Cut the Crap - Opinion

Apr 8, 2016
by Vernon Felton  

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An article recently appeared in the Marin Independent Journal that highlighted just how bat-shit crazy this chunk of Northern California is. It begins thusly,


County parks officials launched a new bicycle speed enforcement program on open space trails this weekend, stationing two staffers with special radar-type devices in areas that have generated public safety complaints.

Officials hesitated to characterize the move as a crackdown, preferring instead to call it a pilot program that initially will be aimed at educating trail users…. Violators will face warnings at first, but citations may be issued at some point "depending on circumstances."


Let’s unpack that for a moment.

Marin is equipping a couple of rangers with radar guns because people are scared and/or have a deep and abiding hatred of bikes. First you’ll get a warning for speeding, but eventually, they’ll be ticketing you.

This is Northern California, so the article is also full of pleasant odes to maintaining peaceful relationships, gathering data on how bikes are used, etc. etc., but when you strip away the BS, it boils down to this: It’s not a crackdown, per se, it’s just, you know, a f@cking crackdown. And maybe I’d be okay with that if Marin County hadn’t already been giving mountain bikers an absolute beatdown for more than 30 years.


Radar Guns in Marin County

Three Decades of Crazy
If you’re not from Northern California, you can be forgiven for thinking that Marin County is a mountain bike-friendly place. Marin, after all, is the much-touted birthplace of mountain biking. .

But let’s be clear about this—that was then and this is now, and Marin County has been an absolutely horrid place to actually ride a mountain bike since, oh, about 1983.

It’s not that Marin is lacking for in interesting terrain. Despite being just a short drive from one of America’s busiest metropolitan areas, Marin County has a staggering amount of open space. Thanks to a strong push from environmentalists during 1960s and `70s, roughly half of Marin County—about 160,000 acres—is under permanent protection. That is a beautiful thing. The crappy part of the picture is that bikes are not welcome in most of it. Only 16 percent of Marin’s singletrack is bike legal.

Stop and con sider that figure for a moment...Sixteen. Percent. That's it. Or let's put it a bit more realistically: It is currently illegal to ride your mountain bike on more than three-quarters of the single track in what was mountain biking's garden of Eden. Oh, and it's worth noting that this is an area overflowing with mountain bikers. This is a recipe for disaster.

Bikes were initially cleared from Marin's trails due to concerns that bikes would destroy the environment they’d worked so hard to preserve. I can understand that initial fear. But when several independent studies came out in the `80s and `90s showing that bikes had no more impact on trails than hikers and less impact than equestrians, you’d think the restrictions in Marin would have been lifted or, at the very least, reconsidered. Not a chance in hell. The rallying cry against bikes simply changed pitch. Now we’re unsafe to other trail users.

There have, in fact, been a handful of run-ins between mountain bikers and hikers over the years. No denying that. Let me suggest the obvious reason why this occurs: You take a massive group of trail users (mountain bikers) and you funnel them onto a couple miles of singletrack or you tell them the only other trails they can ride are these steep, loose fireroads with blind corners…. Are you really surprised that chaos results? If you were the conspiracy-theory type, you’d be inclined to think that someone actually wants collisions and acrimony in Marin.

For the record, I’m not a conspiracy theorist. It’s really not that complicated a situation—For decades, Marin’s policy makers had their heads up their asses.

I’m not saying that bikes belong on every trail. Absolutely not. I’m saying that when you funnel an entire user group on a couple of trails, you create chaos and anger. Any trailbuilder worth his or her salt knows that you have to disperse trail users across the land to reduce congestions. Marin, however, steadfastedly ignores the obvious.

Radar Guns in Marin County

Let’s Get Back to the Radar Guns
Radar guns are not actually new to Marin mountain bikers. Marin County code dictates that “no vehicle, including a bicycle, shall be operated at a speed greater than is reasonable for safe operation, nor in any manner which may endanger the safety of others or the protection of environmental resources.” Your first ticket carries a $50 fine and $155 court cost penalty.

This new announcement about the crackdown that is not a crackdown, however, is a sign that times are changing--both for the better and the worse. There are elements of the story, for instance, that give you hope. Marin’s policy makers have been reconsidering trail use in the County (via the new Road and Trail Management Plan) and, to their credit, have been considering opening up more singletrack to riders. The Stafford Lake Bike Park that opened last year was also a monumental leap forward for Marin. The last few years have seen a more tolerant and thoughtful group of policy makers in Marin. These are good things.

Those same gains, however, have created a backlash amongst the HOHA (Hateful Old Hiker Association) contingent, which is rallying around the idea that mountain bikers are, as one interviewee in the article put it “a big reason for the creeping displacement” of other trail users from Marin’s open space. The same quoted individual suggests that “…bike riders need to ‘slow down to a crawl’ so that hikers or those on horseback are not frightened or hurt.”

Here’s the thing, if you’ve ever ridden in Marin and encountered the special (and apparently endangered) species of hiker that flocks to the place, you probably know it’s impossible to not frighten them. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve actually slowed down to a crawl, waved and said a cheery hello and have been either screamed at or had a hiking stick thrust or swung at me.

I suppose I could’ve taken a page out of their book and filed some sort of charge of “battery” against those hikers, but this is Marin. This is the status quo. It’s a dysfunctional place with a dysfunctional policy that actually creates tension between trail users.

I understand that seeing a mountain biker come barreling towards you would be a truly frightening occasion. I hike all the time. It would scare me too. The problem in Marin is that the mere sight of a bike frightens and angers so many hikers. You don’t have to be an actual problem here, to be seen and treated as a problem. I might actually buy the argument that the radar guns are being used to “study” the issue and provide data about trail use, as the article suggests, if I hadn’t actually grown up around Marin. Having spent time in the place, I’m not believing it for a second.

So, yeah, rangers will be hiding in the bushes with radar guns. Tickets will be given. First as warnings. Then as fines. But, you know, it’s not a crackdown because that word just sounds so intolerant and Marin County is famous for being such a loving and tolerant place…that just wouldn’t do.



MENTIONS: @vernonfelton




286 Comments

  • + 222
 thanks for letting me know how fast I'm going sir!now try to catch me fatty!!!!
  • + 118
 This is America!! Prepare to get a piece of freedom in your back. Wink )
  • + 44
 It is sad how individual rights and freedom are on the decline in so many places.
  • + 107
 California is the state of over regulation. They have warning signs for warning signs. Lots of overly privileged folk with nothing better to do than complain about things that don't matter.
  • + 81
 I'm not stopping my strava is running!
  • - 8
flag moose-tastes-good (Apr 8, 2016 at 7:18) (Below Threshold)
 What's with the new font?
  • - 23
flag oldtech (Apr 8, 2016 at 7:59) (Below Threshold)
 If I can afford a modern day mountain bike I can afford the fine. You all do what you want and so will I.
  • + 5
 @JustYourAverageJoey: Lynch the fun police
  • + 42
 It is a constant battle in NorCal to ride an effin mountain bike. I grew up in the East Bay and that was a much better situation than up in the North Bay where I live now. Everything worth riding is illegal. And on the legal trails we can't even build a small burm without it getting torn down. Its even more frustrating how the other trail goers act, not all the time, but quite often. My buddy broke a link while climbing and an equestrian rider took the chance to lecture us on how detrimental to the environment we are and that we have no disregard to anyone. Right after he talks about if someone walks behind his horse the wrong way it could KICK AND KILL THEM! Everyone is a damn hypocrite... But one thing is for sure, if I'm getting clocked at a fast enough speed to get a ticket, THERE'S NO WAY IN HELL THAT I AM STOPING. Rant over.
  • + 11
 @WayneParsons: So true, I was just there 2 weeks ago and was laughing at all the signage everywhere.
  • + 30
 I live in Marin and deal with this every other day. All they do is say stop right there, my reaction i just keep going they cant run / Drive their for super duty after you.

