Friday, October 21, 2011

GreenDog Camapaigns Looking for 2012 Pro-Bono Campaign

GreenDog Campaigns is actively looking for our one pro-bono campaign a year for 2012. This should be a cause campaign, with an environmental or community group, either non-profit or unincorporated community association.

Send your ideas to Or simply communicate it on this blog. We will respond to all serious proposals in California.

See our website for information on what GreenDog Campaigns can do for you and your cause.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bikers vs. Hikers ramps up in Marin County

My satirical blog post on San Rafael Patch, including all the comments. Sign in to post your own!

(But seriously, we need to stop greater incursions of vehicles in the open space lands, doncha think?)

Theyyyy’rrre baaaack! The quest for more single track trails by thrill-seeking bicyclists is on anew. And now the Marin Bicycle Coalition has joined the clamor for more single track trails to be opened for mountain bike use. I guess it’s not rewarding enough to help open bike paths along our roadways, or help kids with Safe Routes to School. No, now they’ve decided to use their considerable clout to hire a lobbyist because there just aren’t enough trails for bikers in the open space.

As someone who has represented hikers and equestrians on more than one occasion in the ongoing battle to keep our open spaces places of tranquility, not multi-use speedways, I have developed some simple rules for defusing the biker-hiker-equestrian conflicts on the mountain once and for all:

1. Don’t call them mountain bikes, call them fire-road bikes

This would be the easiest solution. It keeps them where they belong. No conflicts with wildlife, equestrians and hikers occur and no expectations unrealistically raised. Erosion and scofflaw illegal trailblazing will be eradicated. And all able-bodied bike jockeys who truly do want to experience the joys of winding mountain trails, can leave their bikes at home and walk.

2. License them

This is really a no-brainer. When I was a child, all bikes had to be issued licenses. This way, renegade bikers can be tracked down and cited appropriately. Assuming they don’t emulate TV criminals and obscure their license numbers, steal licenses from other bikes, or just steal the whole bikes and dump them in ravines when through with the thrill ride.

3. Make them go to pre-bike ownership counseling with at least one hiker and one equestrian in the room

In a mutually respectful setting, a neutral facilitator encourages all parties to let out their feelings. Then they can have a session of telling each other “How they really feel,” so long as only pillows and sofa cushions sustain damage from any unrestrained outbursts. Horses and small children should be kept outside.

4. Outlaw spandex

I know, this would impact the yoga, soccer mom and after hour club crowds too. But in light of the greater good that would result from making bikers wear ordinary clothes like ratty sweat soaked tee shirts and chain-catching blue jeans, that would be a small price to pay for renewed tranquility on the mountain.

5. (My personal favorite) Open a mountain bike theme park

This can have man-made mountains, narrow trails, fake snakes and other wildlife to squash under wheels. Chills and spills rides. Underbrush courses, for the really daring riders. Maybe adventure seeking volunteers can pretend to be hikers so the bikers can still enjoy shouting “on your left” as they pass perilously close.

Let the comments begin.

Comments (54)


12:09pm on Monday, October 10, 2011

Come on, share the trails. Horses, walkers,runners, Yes, Yes even people on bikes! Share and share alike. Come on!

Alejandro Moreno S.

12:14pm on Monday, October 10, 2011

Was this supposed to be funny, or was this an actual attempt at serious writing?
I thought professional mediators were supposed to bring differing groups together. This article does the opposite.

Jeffrey Gimzek

12:25pm on Monday, October 10, 2011

What about licensing and testing equestrians to ensure they can appropriately control their huge animals before allowing them out in public? And then require the riders to dismount and clean the horse crap off the trail the way dog owners are required to. Why should I have to ride through or step in your pet's crap?
The demographics are changing, and the large swath of the middle class that are mountain bike owners often purposely moved to Marin to be near trails, and are finally getting to the point where they realize that their taxes are being spent to prevent them from accessing the trails they pay to purchase the land for and maintain.
The equestrian elite is upset that their exclusive use of public property is threatened, as their well-funded lobby has been able to dominate the discussion for decades.
Hikers do have a legitimate beef with the small segment of the mountain bike community that has poor trail etiquette, but that is an education issue, and expanded access to a greater amount of legal trails would only serve to mitigate that issue as bikers are dispersed over larger areas instead of confined to just a few (count 'em: 3) park areas. Bikes should yield. Period. Anyone who doesn't is an asshole, so feel free to call them out.
However, the above 'satire' is juvenile, unhelpful, and generally just a load of horse manure.


2:16pm on Monday, October 10, 2011

I think it's for comedic purposes, Alejandro.

