Mountain Biking Is Not a Crime - Opinion

Dec 8, 2016
by Vernon Felton  
I am a criminal… Or at least I am for the next two hours. After that point, I will help my ten-year old grapple with spelling the word “Mississippi”, try to convince the six-year old to stop eating the toilet paper (don’t ask) and then attempt to transform whatever is lurking in the hinterlands of the refrigerator into something edible for dinner. Soon, my wife and I will be stressing the importance of eating your carrots while reminding the six-year old that potty words are not okay at the dinner table…even if they are words the kid has learned while watching daddy fix the leaky toilet.


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I realize this is not the stereotypical routine of a hardened felon, but then again, my offense isn’t typical. I’m not raping, pillaging or plundering. I’m riding my mountain bike. On singletrack. And when I’m visiting family in this chunk of California that means I’m breaking the law. Mountain biking on almost anything other than a fireroad is usually a crime around here. Sure, it’s not a go-to-jail-and-get-a–spider web-tattoo-on-your-neck kind of crime, there’s no need to be melodramatic here, but if the rangers that I’m watching out for catch me, I’m definitely in store for a ticket and a sizeable fine.

So today, I am a criminal. As are the handful of dentists, construction workers and other taxpaying Joe Blows I saw out there riding the trails. And I have to tell you, that truly pisses me off. Because riding your bike on singletrack and enjoying nature isn’t actually a crime. To make matters worse, this trail is really good; it wends its way up a ridgeline and then dips and rolls through a small forest of oaks. And it goes on for miles. And miles. There is so much potential here… And I’m just realizing it now. That hurts.

Radar Guns in Marin County

For 30 years, I’ve toed the line and refrained from breaking the law by riding in this spot. I never wanted to be that guy—that a*shole—who gets caught poaching trails and who proves the stereotype that we mountain bikers are irresponsible, thrill-seeking miscreants. Instead, every time my brothers and I have gone for a ride, we’ve packed our bikes up and driven a minimum of 40 minutes to one of the few mountain bike-friendly parks in the area. Driving an hour or more to ride trail when you live less than 20 pedal strokes from miles and miles of trail, that crisscross the hills in every direction, is a bitter thing. I feel like a fool.

Of course, I’m not just coming to this realization today. Since I turned 14, I’ve known that I and other mountain bikers around here were being served a shit sandwich, light on the bread… but when you’re a kid, you encounter all manner of baffling crap in this world and you think, “Well, when I grow up, I’m sure someone will fix this mess.”

Waiting for other people to resolve your problems, however, is rarely a winning strategy. You want something sorted? You better sort it out yourself.

the grasslands
Photo by Gabe Keating

This evening, I saddle up and sample the forbidden fruit. Along the way, I run into two guys racing down the ridge as the sun begins to set. I pass another guy climbing out of the valley a few minutes later. If mountain biking these trails is supposed to be a secret around here, it’s a particularly poorly-kept secret. There are tire tracks everywhere. Clearly, there are plenty of riders who’ve essentially decided to flip the bird at the regulation book. I haven’t lived around here for years, so I start asking questions, “Are any of these trails bike legal now?”, “Are they changing the policies around here?”, “Do you guys still get tickets for riding here?”

They shrug and look uncomfortable. Yeah, you can still get slapped with a fine, but you know, it’s kind of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” thing. You watch your speed. You keep an eye out for rangers. You ride at dusk or at night when the hikers have gone home….

I’m familiar with all this—it’s often been the unofficial code of mountain bikers in areas like this. To poach or not to poach, has never been the question. The only question is when and how to poach. You just have to be smart, the logic goes, about breaking the law.

But if you choose to break the law on the sly, aren’t you tacitly agreeing that the law makes sense? Because you aren’t objecting to the law, per se, you’re just objecting to getting caught whilst breaking it. There’s a big difference.

Self Portrait Marin County November 2016 I m always pushing myself to find beautiful locations and exciting conditions to shoot but on this one my heart was beating particularly quickly as I ran back and forth between takes. I d been past this spot many times and thought about shooting there sometime but on this particular morning it was as if West Marin knew I was coming and put on a special effects show.
Photo by Satchel Cronk

And there are so many lost opportunities here. Under the blanket ban on singletrack riding, mountain bikers are stuck riding at night or during off hours, sneaking around the periphery of things, always riding at some risk to themselves. How much better would it be if they could openly ride some of these trails without fear of getting a ticket?

