Effects of global warming on the future of mountain biking.

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Effects of global warming on the future of mountain biking.
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Posted: Oct 27, 2013 at 8:49 Quote
This is not a debate about the legitimacy of runaway global warming, but a discussion about how it will affect the future of the sport we all love. I can already see some slight effects; the harder storms are causing more erosion in 1 year than they used to cause in 3 or 4 years, and it is also consistently causing more downed trees than I used to see in the past. I also can't help but wonder how many trails have been destroyed over the last few years from the immense amount of fires we are seeing because of the increased temperature on the planet.

Other potential short-term consequences could be strict restrictions or bans on trail building, limited access to forests, and increased taxes on carbon consumption that would make traveling to other areas to ride more expensive. In the long term we face the grave potential of helplessly watching all the forests on the planet burn up as the
planet gets progressively hotter, and it simply being to hot to comfortably ride a bicycle in most areas. Other sports like skiing and snowboarding will face extinction even sooner, and it will be interesting to see how humans react when their favorite activities are permanently threatened. Enjoy it while it's here, or try to preserve it for future generations?

If skiing and snowboarding die, it's safe to say that most of the lift-assisted bike parks will go with them, so DH riding and racing appear the most immediately threatened part of the sport. Will anyone even care about bicycle racing anymore once we realize our existence is threatened? Could even my wildest dream come true; the bicycle will be viewed as the savior and take over the world as the main source of transportation and recreation?

Posted: Nov 3, 2013 at 1:05 Quote
Protour wrote:
This is not a debate about the legitimacy of runaway global warming, but a discussion about how it will affect the future of the sport we all love. I can already see some slight effects; the harder storms are causing more erosion in 1 year than they used to cause in 3 or 4 years, and it is also consistently causing more downed trees than I used to see in the past. I also can't help but wonder how many trails have been destroyed over the last few years from the immense amount of fires we are seeing because of the increased temperature on the planet.

Other potential short-term consequences could be strict restrictions or bans on trail building, limited access to forests, and increased taxes on carbon consumption that would make traveling to other areas to ride more expensive. In the long term we face the grave potential of helplessly watching all the forests on the planet burn up as the
planet gets progressively hotter, and it simply being to hot to comfortably ride a bicycle in most areas. Other sports like skiing and snowboarding will face extinction even sooner, and it will be interesting to see how humans react when their favorite activities are permanently threatened. Enjoy it while it's here, or try to preserve it for future generations?

If skiing and snowboarding die, it's safe to say that most of the lift-assisted bike parks will go with them, so DH riding and racing appear the most immediately threatened part of the sport. Will anyone even care about bicycle racing anymore once we realize our existence is threatened? Could even my wildest dream come true; the bicycle will be viewed as the savior and take over the world as the main source of transportation and recreation?

You're overstating the short-term impacts. Forests will not spontaneously combust due rising global temperatures and it won't too hot to cycle any time soon. We're looking at temperature increases of a few degrees by the end of the century.

If you want to play devil's advocate, look at the positives, less snow means a longer biking season. Skiing would become less popular, potentially adding to the number of mtbers.

Posted: Nov 6, 2013 at 5:27 Quote
winters around here are hit or miss, some years we're breaking records in the amount of snow that falls in a short period to time, some years we'll get no snow, or next to snow snow --- like last winter, l think we had three "storms" giving us a grand total for the season of 9" total accumulation.

forest fires don't phase me at all --- personally, l think they should let them burn more often cause, IMO, it's all a cycle of life, refresh, renew. "them" putting the fires out is usually just because homes and personal property.

yeah, riding when it's blistering hot -- bluck.. that sucks.


first time gas prices took that really big price hike into what we're seeing all the time these days -- l thought for sure bike sales would sky rocket for me -- well, they didn't. not at all. l did see some people come in looking for a commuter bike but it wasn't anything to write home about. frankly, most of the people who were trying to save money on gas weren't looking to buy a NICE bike where there's some actual profit were a hoot. most people were looking to just buy something cheap (e.g. $300 to $500ish tops) that price level, there's little profit and technically, long term, l firmly believe they do nothing but put you in the red if you account for floor space any individual bike takes up, cost to ship, cost to build and the cost of paying someone to "sell" it. not to mention, you gotta offer some free tune up service, cheap bike require more maint.no doubt about that.