f*ck YOU RANGERS
  • + 30
 Land of the free.. I'm living in one of the most uptight european countries and still we are allowed on almost every singletrail.
  • + 4
 @WayneParsons: you hit the nail on the head
  • + 12
 @WayneParsons: Well stated Wayne- I live 15 miles from this disaster (Marin Co.). You couldn't pay me to ride there. Which is actually what the HOHA's and crazy Envirotards that populate that place want anyway.
I cannot wait till my kids move on to college so I can move to someplace much more reasonable and open. Like Idaho most likely. I will make sure I get rid of my Cali license plates before I arrive. Since being from Cali is now pretty embarrassing.
  • + 3
 @chasejj: I feel the same way here on the peninsula, unfortunately I still got like 10 years to go
  • + 6
 @chasejj: wise to ditch the plates. You won't make any friends with those here. However anyone who rides a bike is a friend of mineSmile
  • + 2
 Cali is a really nice place to visit.
  • + 5
 @chasejj: But they just closed lots of trails in the Boulder Whiteclouds near Sun Valley. If we don't stop this madness it will just keep spreading.
  • + 7
 @chasejj: Come to BC man, we love Americans. Endless trails, best in the World.
  • + 13
 I think the article is incorrect -- I find it hard to believe that 16% of the singletrack in Marin is bike legal. I think it is closer to 5%.
  • + 6
 @jfloren: I think they were counting fire roads
  • + 1
 @WayneParsons: YES! I'm glad you guys up north see this!
  • + 1
 @jfloren: I live here and it is true
  • + 3
 @pakleni: I would move to Switzerland in a second!
  • + 2
 I'd just keep riding. What are they going to do, tackle you?
  • + 1
 @jlhenterprises: right on a good reason to go faster
  • + 2
 @WayneParsons: i knew i wasn't the only person who thought this shit.
  • + 3
 Make a secret pact with all the mtb'ers to ride the trails backwards. That way the speed guns will be on the climbs and you can enjoy your descents as fast as you want to.
  • + 1
 @fmogan77: After reading these few comments^^^ I hope what is in Cali stays in Cali. Please don't bring it to Coloradical.
  • + 97
 Wow it sounds like it just sucks there. how Marin likes to claim to be the birth place of mountain biking when it was was the steep and technical trails in BC that drove ALL the innovation in suspension and trail design with all its woodwork glory in temperate rainforest
Marin is more like the backseat of a crappy old car where mountain biking got pregnant... and then burst into life in BC
BC is the best most tolerant place with the most trails to ride in the world and the Epicenter of mountain biking.. Oh ya Marin whistler is adding Another 50km of trails soon :p !
  • + 45
 I'm not sure where your little rant came from but it has nothing to do with the article?!

Sounds like a pretty sucky situation in Marin, is it really so bad that every hiker hates cyclists? If so, how/what has spawned that mentality? It does seem a crying shame that the riders in/around Marin are getting particularly unfair treatment though, nothing this bad really happens in the UK, although you might get the odd trail saboteur...

Oh and for the record, Whistler is incredible.
  • + 17
 @DirtboxTom: the BC comparison and maybe a little bit undereducated historians comment came from this Canadian (based in BC) website.
No disrespect intended.
I wrote a letter to California last time I stupidly pulled my double axle travel trailer down through San Fransisco and the rest of California after charging me $40 to cross that really nice orange bridge on the way down and a $85 parking ticket for stopping (I paid for one spot but took up 4 at 7am when the park was deserted) in the park on the south side and then almost having to go through Oakland on the way back to avoid the nice orange bridge or pay $20 on some other highway above a city (I chose the later$) In that letter I stated I won't be back to drop money off during my annual winter vacation again for at least a few years. California for being such a beautiful place full of really cool sights needs to get over itself big time.
  • + 16
 @DirtboxTom: go back 25 or more years hikers and ramblers used to despise mtbers.
Every week they would see you coming and politely block the entire trail and tell you that you didn't belong there.
On one occaision I have been shot at "accidentally" close enough for shot to bounce off my helmet.
Another occaision a rambler stuck his stick through my front wheel and sent me over the bars. I would like to say I was a better man but he laughed after doing it so I got up and knocked him clean out.
The U.K. I think is way way more tolerant now than it was back then.
  • + 8
 @randybadger: I'd call that justice. And peace, according the Nelson Mandela, is the presence of justice. So, thanks for promoting peace.
  • + 5
 Even in "tolerant" BC we are seeing this Orwellian attitude, " two wheels baaaad, two legs (& walking stick) gooood". Much like in Felton's previous articles on loss of rideable terrain, everyone needs to be concerned. I wrote before & stick to it, the world looks to America for leadership & example. The laws, thinly veiled & outright attacks on bikers we see being adopted in America could be coming to a trail system near you.
  • + 1
 Marin is where people actually took bikes on mountains BC is great but you still have to respect your elders
  • + 9
 California is basically fucked. Great piece of geography. Great people. But way over regulated.
  • + 2
 @wideload46: the big difference is that in bc(parts at least) government sees the tourism and prestige generated by the mountain bike trails and works with trail associations to designate reasonable roots hike only while expanding the trail network
  • + 2
 Marin should benchmark their policy against BC. Mountain biking coexists with other uses quite well up here, and both bikers and hikers generally show a lot of trail etiquette. I've never had a problem in over ten years of riding here. The mountain bike industry generates tens of millions in revenue in BC, creating jobs in bike design/build, retail, service, and tourism. Marin, you are missing out with this prehistoric attitude towards the sport.
  • + 3
 We recently had a town meeting to save a big trail network from development. Hikers, equestrian and mountain bikers and the regional district and the city rezoned the land in perpetuity.
Next step is to save the 300 acres above it. Just one small town in BC. There are lots more like it here. Like others have pointed out, the revenue from having open accessible trails is a tourism gold mine...plus wicked trails for me to ride whenever I wantSmile
  • + 6
 @DirtboxTom: it's not "every" hiker. It's another case of a Vocal Minority. A handful of retired cranky individuals with nothing better to do than go to county meetings and spew lies.
  • + 2
 It's been proven time and time again, experimentally and correlationally, that tires, on average, do less damage than feet, or god forbid, hooves.

The mountain bike lobby hasn't had time to get big money, and I don't think it'll ever compete with the old money $$ of horse-riders. If you think 8000 dollar carbon enduro sleds make MX motos look cheap, then wait till you see stabling fees and just the cost of feed and horseshit shoveling. If you haven't been riding your bike, it'll give you a goddamn heart attack.

If horse riders and nature-walkers give us shit for ruining the trail, we need to hit back at them with hard numbers, all the time. A lot of us are busy, but we need to go out, be polite as our (rightfully) pissed-off DH-baggies ass will let us be, and seriously just outnumber the NIMBY-ists at meetings, volunteer days, public consultation, votes and donations.

Print out a well-thought out letter and send it to city councilors, MPPs, land-access managers, the whole nine inches (in the rear).
  • + 2
 "Marin is more like the backseat of a crappy old car where mountain biking got pregnant." f*ckin died laughing.
  • + 50
 Good thing all other major crime has been dealt with and they can move on to more trivial things like regulating how fast people are riding bikes in the woods. Whoever thought of this program should be tarred and feathered and run out of town.
  • + 45
 You live in a country where not a single policy maker would dare to deny being a devoted Christian. It is also highly probable that HOHA members go to church every sunday. Why don't you get preachers into MTB? That should give you some political leverage...
  • - 27
flag AmityTom (Apr 8, 2016 at 4:26) (Below Threshold)
 Your knowledge of American politics is horrendous. Stick to MTB so you don't look so foolish.
  • + 100
 Yeah your knowledge of American politics sucks. Mount some automatic rifles to the bikes and the NRA will make those trails legal.
  • + 20
 @paulmurphy1989: Instead of a Garmin on the stem you mount a bible, cause God will lead you down the right trail.
  • - 41
flag AmityTom (Apr 8, 2016 at 5:02) (Below Threshold)
 @paulmurphy1989:
I know how American civil rights must bother you.
Do you ask the government what you're allowed to eat for breakfast, or can you still make that decision on your own?
  • + 31
 @AmityTom: lol says the guy from New York; a state where if you buy a pack of cigarettes you pay more in taxes than you do for the actual product because the state legislature penalizes you fiscally for making a decision about what you put in your own body. Ya, love those civil liberties!!!
  • + 32
 Boom my knowledge of American politics was not criticised.

#Guns4Marin
  • - 31
flag AmityTom (Apr 8, 2016 at 5:21) (Below Threshold)
 @avidthrasher:
The people's republic of NY is a cesspool of corruption.
Answering an anti-American moronic rant is not a defense of the government I'm subjected to.
Fail, but good try.
  • - 24
flag AmityTom (Apr 8, 2016 at 5:22) (Below Threshold)
 @paulmurphy1989:
You don't have any knowledge of American politics to criticize. You've been programmed to be anti NRA, which is the oldest civil rights organization in the nation.
However #Guns4Marin sounds amazing!
  • + 38
 @AmityTom: wow, what an ironic time to be poking fun at the Scotish guy's freedom of choice... Isn't Vernon's entire article about how Marin is killing that freedom? And I'm pretty sure you're allowed to bike just about anywhere in Scotland, with a pint in each hand (before you're 21).
  • - 19
flag AmityTom (Apr 8, 2016 at 5:37) (Below Threshold)
 @bishopsmike:Yes, the entire article is about losing choice. Who is in charge in Marin btw? Is it the left?
If the equally as oppressive right was in charge of Marin, I'd be against them too.