Land managers lose just as much as mountain bikers under this paradigm. For one, they now have to spend a godawful amount of time running around, issuing tickets to riders, instead of doing the 101 other things required of them. That's not the job they signed up for. What’s more, if the ban was lifted, an honest and logical discussion could be had about which trails are actually well suited to mountain biking and which ones aren't. As it stands, some of these trails are too erosion prone or are better suited as hiking-only trails. Under the ban, however, mountain bikers are simply riding whatever they can covertly reach. Finally, trails always need maintenance and mountain bikers come out in droves to fix trails. That is, they’ll fix trails that they can legally ride. Under the ban, the land managers are not only gaining a headache in law enforcement, they are also losing a tremendous potential work force. Everyone, in short, loses under this scenario.

I’m torn about this whole subject. Part of me feels guilty even writing about poaching—publicly admitting that I’ve done it at all. I could be making things worse for riders in California, when I’m just an infrequent visitor these days. By the time this column goes live, I’ll be back home in Bellingham, Washington where mountain biking gets a big warm hug and a high five from land managers and city officials. Who am I to screw things up even more for riders who don't have it so well? Couldn’t I have just written something about bottom brackets and called it a day?

Yeah, I could’ve. Maybe I should’ve. But I also think that if we simply try to sneak around the bans, instead of outright opposing them, those blanket restrictions on mountain biking will never go away.

I understand why people poach trails in places where mountain biking is largely off limits. I just did it. It was good. At least, it was good today. But simply poaching trails and being a closeted mountain biker in these areas does nothing to secure you a better ride tomorrow. Long term, it's a losing strategy and I think we should be candid about that fact with ourselves and with the people who manage trails where mountain biking is still largely off limits. Public policies don't change because you quietly disagree with them. They change when you publicly present better alternatives. And we do have better alternatives than poaching. There are plenty of places where mountain bikers and hikers share trails, where mountain bikers are a driving force in building better, sustainable trails. There are simply some parts of the world where the people who make the laws still aren't aware of this.

So, I admit it: I’m a criminal. Or at least I am, if you accept the idea that riding a mountain bike on singletrack trails should be illegal. I know better than that. You probably do too. It’s time we all stepped out of the dark and helped other people see the light. Mountain biking is not a crime.


MENTIONS: @vernonfelton




367 Comments

  • + 250
 we should be morally bound to disobey unjust laws
  • + 74
 Amen. I'm assuming this is Marin. There is currently no criteria for determining which trails are suitable for biking. There is just a blanket ban on 85% of the trails on Marin Public Lands. Meanwhile 70% of the trails are open to equestrians, who can also ride their horses on 88% of the trails in Marin "open space" and 99% of the trails in Pt Reyes National Seashore! Aside form the obvious environmental impact horses have, I have had a number of sketchy encounters with horses while hiking. I'd much rather come across a mountain biker than a sketched out horse on single track.

There are 143,000 glorious acres of protected "public lands" in Marin and yet we can't seem to find a way to share a reasonable portion of them with mountain bikers. So until then that happens, f*ck them.
  • + 6
 @bentplate: I'd bet money this is Mill Valley.
  • + 11
 Morally bound to disobey unjust laws, and obligated to push a few boundaries on the others!
  • + 20
 Hey, on some for real on god shit, if Trump can grab mother earth by the pussy and get PAID too do it while appointing his cronies sloppy seconds you had better hold it wide. Mountain Biking was born in punk rock roots, and don't you ever forget it. #vibesalive
  • + 2
 @ShreddieMercury: on blood, Cackalaky brother.
  • + 20
 As ever Vernon, you make a compelling case and show us again the potential and power in "a considered opinion".

Unfortunately, we live in a 'post-truth' world where carefully considered opinion and thought based on evidence loses out to soundbite and the rule of "prove me wrong" politics where mountain bikers will lose out to hikers who shout louder and point to wheeltracks whilst bemoaning trail erosion.