Edwin Drake

3:33pm on Monday, October 10, 2011

Fire Road Bikes, nee mountain bikes bikes should be restricted to fire roads only. they should be forced to license and register them. Bikers want everything, yet they're unwilling to pay for anything. Let them pay bikes taxes and permit fees and trail fees. As it is they are (mostly) arrogant hot-doggers with little regard for other people. As to the person who said "share": sometimes "sharing" means doing without if your activity destroys anthers enjoyment.


Life in the Bubble

10:03pm on Monday, October 10, 2011

Cyclists pay taxes just like everyone else. In every discussion of cycling, a bike hater always has some wacky notion that cyclists don't pay taxes. Believe it or not, bicyclists also drive cars, own homes, have jobs, and pay taxes. In fact, cyclists as a demographic have a higher education and income demographic than the general population.

As someone who rides a mountain bike, trail runs, AND hikes I see all sides of the equation. In 20+ years of hiking, running, and riding in Marin, I can probably count on one hand the number of bad experiences I've had with mountain bikers. I'd counter that if sharing a trail with a mountain bike destroys your enjoyment, there are much larger problems for you to address.

John Ferguson

4:39pm on Monday, October 10, 2011

If mountain bikers are so unwilling to pay for anything or to maintain the trails that they ride, how do you explain Tamarancho? It's pretty sad that anyone buys the argument that equestrian use of trails is 'natural' and that bicycle use of those same trails is destructive. Any arguments that a thousand pound animal with sharp hoofs causes less trail damage than a 30 lb bicycle will be laughed out of the court of public opinion. Hikers certainly have a point about being surprised by cyclists, but this could be mitigated by a fair use policy. Sharing would be best, but in the super entitled world of the landed gentry equestrian or the Sierra club hikers, this doesn't seem likely. Yes, we ride bikes on trails. No, we're not going away and we won't be denied access to the trails that we all own collectively for frivolous and passe reasons.

Jeffrey Gimzek

5:03pm on Monday, October 10, 2011

I would argue that there are far more mountain bikers living in and paying taxes to maintain the trails in Marin than there are horse owners. By that logic alone bikers should have more access. Bikers DO pay trail fees.
Also, this article caused me to re-up to MCBC, and I specifically mentioned it was because of their new Trail Access prioritizing. We are not 'co-opting' MCBC: We ARE MCBC.


5:32pm on Monday, October 10, 2011

People who ride bikes have the same access to trails as those who ride horses or hike. They are welcome, just not their bikes. It's really simple. So the nonsense statement about their demographic outrage is ridiculous. They are not deprived, they would only have you think so. This a public safety and environmental quality argument and should stay in that arena. Also, bikes are horrific at causing serious erosion problems. The trail surface is destroyed when they run the steep single tracks, and they certainly erode the tranquility and peace of mind of other trail users. Horses are not allowed on sensitive trails either, but you rarely see equestrians act as scofflaws. Bikes should be registered to help with the enormous scofflaw problem, make bike riders accountable and liable for problems that injure other trail users or cause damage to our public lands.


Kelly Dunleavy

5:41pm on Monday, October 10, 2011

I dunno - I get that this was supposed to be humorous, but it didn't really sit well with me. We've come to accept really mean things and jokes said about bikers, but if you said something like "equestrians should stop wearing those silly pants, that would make everything better" that would be pretty ridiculous. And, I've only been mountain biking one time, but I run on the trails multiple times a week and I've never really had a problem with the mountain bikers. Sometimes it can be annoying when there's so many of them at China Camp, but no more annoying than when there's so many hikers that won't move over and walk three abreast. But, it's just life - you share, you get over it.


6:26pm on Monday, October 10, 2011

This is an insulting little editorial by an author whom obviously is biased and agenda driven against mountain bikers, while trying to ploy a comedic openness.


6:32pm on Monday, October 10, 2011

Share, yes you walk the trail on monday, they bike the trail on tuesday, you walk on wednesday, and so on! No body has to do with out. There are plenty of trails to use and alternate with. Dont be selfish share the enjojment of the hills. This is done all over the country on thousands of trails. Also just like the Highway if someone is caught speeding, they get a ticket! Come on lets let EVERYBODY enjoy the trails.

Gina Farr

7:45pm on Monday, October 10, 2011

Boundaries for bikers are essential to help ensure quiet enjoyment of our commons. Bikes on single track trails introduce significant noise and nervousness into wilderness areas, and are disturbing for both hiker and wildlife. Saying "Hey, c'mon, let's share!" is veiling the truth - you want it all just because you want it all.