l sell bikes so l can feed the kids and keep the lights on so l might see things a little differently.

if we don't get much snow any given winter --- fine by me. skiing in general sorta bores me. l used to like it but not anymore. there's zero good skiing near me and l don't like to travel much for recreational things. l think Snowshoe is the closest at 3.5, 4 hours away. no thanks -- snowshoe sucks for skiing... great place for biking but boring for skiing.

Posted: Nov 21, 2013 at 8:05 Quote
The effects of global warming will be higher prices.

Everything else is "business as usual."

Hope this helps.

-Bryan

Posted: Nov 22, 2013 at 11:25 Quote
mtb123 wrote:
The effects of global warming will be higher prices.

Everything else is "business as usual."

Hope this helps.

-Bryan

Yeah... No.

Posted: Mar 18, 2014 at 11:28 Quote
I feel now like I was a little naive when I wrote this post knowing what I know now. Probably should have titled it: Runaway Global Warming and the future of.... Everything.

There are probably more people in North America that don't believe global warming is happening than there are of those who know what a positive feedback loop is in relation to global warming. But this will likely change in the next few years. If the summer of 2014 isn't the season when humans start wake up to the reality of global warming, then surely the summer of 2015 will, as shocking, progressively worse heat records are set all across the planet.

More than a few scientists are giving humans less than a couple decades before our very existence becomes threatened, let alone our ability to engage in leisurely activities like mountain biking. The reason for their alarming predictions is because of the effects of positive feedback loops like methane being released from the arctic by melting ice, less ice to reflect the suns heat, wildfires that kill trees that remove carbon from the atmosphere, etc... Because of the delay in emissions and effect, we are essentially just now starting to feel the effects of the fossil fuels we burned 30-40 years ago. Now think of how much fossil fuel we have burned since then and you begin to realize that we have baked a cake that will be burning for a long time even if we stopped burning all fossil fuels right now.

There will probably be desperate geo-engineering attempts, but nothing will be able to remove the massive amount of carbon from the atmosphere that we have polluted in our decades long fossil fuel binge. It is not reversible and about the only justice I expect on this issue is to hold the oil company officials to account for funding efforts that presented global warming as a hoax when it is actually the biggest threat we ever faced. 

Things will start to change dramatically within the next few years, so now is probably the time to enjoy mountain biking with your friends and family

Posted: Mar 18, 2014 at 14:27 Quote
Protour wrote:
I feel now like I was a little naive when I wrote this post knowing what I know now. Probably should have titled it: Runaway Global Warming and the future of.... Everything.

There are probably more people in North America that don't believe global warming is happening than there are of those who know what a positive feedback loop is in relation to global warming. But this will likely change in the next few years. If the summer of 2014 isn't the season when humans start wake up to the reality of global warming, then surely the summer of 2015 will, as shocking, progressively worse heat records are set all across the planet.

More than a few scientists are giving humans just a few decades before our very existence becomes threatened, let alone our ability to engage in leisurely activities like mountain biking. The reason for their alarming predictions is because of the effects of positive feedback loops like methane being released from the arctic by melting ice, less ice to reflect the suns heat, wildfires that kill trees that remove carbon from the atmosphere, etc... Because of the delay in emissions and effect, we are essentially just now starting to feel the effects of the fossil fuels we burned 20-30 years ago. Now think of how much fossil fuel we have burned since then and you begin to realize that we have baked a cake that will be burning for a long time even if we stopped burning all fossil fuels right now. There will probably be desperate geo-engineering attempts, but nothing will be able to remove the massive amount of carbon from the atmosphere that we have polluted in our decades long fossil fuel binge. It is not reversible and about the only justice I expect on this issue is to hold the oil company officials to account for funding efforts that presented global warming as a hoax when it is actually the biggest threat we ever faced.