How do we change that?
  • + 16
 @orientdave: Go to city council meetings with a large group of concerned riders and make an argument for keeping trails open or legal.
  • + 3
 @bentplate:
real talk i live in mill valley and deal with it on a daily basis
  • + 6
 Keep it lit. Keep it underground
  • + 2
 @downhillnews:

Absolutely! In Japan the discussions usually need to be had direct with landowners; believe me I have tried!

I don't think my face helps being completely honest; local born and breds have more luck here*\(^o^)/*
  • + 7
 many have bad experiences in the UK - every inch of land is owned by someone or a public body that would rather ticket / destroy than work with volunteer groups to provide quality, sustainable trails and clear signage to other trail users. Even a private riders "club" with liability insurance would be effective.

some years back a big group of international downhill and freeriders in London built illegal trails all over (as well as sending every stunt in the City itself), and end up battling the Corporation of London to get legal trails established in Sandy Heath (woodland above NW London) which has been ridden on for years. Large petition with public support, established volunteer group, etc. No engagement from the Corp. and increased policing / ticketing and then large scale destruction of illegal trails inside woodland with tracked heavy plant - the irony (root compression and ground tearing)!

other sites were built on, on and off with mixed success

eventually a legal site was found in Esher, Surrey (only 20 minutes from London by train with your bike), with peppercorn rent, and for 8 years a not-for-profit volunteer built site was operated with great success offering 5 acres of timber 'north shore' style trails, dirt jump park, pump track and on-site bike shop. In its heyday, 200-250 riders a week from all over the UK and some international visitors passing through too.

Lots of companies like Specialized, DMR, Banshee, Freeborn all put plenty of ££ /staff time into the park.

It can be done, but it takes time / money to tackle a public site and get law changed, or just plain luck/circumstance at our site in Esher.
  • + 8
 Make single trails great again. Grab that hiker/ranger by the puusee.
  • + 10
 @hampsteadbandit: not Scotland
  • - 10
flag KeithReeder (Dec 9, 2016 at 1:19) (Below Threshold)
 @hampsteadbandit: "large scale destruction of illegal trails inside woodland"

Yeah... The clue is in the word "illegal".

Despite the self-righteous pontificating on this thread ("The Land Of The Free", eh? HAH!), there's no such thing as "unjust" laws, and it's an IDIOTICALLY DANGEROUS premise.

Isn't it easy to argue that it's "unjust" that some folk can afford £10k bikes whereas some poor sods have to scrape by? Does that make if OK to relieve the rich bloke of his ride?

There are BAD laws though, but that's a different thing, and you only win those battles by engaging lawfully and following due process.

And you might not win.,,
  • + 2
 @KeithReeder: I think the premise of the argument is that public lands are designated for public use and should, ideally, work on a democratic basis. This democratic basis is flaunted when a significant percentage of users - members of the public ownership - are forbidden from deciding how the land should be used.
In the U.K. it's somewhat different as many illegal trails are actually on private land, which raises a whole other host of issues to which moral and philosophical discourses concerning the 'public' are less related.

Laws can certainly be unjust: justice itself is a relative concept but is largely dependent on the idea of public morality. If the public morality changes and the law does not, it can thus be seen as unjust. The buggery laws here in the U.K. are a prime example - surely you'd concede that they were unjust prior to their being repealed (woefully late, I would add)?
  • + 2
 @ManyBallsacks: I guess the question is whether going into forbidden areas with shovels is the correct approach to persuade public opinion. The damage was done a long time ago, when the ban was introduced, due to reckless behaviour from the bikers. continuing that sentiment is not helpful. I am not victim blaming, but you have to go in with useful arguments. Show data from areas where biking is allowed. question the ban. Get engaged. I am sure that if we put as much time into collecting this information, as we are putting into trail building, we will very soon have a strong case.
  • + 2
 @mitochris: I absolutely agree - the best way to change things is to talk in the language of legislators and provide ample evidence as to why mountain biking should not be an illegal activity. That would be the public manifesting itself in its claim to its own land which, as the article notes, is not happening when people sneak about avoiding detection.
My point was simply that a) laws can be unjust; b) in cases of public ownership land, what is illegal is up for discussion and c) this is distinct from illegal trails on private land, which are completely different kettle of fish.
  • + 2
 @hampsteadbandit: You talking about the Spaniards? Back in the day trails were really nice there then back through Kenwood and down the Heath. The 90's rocked
  • + 5
 Trails closed to bikers, it's time for poachin!
  • + 7
 "Public policies don't change because you quietly disagree with them. They change when you publicly present better alternatives."