Life in the Bubble

9:46pm on Monday, October 10, 2011

Driving your car to the trail also introduces significant noise and nervousness. In fact, any human activity in the "wilderness" has an impact. Recreation areas need to reflect the demographics of their users- period. Mountain bikes are non-polluting, human-powered, vastly less noisy than any car, carbon neutral, and healthy. Discriminating against a large segment of trail users is just that- discrimination.

And no, mountain bikers don't want it all "just because." They want equity in access to the outdoors. They want trails to be individually assessed for potential usage rather than banned as a blanket policy. Mountain bikers don't want to be excluded from their outdoors by a minority.


9:28pm on Monday, October 10, 2011

The truth is often spoken in jest. And it's easy to detect the writers truths. They say mediators are to be neutral. I'm embarrassed for this writer. I've always been a proponent of even/odd days or alternating days for bikes and hikers on MMWD watershed trails. Maybe some day. And horse hoofs have caused the most egregious trail damage I've seen. It comes with territory with 1000 lb. animals.

Life in the Bubble

9:29pm on Monday, October 10, 2011

This article is offensive and ignorant on many fronts. It is not humorous in the slightest. I'm not even sure where to begin.

Categorizing people who ride mountain bikes as "thrill-seeking" adrenaline junkies is absurd. People who ride mountain bikes are just people who like to get outside like anyone else. This is a human-powered, non-polluting, not very noisy, carbon-neutral, healthy activity. While the author wants to portray mountain bikers as some sort of Mountain Dew fueled eco-terrorist on par with a two stroke motorcycle, mountain bikers come from all walks of life, all ages, and all socioeconomic backgrounds. It may be hard to imagine, but many (if not most) mountain bikers also walk, hike, run, drive, and pay their taxes too.

In other areas of the country, 90% of singletrack trails are multi-use without major conflicts (think Tahoe, or Colorado, or Utah).

Legal mountain bike trails are increasing because mountain biking is increasing. Mountain bikes make up an increasingly large demographic of outdoor trail use, and need to be incorporated into recreation areas (including singletrack). Banning mountain bikes from 90% of singletrack just results in illegal trails being built and people riding singletrack ilegally. (Lessons that can all be learned from prohibition). More trails and access for mountain bikes are needed, because our recreation areas need to reflect real usage demographics- for human-powered non-polluting activities.


Gina Farr

9:46am on Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bikers are extremely noisy. We can hear them yelling to each other over large distances. And I've been hit on a single track trail by a biker -- it's nerve-wracking to think a bike could race around a turn and...pow! There are so many fire roads and other access areas now open so that you can get outside - why do you need to extend this fast and wild activity to peaceful, wilderness areas?

Pollution doesn't just come in the form of cars - it is also about preserving a natural soundscape, not tearing up the trail, and not jarring the nerves of quiet hikers and wildlife. That you admit mountain bikers build their own illegal trails and destroy wilderness areas simply disproves your point about mountain bikers being responsible. The thrill-seeking part of your demographic will not be satisfied with terrorizing hikers on legal single track trails, that is a straw man arguement; opening narrow hiking trails to bikers will open more wilderness to mountain bike domination AND the illegal trail building will continue.

That you don't fully appreciate the impact of your activity on those who don't share it is at the center of this arguement.


Sierra Salin

10:22am on Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Gina (and other folks,) let the folks who want some bike trails have some, eh? We are all hypocrites really, in all that we do and consume, and drive, and travel, etc, we ARE tearing up this earth pretty badly. We may not see the strip mining, tar sands, dead animals, marine life, etc, which go into all we do, and it is happening.

If the folks who ride want some trails, and hopefully maintain them, etc, why not let them have some? The fact is that it is apretty different experience riding a trail, from that of riding a road, and some triails for just bikes could work. There are trails, roads, airports, malls, and set ups for nearly every other thing humans do.
There will always be some real jerks, be they on a bike, horse, in a car, plane, or keybored, etc, and not everyone is one. Most folks are just passing through life in various stages of ignorance or awareness, and we are all pieces of work in progress.

Jeffrey Gimzek

10:05pm on Monday, October 10, 2011

Join IMBA and MCBC: tell them Dotty LeMeiux sent you.
The tide is turning here: we might not want 'it all', but we are sure as hell sick and tired of having TWO LEGAL TRAILS (one of which is private and pay per use) in a county that has literally hundreds of miles of single track.

