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  1. #1
    lotto baby
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    a read - wikipedia, mountain biking, and... MV

    i was popping around wikipedia today, and found a couple 'definitions' of mtn biking. it looks like the infamous mike v got his hands in there - i personally don't know enough facts to edit wikipedia, but i was hoping that someone who's better educated than myself would be able to get in there. this definitely has an anti-bike vibe to it.

    check this out:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_biking

    Properly built mountain bike trails have little environmental impact. Studies reported in the IMBA (International Mountain Bike Association) Trail Solutions manual show that a mountain bike's impact is comparable to that of a hiker and substantially less than that of an equestrian.[1]

    However, the studies that find mountain biking has little environmental impact have been criticized as underestimating the real impact of mountain biking on the environment. In 2003, Jason Lathrop wrote a critical literature review on the ecological impacts of mountain biking, raising some questions found nowhere else. He quotes the BLM: "An estimated 13.5 million mountain bicyclists visit public lands each year to enjoy the variety of trails. What was once a low use activity that was easy to manage has become more complex". He criticizes all of the studies for not using realistic representations of mountain biking. The Impacts of Mountain Biking on Wildlife and People (this leads to this link - http://http//home.pacbell.net/mjvande/scb7).

    Mountain bikers have turned to scientific research to try to make mountain biking seem less harmful, and in particular, to studies comparing it with hiking. Although they have interpreted this data as indicating that mountain biking impacts are no greater than those of hiking, a more careful look at these studies leads to the conclusion that mountain biking impacts are actually several times greater than those of hikers.

    Some of the important characteristics of mountain biking that have been ignored are: speed; distance traveled; the increase in number of visitors that bikes allow; increased trail-building, with its attendant habitat destruction; the displacement of soil (other than downhill); the killing of roots and soil organisms and ecosystems; most effects on wildlife; manner of riding (skidding, braking, acceleration, turning, and representativeness); tire tread; and noise (bikes are relatively quiet, but a rattling chain may be perceived as "alien" to natural surroundings).
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  2. #2
    JmZ
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    Mike was in there on Sept 19th. You can find his IP addy in there. It's one that is 75.70.178.14.

    We're lucky. Only three contributions, and two of them on this article.

    Take a look at the revision before his, then at his. He hit the Advocacy secion and the Environmental impacts.

    He's like a bad puppy... gotta keep cleaning up after him.

    JmZ
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    It may be true that the person that submitted that content has an agenda, but that doesn't make the content itself not true or unsuitable for wikipedia. I have to say I actually agree with most everything in that excerpt. I hike and mountain bike, and am pretty certain that my mountain biking has had more of an impact on the environment than my hiking has, and for many of the same reasons he cited. It's not stopping me from mountain biking, but it doesn't hurt to take an honest look at the impact of what we do. To say that mountain biking's impact on trails is comparable to hiking is a rather simplistic statement, and his comments point out where that statement may not necessarily reflect reality.

    If you take a look at the wikipedia page for ATV's at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All-terrain_vehicle you'll also see content describing the negative impact ATV's have on the environment. I'm sure that ATV riders think that has an anti-ATV vibe to it, but most of us non-ATV riding trail users would find that information fairly accurate.
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

  4. #4
    lotto baby
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailville
    It may be true that the person that submitted that content has an agenda, but that doesn't make the content itself not true or unsuitable for wikipedia. I have to say I actually agree with most everything in that excerpt. I hike and mountain bike, and am pretty certain that my mountain biking has had more of an impact on the environment than my hiking has, and for many of the same reasons he cited. It's not stopping me from mountain biking, but it doesn't hurt to take an honest look at the impact of what we do. To say that mountain biking's impact on trails is comparable to hiking is a rather simplistic statement, and his comments point out where that statement may not necessarily reflect reality.
    i don't really know where you are getting at with this reply, but i never said anything was 'untrue' or 'unsuitable for wikipedia'. all i did was suggest that mike v got in there and did a little editing with his opinions. honestly, his stuff isn't always true, or always pro-trail; it's always anti-bike. and there is a major difference between being pro-trail, pro-conservation (however you want to say it), and being anti-bike. so i figured someone (with a better education in trail 'stuff' than myself) get in there and maybe add fact where there may be opinion stated.

    for all we know some town with a trail-user situation may turn here as a reference. i would much rather have facts stated in a reference such as wikipedia, rather than opinions, and agendas that are pro-trail - versus anti-bike.
    Last edited by clarkenstein; 09-22-2007 at 10:00 AM.
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  5. #5
    lotto baby
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    Quote Originally Posted by JmZ
    Mike was in there on Sept 19th. You can find his IP addy in there. It's one that is 75.70.178.14.

    We're lucky. Only three contributions, and two of them on this article.

    Take a look at the revision before his, then at his. He hit the Advocacy secion and the Environmental impacts.

    He's like a bad puppy... gotta keep cleaning up after him.

    JmZ
    nice spot on the IP. you know your mv. i knew it had a smell to it.
    i spurt in the wind, and the wind drug it

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailville
    It may be true that the person that submitted that content has an agenda, but that doesn't make the content itself not true or unsuitable for wikipedia. I have to say I actually agree with most everything in that excerpt. I hike and mountain bike, and am pretty certain that my mountain biking has had more of an impact on the environment than my hiking has, and for many of the same reasons he cited. It's not stopping me from mountain biking, but it doesn't hurt to take an honest look at the impact of what we do. To say that mountain biking's impact on trails is comparable to hiking is a rather simplistic statement, and his comments point out where that statement may not necessarily reflect reality.