What's more sad than anything is the person from Scotland with absolutely zero knowledge of American civil rights parroting the leftist anti-NRA propaganda his head has been filled with.
  • + 36
 @AmityTom, I am actually Irish but living in Scotland.

Scottish Land Access rights give me the freedom to ride anywhere pretty much. Freedom as Mr William Wallace aka Mel Gibson would say.

Scotland is a beacon of hope to the rest of the world for mountain bikers rights.

Also, you spelt criticise wrong. The z is nasty.
  • - 18
flag AmityTom (Apr 8, 2016 at 5:56) (Below Threshold)
 @paulmurphy1989:
See? This is why we kicked King George out of America, we like our z!
  • + 12
 I love to hear that opinion from another country. It saddens me at the same time, because that's my sarcastic comment on my own government. Too Christian and wrapped up in religeous policies. Go ride a bike people!
  • + 14
 @Wakidesigns your view on American politics is definitely on the right track, now combine that with a truck load of $ and you can really influence policy.
  • + 36
 @Waki: This is Marin, CA hippie central. It is usually the ultra-left wing, pro-wilderness hikers that are opposed to mountain bikers here in America. The church going gun nuts are out riding dirt bikes, 4 wheelers and 4x4 offroading in their free time, and generally want open access to public lands. Us mountain bikers are caught in the middle.
  • + 10
 I'm guessing sarcasm waki? Religion outranks MTBs big time on the "Don't like list" in the majority of CA. You're about 30 years late thinking our policy makers are devout Christians...
  • + 12
 @AmityTom: Why would we get anti-NRA propaganda in the UK, we already all agree that gun ownership is a terrible idea. The propaganda is only needed in the US - when another lunatic goes on a killing spree...
  • + 16
 Actually it's the opposite. As usual Waki you are off. Marin is about as secular as it gets. Religion has nothing to do with this. It's wealthy bitches and retired attorneys with nothing to do but create more laws in California.
  • - 1
 @WAKIdesigns This would be a good place for you n your Ebike. You can hand out bibles as you speed through the woods.
  • + 8
 @Deville64: to be more specific its very wealthy Liberals who are all about free to be you or me, of course until that means them sharing the areas near where they live or whatever other area they decide you don't need to allowed on.

@gkeele; take your love of MTBs away and you'd fit right in politically in Marin, provided your bank account contains at least 8 figures....
  • - 12
flag gkeele (Apr 8, 2016 at 7:35) (Below Threshold)
 Because I'm against private gun ownership? If that's politically aligned with Marin then they're doing something right at least...
  • - 10
flag gkeele (Apr 8, 2016 at 7:35) (Below Threshold)
 @ov3r1d3: Because I'm against private gun ownership? If that's politically aligned with Marin then they're doing something right at least...
  • + 7
 @gkeele: be for or against whatever you like, just pointing out to you across the Atlantic over here the mindset that you agree w for gun safety says much of the same things about freedom to ride public trails as they do about lawfully owning a firearm. Ive read about UK crime stats assaults w weapons vs population size etc, but Ive never lived there to experience any of it to really understand the situation, as far as US gun ownership goes you might want to do the same....
  • + 10
 @gkeele: guns don't kill people. Rappers do!!
  • + 11
 Interesting that you think religion has something to do with this?
I happen to be a devoted Christian, working in the mountain bike industry. By nature of my specific job, I, and those I work with are paid in part by the church.
We clearly have different experiences with the religious community, but I am yet to encounter anyone opposed to mountain biking on the basis on religion.
  • + 3
 @ov3r1d3: I agree. I just don't like posting political biases on PB. I think Vernon was intending to do the same.
  • + 5
 I'm not certain anyone of any religion could be theologically oppose bicycles of any type.
  • + 6
 @Deville64: I have no bias and the majority residents of Marin are wealthy self proclaimed liberals this is fact not a political opinion, and they are directly responsible for the situation. Many likely Sierra Club members as well, again loudly liberal and vigilant in opposing MTBs. Why shy away from identifying who they openly admit to being?
  • + 2
 @Tonyster2: Personally MTB is my religion.
  • + 7
 Wow this got serious! The beauty about most Canadians is we aren't all always looking for a fight. American politics along with these environmental groups, or whomever, are all looking for some evil opponent to attack and fight so they can draw a line in the sand. You folks love to fight each other, history proves that. On trails in BC I will go barreling down a trail and nearly hit a hiker, at which point we both stop and say sorry to each other about 12 times then go out separate ways. At the end of the day we both want to enjoy the open spaces and we just figure it out... it's not rocket science. Then we come together to fight real bad guys.
  • + 1
 Now we know how Gwinn got so much access to trails, nice play. Smile
  • - 2
 Wow, what in interesting discussion that came out of my fart. A cloud of gas collapsed on itself and started forming stars. I "like" Libralism just like any other ideology, however what is special about it is that they are into "liberation" while in order to organize the world according to their beliefs they need to behave as any other ideology - they must impose "liberty" on those who don't agree with them, in consequence limit their freedom. I love people trying hard to live by greater ideas: Catholics, Democrats, Leftists, Environmentalists, Vegans - they are so into making world a better place by using big words, but effectively seek power to legitimize elaborated forms of violence. 26 for life!
  • + 9
 @WAKIdesigns: The biggest word you'll ever hear me use is #NorbsGotRobbed :p
I'm super into making the world a better place, but at the ripe old age of 21 I've already figured out that I can only be responsible for myself. So I put my garbage in the garbage cans and smile at people as I pass them on the trails. I don't need to impose my religion on people, sure if they want to talk I'll talk, but ultimately that's between them and God.
And bikes are pretty cool too. Its really a shame about those speed traps.
  • + 1
 @Tonyster2: I had my green-leftist period between 30 and 32. You are not safe. Demons live in our heads and come out every now and then. Speed limit is just ridiculous, it reminds me of a couple of situations from House of Cards Wink
  • + 1
 @paulmurphy1989: We are so locking in Scotland!
  • + 1
 @Tonyster2: Don't worry. You'll be fine. He's just trolling you. There are no demons in Canada. Only Yetis.
  • + 2
 @ov3r1d3: agreed! Thanks for your service.
  • + 4
 @wakidesigns

Devoted Christian here. and long time mountain biker, former post college dirt bag cyclist, father of four, and tender of a flock of mountain bikes, and supporter of trails and mountain biking. I have read many of your posts, and think that if you and I went out for a ride we would probably have some interesting conversations, and might even be good friends. You have a great intellect and interesting discernment on life.

Taking a swipe at Christians, even in a backhanded way through presidential candidates, just doesn't reflect well on you.

There are some HOHA's out here where I ride, I doubt they ever go to church, and if they do, they are hypocrites, and they missed all of Jesus teachings on love and conduct for treating others.

Don't have much respect for most politicians either - pulling a halo of christianity (or really any other organization or belief) as a means to get more votes is disingenuous and slimy.

Peace my friend, and now back to the topic - we need to save/open more trails. Here in WA state, Evergreen, the local MTB group has been a model of collaboration with other trail users and trail organizations and we are enjoying more new trails than ever before. Smile
  • + 3
 @willycpc: oh no, I didn't take a swipe, not longer than 5 years ago I was in Church at least every second sunday. Until I decided to get close to God through many meditations which ultimately ended up with the voice telling me that I am wasting my time and it's time for me to go. That was on my sons baptism. I share deep empathy to Christians. I am as understandable as I am cold about it. So... I just talked about using someone's faith to manipulate them. Just as it happens everyday, everywhere, this is why religions still exist. People of faith are extremely useful. In presence of God we perform our best of actions. Just like the most terrifying ones. Because he gives us the power to overcome doubt. God fascinates me. We talked so often, his wisdom is intoxicating. The closer you get, the more you see that there's no devil. They are one and the same, aaand... well, they are in you, they are you, you are them. The moment you see it in the mirror, I swear the world trembles. See? 2 years ago I'd say Holy Ghost talked through me as I wrote this to you, but... no...I'm just able to synthesize drugs in my head. Got ist tott. And the world without him is beatiful hahahahah. Wait how do these atheists say it? We are star dust! (so is garbage so calm the fk down) I must tell you, I am not religious but i despise the way of thought that makes people declare themselves as atheists (or Communists or Liberals), because... it is sad that these days we still look for shelter in an unspecified peer group. Otherwise... why would you declare yourself anything? Hereby I declare myself as a highly developed life form, one of the most complex pieces of stuff in the universe. And I will die and no one will remember me after my kids die. We are worthless so let's just enjoy the view shall we?