Sierra Salin

9:27am on Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Man, I wish that both sides of this messy sprawl would put as much energy into the rest of the world. This post has gotten more energy and attention than things such as, ending wars, funding education and healthcare, or changing our overly entitled and wastefully consumptive lifestyles. We are ALL fool of hot air and righteous certaintude and so what, can we get along or create a livable future? Not likely, the way things look, and time will tell. Black and white just turns to mud after a while, and what is important anyway? Horse crap and bike crap, it is all just compost eventually?

Gina Farr

10:36am on Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sierra, your argument is that everything is turning to crap, so let's just turn a little more into crap? What's the difference? Wildlife and wilderness are values that I care deeply about, and I believe each of us has a duty to protect what's left. If we churn everything that is wild into degraded human use, because we can, because we want to, what will be left? That is at the heart of a consumptive attitude.

We live in extended community with each other and with wildlife. Single track trails are a part of Marin wilderness, a gentle access to the wilds, and should stay that way.


Sierra Salin

11:37am on Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Weeeel Gina, yes, and no. It is all messed up. I care, think about, and feel more about nature and natural systems than most modern hungry ghosts, and things do not look too great, overall. How do we have or create reasonable rules and regulations for anything? Our systems rules and laws have little to do with nature, natural systems, or any sustainable reality. They are pretty much about individual empire and profits. No, I don't think that a few bike trails here and there are going to make a huge difference, and there is plenty of erosion from horses, foot traffic, cars, planes, and all of our travels around the globe for our ever important events and vacations. One plane trip is huge, as is all of our driving around spewing.
We all have a pretty big footprint, and overall, we are absolutely terrible stewards for a sane or healthy future.
Within the madness we are swimming in, no, I don't believe a few bike trails are a huge negative, and done well, or right, do not have to be a huge negative impact. I do think that bikes overall are seen as less entitled than horses, or cars, and bikes overall are much more appropriate transportation than cars.

John Ferguson

10:52am on Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Gina - no one is advocating that mountain bikes be allowed on all of the single track trails in Marin. As a hiker, you probably know that there are hundreds of miles of single track trails in Marin and that about 70% of them are truly unsuitable for biking. No one in their right mind would advocate opening the Cataracts trail to bikes, for instance. It's about sharing some..

The reason that China Camp has so much bike traffic is because it's literally the only system in Marin containing single track that is freely available to bikes. I won't go into the many reasons why cyclists enjoy riding singletrack - just imagine if there were elves in the forest and they demanded that we humans could only hike on the fire roads, so as to preserve the elves' access to their natural habitat. How would that make you feel? I bet you'd justify your decision to hike those singletrack trails as well. There's no use in wishing the problem away - mountain biking and mountain bikers are overwhelmingly law abiding and respectful, but you can deny our basic rights to our use of the commons for only so long..

The places where you like to hike in Marin are *not* wilderness. They are shared recreational areas. Wilderness exists in places where there are no trails and no hikers, equestrians or cyclists and I support the expansion of those places as well, but for our RECREATIONAL lands we all have to share..

Michelle Lawrence

11:09am on Tuesday, October 11, 2011

This was mean spirited. The "come on, can't you take a joke?" doesn't work here because it's not a joke. I mountain bike, I slow down whenever I see people, stop when I see a horse and generally try to be respectful. I think most people are like me. Then there's the occasional jerk, often times a young person who hasn't honed his/her manners quite yet, who flies by without a warning or apology. Don't lump us all together. Just because you got there first doesn't mean you are entitled to sole ownership forever.

Gina Farr

11:10am on Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Declaring that Marin wild lands are all about human recreational use and how to divide up the spoils is frustrating. The plants and animals of whole ecosystems live here and the soundscapes that support them. Life here is on another, slower speed, and should be protected.

David Edmondson

11:25am on Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pushing for more mountain bike trails rather than urban bike connectivity is, to me, a step in the wrong direction, but a half-jesting rant about it won't do. It never does.

Scott Warner

1:49pm on Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Basic tennent: any user of any trail, paved or unpaved, urban or rural, single track or fire road, needs to respect the trail and the other potential users of that trail. If someone rides, hikes, or horseback rides unsafely and puts others at risk of injury, there should be a punishment so as to avoid future problems. Regarding noise...well, I believe in keeping things peaceful and even hikers (as I tell my own family on the trail) should respect noise levels as well. I could easily say that the extreme noise from cars on the street really inteferes with my "peace" as I am bike commuting...but I won't say that (darn..too late, I already did). :)

Edwin Drake

4:33pm on Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I would LOVE to carry a sleeping dart and pop the aggressive, loud, obnoxious riders as they scream by, both physically and orally, Nothing would please me more than enforcement, to see them keel over and plop into a gentle slumber. But who's going to do enforcement? should I start carrying my tipped darts?