    If you take a look at the wikipedia page for ATV's at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All-terrain_vehicle you'll also see content describing the negative impact ATV's have on the environment. I'm sure that ATV riders think that has an anti-ATV vibe to it, but most of us non-ATV riding trail users would find that information fairly accurate.
    Whenever i go in Wilderness Designated area hikes i see trails massively reworked to include steps, i see dogs running around, kids hucking rocks off trail, people wandering off trail everywhere, and i see a suprising amount of trash. Ahhh the myth of pristine natural wilderness.... If mt. bikers were allowed their i'm sure Mike V and others like him would blame it on us.
    Trails are Snow Lake and Lake Dorothy and they are 2 hikes i did when i was a little injured. i ride in the backcountry ALOT and see little evidence of our impact. Middle Fork Snoqualmie trail was closed for years and one complaint unreasonable anti bikers threw out was the upper less used primitive section would get widened out and lose it's nature appeal. Well i was up there a few weeks back, in year 3 of it being re-opened, and found it just as primitive as ever, with little to no evidence of our impact.
    If you do just a little research of the IMBA trail building book, you can see the effect of a properly built trail will do wonders for minimizing not only our impact, but other trail users as well.
    If this wasn't true then they wouldn't have bothered making these huge steps in the Lake Dorothy and Lake Snow hiker only trails.

    Sure there are other factors like having quality equipment like good brakes, and good traction. But also having more experienced riders helping out new riders to get their skills up to par so they don't skid. But ultimately any trail user is going to do damage on a trail, that's how trails get started duh! Animals make trails because their paws/hoofs/etc, are we going to ban them? Just as dumb as the argument of our chain slap disturbing wildlife. Oh no let's get Dr. Phil to assist the fragile animals psyche for making noise!!!!

    Ridiculous, and to any reasonable person, especially a mountain biker. Start identifying this rhetoric as it really is, a way and meansn to change perception so as to ban us from trail access. It is what it is.
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  7. #7
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    We had a real good example of the impact of mountain bike use on trails in my neck of the woods (Southeast Wisconsin) over the past few decades. In the Kettle Moraine State forest, we have a lot of trail systems, but my example covers the John Muir Trails and the Nordic Trails which are located right across the street from each other. 25 years ago, both systems were used mainly for hiking and skiing and were very similar trail systems in mileage, terrain, and trail design. As mountain biking became popular, the Nordic Trails were officially closed to mountain bikes and the John Muir trails officially opened to them. Now if you were to go back to the mid 90's and compare the two trail systems, the impact mountain bikes had on John Muir was extremely obvious. There was significant degradation of all the hills on the John Muir while the hills on the Nordic trails were still mainly smooth well-manicured ski trails (there are a lot of hills in both of these trail systems). Now let me 1st state that this is not a fair comparison of one mountain biker riding one mile to one hiker hiking one mile, because the number of mountain bikers and number of mountain bike miles on John Muir was many many times the number of hikers and hiker miles on the Nordic Trails, but I think that's part of the point being made in the wikipedia article. Now in the past 10 or so years, there has been a tremendous amount of work (by volunteers and the park service) on the Muir and connecting mountain bike trails in Kettle Moraine State Forest and most of the original trails have been replaced with new trail designed to be more sustainable for mountain bike use. But even the more sustainable trails still require a lot of maintenance work to keep them from degrading. So the end result here is that there can be sustainable mountain bike trails here that minimize detrimental environmental impact, BUT, because the impact of mountain bikes on the trails is different than the impact of hikers on the trails, trail design plays a greater role and significantly more ongoing maintenance is required. I mean, it's not like I see brake bumps on a downhill heading into a turn on hiking-only trails. Plus, many mountain bikers (myself included) tend to seek out the trails that are at the most risk to erosion simply because these same characteristics make them the most fun for mountain biking. Before I get flamed here, let me restate that I'm not intentionally looking to damage the trails, but that the trails that are the most fun to ride tend to also be more likely to be damaged by riding them.

    Certainly the impact will be different on different trail systems due to various factors including the number of riders, the trails design, and the type of terrain. I would agree that backcountry trails with lighter use will likely have no detrimental impact of allowing mountain bikes. In fact, I would even go further and make the case that on lightly used trails (like backcountry trails) mountain bike use may actually be desired since it helps to keep the trails from becoming overgrown which would otherwise require more trail maintenance. And I also differ with the point that the existence of more trail is inherently a detrimental environmental issue. Them forest critters use our trails as much as we do.

    So as a whole, I think that wikipedia article gives a reasonably fair representation of mountain biking. If a community were thinking of opening up a trail to mountain bikes and only read the IMBA stuff, they may inaccurately assume that since the claim is that mountain bikers have comparable impact as hikers, that they could open their trails to mountain bikers and should see no impact since it is already used for hiking. Then, when it becomes apparent that there is greater degradation to the trails someone will use that as ammunition to close the trails to mountain bikes forever. I would rather they understood and planned for some additional maintenance and maybe some trail reroutes to accommodate the mountain bike use up front and therefore be able to keep them open.

    As to the inclusion of opinion in wikipedia, even though wikipedia (and all encyclopedias) claim to be statements of fact, there is a lot of useful information that is not available as inarguable fact. Therefore, you have a choice of pointing to studies and opinions that may be biased, or you limit yourself to just inarguable facts, which probably means that you provide very limited information. In the case of mountain bike impact on the environment, I doubt you can find any information that could be defined as inarguable fact. So I would rather have wikipedia include both the IMBA claims and the claims of others (within reason), than have no information available on environmental impact. Wikipedia has done a pretty good job at editing out the extreme views that I'm sure regularly get posted. The guy that posted the "anti-bike" stuff, may have an agenda, but he at least seemed to restrict his content to claims that are within reason (or the editors removed unreasonable content).
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

  8. #8
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    The added comments are opinion, conjecture and unsubstantiated claims.