Cheers mate! I could ride with anybody, but I'd never speak about God on the ride, because... I need to fkng focus while I am riding and getting into such open state of mind seems like a very bad idea. Many people take drugs to get to where I go when sober. Safe riding, and remember He wants you to ask questions, he wants you to be critical, what kind of douche father would he have to be to expect his children to sit in the church and sing stuff to him... I could not respect such father. He's in the mirror, looks just like you. I love you.

Now... can someone please suspend my account?! Do I have to draw prophet Mohammed hucking TDF peloton? Naked. I am really getting nuts here. All I wrote above is fkng crazy by all standards. Even boost.
  • + 1
 Waki, religion isn't as prevalent here, where I live, as you apparently think
  • + 42
 I'm just curious as to who would actually stop on their bike if an officer waved them down?
  • + 8
 This right here^^^^^^^^^^^! f*ck the Police!
  • - 1
 sounds like the hikers?
  • + 8
 It made me wonder if cops are armed? Besides their fists and the cute little waydar guns. But if you tried to run, I feel like youd get shot to death probably.
  • + 2
 @chillrider199: copy dont shoot mtbers.
Well the demographic of mtbers is white space true on the most part!
  • + 6
 @chillrider199: Marin County Rangers = not armed
  • + 4
 @jmlillig: Then who in the right mind is going to stop for these guys?
  • + 4
 Marin County Sheriff will get to hang out with the ranger. Run from a Sheriff that is felony evasion...not worth it. But Sheriff needs to make it known that he is in fact a Sheriff.
  • + 1
 @Spindelatron: I bet you most sheriffs and rangers can ride a bike fast enough. Im just saying. Easy to evade.
  • + 5
 What a colossal waste of resources.
  • + 2
 I live in Marin and have had a friend who was grabbed off his bike and "threatened to be tasered" if he kept resisting or trying to run. This was on the exit of a singletrack, not sure they could do much if you were mach-ing on a fireroad where they will be using radar guns. Also not sure if they actually have tasers, or if are allowed to use them.
  • + 31
 Marin County is maybe the bithplace of MTB but it's also the most MTBiker unfriendly spot I've ever ridden. I was almost mollested by a hiker because I was riding too fast according to him, not surprised at all to see that radars are the next steps! I don't get why America is so crazy against bike, ride on the road, you get ran over, ride on the trails, you get ticketed...
  • - 1
 @grossplak I guess you are just to slow. You have to be caught to be in trouble. Simple solution DON'T GET CAUGHT.
  • + 2
 I don't get why all of these non americans are talking about America being anti bike. Sure some places don't want them... meanwhile in VT there are towns actively trying to emulate Kingdom Trails. There is a large contingent in upstate NY doing the same for the adirondacks. It's really just the west coast that sucks ;-p
  • + 3
 @seburkhardt: not everything on the west coast sucks... tahoe has some awesome biking, not to mention we're not hunted down by fat cops with radar guns. Oregon has great riding too, there's lots of great riding over here on the west coast.
  • + 1
 @dropoffsticks: just giving you guys a hard time. US 'muricans apparently need.to stick together amidst all the hate on PB these days. I lived in SF for a few years and pretty much learned to ride at china camp. I may even be moving back to norcal shortly.... although this article is making me worried. Cheers!
  • + 27
 Yeah I live 20 miles south of SF and it's the same here not just Marin. Rangers that patrol the open space preserves vary from cool to aholes. Elitist hikers are the problem. They hate when bikes disturb what they think is their peaceful moment with nature. It has nothing to do with erosion. These people are ultra liberal self centered aholes. They all drives Priuses and have a I'm better than you entitled attitude. Honestly I hate the Bay Area and can't wait to move. The attitude in and around Santa Cruz is better but still far from perfect. Tahoe is the only place that has like minded people who don't care if your hiking, biking , skiing or smoking a fatty, even though it's full of Bay Area people, Tahoe is the only place in Northern California where bikes are truly welcome IMO. Democrats and liberal Nancy Pelosi types are ruining California! It's funny because the word liberal should mean tolerant but they are far from it when it come to bikes! But they don't seem to mind high crime and illegals everywhere though ? That just means more voters to keep them in office! Yup California sucks, yes the weather is nice but between the ridiculous cost of living and the liberal run government it's a shit hole!
  • + 5
 Side note, liberals ride bicycles too, don't mean to disturb the rant here. Honestly if you look at the majority of land grabs conservatives are just as likely to be anti-mountain biking as liberals. It's not their political affiliation that is the problem, more the general trend that seems to be happening all over which is people sticking their nose into other people's business for no apparent reason. Problem these days is folks can't seem to help themselves and lump groups of people in political categories because they are too ignorant to realize sometimes it's not the politics it's the person that is shitty.
  • + 3
 @Gills it's a generalization true but in the Bay Area if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, it's a duck. Most of the environmentalist/ anti bikes on hiking trails around here are registered Democrats, don't take it personally liberal.
  • + 0
 Tahoe is not immune either. I've been lectured by HOHAs while coming down from the Flume to Incline Village. Never mind that the three of them were taking up the entire width of a heavily used fire road. Also the section of Tahoe Rim Trail going South from Mt. Rose Meadows only allows MTBs on even calendar days. This has gone a long way to diffuse user conflicts, but the second-home-in-Incline bunch still acts like they own the place.
  • + 1
 @Beez177: MOST of the Bay Area is democrats. The anti-MTBers are only a subset of those. If you were talking about the central valley I might agree with you. Across the state line in Nevada it's reversed. It's the most conservative people (ranchers, equestrians) who are against us. The "liberals" are solidly for MTB.
  • + 1
 @kabanosipyvo: I'll use Utah as an example , it's a very conservative state and they have very forward thinking laws regarding land use for mtbers. Look at Park City trails are growing not being closed down! I rest my case!
  • + 1
 @kabanosipyvo: The even/ odd day system on the Rim trail and other trail networks is how bikers and hikers coexist. Not my fault you didn't follow the rules.
  • - 1
 @Beez177: learn to read; I wasn't on the TRT when said lecture occurred. And it only happened because I was curteous enough to slow down to a walking speed and call out "coming up behind you." The odd/even system works well.

If you think it's all down to liberals vs conservatives, you've got a lot to learn.
  • + 2
 @kabanosipyvo: I could care less what you think liberal, jump in your Prius and disappear
  • + 2
 @Gills: Gills-I have 30 years of involvement in Land Use. Your statement is complete and utter bullshit.
  • - 1
 @Beez177: Portola Valley huh? So despite your rhetoric, you've been electing Feinstein, Boxer, and Eshoo all these years. Sounds like you may be in denial. Can I get you a tissue?
  • + 0
 @kabanosipyvo: Politicians are the lowest forms of life and Democrats are the lowest forms of politicians. Don't pretend to know anything about me other than I cant stand annoying liberals like yourself.
  • + 0
 @Beez177: So you don't want that Kleenex?
  • + 1
 Well said
  • + 1
 @chasejj: Luckily I couldn't care less what you think.
  • + 27
 Pretty much the opposite of what's happening in Switzerland. The canton of Graubunden spent $20million to update bike infrastructure, new trails and advertising to make it a bike Mecca so the tourist$ will come because hikers aren't supporting the economy like they used too. Hikers here usually look at you with an expression of "that looks like fun, maybe I should be doing that instead of this boring hiking crap". It's the hobby sheep farmers that hate us for riding on our land that they are renting from us using our subsidy tax money yet they pretend they own the land.
  • + 14
 I don't think people understand how much money MTBers bring to the table. While the hikers are out there with their sardine sandwiches and cheese and biscuits to go and sit on the op of a hill with a tent for a couple of nights, MTBers are running around with maybe a couple energy bars in their bag ready to have a coffee and check in to their hotel for the night when they are wrecked from riding all day. Don't get me wrong, there are bikers who love camping, but the MTB lifestyle is a lot closer to the ski lifestyle than people realise. Go somewhere new, spend a bunch of money, go home and save up to go again. Very different to what hikers are willing to do.
  • + 15
 As a Marin County resident and someone who has been opposed to the LIDAR program and to government overreach that affects off road cycling both in Marin County and nationally I applaud your opinion! One of the reasons things are so awful is that the Marin County Bicycle Coalition (MCBC) has been trading bike friendly transit access for trail access. Since the largest cycling org in the county is not working for trail access and is in fact compromising and agreeing to greater and greater enforcement of draconian trail rules. All to secure a new tunnel, bridge and other projects that benefit cycling commuters.