Kelly Dunleavy

5:03pm on Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Edwin - you're advocating violence against a group of people. That's not really acceptable on the site - we don't allow personal attacks and we certainly don't allow the advocating of violence. Please be considerate.


Scott Warner

5:58pm on Tuesday, October 11, 2011

This is completely unacceptible to make such comments advocating violence. We as a community can never condone these types of thoughts - whether in jest or not. We can have a real discussion without such unncessisary bluster. We all owe respect to the world and to each other we need to be respectful - those that do not, we have to educate or we have to have an appropriate response. Yours does not fall into either category - we don't need that type of bullying language

Jeffrey Gimzek

4:37pm on Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I love the 'debate' on here, summarized below:
Mountain Bikers: Can't we all just share the trails and appreciate the outdoors together.
Hikers, et. al : Can't we just kill or maim Bikers to protect my completely made up right to silence in the woods?

Gina Farr

4:46pm on Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Actually, Jeffery, this is a debate about environmental health and public safety. Care to join the discussion?

Edwin Drake

4:49pm on Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I'm an occasional hiker with three children - teenage and down - and can't tell you how many times we've heard "ON YOUR LEFT" as someone tears down the hill, moving at a speed completely incommensurate with the speed we're moving. Given that a little kid barely knows left from right, likewise myself, you'd think a slow-down and gentle ride-by would be appropriate, BUT NO!!!! Half the time we just jump in some direction or other, but I guess that's a laugh for bikers and Darwinism at work in the world you inhabit. This happens over and over. And I won't even mention the walks near the house with riders running stop signs. How do I teach my children to follow the law ans be safe on a bike at a stop when they continually see adults blow through stop signs. The bikers attitude is that we are a law unto ourselves, and screw the rest of you. Witness the comment by "Life in the Bubble," above," who basically says, "there's lots of us and more coming all the time, so get used to it!" Yeah, that's a friendly, let's work together attitude. Even in words, most of the biker comments here are arrogant and dismissive. Must be something in the DNA seeking adrenaline, but it doesn't work in a public forum or in a public recreational space.


Life in the Bubble

12:48pm on Friday, October 14, 2011

Well, since you've called me out personally...

I advocate mountain bikes being part of the process and included in multi-use trails. I advocate making public recreation areas reflect the demographics of their users. I advocate evaluating trail access individually rather than blanket policies. I advocate proper trail design and construction as a way to mitigate user conflicts and erosion. I advocate courtesy by all trail users.

I hike, stroll, trail run, and even mountain bike too. On the mountain bike, I yield to all other trail users, never skid, and always ride in control.

You, well, you advocate violence (and seemingly blind hatred against another user group).

Sierra Salin

5:32pm on Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Most any group of 2 or more folks IS noisy folks, or even a group of one on a damn cell phone. Personally I don't like listening to bikers, hikers, extra terrestrials (well perhaps that would be interesting) or any group jabbering, and generally pretty loudly, about their relationships, investments, cars, or whatevers, and whatchysa gonna do, most folks are totally oblivious to the fact that anyone within 1/8 mile can hear every word......
This column of words is about whatever folks assume it is about. It's a wonder people can understand or communicate at all, as we are all clouded by our beliefs, ear wax, misunderstandings, and various intents.

As for rolling stop signs on a bike, there are rules and laws, and there are rules and laws, and regardless of the "laws" people should go when it is their turn and/or with the flow, regardless of bureaucracy. In other words, it comes down to beliefs, ethics, and morals, and trying to work it out with others who believe differently.

Humans tend to start shooting at each other before being willing to compromise, share, or accept other folks with the misfortune to have arrived somewhere at a later date.... Think about that one......
Not all bikers, hikers, or horsers, are jerks, and there are certainly some in all groups.
Can we accept, understand, educate, and value each others viewpoints and work something out, or not?

So far, humans have done a piss poor job of getting along or agreeing on much of anything.
We shall see, eh?

Leonard Ginsburg

11:46pm on Tuesday, October 11, 2011

You succeeded. See all the comments? Now that is communication.

Jack Naqvi

11:39pm on Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I found the article openly hostile, not very funny, and encouraging an us vs. them attitude that will make things worse, not better. Dotty LeMieux would do better to apply some of those mediator skills here (assuming she has them) instead of fanning the flames with this thinly-disguised "humor" piece.