This... 1000x this
  • + 3
 @orientdave: I heard a great quote from a local MTB advocate in Marin recently in response to anti-bike policies in the name of environmentalism. "Keeping bikes off single track is like rearranging the chairs on the Titanic and expecting a different outcome," specifically referencing the real environmental challenges that we face. There is nothing morally wrong about riding a bike on single track, don't let anyone convince you otherwise ????
  • + 0
 Sadly this is what the e-MTB folks will say as they roost past you on the trails closed to motorized vehicles. Frown
  • + 1
 @powderturns: this def ain't mill valley. Gonna go more with fairfax and San Geronimo valley
  • + 1
 we are
  • + 1
 @FRguild : I agree with the sentiment in the quote, however, the hikers screaming "Look at those tread marks!" or " Slow down, you, you.... hooligan" are the same people who rearrange the chairs on the Titanic because they are scratching the hardwood parquet flooring, ignorant to the gaping hole that has been ripped through the hull.

My point is that as individual bikers there is nothing we can say in the current political climate that will change the will of the hikers; they have decided we are evil and so it will stay.

The land managers are the key; we have to hope they want to see the benefits of trail access for bikes; and that may be impossible if the hikers' tantrums reach the ears of the landowners at a greater volume.

We can lay some blame for that at the collective feet of the likes of Muir and Thoreaux for sowing the seeds of the wilderness mindset that convinces the average Joe that if they want to take a walk away from the crowd, then we, the riders, are just that, the crowd, and have no right to be there.

Add to that the fact most of us inhabit a world where we don't want to take the time and effort to piece together a compelling argument when we can point and shout as loud as the belligerent hiker and the result is and will be more people poaching than campaigning for change. See DirtyLove's comment on this page and you get the picture.

How about we all sell a piece of kit we don't use anymore on social media and give the proceeds to our local trail advocacy group this year people? That may be the best collective bet we have.
  • + 1
 @bentplate: The entire Northern California Bay Area is like that. I'm thinking of moving because of it. Socal seems much more bike friendly.
  • + 0
 @orientdave: Kill all the hikers!
  • + 1
 @mrwynnewillson: worst thing that happened to that place was bikers building stuff there, really bad idea.