The other pathetic thing? MCBC also signed up to be the "Trail Kudos" org for every trail in Marin County on Trail Forks. So if you gave them "Kudos" to give back to the trails you actually helped bring radar guns to Marin's trails.
  • + 12
 Man, a lot of hikers must have been hit by mountain bikers on the trails. I mean a lot. You Californians need to slow down. haha

But in all seriousness, this isn't about safety, it's just a cover up, an excuse to get people to not mountain bike on certain trails. Unfortunately, there are people (mountain bikers) who like to go super fast and not yield to pedestrians at all. I've seen this happen and get pissed off when I see this happen.

So, you can imagine why people who don't mountain bike would build up a bit of hatred towards hard core mountain bikers.

Then there are hikers who just think our bikes are destroying mother nature. Which we all know isn't true.

Both sides have their stupid extremes. The a*shole rider and the a*shole hiker. Hopefully these types of people are of the minority but I guess not since laws are being passed to have speed limits.

Yuck.
  • + 2
 Precisely right. Do pedestrians think we want to hit them crash and end up in hospital ourselves?
  • + 19
 @headshot: No, but could you imagine hiking with your family or friends and then from behind you a couple of mountain bikers are charging towards...only yelling out "BEHIND YOU!!" and not even slowing down.

It scares/startles and annoys the people hiking. It also ruins their peaceful hike. It's not like anyone wants to get hurt it's just that in this particular case ones selfishness to not yield or be courteous just because they don't want to bother slowing down.

I always slow down to a very safe pace. If I see people with pets or kids I STOP and pull over. No f*cking Strava or personal time to beat will ever be too important to not respect everyone out on the trails.

Even if you're riding and I'm going down and the other is riding up I will let the rider going up have the right away unless he signals to me it's all good.

Unfortunately, not everyone follows these simple rules of respect and courtesy and this is exactly why we have this problem today. The more popular our sport becomes the more problems we will see because of a few rotten apples spoiling the bunch.

Sad but true.
  • + 4
 @LiquidSpin: I think the kind of incident you mention is not especially common. People exaggerate situations too. Most walkers probably have no idea what fast on a bike really is, so even a bike comes crawling past them after the rider has already thrown out the anchor may seem fast and scary. As the writer says, even if he does just what you say, he gets a negative response from some people. Walkers also need to educate themselves, be courteous and pay attention whats going on around them, just as we do when riding.
  • + 1
 @headshot: I agree it's not that common. Walkers should be aware but can you blame hikers for getting lost and enjoying a nice casual walk while having a conversation?

I believe it's those few people that have been bothered that are the ones that tend to speak up. If you have a small group of people who love to hike a lot and frequent a trail a lot that person(s) will experience a negative situation more often.

I don't have statistics but this is what I believe is happening. I've personally witnessed this a few times and I used to ride with a kid who didn't care about hikers in general. Which, is why I don't bother riding with him anymore.

It sucks reading articles like this. I don't ever want to see the trails I ride destroyed, limited or sabotaged. It's one hell of a scary thought. Where I live we have one trail that is closed off to hikers. It's only for mountain bikers. Which is great but it's a little far to get to and sometimes time doesn't allow for me to get out there.
  • + 3
 @LiquidSpin: @LiquidSpin: Just in relation to the whole hiker vs biker experience thing I would like to point out an experience ive had here in Vancouver at Mt Seymour.

One day I was riding on a trail called Neds Atomic Dustbin. Now, this trail is considered a "DH" trail. One where mountain bikers are not going slow by any means. I cant 100% remember if it is biker only, but I believe it is.

So I am entering one section of the trail, its fairly straight down but steep and very loose rock. Now this is NOT a place you can stop, let alone slow down very much. So this day of course, I enter the section (which is a mostly blind corner so you cant really see that far down the steep section). And of course, there are about 10 - 20 hikers going UP The trail.

Of course I dont think anyone of them spoke a single word of English (Remember, Vancouver here). I doubt they even knew where they were going. And unfortunately another fault of that trail system is the signage is fairly poor and if you dont know the area it can get a bit confusing.

Now luckily they were mostly paying attention, but quite frankly it scared me shitless. Because if I DID have to maneouver out of the way OR slam on the brakes it probably would have wound up with me in the hospital or seriously injured along with anyone I may have collided with. I personally was extremely lucky and also was able to use my voice warning them that I cannot slow down that easily on this section of trail.

Personally I believe it is extremely important on MANY trails anywhere that there is a separation of hikers/bikers. It honestly is just WAY too dangerous for both sides on certain trails and certain sections of trails. Yes it takes time, and money but honestly I personally view it as a large key in turning the tide with this whole hiker vs biker debate.

Not to mention ONE bad apple can sour the whole bunch on each side. And unfortunately you can never just eliminate that one bad apple.

Its frustrating, its annoying, policy totally blows. Most of us just want to ride but we need to face the reality that our societies today are too concerned with rules and regulation over just plain f*cking common sense.
  • + 2
 @internalfyre: I hear ya man. Yeah, I kinda think that any trail that is set up like a down hill or technical should be off limits to hikers.

There are many variables to consider but if we had trails where hikers were not allowed then it removes the whole idea of bothering or injuring some body else.

if trails are both for hikers and pedestrians there should be appropriate signs all around the trail head/parking lot and a few on entrances inside the trails like "Caution" or "MTB use only" and to avoid language issues just show icons of bikes and people. Which should be universally understood Smile
  • + 13
 @vernonfelton some of us Marin locals are glad to see the radar- it takes rangers off of trail patrol and puts them on the fire roads in plain sight. It's a wonderful waste of their time.
  • + 1
 Totally. Since this program is new, the rangers will be out in force on the most highly visible trails to show "tax payer dollars at work." This means lots of rangers on the fire roads -- trails with the most sheeple -- which pretty much suck for riding anyway. While it's good that this controversy puts more attention on MTB trail access challenges, like most controversial news it's kind of overblown.
  • + 12
 God i hope the 'BR4KE' idiots over here don't see this. In my experience its the ignorant Muppet's riding half a ton of defecating 30mph meat with a mind of its own that need controlling not bikers.
  • + 8
 This is nothing new, except for the signage. I grew up in Marin, lived there since I was about three years old. It took me a while to realized the place is a hell hole due to all the snotty attitudes, so I moved to where people are a hell of a lot friendlier about 22 years ago. The last place I lived was in Mill Valley, so I spent a lot of time riding a bicycle on Railroad Grade. I have also hiked every square inch of that mountain, found a couple pot farms and homeless encampments. When you're on foot you can follow game trails endlessly. Bikes restrict you to roads and trails, and I like to go where nobody else is, so I bush-crash quite a bit, an outlaw hiker, so to speak.

What I noticed is that the fire roads, the only place bicycling is allowed, are also popular with elderly hikers, because the grade is consistent, safer, etc. So you have old people walking and younger people riding bikes on the same routes. Meanwhile the singletrack trails are empty. I know this because I hike as much as or more than I ride a bike.

In 1989 (the year of the earthquake) the MMWD rangers started using radar guns to enforce bike speed limits, but they did not post any signs that they were doing this. They were more interested in catching people than slowing them down. They set up the speed guns at mostly the same place, at the bottom of a long straightaway on RR Grade with clear visibility. Very tempting to ignore the brake levers. One day, as I was riding the bike up that dirt road, I noticed a couple rangers with the radar gun, so I kept riding uphill and stopped, warned cyclists to slow way down. The first time I did this I stayed in one place too long, and the rangers caught on to me, came up to my position and played the "good cop / bad cop" game. One yelled at me, threatened to arrest me, etc. I told them I wanted to slow people down just as much as they did. "Why don't you put a speed-checked-by-radar sign up there?" All I got was bla bla bla, obstruction of justice, etc. I was so put off by this typical a*shole cop behavior I publicly resigned from the Bicycle Trails Council of Marin, something I helped start. The second time I acted as a living speed-checked-by-radar sign, the speed trap was set up at the same place, but I went further up the road, and left my position before they caught on. May I suggest that the people who still ride there do the same thing. If you are riding uphill, and see the ranger with the radar gun, just keep riding and and warn people to slow down as you go. The rangers will be waiting at the bottom of straight sections with good visibility, pretty obvious spots.
  • + 10
 Somebody should do a poll to find out how many people have actually been hit by a mountain biker or just scared by one.
  • + 1
 This wouldn't be a fair place for such a poll I guess, nor would be a hikers or equestrian forum be (if there is such a thing). I sure did scare quite a few people delivering their newspaper back in the day "hitherehereitishaveanicedaybye". First me, big grin big hair. Then the news. I feel for them now. They should have controlled me back then, now it is too late.
  • + 2
 That's not a bad idea, actually. I recently went riding with a guy who is insanely fast on the local trails in Hamburg, the kind of trails where you've got blind corners and people walking with kids and pets, and this guy didn't allow for that at all. If there had been anyone around any of those blind corners he would have steamrolled them for sure. It only takes a few incidents to give a much more widespread negative image.
On the other hand, in Bristol UK, there were a tiny handful of designated mountainbike trails and I once found a family pushing their pram the wrong way up a section of berms and jumps (the quarry section at Ashton Court) in amongst the bike traffic.