Things will start to change dramatically within the next few years, so now is probably the time to enjoy mountain biking with your friends and family.

I think you're overstating the short-term impacts. Global temperatures are generally on the rise; the IPCC's latest (I think) 2010 report, A2, gives us a 'middle scenario' rise of about 3.5C by the end of the century. This is, of course, taking into account the feebacks, or at least the ones we're aware of. Obviously there's some negative feedbacks you've neglected, such as water vapor forming clouds which obviously have a high albedo, although coincidentally water vapor is also has a high global warming potential.

2014 and 2015 will not be ''shocking'', there's no reason to suggest they'll be noticeably different to 2013 or 2012. Indeed any variation will be labeled by those involved in climate science (not the media) as changes in "weather", not climate. To ascribe a trend in temp as a climate variation it must occur over an extended period, certainly not one or two years. Decades, at minimum, should be taken at a time if we're looking at climate.

I'm interested in your dismissal of geo-engineering, such as ocean fertilization, as desperate. While the obvious answer to global warming is to stop using polluting energy, this is, at least in the next century or so, impossible. Currently there are no energy sources that don't emit any lifetime CO2, while some technologies masquerading as green actually emit substantial amounts of greenhouse gases, such as hydro. It's tempting to so say, therefore, that nothing can be done and we should let climate change run it's course, as you allude to. However, this is obviously a reckless course to pursue; instead carbon capture and sequestration, including geo engineering, combined with nuclear, wind, wave, solar, tidal, waste incineration, bio fuels and other new technologies should be invested in. Until we find suitable sustainable energy sources, fossil fuels (well gas) should still be used to tide us over, especially if used with carbon capture.

Quite right though, those found to promote the ridicule of AGW should be afforded hefty penalties.

Posted: Mar 20, 2014 at 10:18 Quote
bobochobo wrote:
I think you're overstating the short-term impacts. Global temperatures are generally on the rise; the IPCC's latest (I think) 2010 report, A2, gives us a 'middle scenario' rise of about 3.5C by the end of the century. This is, of course, taking into account the feebacks, or at least the ones we're aware of. Obviously there's some negative feedbacks you've neglected, such as water vapor forming clouds which obviously have a high albedo, although coincidentally water vapor is also has a high global warming potential.

2014 and 2015 will not be ''shocking'', there's no reason to suggest they'll be noticeably different to 2013 or 2012. Indeed any variation will be labeled by those involved in climate science (not the media) as changes in "weather", not climate. To ascribe a trend in temp as a climate variation it must occur over an extended period, certainly not one or two years. Decades, at minimum, should be taken at a time if we're looking at climate.

I'm interested in your dismissal of geo-engineering, such as ocean fertilization, as desperate. While the obvious answer to global warming is to stop using polluting energy, this is, at least in the next century or so, impossible. Currently there are no energy sources that don't emit any lifetime CO2, while some technologies masquerading as green actually emit substantial amounts of greenhouse gases, such as hydro. It's tempting to so say, therefore, that nothing can be done and we should let climate change run it's course, as you allude to. However, this is obviously a reckless course to pursue; instead carbon capture and sequestration, including geo engineering, combined with nuclear, wind, wave, solar, tidal, waste incineration, bio fuels and other new technologies should be invested in. Until we find suitable sustainable energy sources, fossil fuels (well gas) should still be used to tide us over, especially if used with carbon capture.

Quite right though, those found to promote the ridicule of AGW should be afforded hefty penalties.

Thanks for the thoughtful response. In all fairness, I haven't seen any climate scientists predict "shocking" heat records in the next couple years, that is more of my own gut feeling.

It appears to me that the planet has reached a tipping point based on some of the weather events we've seen in the last couple years; The rains and flooding in England and other places, the unprecedented polar vortex storm on the east coast, the warm arctic air, the record-setting droughts in California and Australia, and increased weather inconsistency pretty much.... everywhere. What particularly alarms me is that the ocean has absorbed so much carbon that the jet streams are beginning to see serious disruption, and that is key to everything in a stable ecosystem on planet earth. As the jet stream continues to destabilize, we will see a series of abrupt events that will begin to compromise the foundations of life on the planet. Mammals will be affected, but so will many of the small organisms which are key in the food chain that supports all of life. The little guys are the most vulnerable and will likely be the first to go as weather events become more extreme and inconsistent.

