23. #23
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    Re: What's the public image of a mountain biker?







    Like I said yield is confusing especially these signs so if you have any questions who is required to yield we are here to help.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kliemann53 View Post
    Did you know the authors of those books(100 hikes) are also founding members of the Issaquah alps hiking club? That's where the I90 attitude comes from.

    Doesn't surprise me based on the tone of the unnecessary comments in the books. I remember thinking it was just odd that they went so far out of their way to throw a whole category of people under the bus without regard to individual users. When I got to Idaho, I was really pleasantly surprised by the multi-user ethic particularly in the Sawtooth National Rec Area, used by hikers, horse folk, bicyclers and motos. As someone else said, without the motos and their trail work, it would take a long time to get the trails open each year.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sven Trials View Post
    I have been toe to toe with Harvey Manning about the mountain bike issue in 1992 when Tim Hill was county ex. The angry old hiker is usually the Alpers mentality of they are the chosen ones. I've been a hiker , Mt biker, Moto biker, Horse rider. Even now the one with attitude are usually ones with out street cred. The horse riders who hassle me about maintaining trails don't maintain themselves, Because I am side by side with my horse friends doing so and they are not. The hiker groups who complain are the first to pick up their dog crap and leave the bag of plastic and poo along side the trail saying they will get it later. It never happens. The moto guys are a mix bunch of either rednecks asswipes or people who are over zealous trying to please everyone just to loose everything.(Goldbar as an example) I have learned from my dad who was instrumental in Capital forest being a multi use since the 70"s, about attitudes and conflicts of different users. Look at recent history and how so much has changed. We used to ride horses everywhere, we used to ride motorcycles every where, 4x4 everywhere, mountain bike everywhere. Now we are so restricted even with recent trail openings it feels crowded..
    Sad to hear, but not all that surprising. Capitol Forest was some of my favorite cycling. Thank your Dad for me. I also loved Tahuya back in the day. I was Tacoma based and did not often bike much near the I90 corridor. But it did bum me out that so much of the Gifford Pinchot forest was restricted to cyclists.

    I hope the multi-user ethic can hold on here. As more people move in and bring their attitudes, separation of users seems to get brought up a lot. I always argue against it, and instead for courtesy and reasonable use by all. But I suppose when enough folks are here, those ways will fade away. And now we have to re-build a bunch of trails after last years fires. Not so looking forward to that as I think the trails will be over IMBA'ized in terms of grade, curves, etc. and the whole separation of use thing will come up again. At some point, some more separation is inevitable. Not without a fight however. To me, unless it is lift assist or flow trail and you have to separate traffic flow, it should all be multi-user.

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