    The only valid comparison between bikes and other trail uses is a mile per mile analysis.

    Mountain bikes allow people to travel farther on trails and therefore causes a greater impact?
    The same could be said of comfortable walking shoes. Should they be restricted?
    What about water bottles and walking sticks?

    "a more careful look at these studies leads to the conclusion that mountain biking impacts are actually several times greater than those of hikers."
    Proof???

    "the increase in number of visitors that bikes allow"
    Proof??? If a trail has more bike traffic than foot traffic then of course bikes will have a greater impact on that trail. The only valid comparison is on a user mile basis.

    "but a rattling chain may be perceived as "alien" to natural surroundings"
    Meaningless opinion that has no place in a "Dictionary".

    "In order to reduce hill grades, a bicycle trail will often have multiple and longer switchbacks within a given area,"
    How many trails are built specifically to suit bikes?
    Switchbacks are built to reduce erosion. Not to make them bike friendly.

    "Poorly-engineered drainage tends to cause two types of major problems, both of which can be greatly exacerbated on mountain-bike trails because of the greater moment of impact by the bicycle tire than by the hiker's foot"
    Utter baloney.

  9. #9
    lotto baby
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailville
    As to the inclusion of opinion in wikipedia, even though wikipedia (and all encyclopedias) claim to be statements of fact, there is a lot of useful information that is not available as inarguable fact. Therefore, you have a choice of pointing to studies and opinions that may be biased, or you limit yourself to just inarguable facts, which probably means that you provide very limited information. In the case of mountain bike impact on the environment, I doubt you can find any information that could be defined as inarguable fact. So I would rather have wikipedia include both the IMBA claims and the claims of others (within reason), than have no information available on environmental impact. Wikipedia has done a pretty good job at editing out the extreme views that I'm sure regularly get posted. The guy that posted the "anti-bike" stuff, may have an agenda, but he at least seemed to restrict his content to claims that are within reason (or the editors removed unreasonable content).
    you are missing the point. i don't care about anyone's motives, but opinion doesn't belong in references, unless its stated as theory - and he's stating it as cold-hard fact. when someone talks about the big bang theory - they call it exactly that - THEORY. he is claiming his THEORY as FACT - that in itself is incorrect and should be corrected.
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  10. #10
    JmZ
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    I've ridden briefly up at John Muir.

    You are right that it needs work to become a sustainable trail, but I saw evidence of the work to do that too. And as much as this will be something that will bug the piss out of a lot of people... any trail is a scar. It was a scar from when the first deer blazed it. A reclamation happens pretty quickly when done right and the local flora and fauna will happily forget that there was ever a bike, a hiker, an equestrian, etc there. It takes less time than most people think, which you can see for yourself if you find the trail not often followed.

    Creating a sustainable trail to replace a fall line or other poorly designed trail improves the area instead of further damaging the area.

    The increased use is the factor there. That's it. If it would have been hikers, horses, ATV's, just water, or any number of other things it would have still suffered. An incorrectly designed trail, and there are TONS out there, is an incorrectly designed trail. Ever check out an equestrian trail after a good rain? How about a trail run if the conditions were marginal? (Side note, most trail run promoters are excellent and have worked to improve the areas they use, but not all.)

    You can design a good mountain bike trail (Brown Co Indiana comes to mind.). The Brown County Trail gets a huge amount of usage, and has been one of the best I've ridden. I've not seen the types of erosion there that I've seen in many other trails, and that trail dries faster than many others I've ridden. It will also be a good trail running trail, it will be a good hiking trail. Might not be too good for XC sking, but many mounain bike trails are 'poached' on a regular basis by other user groups because they are the better trails. (Parts of Ft Custer in Michigan come to mind.)

    Should the fault be that the trails were not built to a proper standard in the first place? Or that the standard was wrong, was old, or not followed. I've seen it in Indiana, in Ohio, and elsewhere. I've seen eroded hiking trails on popular routes, and not a single tire print to be found. It was a simple trail design flaw. The theories behind proper trail building go back quite a while, but there have been more than a few trails that have just patched a bad path, put down gravel, put in stairs, or raise the trail bed with slag, gravel, and other stuff rather than properly route the trail.

    Mike's studies are not peer reviewed, and as one of the people who used to <i>try</i> to debate Mike on rec.bicycles, most of his science that he uses to justify his hatered is a sham. He cross posted his stuff across a dozen or more boards, and there were people who were in relevant fields that pretty much told us that Mike was talking out of his tailpipe.

    This is one of the critisims of Wiki's. That stuff like this can go on and we debate it here instead of it getting fixed by a proper editor, one without an agenda. I don't mind an edit that may fix a bias that sneaks in from a pro-bike bias that I've got, but to be replaced with an anti-bike bias the likes of Mike? Mike claims he's for a human free wilderness area (note non capital W), but so far, the only people he's tried to keep out of the wilderness (again note non capital W) are mountain bikers.