In higher traffic areas I really think the best solution is simply to have separate trails. I don't see any need to exclude riders from a given area, just give them their own trails.
  • + 10
 It's called overpopulation and overcrowding. Use a condom.
  • + 6
 I said this when I lived there, and it's still true: California would be a pretty nice place if it wasn't for Californians. The whole user conflict in NorCal is rich, entitled and stressed out a*sholes crowded in a small space. And to them, the solution to all problems is another law.
  • + 5
 Shocker. The world is waking up to the realization that Marin is the home of the two-faced, SUV-driving eco warrior. Most of our other havens are starting to suffer the same fate. Seems like the Silicon Valley "me first, me always" mentality is the common denominator.

Valley stay home.
  • + 8
 Is that like a school citation that you screw up and throw back at the divkhead who gave it to ya??
  • + 4
 If they inact a speed limit how come they don't have this for Road cyclists? I mean where I live they fly past people walking. Only yelling "Passing on your left!"

The whole speed limit $h!t in the woods is PATHETIC and stupid. A bunch of dumb people who have no common sense and are bitter.
  • + 4
 I poach some secret trails in a big county park in SoCal. My fellow poachers are the off-leash dog walkers. There are more of those and they seem to be of much greater interest to the rangers than a guy on a bike. I've tipped them off many times about rangers ahead and we all live in harmony. The people out there that drive all of us crazy are the hikers/runners with earphones. They get startled and pissed when dogs or bikes come up behind them. Those are the people who need to be banned from any trails.
  • + 6
 If the mere sight of a mountain bike scares these hikers, the solution is simple. . Go to Wal-Mart, buy a cheap bike, and lock it up near the trailhead. .
  • + 4
 And people wonder why California has a budget problem. The reason hikers are at risk is due to the difference in speed between bikers and hikers. I therefore propose hikers should be required to maintain a minimum speed equivalent to that of a bike thereby reducing the risk. Those not hiking at the minimum posted speed should then be ticked. Problem Solved!
  • + 4
 China Camp already had speed limits and radar guns. Out in Marin we used to send one rider down the trail while we waited. No phone call meant find a different trail down. One of the reasons we moved to Berkeley was that Marin was close by and I thought it would be mtb Mecca. I was wrong. Thank God for Camp Tamarancho.
  • + 3
 The thing that has always bothered me about hiking only trails vs. multi use trails is that the hikers still use the heavily trafficked multi use trails. Especially in this case, can they not avoid the 16% of trails where bicycles are allowed? Makes sense to me. That being said, I haven't met many reasonable hikers.
  • + 3
 They still have to catch you to give you a ticket... and if you're going mach chicken they (the park fuzz) stand no chance. Soon they will have E-bikes then things will get fun.

Seriously though why not move to, or ride somewhere that is welcoming to bikes. Marin can't be the only area in Norcal that's worth riding. I mean you guys have plenty of space and hills.

The big issue I see is if this narrow minded attitude of hikers spreads. In southern England it is still fine but you have to be considerate when riding bridalways. Horse do pack a punch when they kick which is why I slow down / stop. There are a few walkers / dog walkers but you slow down and smile.
  • + 12
 I can see it now... helicopter coverage of a high speed bicycle chase.
  • + 3
 1) Vernon Felton's articles are some of THE best opinion pieces out in the industry, and I love having his new outlet on Pinkbike due to it's increased frequency. Way to go PB!

2) Vernon, you are doing a great job of painting a picture of the current ridiculous situation mountain bikers face in the USA. Please keep stoking the fire, and educating all of us. The legal framework has to change for our sport to have a healthy future.

3) Rest of us - keep on donating to Sustainable Trails Coalition and IMBA to ensure access.
  • + 3
 It would be nice if all these incidents with crazy hikers and equestrians were caught on video to present to the Supes and powers that be to really show the hatred, dangers, and who is causing the conflicts. I'd actually consider mounting a GoPro to my bike if I lived there. Although, the Sierra Foothills isn't much friendlier towards bikers.
  • + 3
 Rangers here give tickets to dog walkers with their dog off leash, Me and my friend also got a ticket aswell, 450$ Each! Went down as a traffic violation! And for some reason the ranger had to call in another ranger and a deputy! What the hell? We are 13.
  • + 7
 All I know is, if a cop stops me on the trail my name randy lahey.
  • + 3
 I'm sure this sh@t will be happening here in Vermont soon enough (its becoming a mini cali), I had a lady yelling at me last week, she was hiking on a MTB specific trail and yet I was the azzpole , I said to her theres 400 million miles of trails in this state I can't ride my bike on , next time I come down that hill I will be going twice as fast so look out
  • + 3
 Moved out of there 20 years ago. You are correct about the early 80's and the insane laws that the former hippies now wealthy snobs living in Kentfield, Tiburon and the like began pressing City Councils and Water District upper management for. So much for live and let live eh? Many of those legal trails also have a 15MPH limit......
  • + 2
 You want to know how to save mtn biking and are trails don't take no shit band together my brothers we are a breed of are own a people of are own and when are home is threatend defend it march down to city hall burn it to the ground find who's on council threaten them the bullshit ends here
  • + 5
 Is it necessary to use a pic of Vernon that makes it feel like he definitely wants to rape me?
  • + 2
 So glad I am from the land of FREEDOM! Not the land of the free. Marin people come to Scotland on holiday and get a break form all that shit. You can literally ride your bike anywhere you want to the country side...... Well almost you can't fuck up someone 's field of barley obviously. But any mountain any path is all good . We really are very lucky!. Sure it's a bit rainy but That's what gore tex is for!.
  • + 3
 Very important piece of trail etiquette.. Person riding down the hill stops and let's person riding uphill charge.. Its a lot easier to regain ones momentum when already facing downhill.
  • + 3
 Marin is one little island of hell. There are many other options, even within Marin county. What Vernon says is totally true. A lot of floppy hats in the area are kooks, but so are a lot of bike riders,
  • + 2
 Vernon nailed it.

Worse, with Measure A money, the OSD is now investing in radar, installing motion cameras to track hotspots, LIDAR, hiring extra cops/rangers, and staking out previously never-patrolled areas (e.g., social trails in north Marin). It's absolutely HORRIBLE.
  • + 1
 Sounds like a real NorCal Liberal Utopia...............BTW, today I was blasting down hill as fast as my skill level would allow. It felt good to know, the police were out chasing real criminals and not waiting to hand me a ticket.
  • + 2
 Well at least the strava numbnuts will be able to get told how slow their really going..
On a more serious note I'm sure there is more important regulations they could enforce, like here on the trails where there's guys on motor bikes who think it's cool to blast the trails and rip them up.. Next they'll pass laws on quadcopter (drone) use.. Oh wait ????
  • + 2
 It's a shame how an article written to highlight how mountain bikers are getting shafted has resulted, once again, in arguments and in fighting.

I think we'd have more success as a united community jointly fighting to get more access to areas that groups like the walkers and the horse riders have managed to get us restricted or outright banned from.

The reason they have such great success is partly due to wealth, there's no denying that, but it's also because they're far more united as a group than we are, particually against us. We are the common enemy it seems to both of these groups and these groups both have long ties dictating what can and can't happen on wilderness trails.

Ideally we should make peace with these groups and jointly push forward to keep beautiful places beautiful but at the same time allow people to enjoy them whatever their mode of transport, as long as damage isn't occuring. It's easy for each group to point fingers and say oh horse riders destroy trails with big heavy beasts, walkers are slower so more likely to carry more food and thus drop more litter or mountain bikers will try to rail coners too fast and chew them up. All of us have an impact, some more than others but the worst are those who have no considerations for others, be they a walker, a rider (beast or mechanical). I'm sure anyone from any group would agree they'd rather come accross the group they like least that are not dropping litter and acting like they own the whole trail than users of the same group who are. The worse thing we could do is stoop to their level though. Don't become what we hate.