8:33am on Thursday, October 13, 2011

This is a very emotional issue with every user group wanting access to trails. I am sure even dirt bikers would love to ride all over Marin County trails, something most people can agree is not appropriate. But lets look at some facts:

1. Mtn. bikers never sought permission to ride Mt. Tam and Marin Co. trails years ago. They just started doing it. Results have been dismal, with many user conflicts, resource damage, illegal riding and illegal trails made costing the county tens of thousands to repair.
Even key Marin bike advocates have been caught and fined for building illegal trails

2. Marin Bike Council sued Dept. of Interior to fed. court in 1996 for equal access to trails (Babbit vs. Marin) and lost, also lost in fed. court of appeals. Ruling is that land managers have right to determine who uses trails based on user conflicts, safety and resource protection

3. Compatable use. Hikers and horseback riders are a much slower user group, generally 3-10 MPH. Mtn bikers typically go much faster, many with goals to zip downhill fast, break speed records and have a rip roaring ride. This places other user groups in danger...example of elderly woman hit and killed in Washington State last year. Safety comes first. Like dirt bikes, modern Mtn bikes are engineered to go fast over rough terrain, not a suitable mix in narrow singletrack trails with hikers and horses.

4. Tahoe as an example? Google illegal bike trail building...a huge problem


8:44am on Thursday, October 13, 2011

It's typical for Mountain bikers to justify their illegal trail building by claiming they -have- to do this becuase there are not enough trails....this is akin to me claiming I have to rob a bank becuase I don't have enough money. Fre more thoughts and facts:

China camp is again, a dismal example of failure of multi use areas...becuase the Mtn Bikers have so taken over the park they have driven out the hikers and equestrians due to the safety issues....and lets not forget illegal trails and damage there.

"recreational" areas often cannot be suitable for every user. Simple fact.

Bolinas Ridge trail is a great place for multi-use. Wide tracks, open space with good visibility and no steep dropoffs. A hiker or horseback rider can see bikers coming as a distance and get off the trail if they wish.

Single track is NOT SAFE! the speed of the bikers is the issue. This is why most singletrack at Pt. Reyes is no bikes.

San Mateo county does not allow bikes on hiking and riding trails. They put SAFETY at the forefront, with many workshops and studies to support this. Other San Mateo county non-county administered parks do allow mountain bikes, with the ensuing problems such as illegal night riding, speeding and illegal trails (Corte Madera)

Sorry folks, this has not been a responsible nor accountable user group with entitlement attitude and an apparent pact to refuse to admit their group every causes stress, danger or risk to other users.


8:44am on Thursday, October 13, 2011

It's typical for Mountain bikers to justify their illegal trail building by claiming they -have- to do this becuase there are not enough trails....this is akin to me claiming I have to rob a bank becuase I don't have enough money. Fre more thoughts and facts:

China camp is again, a dismal example of failure of multi use areas...becuase the Mtn Bikers have so taken over the park they have driven out the hikers and equestrians due to the safety issues....and lets not forget illegal trails and damage there.

"recreational" areas often cannot be suitable for every user. Simple fact.

Bolinas Ridge trail is a great place for multi-use. Wide tracks, open space with good visibility and no steep dropoffs. A hiker or horseback rider can see bikers coming as a distance and get off the trail if they wish.

Single track is NOT SAFE! the speed of the bikers is the issue. This is why most singletrack at Pt. Reyes is no bikes.

San Mateo county does not allow bikes on hiking and riding trails. They put SAFETY at the forefront, with many workshops and studies to support this. Other San Mateo county non-county administered parks do allow mountain bikes, with the ensuing problems such as illegal night riding, speeding and illegal trails (Corte Madera)

Sorry folks, this has not been a responsible nor accountable user group with entitlement attitude and an apparent pact to refuse to admit their group every causes stress, danger or risk to other users.


Life in the Bubble

12:22pm on Friday, October 14, 2011

How then would you explain say, the Tahoe Basin which ha hundreds of miles of legal multi-use singletrack (and building dozens of miles of new multi-use singletrack all over the lake). Or Park City, Utah which has 300 miles of multi-use singletrack, or Aspen, Vail, Telluride, Sun Valley, etc. etc. etc. There are dozens of examples of areas where multi-use singletrack has minimal user conflict.


8:53pm on Friday, October 14, 2011

You might want to google some of the illegal trails and problems in the Boulder area...many citizen groups are forming to try to protect the open space......

As far as Tahoe Basin, "Bikers Blaze Illegal Trails"

I have not heard anyone advocating blanket bans of bikes...but certainly safe trail criteria need to apply. I have not been able to find any safe multi-use trail criteria from IMBA that have any specifics. You might take a look at CET&LC (California Equestrian Trails and Lands Coalition). While supporting multi-use trails, they also have some very good criteria and guidelines that trails need to comply to be safe for multi-use, i.e. adding the faster user, the mountain biker.