I can't imagine how we could geo-engineer a broken jet stream.The numerous positive feedback loops from a wide variety of factors, some of which have a multiplicative effect, will far outweigh the negative feedback loops. Increased volcanic eruptions will block sunlight, but if we get too big of one nothing will grow outdoors. These kind of movie-script scenarios will define our future existence.

As for the IPCC predictions, respected scientists are generally very conservative. The IPCC is completely underestimating the positive feedback loops because nothing has ever happened on the planet quite like this so there is no precedent to observe. The massive rise in temperatures and extinction that the earth has previously seen have all been caused by natural causes such as comets or volcanoes.

 I don't want to be pessimistic, but I simply see no reason for optimism in terms of stopping the rapid change because of the chain of events we have unleashed. As the world's fossil fuel based economy continues to conspicably grow, we are approaching carbon emissions of 400 ppm, which was unimaginable to me less than 10 years ago when leading scientists said we needed to keep it under 350 ppm to keep things in our control. We have clearly lost control, and now nature bats last. Near term extinction is a depressing proposition, but that doesn't mean we have to be completely depressed in confronting it. We have all been a part of something spectacular, at the most spectacular time in history, and life will go on after us, be it on this planet or another. Regardless of how much time we have in relation to global warming, I think the best way to approach life in these times is to not panic, try to live simply, help others when possible, grow a garden, ride your bike when you can, cherish your time with friends and loved ones, and try to maintain dignity.

If you have any ideas of your own or see any errors in my assertions feel free to point them out, but I'm not interested in debating back and forth much on this issue. Certainly I hope you are right, and that I am completely wrong

Posted: Mar 20, 2014 at 14:30 Quote
Protour wrote:
Thanks for the thoughtful response. In all fairness, I haven't seen any climate scientists predict "shocking" heat records in the next couple years, that is more of my own gut feeling.

It appears to me that the planet has reached a tipping point based on some of the weather events we've seen in the last couple years; The rains and flooding in England and other places, the unprecedented polar vortex storm on the east coast, the warm arctic air, the record-setting droughts in California and Australia, and increased weather inconsistency pretty much.... everywhere. What particularly alarms me is that the ocean has absorbed so much carbon that the jet streams are beginning to see serious disruption, and that is key to everything in a stable ecosystem on planet earth. As the jet stream continues to destabilize, we will see a series of abrupt events that will begin to compromise the foundations of life on the planet. Mammals will be affected, but so will many of the small organisms which are key in the food chain that supports all of life. The little guys are the most vulnerable and will likely be the first to go as weather events become more extreme and inconsistent. I can't imagine how we could geo-engineer a broken jet stream.

The numerous positive feedback loops from a wide variety of factors, some of which have a multiplicative effect, will far outweigh the negative feedback loops. Increased volcanic eruptions will block sunlight, but if we get too big of one nothing will grow outdoors. These kind of movie-script scenarios will define our future existence.

As for the IPCC predictions, respected scientists are generally very conservative. The IPCC is completely underestimating the positive feedback loops because nothing has ever happened on the planet quite like this so there is no precedent to observe. The massive rise in temperatures and extinction that the earth has previously seen have all been caused by natural causes such as comets or volcanoes.

I don't want to be pessimistic, but I simply see no reason for optimism in terms of stopping the rapid change because of the chain of events we have unleashed. As the world's fossil fuel based economy continues to conspicably grow, we are approaching carbon emissions of 500 ppm, which was unimaginable to me less than 10 years ago when leading scientists said we needed to keep it under 350 ppm to keep things in our control. We have clearly lost control, and now nature bats last. Near term extinction is a miserable proposition, but that doesn't mean we have to be completely miserable in confronting it. We have all been a part of something spectacular, at the most spectacular time in history, and life will go on after us, be it on this planet or another. Regardless of how much time we have in relation to global warming, I think the best way to approach life in these times is to not panic, try to live simply, help others when possible, grow a garden, ride your bike when you can, cherish your time with friends and loved ones, and try to maintain dignity.