    JmZ

    Quote Originally Posted by trailville
    We had a real good example of the impact of mountain bike use on trails in my neck of the woods (Southeast Wisconsin) over the past few decades. In the Kettle Moraine State forest, we have a lot of trail systems, but my example covers the John Muir Trails and the Nordic Trails which are located right across the street from each other. 25 years ago, both systems were used mainly for hiking and skiing and were very similar trail systems in mileage, terrain, and trail design. As mountain biking became popular, the Nordic Trails were officially closed to mountain bikes and the John Muir trails officially opened to them. Now if you were to go back to the mid 90's and compare the two trail systems, the impact mountain bikes had on John Muir was extremely obvious. There was significant degradation of all the hills on the John Muir while the hills on the Nordic trails were still mainly smooth well-manicured ski trails (there are a lot of hills in both of these trail systems). Now let me 1st state that this is not a fair comparison of one mountain biker riding one mile to one hiker hiking one mile, because the number of mountain bikers and number of mountain bike miles on John Muir was many many times the number of hikers and hiker miles on the Nordic Trails, but I think that's part of the point being made in the wikipedia article. Now in the past 10 or so years, there has been a tremendous amount of work (by volunteers and the park service) on the Muir and connecting mountain bike trails in Kettle Moraine State Forest and most of the original trails have been replaced with new trail designed to be more sustainable for mountain bike use. But even the more sustainable trails still require a lot of maintenance work to keep them from degrading. So the end result here is that there can be sustainable mountain bike trails here that minimize detrimental environmental impact, BUT, because the impact of mountain bikes on the trails is different than the impact of hikers on the trails, trail design plays a greater role and significantly more ongoing maintenance is required. I mean, it's not like I see brake bumps on a downhill heading into a turn on hiking-only trails. Plus, many mountain bikers (myself included) tend to seek out the trails that are at the most risk to erosion simply because these same characteristics make them the most fun for mountain biking. Before I get flamed here, let me restate that I'm not intentionally looking to damage the trails, but that the trails that are the most fun to ride tend to also be more likely to be damaged by riding them.

    Certainly the impact will be different on different trail systems due to various factors including the number of riders, the trails design, and the type of terrain. I would agree that backcountry trails with lighter use will likely have no detrimental impact of allowing mountain bikes. In fact, I would even go further and make the case that on lightly used trails (like backcountry trails) mountain bike use may actually be desired since it helps to keep the trails from becoming overgrown which would otherwise require more trail maintenance. And I also differ with the point that the existence of more trail is inherently a detrimental environmental issue. Them forest critters use our trails as much as we do.

    So as a whole, I think that wikipedia article gives a reasonably fair representation of mountain biking. If a community were thinking of opening up a trail to mountain bikes and only read the IMBA stuff, they may inaccurately assume that since the claim is that mountain bikers have comparable impact as hikers, that they could open their trails to mountain bikers and should see no impact since it is already used for hiking. Then, when it becomes apparent that there is greater degradation to the trails someone will use that as ammunition to close the trails to mountain bikes forever. I would rather they understood and planned for some additional maintenance and maybe some trail reroutes to accommodate the mountain bike use up front and therefore be able to keep them open.

    As to the inclusion of opinion in wikipedia, even though wikipedia (and all encyclopedias) claim to be statements of fact, there is a lot of useful information that is not available as inarguable fact. Therefore, you have a choice of pointing to studies and opinions that may be biased, or you limit yourself to just inarguable facts, which probably means that you provide very limited information. In the case of mountain bike impact on the environment, I doubt you can find any information that could be defined as inarguable fact. So I would rather have wikipedia include both the IMBA claims and the claims of others (within reason), than have no information available on environmental impact. Wikipedia has done a pretty good job at editing out the extreme views that I'm sure regularly get posted. The guy that posted the "anti-bike" stuff, may have an agenda, but he at least seemed to restrict his content to claims that are within reason (or the editors removed unreasonable content).
    JmZ

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    Advocate as if your ride depends on it...

  11. #11
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    JmZ's answer covers a lot of good ground.

    There are just a couple quick points not already covered in this thread.

    The guy in question, "Em Vee", has been banned from this board and many club e-mail lists, because of the flame wars he stirs up. There's probably a wikipedia page dedicated to him. Somebody used to have FAQ page on him on their web site. He goes away and then pops up somewhere, and ther's always somebody who hasn't heard of him. He couches his stuff in pseudo scientific prose, but if pushed, he pretty quickly resorts to the "Do you still beat your dog" type rhetoric.

    The other point has to do with cycling impact on the Wisonsin trails noted by "Trailville".

    Trails laid out for x-country skiing don't have to withstand much in terms of wear and tear because the skiers aren't on the ground, they are on the snow covering it. Apparent degradation of trails from cycling use may have as much to do with volume of users as it does with the trail tread and design.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HarryCallahan
    The guy in question, "Em Vee", has been banned from this board ..
    I just want to make it clear I'm not familiar with this guy's past on these or other forums and am not designating myself as his defender. I'll take your word that this guy is a trouble maker. I just think some of his points were valid.

    Quote Originally Posted by HarryCallahan
    Trails laid out for x-country skiing don't have to withstand much in terms of wear and tear because the skiers aren't on the ground, they are on the snow covering it. Apparent degradation of trails from cycling use may have as much to do with volume of users as it does with the trail tread and design.
    Again, I think that is the point here. "Volume of users" is very likely the most significant factor of most of the mtb-related trail degradation I have observed and therefore it does need to be considered as part of the impact of mountain biking on trails. The ski/hiking trails (they did get a lot of hiker use) I described received significant damage (I'm not exaggerating here, the hills were destroyed) when they started being used for mountain biking. That doesn't mean that a mountain bike traveling the same distance as a hiker causes more damage, but it does mean that if you allow mountain biking on trails you may potentially see substantially more trail impact than you historically had with hikers on that trail. This very well may be due to increased use, but that doesn't change the fact that you have increased trail damage. When a trail goes from about 20 hikers a day hiking 5 miles each to 50 mountain bikers biking 20 miles each, that is a substantial impact (and not an unusual expectation where I live).