FYI, I am a huge supporter of closing wet and muddy trails to horses, and would never advocate that horses belong on all trails. Both horses and hikers need to avoid trails after rains and stick to fireroads, which can be maintained easier. But horses and hikers are a far more compatable mix that fast bikes.

And one more thought to chew on....aren't bikes recognized as vehicles under California Vehicle code? Do you notice that most cities do not allow bikes on 4 ft. wide sidewalks due to the risk to pedestrians? If THAT is not safe, how does riding bikes on a 12" trail (with limited visibility, dropoff's, blind corners make any kind of logical sense?


Life in the Bubble

11:01pm on Friday, October 14, 2011

This is a great example of cherry picking references only to suit an anti-bicycle agenda. Give me 60 seconds with google and I'll come up with some information about lousy behavior by hikers to present as fact, but that would be ridiculous.

Here is an example of cooperation from just one of the hundreds of organizations nationwide seeking to expand recreation opportunities for ALL trail users.

A few lines from their mission statement on their website:

PTA Goals
1. Establish an integrated multi-use public trails system.
2. Assure permanent access to trails on public lands.
3. Promote cooperation with land owners and developers to preserve access to traditional-use trails on private lands.
4. Foster cooperation and communication among all trail user-groups.
5. Communicate and cooperate with government agencies on trail matters.
6. Keep the community informed about trail issues and opportunities.

It may be difficult to imagine in self-righteous Marin, but in other areas of the country, hikers, equestrians, and cyclists actually work together to mitigate conflicts. The vast majority of all trail users are considerate, outdoors people. There are always jerks though, in all aspects of life. Remember that just because you can't imagine riding a bicycle, doesn't mean that it's not a legitimate experience for many people. (Just as I can't fathom the appeal of hunting- nevertheless I support hunters rights too).


8:57am on Saturday, October 15, 2011

This is not cherry picking at all, there are horror stories from all over the country from huge damages and illegal trails and user conflicts. You Pima Website is encouraging; it is likely they have different types of trails, possibly more visibility, and it works better.

Marin County has had what, a 30 year of a history of failure...the Mbikers have refused to admit they cause any danger to other users or even encourage illegal trail building. What does it say when one of your most vocal bike advocates is caught TWICE building illegal trails? You have conveniently failed to respond to that fact.

Marin is not self-righteous, the hikers and horseback riders are struggling to keep historic hiker and horse trail open for safe riding. Look and see what Marin Conservation league has to say about the issue.

The absurdity of mbikers demanding access is showcased by their attempts to gain access to Bill's Trail, a shady, switchbacked narrow trail with about 0 visibility, no room to pass, and an overall steep descent, which is a prime example of NOT suitable for multi-use. And where does Bill's trail lead? Right down into a horse camp!

Talk about blanket assumptions that anyone protesting does ont ride a bike; our family has about 30 or so bikes; the whole family bikes and has been doing so for 40 some odd years. We chose bikes for both recreational and transportation uses. We do not force our presence on narrow trails where we would endanger other users.

jay kay

7:39am on Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Open space should be left open to wilderness. No human activity, no trails, no hiking poles, no full-suspension. I advocate human-free open space. Breathing room for the other inhabitants of Marin.


Life in the Bubble

8:34am on Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Awesome! I support that. It's much better for humans to experience the outdoors through their televisions, anyway. Who needs open space or exercise when we have Dicsovery channel and a couch.


Gina Farr

9:18am on Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"Life in the Bubble" ... if you don't appreciate or respect the values that Marin is built on, why don't you find a place to live that is more to your liking? We have a unique situation here in Marin, a respect for ecosystems, extended community health, and room for wildlife to be free of human interference. This didn't come about by accident. We created this multi-species utopia by respecting the systems within which we can ALL thrive. If you try to remake this place into your beliefs, transform it into your human amusement park, your will find a mountain of resistance. Read a little about Marin history, the development and selfishness that we fought against in the 60's, 70's and still today to keep our community healthy and beautiful for all inhabitants. For this to be possible, we as a community must embrace some self-sacrifice, for the good of all who live here.

I'm being honest and not sarcastic when I suggest that you find another community that matches your ideas and values, and one that you can refer to with caring and respect.