I appreciate that right now making peace will be a long way off so at the very least we should try to stand united. Every time we start arguing with ourselves over irrelevent things like religion or whatever else is being a point of contension in these comments we doom ourselves to more problems just like this because we don't have the combined clout to make it stop in Marin County or anywhere else.

If we could grow up as a group and maybe start making ourselves heard with a united goal and voice we'd be much harder to ignore than the playground din we currenty make. This is how I see things getting better, not by bringing each other down.

/rant
  • + 5
 Eh, serves their right for living in an overpriced, overpopulated ultra-liberal shit hole.
  • + 1
 If it was a S-hole, nobody would want to live here. If it was cheap everybody and their mother would live here for the beauty and weather. CA is a big state with a lot of land. I ride everyday in OC on good trails with very nice weather. A lot of people don't have this opportunity. Look at Montana. Millions of miles of trails and the same crushing regulations on bikers.
  • + 1
 @POZZ: Every region is dealing with trail closures to mtn bikers.......the crap that is going on in the Bay Area is utter stupidity. To allow one user group that much control. What next?
  • + 4
 Horse riders should also be required to wear cow bells and walkers must blow on a kazoo every ten seconds
  • + 1
 This is not new. I lived in the Bay Area for a couple of years around 2010, actually this was where I first started riding bikes off-road. I forgot the name of the place, but there was a park, I think somewhere on the South side of the peninsula, that was known for the cops with radar guns. I knew multiple people who had gotten tickets there. As for Marin, it has some absolutely stunning scenery, but it sure is the epitome of environmental hypocrisy. It's quite sad how little pride the region takes in the role it played in the development of mountain biking.
  • + 2
 Sad story. Birthplace of MTB is also the Birthplace for MTB hate.
Poor rich folk...Don't they know, if they keep us poor. We'll have to eat their horses. Then they will have to love MTB Muwahahahahaahaha Razz Razz
  • - 7
flag BrightBulbPhoto (Apr 8, 2016 at 4:22) (Below Threshold)
 Yes i just woke up and made this comment. Razz Razz
  • + 5
 Speeding is known to the state of California to cause cancer.
  • + 1
 The only way to solve this problem is to get wealthy mountain bikers with political influence involved in more of the land use decisions in these areas. It is not like mountain biking is a poor man's sport.

Vernon, why do you think this hasn't been happening?
  • + 1
 so how would the radar guns work on mountain bikers to get an accurate reading? I was talking to my mate who's a petrol head, and he was telling me that policemen usually aimed their radar guns at cars' licence plates because that is a good flat and hard place to reflect radar off of to get an accurate reading, there really aren't places like that on a mountain bike/biker so maybe they won't get accurate readings?
  • + 1
 Fuck Marin. Liberal hypocrites everywhere. I've lived there and this guy is pretty spot on. I've come across barbed wire strung across trails, had sticks and rocks thrown, and been placed under citizens arrest. Hahaha!!! Fucking miserable progressives always angry and offended by everything. Fuck Em All!
  • + 1
 I live here and ride everyday. The effing mountain bike hall of fame just got moved to Fairfax. Waiting for the county to just wake up and be like "birth place of Mtb and the hall of fame is here..lets be proud about this" instead, it's just ruthless hikers. They all think they have a right to say something as you pass by. Well guess what, if you stop and actually engage with them, they usually back off. I'd say 50% of the time they say something, whether I'm on a fireroad or not. Had a couple of ladies on the top of Bolinas Ridge tell me I needed to slow down...it was flat, and a fire road. It's so annoying. And I love hiking! I love Marin!
  • + 0
 @chasejj: Except it's far from just a problem with liberals. In northern NV for example, it's often the ranchers and equestrians (conservatives) that cause problems.
  • + 0
 @kabanosipyvo: i have no idea what you are talking about. in 30 years involved in trail access Ranchers only have concerns with maintaining their access to grazing land and I would rather deal with an equestrian than a hiker on any issue>
  • + 1
 @chasejj: Liberal or conservative does not automatically translate to for MTB or against. It's much more nuanced than that and totally depends on local factors.

If you want one to spout off about one political camp or another, how about taking it to a political forum. This place is for MTB. Stay on target.
  • + 1
 @kabanosipyvo: This whole entire article is about politics, numb nut.
  • + 1
 @chasejj: It's about user conflict. Not the same thing as politics. Realizing that goes a long way in the access fight.
  • + 1
 @kabanosipyvo: User conflicts are political driven and based on ideologies. Your naivete is showing and is the reason these issues never make any progress. The libs playbook is to divide constituents into disparate victim groups and then pander to the one who benefits them the most. Right now that is the Envirotards who they can also count the useful idiots (most mountain bikers) as members. When MTBers wake up and see this they can begin the process of taking back land. But that isn't going to happen anytime soon from what I see.
  • + 1
 I even get the dirty eye from cops when I ride to school. It's like they start following me and pulling me over just cause they see I'm on a mountain bike. So what, I ride an "enduro bike" to school, sue me. I'm not buying a road bike. Looks like they're also cracking down on high schoolers.

Really I haven't had any bad experiences with other hikers (excluding horse riders), just bad experiences with rangers and cops and people like that. Whenever I see a noter trail user I stop, say hello, they say hello back and it's fine. Nice and friendly. But then 10 minutes later I get some a*shole park ranger telling me to stop and that I'm endangering the lives of other trail users. What a load of bullshit
  • + 1
 Yeah if you dont ride a bike at all. And your a car loving American. You probably despise bikers invading your walk in the woods.
All it takes is one ignorant city official to decide to go after the reckless fringe group of bikers.
Solution: hidden trails. Or poach the off limit trails at night.
Its a shame that Marin county is the birth place of mountain biking.
  • + 1
 Agreed; - and per the solution you mention, this is where mtb in Marin is at - but now the level of surveillance is at ridiculous, homeland-security levels...
  • + 1
 Is it possible to use this as an opportunity to show the HOHA how cowardly they are? If we ride slow passing hikers anyway the radar guns show low speeds. Eventually the rangers will get tired of using the guns and not giving warnings, and be on our side at city council meetings. Evidence will speak for itself.
  • + 3
 Do radar guns still cause the user cancer of the balls? Do they not tell the officer by using this radar you are more susceptible to cancer in your balls
  • + 6
 california sucks
  • + 1
 Seems Vernon joined pinkbike just so he could write and publish these anti anti-mtb articles. Smile On serious note though, seems this kind of advocacy is really needed. And not only in the US. Some Slovak regulations about bikes in the nature from the last decade have a similar tone.
  • + 13
 Hey, I had a column about male camel toe (the dread Moose Knuckle) all cued up for today, but then Marin went and busted out the radar guns. I had no choice in the matter.
  • + 1
 @vernonfelton: MOAR Moose Knuckle!!! Wink
  • + 1
 @internalfyre
I live and ride the NorthShore from my doorstep.
Ned's atomic dustbin trail is a black diamond trail in really bad shape. I can see why you got the the freaked.
I even with nobody coming up it is scary.
It is a designated mtb primary trail downhill only.
Unfortunately the dumbass Asian tour groups do what ever they want...
  • + 3
 One could very, very easily replace Marin with Boulder, CO, which is ironically the home of IMBA, yet wields a strong hatred of mountain bikers.
  • + 2
 Absolutely. It's questionable how much IMBA even likes mtb vs their Sierra Club buds.
  • + 1
 Amen to that. If you own a mountain bike (or a dog), steer clear of Boulder.
  • + 1
 This article is so spot on, the only thing I'd like to add with this comment is that unfortunately because Marin is such a destination it almost sets the theme for the immediate surrounding area. This tension has actually spread to areas in Napa and the East Bay, I live in the East Bay and the HOHA types have actually bitched me out for getting off my bike and moving to the side of the trail for them.

I only dismount my bike and move off the trail as a mere courtesy to a*sholes that give me a death stare when I acknowledge them, slow down, say hi, and then attempt to proceed cautiously. I have been teaching my girlfriend how to ride, which for me, the rides are at a glacial pace (sometimes walking uphills or down technical sections of trail) and this happens even when I am not riding agressively and teaching someone about mountain biking. I feel incredibly disrespected almost every other time I'm out on my trail bike and I am getting f*cking sick of it.