    I don't see that it helps trail access efforts by denying this, because if you get access and the people that granted access did so under the incorrect assumption that there would be no change in trail degradation and therefore do not plan accordingly, you will likely have the trails closed permanently to mtn bikes if the trail becomes popular with mtn bikers and starts showing signs of trail degradation. Whereas if they granted access understanding the realistic impact potential, and planned accordingly, you will hopefully have trail access forever.
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trailville
    because the number of mountain bikers and number of mountain bike miles on John Muir was many many times the number of hikers and hiker miles on the Nordic Trails, but I think that's part of the point being made in the wikipedia article. Now in the past 10 or so years, there has been a tremendous amount of work (by volunteers and the park service) on the Muir and connecting mountain bike trails in Kettle Moraine State Forest and most of the original trails have been replaced with new trail designed to be more sustainable for mountain bike use. But even the more sustainable trails still require a lot of maintenance work to keep them from degrading. So the end result here is that there can be sustainable mountain bike trails here that minimize detrimental environmental impact,
    So illustrate how this is any different than the popular hiking only trails that i brought up? Where in steep sections they build huge obnoxious steps over the years. No difference and i forgot to add that they have little forest service signs telling people not to walk around areas to protect fragile lakeside habitat that's been crushed by all the hiking boots.
    JmZ's post nails it, and my experience in the woods finds this to be true. The very fact you bring up "detrimental" environmental impact makes me wonder about you...
    Are you related to Vandemaan? Is he your cousin or something?

    Quote Originally Posted by trailville
    because the impact of mountain bikes on the trails is different than the impact of hikers on the trails, trail design plays a greater role and significantly more ongoing maintenance is required.
    This is some valid statements followed by an absolute false conclusion, arguable at best. i'd argue that hiker trails have had the benefit of years and years of work to cover the damage in sensitive spots. i'd argue that mt. bikers have not had that benefit.

    Quote Originally Posted by trailville
    I mean, it's not like I see brake bumps on a downhill heading into a turn on hiking-only trails.
    Sounds like you have alot of poor technical riders where you're at.

    Quote Originally Posted by trailville
    Plus, many mountain bikers (myself included) tend to seek out the trails that are at the most risk to erosion simply because these same characteristics make them the most fun for mountain biking. Before I get flamed here, let me restate that I'm not intentionally looking to damage the trails, but that the trails that are the most fun to ride tend to also be more likely to be damaged by riding them.
    i rest my case... C'mon man are you serious? You are absolutely not typical of mountain bikers from around here. On the many many rides i lead and go on i don't see evidence of what your talking about. In the rainy winter months people are seeking the trails that drain well, and/or are rocky. It's absolutely no fun to ride in sensitive eroding areas. Braking bumps are from poor technical riders that don't know how to brake properly and/or carry speed around corners....


    Quote Originally Posted by trailville
    So as a whole, I think that wikipedia article gives a reasonably fair representation of mountain biking. If a community were thinking of opening up a trail to mountain bikes and only read the IMBA stuff, they may inaccurately assume that since the claim is that mountain bikers have comparable impact as hikers, that they could open their trails to mountain bikers and should see no impact since it is already used for hiking. Then, when it becomes apparent that there is greater degradation to the trails someone will use that as ammunition to close the trails to mountain bikes forever.
    You're implying we need to b.s. to get trails open, when it's been the norm that it's the reverse.


    Quote Originally Posted by trailville
    I would rather they understood and planned for some additional maintenance and maybe some trail reroutes to accommodate the mountain bike use up front and therefore be able to keep them open.
    You don't think that happens? We have to go through so many hoops it's ridiculous. Studies ad nauseum for proposed plans. You somehow think the stance is always a rosy hue for us. No it's the other way around, we're having to disprove falsities more than the other way around.

    Also if a trail is built correctly, even though you obviously don't believe it, maintenance will be minimal. If a trail is built incorrectly, the only thing holding it together from the elements and ANY trail user is fauna. Can't put it any more simple than that.

    Quote Originally Posted by trailville
    As to the inclusion of opinion in wikipedia, even though wikipedia (and all encyclopedias) claim to be statements of fact, there is a lot of useful information that is not available as inarguable fact. Therefore, you have a choice of pointing to studies and opinions that may be biased, or you limit yourself to just inarguable facts, which probably means that you provide very limited information. In the case of mountain bike impact on the environment, I doubt you can find any information that could be defined as inarguable fact. So I would rather have wikipedia include both the IMBA claims and the claims of others (within reason), than have no information available on environmental impact. Wikipedia has done a pretty good job at editing out the extreme views that I'm sure regularly get posted. The guy that posted the "anti-bike" stuff, may have an agenda, but he at least seemed to restrict his content to claims that are within reason (or the editors removed unreasonable content).
    So it just seems nonsensicle to say this is fair unless there is some honest criticism placed in the hiker page. The real reason this won't happen is because hiking is a long well established recreation that most everyone can do. Mt. Biking is relatively new and people are honestly unsure of what it's all about. From ignorance it's pretty easy to say alot more negative about the recreation of mountain biking and exaggerate it's impact.

    Which is precisely what people who want to lock other trail users or just plain any person out of the forests. This is the way it is around here at least, and i hear is true in Colorado, and California. Mostly where there are lots of people to harp alot of garbage to push your agenda.