If you have any ideas of your own or see any errors in my assertions feel free to point them out, but I'm not interested in debating back and forth much on this issue. Certainly I hope you are right, and that I am completely wrong.

Sure, but extreme weather isn't particularly uncommon, there needs to be a trend of extreme weather before we can ascribe it to AGW climate variation.

I'm not sure that ocean absorption of carbon has much affect on the gulf stream compared to the cooling of the north atlantic bottom current, but I could well be wrong, although it certainly could dissolve forming carbonic acid; decreasing ocean pH. Indeed the gulf stream is part of the 'global conveyor' - disruption will have a global effect on people. Quite right again about the depopulation of organisms at the bottom of the food chain having severe ramifications.

Positive feedback loops are a scary thought, that's how we'll get run-away warming.

Posted: Aug 26, 2015 at 23:55 Quote
Nearly the entire west coast of North America is now experiencing an ecologically devastating drought of unprecedented proportions along with plenty of record breaking temperatures giving us a sneak preview of what the future will become. Some people pretend the warm blob in the Pacific Ocean will go away, I'm predicting it will only become hotter, grow, and spread as it continues to absorb the vast amount of unnecessary carbon we wastefully burned up. But my gut feeling also tells me that we could have some inconsistent weather with heavy rain and even crazy snowfall in the mountains before things finally heat up for good, so don't burn the skis and snowboards just yet. As a result of the drought most trails are dry, dusty, and loose; with braking bumps and loose blown out corners becoming the norm on mainstream downhill trails.

The ideal solution is to repair the trails.... if we ever get any regular rain again which seems doubtful. In the meantime the human race must adapt, and that is why we now need bikes in the 160 mm range of travel to be equipped with 63º head angles and coil spring rear shocks. What is good for DH is good for enduro (so long as it doesn't add excessive weight or involve flat pedals). It makes the downhills more fun and you are less likely to wash out in those loose dusty blown out berms. How would a slacked out trail bike do on the uphills with those slack angles and a squishy coil? You mean the climb? You simply pedal the bike and it goes uphill to the start of the downhill, it works just fine. Fine on the flat terrain once you get used to it.

I'm consistently frustrated by the mountain bike industry with its slow reaction to trends and conservatve approach to virtually everything except new hub and bottom bracket standards.
Puzzling how behind the the times bicycle designers are given that so many of them are supposedly 'pursuing their passion'. Just look at how many brands still haven't fully embraced long top tubes even though it's been clear for quite sometime they are an improvement. And how is it that in 2015 the vast majority of bikes are still running essentially the same archaic, unreliable rear derailleurs that I was using in the 90's? Impressive progress, mtb inc.

For now the best approach is to get a bike such as a Santa Cruz with an adjustable 1.5 head tube and or some offset bushings for the rear shock if you can. If Zerode went slack I might just quit posting here and focus on riding for the rest of my existence. At the very least mountain bike designers need to give all-mountain bikes more adjustability for different preferences and conditions. Hopefully the industry can catch up with the climate, at least in the short term before it runs away from us. These conditions actually have me wondering if 27+ got here just in time, maybe they got that one right after all.

Posted: Aug 31, 2015 at 9:05 Quote
Haven't got time to post a lengthy message but saw this thread last time I was here and wanted to share this link:

Scientists fear sea level rises could be worse than expected: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=6825765

Posted: Sep 12, 2015 at 18:51 Quote
It's just a bunch of bull shit

Posted: Nov 12, 2015 at 16:16 Quote
Protour wrote:
Nearly the entire west coast of North America
Yep, everything below the King mountains, that is mostly desert, is experiencing devastating drought. The King Mountains, and north of that, is predominately rain forest, which is being its typical self right now.

Posted: Feb 11, 2019 at 15:10 Quote
Well we just had the wettest year on record and it is freaking cold!!!

Posted: Feb 11, 2019 at 15:10 Quote
I thought it would somehow be warmer.

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