Sorry for the long rant...thanks for reading.
  • + 1
 That sucks that's how some people wanna be about it. Make some lemonade outta lemons, sounds like you guys have a few weeks of free time trials. Free MPH readings at the bottom, check the accuracy of your gps, challenge a buddy, go for a personal best... skys the limit. When they tried doin photo radar in az, they gave us a 2 month warning period, no ticket, just a picture and your speed, and a slow down notice....hahaha, 127mph was the fastest pic I saw. Imagine the possibilities in Marin.
  • + 1
 Three things from someone who moved to Marin about 18 months ago:

1) Most of the open land in Marin was set aside by equestrians, so horses being allowed is totally understandable- without those endowments there wouldn't be the plethora of open space in Marin.

2) The amount of rules and legal ass covering is incredible here. There are almost zero trails where you can trail run (let alone bike) with your dog off leash.

3) There is a push in the Marin Headlands with their new management program to close trails, and funnel more traffic and usage to adequately maintained and managed trails. They've closed local/neighborhood hiking trails that are 10-20 years old because they don't have the budget to ensure maintenance or "safety" of the trail.

That being said, there isn't any sense that there are new/better plans coming for bikes, making a new trail plans don't seem to exist, probably due to the high cost of environmental studies needed to open up any new areas. The focus on closing trails is very frustrating, and treating the forest as if it needs to be as safe as walking on a sidewalk is absurd.

My great hope is that the "gatekeepers" of land have kids that get into biking and realize that things need to improve.
  • + 1
 I always thought it was ironic that the so called birthplace of MTB is probably the hardest place to find good MTB trails that are open to the public to use. What I have found are mostly fire roads. Of course the definition of MTB 30 years ago was riding on fire roads. Now the definition is single tracks, rock gardens and jumps.
  • + 1
 So Marin is Bad, right? In parts of germany it's illegal to ride 'trails' narrower than, better sit down now, 2m! Stop whining about californian overregulation until you've been to germany.
  • + 1
 Those Nazis had to go somewhere after the war...
  • + 2
 They will deploy mini stingers to try and stop you! And then there will be TV shows showing bikers being chased by the rangers on ebikes...
  • + 2
 My new kit will have to include a laser jammer. Specialized should have a hatch available for such a device on the "Marin" edition of any new bikes.
  • + 2
 I'm not from the US, I can't tell a radar gun from an Uzzi. Any weirdo hiding in the bushes with one of these pointing at me would scare me as well.
  • + 5
 #BIKELIVESMATTER
  • + 3
 Thanks for the well written article - Now move to Crested Butte where we all get along just fine and the MTB is limitless.
  • + 1
 god damn that sux !!!! once got caught in a car radar , got pulled over , cop dude said i was going down the (road) hill at 67km/h asked him if it was illegal he said no but it's not a good idea i laugh and left !
  • + 1
 on moutain bike not road bike ....
  • + 1
 Fuck if I saw a ranger jump in front of me to give me a speeding ticket on a trail I'd run him over go back to his crippled body and ran his ticket book down his throat and watch him choke to death
  • + 4
 This is exactly why I left California.
  • + 1
 But you went from one Liberal Utopia...............too another!!!!!! Albeit, their are some cool trails on the west side.
  • + 0
 shut up about 16%, riding your bike anywhere except on tractor tracks/pavement/dirt roads is illegal in Slovenia. No one cares though. We're hopeful times are changing though due to the push that money can bring from tourism.
  • + 1
 fuck this bullshit - i remember when they tried to mandate a bike speed limit in Amherst back during the early '90s. 'twas an epic fail which was attributed to the 5-college area HOHA contingency
  • + 2
 What a complete waste of taxpayers money. California is screwed. Glad I moved out of there.
  • + 1
 inb4 new radar-resistant 650 abc123 wheel size standard. inb4 radar detecting goggles. inb4 handlebar mounted radar level gauge.
  • + 2
 And this is why Crested Butte will always be the most real birthplace of MTB. Marin is a joke
  • + 1
 Horses are worse, if you have a dog you will know this. Also if they go up my tracks they wreck them even though they're not allowed.
  • + 1
 Does anyone have a link to the studies the author mentioned in the post? Feel like it warrants a read-through so I can tell my friends about it
  • + 2
 I totally needed another reason to never want to live on the overcrowded Cali coast
  • + 1
 Im wondering how the fun police will catch a "violator"? Ive had some of bad encounters with cranky hikers who hate bikes before, but never once was I "caught"
  • + 1
 This is what happens when you let lefty, yuppie, cry babies control whole sects of counties with there BS. What a bunch of Fascists
  • + 1
 Too bad about Marin...I didn't really know there was so much trouble. Thanks for the warning, won't be going there for my next crank holiday. Come to FRUITA! We love bikers.
  • + 2
 California beaurocracy sucks. That's why I'm moving to Fuckoffaville, Oregonaho...where the cops have wooden legs.
  • + 2
 JUST Stay away from Marin it SUCK's!!!! it will be death of mountain biking
  • + 3
 It's the suede/denim secret police
  • + 3
 That's what you created in your ultra liberal California environment.
  • + 2
 Also, what we'll get nationwide if Hillary is pres.
  • + 1
 Just make the trails emulate bike paths and have pedestrian walkways on the sides for hikers. Horses can be regulated to being ridden only in Montana. Ridiculous
  • + 3
 Eugene, Oregon, USA is much like this too.
  • + 2
 Crystals and Herbal tea maaaaaaaannnn ???? With some chakra therapy faaaaaaark
  • + 1
 Another amazingly written article - thanks for the great content, keep the opinions coming!!
  • + 1
 It's completely fair to use radar guns to regulate bikes which have no speedometers, right?
  • + 2
 *Void where prohibited, restrictions may apply.
  • + 1
 Next up, rangers with high powered tranquilizer sniper rifles picking off riders from afar.
  • + 2
 Oh boy, wrong spot again. I'm not aiming well today.
  • + 1
 This is a new move from the bike industry to start pushing for speedometers on all the bikes! ????
  • + 1
 Makes me want to go to Marin to ride my bike. I love telling HOH'ers to fornicate with their hats.
  • + 1
 So they catch you speeding but how the f**k are they going to issue tickets......lunatics running the asylum again.
  • + 2
 Its more fun if its slightly illegal right?
  • + 2
 Here, use my middle finger for fingerprint Mr. Officer.
  • + 2
 Sounds like Hobart, Tasmania...
  • + 1
 move. vote with your feet/wallet. GFO. just move elsewhere
  • + 2
 This. The hikers want their own oasis, let them have it. Plenty of bad ass biking towns in the US to choose from
  • + 8
 The problem with this is that this is only one story from one area. This is growing throughout north america. If the MTB communities response is to just move away from user conflict then we will slowly get flushed out of more and more areas and end up in higher concentration with less access. And once precedent is set in one area - Think: Marin County removes all mountain bikers because they are dangerous - other areas can reference that and use it against us.

As much as I want to get away from all the BS and just ride my bike, it is becoming increasingly important that we stand up for our user rights.
  • + 3
 @Duc1098: valid point, but this has been going on for 20 years in Marin, and is getting worse, not better. Need to get a biker into a council or office to represent the minority
  • + 3
 @bradwalton: That's exactly what is needed. Without representation we don't stand a chance. Unfortunately, this matter is only getting worse. And it is happening at a national level - as demonstrated by cyclists getting pushed out of Wilderness Areas. Mountain bikers are generally chill bunch who don't want to get all political - we just want to ride and have fun. But if we don't advocate now we will see ourselves steamrolled by the process.
  • + 1
 If I had radar pointed at me I'd speed up,certainly wouldn't be stopping
  • + 2
 Land of the free?
  • + 7
 Not even close, our ultra corrupt Uni-Party government has stolen most of our freedom.
  • - 1
 @AmityTom: Only for week scared people who follow the stupid rules. I do what I want. All ways have. All ways will. It's a lot easier to get forgiveness than permission. If they can catch you. Stop acting like sheep and don't get caught.
  • + 1
 Just remember to pedal in the opposite direction! Lol.
#freemarincountymtb
  • + 0
 if you are NOT from Marin county, this would make a cool souvenir... a ticket for mountain biking speeding!
  • + 1
 Nothing a well placed throat punch will cure!
  • + 1
 Well that cancels my plans to move there.
  • + 1
 that's ridiculous.
  • + 1
 FFS where is the world!
  • + 0
 Marin is not Northern California.
  • + 2
 Marin County is smack-dab in the middle of Southwestern Northern CA. But Hood River is fairly close to the 45th parallel. I was there last week.
  • + 4
 @endlessblockades: Haha... just channeling my State of Jefferson homies!
  • + 1
 Catch me if you can!
  • - 1
 Sorry, wrong spot. Please remove.
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