    Sorry while i can agree with some of your statements, your conclusions are wrong. i mean reread your first post you bring up 4 wheeled ATV's as a comparison and it's impact. i'd absolutely love to see the impact of ATV's if they were left to roam those ski trails you talk about haha. There are dirt bike trails built by dirt bikes here that place signs telling 4 wheelers to stay out haha...
    It's naive to think it's a fair thing to have any statement from Vandemaan on our Wiki page. Hikers have at least 100 times more mileage of trails open to them versus our access. That disparity alone speaks volumes of where we stand in terms of our place on the totem pole. Justifiable we're denied access to all of these trails and are constantly barraged with future closures?.... c'mon...
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skookum
    The very fact you bring up "detrimental" environmental impact makes me wonder about you...
    Are you related to Vandemaan? Is he your cousin or something?
    You got me. So here's my confession. Actually I'm an undercover environmentalist that started my mission 15 years ago when I started mountain biking on a regular basis as part of my cover. Last year I started posting on these forums and have posted over 300 times on topics unrelated to the environment in a further effort to disguise my true intentions. It's been hard being subjected to endless discussions of "the best chain lube", "lycra or baggies", "helmet use", "disk or rim brakes", and the guy that regardless of the OPs question always answers with "go singlespeed", but I knew it would all be worth it in the end. I currently have 4 mountain bikes in my basement, 3 of which I've ridden this week on trails; once again, all as part of my cover.

    And I did all of this just to sabotage this one thread, and in doing so, bring an end to mountain biking forever AAH Ha Ha Haaaaa!!!

    Sure you've found me out, but I'm not done yet. I just placed an online order for a bunch of sharks with frickin lasers attached to their foreheads. I've had the lasers' guidance systems designed to target in on the chemical signature produced by fork oil. Soon the trails will be all mine . . . and my little forest friends.
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailville
    You got me. So here's my confession. Actually I'm an undercover environmentalist that started my mission 15 years ago when I started mountain biking on a regular basis as part of my cover. Last year I started posting on these forums and have posted over 300 times on topics unrelated to the environment in a further effort to disguise my true intentions. It's been hard being subjected to endless discussions of "the best chain lube", "lycra or baggies", "helmet use", "disk or rim brakes", and the guy that regardless of the OPs question always answers with "go singlespeed", but I knew it would all be worth it in the end. I currently have 4 mountain bikes in my basement, 3 of which I've ridden this week on trails; once again, all as part of my cover.

    And I did all of this just to sabotage this one thread, and in doing so, bring an end to mountain biking forever AAH Ha Ha Haaaaa!!!

    Sure you've found me out, but I'm not done yet. I just placed an online order for a bunch of sharks with frickin lasers attached to their foreheads. I've had the lasers' guidance systems designed to target in on the chemical signature produced by fork oil. Soon the trails will be all mine . . . and my little forest friends.
    i knew it!!!!
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailville
    I don't see that it helps trail access efforts by denying this
    You're still fudging numbers and the IMBA report reads the same. And your argument is about day hikers, there are tons of backcountry hikers that stay out in the sticks for days. How do we work those into your fuzzy equations?

    And i think i've neglegted to mention that by having less trail access, we will effectively have more traffic squashed into a popular spot.

    i mean you have so many tangents you'll be frikkin cross-eyed before you figure out what's what.

    But what happens moresoe than anything with your concerns is years and years of public meetings where mt. bikers get blasted left and right by a few people who.... well... hate mt. bikers.

    So...

    You form or join a local IMBA affiliate advocacy club that goes out and does trail work.
    You provide the IMBA studies because for years before they put out that study the meeting were full of people over exaggerating our impact.
    You come to compromise and for fragile trails systems you have seasonal closure, or have trails opened only on even or odd days.
    Or when working on a new trail you build it to be sustainable with low maintenance. And it's very possible to do, and still be rockin, especially if you have it excluded to horses and motos....

    In this current day in age there are absolutely no current trails that are being proposed as being opened back up to mountain bikes, where i'm at. It's not reality, it doesn't happen, i wish it did.... It's all about keeping what's open to us now from closing and fortunately for everybody there are new opportunities of new trails and parks being given to us, where we can build correctly right from the gate.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailville
    Plus, many mountain bikers (myself included) tend to seek out the trails that are at the most risk to erosion simply because these same characteristics make them the most fun for mountain biking.
    Well I have to say my experience and observations are the complete opposite.

    Over the last few years, we were allowed to build trails designed for bikes and these have become the most popular trails in the area. They also drain water the best, are on the contour, never get on the fall line and tend to show little to no erosion in the line designed to be ridden. I would say we need to address about 1,000 linear feet of the 132,000 linear feet that we constructed. And this 1,000 feet is made up of short sections in the insloped turns that just need some rip rap style rock to slow down the water. The line you ride is above this erosion and we designed it that way.

    The other trails in the area are old hiking trails that are legal to ride, have plenty of fall line sections and are eroded and very wide in many spots. These trails have almost been abandoned....because the trails in the first paragraph are simply more fun to ride.

    I find these trails to be proof that taking the trail off the fall line improves drainage and the fun.

  18. #18
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    "But even the more sustainable trails still require a lot of maintenance work to keep them from degrading. So the end result here is that there can be sustainable mountain bike trails here that minimize detrimental environmental impact, BUT, because the impact of mountain bikes on the trails is different than the impact of hikers on the trails, trail design plays a greater role and significantly more ongoing maintenance is required. I mean, it's not like I see brake bumps on a downhill heading into a turn on hiking-only trails. Plus, many mountain bikers (myself included) tend to seek out the trails that are at the most risk to erosion simply because these same characteristics make them the most fun for mountain biking. Before I get flamed here, let me restate that I'm not intentionally looking to damage the trails, but that the trails that are the most fun to ride tend to also be more likely to be damaged by riding them. "

    I have ridden the John Muir trails a fair amount. Yes, they have erosion problems. But you are leaving out several important points:

    The original trails were laid out very poorly. There were lots of fall-line trail sections. No that statement is wrong. More nearly correct: most of the hills are crossed by trails heading straight up or down.