9:05am on Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I agree with Jay Kay in that there needs to be open space left for wildlife; especially areas with endangered species and fragile habitat......huge value in this and nice to know humans don't have to tromp and stomp everywhere...Life in the bubble again proves that he/she lives in a bubble of their own selfish long as "I" can do whatever I want, that is all that counts, type of attitude, which is entitlement. This is evidenced also by the fact they have never responded to my facts about key Marin Bike adovocates caught and fined for building illegal bike trails, which is a huge, expensive problem in Marin County. You know, not everyone wants open space to be treated as one big amusement park......


Kelly Dunleavy

9:24am on Tuesday, October 18, 2011

So, I went for my second-ever mountain bike ride this weekend and while I was riding I was thinking about this whole debate and how there were probably people that hated me right now for no reason just cause I was on a bike. And this was my thought: no one is ever going to be able to ban people from biking or hiking or riding horses on all the trails or even many of the trails, because there simply isn't the enforcement mechanisms in place to do so -- parks are closing and understaffed. The only way you can get people not to bike in certain places or ride horses in certain places or even ban people all together from certain places is through their own buy-in and consent. There has to be an agreement. And that's never going to happen when there's name-calling. So.

Sierra Salin

7:06pm on Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I fully support whole alive unimproved nature, and I also believe that with all of our modern insanity, and most of us driving our cars all over, or flying here n there, now and again, letting mountain bikers have a trail here n there for their use, is not such a stretch. If they want a place to ride, why not let them have one? We are not exactly being great stewards with the rest of the planet, ulp, I gotta drive up to costco and go shopping, etc. I personally don't really want to share a trail with a bike, and suggest we let them maintain and care for a few dedicated ones. At least they are out on a bike, and not glued to a gps, laptop, television, or cell phone.


8:04pm on Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Life in a Bubble says :I advocate mountain bikes being part of the process and included in multi-use trails. I advocate making public recreation areas reflect the demographics of their users."

Lets look at this with some logic. Marin County probably has an enormous population of dog owners who would love to walk their dogs and even turn them loose on open space. Many areas are off limits to dogs, even on leash. I bet there are more dog owners than mountain bikers.

Does this mean we turn over trails to dog walkers? Dogs present some of the same problems as mountain bike users; i.e. disturbance of wildlife, and risk to other users.
But you don't see this user group causing the problem that the Mountain bikers continue to do...for the most part the dog owners respect the law and don't go where it is illegal.

The law, park rules, unsafe and illegal is just that, regardless of demographics. Why do the Marin BOS keep knuckling under to this user group (mountain bikers) of entitlement bullies?

Life in the Bubble

11:28pm on Tuesday, October 18, 2011

This will be my last comment on this topic. Here's what I've learned:

- Some people think that bicycles on dirt are the embodiment of evil. (Their arguments usually include the phrase "I'm a bicyclist too, but..."). Nothing will change their opinion, ever.
- Some people view mountain bikes the same as unregulated motorcycles, or jeeps. (The fact that they are human-powered, quiet, and non-polluting is merely a technicality). Some people also view mountain bike riders as a wildlife destroying eco-terrorist cross between Evil Kneivel, and Attila the Hun.
- Some people can not imagine that someone on a bicycle could have the same natural experiences as someone on foot. Covering many miles and reveling in the joy of winding through forests and ridges is not a valid experience if it's on a bicycle. Traveling quietly with only the sound of breathing and tires quietly crunching on leaves is simply not possible on a bicycle. Riding in control on a bicycle is simply not possible.
- Some people are simply afraid of change.

Life in the Bubble

11:59pm on Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I've re-read each of my posts on this 50+ comment thread. Each of my posts has been about inclusion, respect for multiple trail users, courtesy, and proper trail design. Each of my posts have pointed out that mountain biking is an important form of outdoor recreation, exercise and transportation. I've tried to point out success stories and examples of cooperation by cyclists and hikers.

I don't feel compelled to answer for illegal trail building (it happens, and represents the vast minority of mountain bikers). I wouldn't ask a mountain bike hater to answer for the trash and vandalism endemic to hiking trails (which I see almost every time I hike or run), or why people can't seem to park safely at trailheads (e.g. Cataract trail on any spring weekend). I wouldn't ask car driver to answer for speeders or tailgaters. For the record, I've never advocated that mountain bikes belong on every trail, or don't need regulation.

In return, I've seen advocating violence against trail users, been told to leave Marin, and been called a bully for advocating inclusion.

The ironic part of this discussion is that I probably log more miles as a hiker/runner than most of the bike haters combined (20-30+ miles/wk on foot on Tam, MMWD, and MCOSD). See you on the trail. I'll be happy to see you out there whether you are on bike, foot or horseback.