    The rerouted trials are a huge improvement. I'm not sure that you have your facts correct that the rerouted trails still require a "lot" of maintenance. I don't think I've seen any maintenance work done on the reroutes. Most of the work has been done in the last 2 years. Do you know differently? From what source?

    I think we agree that the amount of useage this trail system gets is excessive because it is the longest (by far) trail system within a hundred (200?) miles of Milwaukee and Chicago. There are many more options for hikers. IMO the way to fix this is to open more trails to mountain bikes.

    " ...the trails that are the most fun to ride tend to also be more likely to be damaged by riding them." I actually do still hear this arguement from riders. Occasionally. But after a fall-line trail is rerouted properly the vast majority of rider comments are positive.

    I do agree with your point in that the John Muir trails are a mess. But what you are misrepresenting is that the work being done to fix the problem is much more successful than one would think in reading your post.

    Best wishes
    Walt

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    Hey Walt,
    I wasn't going to participate in this thread any more because it seemed to be turning into a more a fight than a discussion, but based on your reasonable response I do want to clarify about John Muir. I've been riding there since the early 90's (actually had my first OTB experience there on the connector) and have observed a lot of changes to the trails during that time and absolutely agree that the new trail (especially the new trail of the past few years) is far more sustainable and requires far less maintenance than the original trails. I am nothing but impressed with the work the volunteers and the dnr have done out there and I absolutely expect those trails to remain some of the best mountain biking in the area and a great example of a sustainable trail system. I even maintain a web page dedicated to that trail system at http://www.trailville.com/wiki/WI_Ke...hn_Muir_Trails
    In my post, I was not saying that the John Muir trails ARE a mess, but they definitely were a mess in the mid 90s, and it's pretty hard to even describe just how bad it got during that period to people that didn't have the opportunity to ride it back then. Almost all of that trail has been rerouted so you would have to do a bit of bushwacking on foot if you wanted to see the old trail.

    But what has happened at Muir over the last 15 or 20 years is a good example of why the frequently repeated simplistic statement of "a mountain bike's impact is comparable to that of a hiker" doesn't accurately describe the complexity of the impact of mountain biking. I'm not saying the statement is factually wrong, only that the term "comparable" leaves a lot of flexibility in that statement yet people tend to use the statement in a way that implies that the impact of mountain biking is the "same" as the impact of hiking, and that simply is not true. If it were, they would never have needed to reroute all that trail at Muir in the first place because is was very sustainable as a hiking trail. And even though the new trail is "sustainable" (though I'm sure there's some flexibility in that term as well), it will require more maintenance than comparable hiking trails in the area. You can't really judge maintenance requirements yet since much of that trail is still very new. And though I'm not absolutely certain of this, I think they may have already needed to reroute some new trail that was created in the 90's as sustainable trail.

    As to my comment " ...the trails that are the most fun to ride tend to also be more likely to be damaged by riding them.", once again, the Muir trail is a great example of this. It's popular because of the terrain. The big hills, the roots, the rocks. Even the more sustainable trail isn't avoiding these areas, they are just designed to lessen the impact to them {by the way, I am digging all those tight little switchbacks). But even with the more sustainable trail, these trails are still more susceptible to damage than other trails in the area. You don't see hundreds of people driving up from Chicago on the weekends to ride the trails at nearby Bong Recreation Area . Those trails are basically in a prairie and even though they can be damaged when it's wet, the prairie can heal them up pretty quick and there is hardly any place (except that one hill) there that could be subject to the kind of erosion you get in the Kettles. But these more sustainable trails do not get a lot of use because , well, they basically suck for mountain biking, almost no hills, no roots, no rocks. Alright, suck may be a bit too much, I actually ride out there once in a while, but there is just no comparison to the Kettles. Mountain bikers around here aren't exactly tripping over each other trying to get more trail built in prairies and old farm fields. If you're familiar with the area, Lapham Peak is another good example. They created some mountain bike trails on the prairie side of the street there and I don't think they're seeing the kind of use the Muir gets even though they are right off the highway just outside of Milwaukee. But if they opened up the more fragile Lapham Peak ski trails to riding (trailhead in the same parking lot), I would bet it would get pretty popular pretty quick. So I guess that's what I meant by my comment " ...the trails that are the most fun to ride tend to also be more likely to be damaged by riding them.",
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailville
    Hey Walt,
    I wasn't going to participate in this thread any more because it seemed to be turning into a more a fight than a discussion, but based on your reasonable response...
    Not trying to fight, just trying to debate and throw out my point of view. i'm pretty blunt in this regard, and i'm not trying to attack you, just debate man.

    Good luck with ya trails.
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  21. #21
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    It looks like the offending section has been removed from the wikipedia article.
    Personally I think the best way to fight "MV's" edits of wikipedia are based on the fact that he does not found his arguments on any scientific studies so they have no place in wikipedia. .
    If I read the first post correctly he seems to use his own webpage as a reference which is laughable.

  22. #22
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    The page keeps shifting. Click on the history tab and keep browsing.

    It's almost enough to make... um you get the idea.

    Most of the recent revisions are to the environmental impacts and the advocacy sections. I'll give Mike credit on one front - he's a persistant bugger. Even though he's wrong.

    JmZ
    JmZ

    From one flat land to another.

    Advocate as if your ride depends on it...

  23. #23
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    Where we agree

    Thanks for taking the time to sort this out with me.

    I think what you are driving at is that regardless of the extenuating circumstances, the Muir trail system of the past was a poor advertisement for the mountain biking community. If I'm understanding that correctly, we are in complete agreement. The attempt to use plastic/rubber mats and water bars to control the erosion was a dismal failure. Riders simply rode off the edge of the mats and the erosion set in again. The trail corridors were too wide (at the DNR's request) and people ride around anything even marginally more difficult than flat dirt.

    The reason bikes "cause" damage to trails is almost always that water finds a path of least resistance down the trail. At the risk of tooting my own horn, the trail loop I built in Pleasure Valley at Blue Mound illustrate (for the most part) the improved trail design I'm talking about. This trail sustained very little damage in the August rains this year because I took great care to keep the trail slope less than 1/2 of the fall line slope. It's a very simple concept but difficult to implement consistently.

    There are erosion problems at Blue Mound, but the bike trails are not noticeably worse than the hiking-only trails.

    Walt

    Quote Originally Posted by trailville
    Hey Walt,
    I wasn't going to participate in this thread any more because it seemed to be turning into a more a fight than a discussion, but based on your reasonable response I do want to clarify about John Muir. I've been riding there since the early 90's (actually had my first OTB experience there on the connector) and have observed a lot of changes to the trails during that time and absolutely agree that the new trail (especially the new trail of the past few years) is far more sustainable and requires far less maintenance than the original trails. I am nothing but impressed with the work the volunteers and the dnr have done out there and I absolutely expect those trails to remain some of the best mountain biking in the area and a great example of a sustainable trail system. I even maintain a web page dedicated to that trail system at http://www.trailville.com/wiki/WI_Ke...hn_Muir_Trails
    In my post, I was not saying that the John Muir trails ARE a mess, but they definitely were a mess in the mid 90s, and it's pretty hard to even describe just how bad it got during that period to people that didn't have the opportunity to ride it back then. Almost all of that trail has been rerouted so you would have to do a bit of bushwacking on foot if you wanted to see the old trail.

    But what has happened at Muir over the last 15 or 20 years is a good example of why the frequently repeated simplistic statement of "a mountain bike's impact is comparable to that of a hiker" doesn't accurately describe the complexity of the impact of mountain biking. I'm not saying the statement is factually wrong, only that the term "comparable" leaves a lot of flexibility in that statement yet people tend to use the statement in a way that implies that the impact of mountain biking is the "same" as the impact of hiking, and that simply is not true. If it were, they would never have needed to reroute all that trail at Muir in the first place because is was very sustainable as a hiking trail. And even though the new trail is "sustainable" (though I'm sure there's some flexibility in that term as well), it will require more maintenance than comparable hiking trails in the area. You can't really judge maintenance requirements yet since much of that trail is still very new. And though I'm not absolutely certain of this, I think they may have already needed to reroute some new trail that was created in the 90's as sustainable trail.

    As to my comment " ...the trails that are the most fun to ride tend to also be more likely to be damaged by riding them.", once again, the Muir trail is a great example of this. It's popular because of the terrain. The big hills, the roots, the rocks. Even the more sustainable trail isn't avoiding these areas, they are just designed to lessen the impact to them {by the way, I am digging all those tight little switchbacks). But even with the more sustainable trail, these trails are still more susceptible to damage than other trails in the area. You don't see hundreds of people driving up from Chicago on the weekends to ride the trails at nearby Bong Recreation Area . Those trails are basically in a prairie and even though they can be damaged when it's wet, the prairie can heal them up pretty quick and there is hardly any place (except that one hill) there that could be subject to the kind of erosion you get in the Kettles. But these more sustainable trails do not get a lot of use because , well, they basically suck for mountain biking, almost no hills, no roots, no rocks. Alright, suck may be a bit too much, I actually ride out there once in a while, but there is just no comparison to the Kettles. Mountain bikers around here aren't exactly tripping over each other trying to get more trail built in prairies and old farm fields. If you're familiar with the area, Lapham Peak is another good example. They created some mountain bike trails on the prairie side of the street there and I don't think they're seeing the kind of use the Muir gets even though they are right off the highway just outside of Milwaukee. But if they opened up the more fragile Lapham Peak ski trails to riding (trailhead in the same parking lot), I would bet it would get pretty popular pretty quick. So I guess that's what I meant by my comment " ...the trails that are the most fun to ride tend to also be more likely to be damaged by riding them.",

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by JmZ
    The page keeps shifting. Click on the history tab and keep browsing.

    It's almost enough to make... um you get the idea.

    Most of the recent revisions are to the environmental impacts and the advocacy sections. I'll give Mike credit on one front - he's a persistant bugger. Even though he's wrong.

    JmZ
    Very interesting. Just checking out what you noticed and posted taught me a little bit about Wikipedia. I know it is open source and has had numerous criticisms. I know that periodically they lock or limit access to pages that get vandalized. Seems like maybe that process ought to come into play here.

  25. #25
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    Funny, i just read the "Jason Lathrop critical literature review on the ecological impacts of mountain biking" http://www.wildlandscpr.org/ecologic...erature-review that MV quotes in the paragraph on Wikipedia (that he seems to have taken verbatim from his site).
    I might be interpreting it through the eyes of an MTBer but if anything it seems to conclude that while there haven't been many studies done about the effect mountain bikers have on the environment what info is out there puts us more or less on par with hikers.

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