it rocked in the 80's too! lol
  • + 2
 @aliikane: social is definitely more bike friendly, but if are going to move don't stay in CA. Move somewhere with true freedom and less traffic.
  • + 2
 Heck yeah! Poach away my friend! Poach away! Bullsh!t laws....
  • + 1
 @iffy: To be honest I can't remember too many man made features I like the natural roll of the land. Until they grew massive thorn bushes everywhere to stop people and piled wood up where the landings were
  • + 1
 @downhillnews: hahahahahahahaha, not in Marin county.
  • + 1
 @orientdave: shout even louder than the hikers. Point out the environmental effects that hiking those trails have. I bet hikers don't want to be banned from the trails either. Maybe they would Realize how asinine and short sighted they are being by not wanting to share natural resources with others if they were in jeopardy of losing their rights also.
  • + 113
 I do not murder I do not steal, but I'll ride my bike where I feel
  • + 8
 Stealing this one!
  • + 52
 Ill say I poach. My opinion is: to issue a ticket, first you have to catch me. G'luck. I've got the advantage, all I have to do is not bail....Catch me if you can rangers,Catch me if you can!
  • + 18
 Weir advised to stay on the right of the ranger's ATV so they have to take their hand off the throttle to grab you.
  • + 8
 @mblar: atvs don't fit down our single track everywhere..
  • + 4
 @PJD1: So you can not ride a bicycle it is bad, but a*sholes are riding ATV's for sake of others... so logical...
  • + 1
 @b-wicked: what? Ya kind of lost me here.....please explain what you are saying..
  • + 1
 @PJD1: I mean it is illegal to ride bikes on the trail but some how it is fine when rangers ride ATV's there... where is the logic? Those a*sholes should hike for sake of nature and law.
  • + 2
 @b-wicked: ahh just missed the sarcasm initially
  • + 3
 @PJD1: ATVs trying to catch mountain bikers could likely cause more trail damage and nuisance to hikers than the mountain bikers themselves.
  • + 1
 @thealmightybryn: We have problems in our local forest, when any trail you are building were illegal and you could be fined for it, but on the other side there were a legal disc golf course at the same place. time passed and our illegal trails are in the same shape and hadn't made any problems to hikers or nature, but those disc golf players just destroyed the surface of forest and had many troubles with hikers got hit with discs. Authority didn't cared cause some guys were payed to not care. But years had passed and at the end they saw how much trouble and destruction it brought to forest now there are no golf anymore in that forest, irony is that bike trail building are still illegal...
  • + 43
 shit man I skateboarded in the 90's so I'm use to being a "criminal"
  • + 5
 Me too! Then it was jocks, rednecks, and cops though. Where I'm from (Western NY) some of the worst attitude I get now is from other mountain bikers. It really is unbelievable. A while back I was lectured by kids in their mid-20's at an LBS in the area about not riding on illegal trails. While they were playing punk on the stereo. OK it wasn't punk, it was Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. But they thought it was punk. I could go on and on about this forever and have, but they're working with county government on allowing bikes in more parks in the area. And that is great and it is admirable and it is not easy. But part of their version of trail maintenance is ripping up jumps, gnarly routes, etc. that have been in place for years, like 30 years, because, and I quote, "calls to 911 aren't in the plan". They're in my f*ckin' plan!
  • + 1
 @ldw222:


Punks is Hippies -G.I.S.M.
  • + 38
 I live in Fairfax, Marin County. Poaching here is a way of life. For 30 years nothing has changed...until now. They are now pulling out great illegal singletracks and replacing it with 6 foot wide bike path. It's obvious that mountain biking here is dead. I feel like the vulture feeding on the carcass.
  • + 17
 I also live in Marin County (Novato). I grew up in Colorado and always wanted to come see the "birthplace" of mountain biking. Now that I live here I am very disappointed. It is sad to see a place like Marin with such great trails not live up to its history. I have never seen such hate between user groups (hikers, runners, equestrians), don't get me wrong there are battles everywhere but it is down right ridiculous in Marin, the fact that our county administrators and LE are pretty much in the pocket of the highest bidder (Equestrians) is disgusting as well.
  • + 21
 CA is where freedom dies. It's astounding how bad the politics there are, and how set the politicians are on ruining what should be a great state.
  • + 2
 Man I loved Fairfax when I stopped thru and rode this spring, granted the couple of trails that I rode were grueling fire road climbs, but it's a bummer to hear this. That sunshine trail is a freakin blast. Hope it can return to the glory days of mountain biking someday.
  • + 16
 CA i a great state, politicians don't have anything to do with the atmosphere toward cycling. It's the old hikers and equestrians that cause all the problems.
  • + 10
 @ACree: I agree mostly, but it's a big state. I've run into waaaay different attitudes up in Mendo, Humboldt, Shasta, Lassen, Modoc, Placer, Eldorado, Alpine counties, both State and local. I live in SF, the epicenter of fv9king s^cking and Marin is a boil on its arse for MTB.
  • + 4
 Get politically active. Join A4B, sign this petition: www.change.org/p/your-friendly-local-land-managers-petition-for-directional-bike-specific-sustainable-trails-in-marin-county
Mountain bikers make up almost half of the trail users here, if people were complaining as much as they were poaching, we maybe could get access to some more trails. The current situation is ridiculous.
  • + 4
 @Trouterspace: Your joking right? The governor just signed a bill that taxes cow farts.
  • - 9
flag chasejj (Dec 8, 2016 at 17:14) (Below Threshold)
 @ACree: What Political Party runs California? Realize this and you will have your answer to the problem.
  • + 3
 @bridgermurray:

You're joking, right! It's gett8ng worse because the MCBC sells us out. 30 years!
  • - 2
 @Trouterspace: Bullshit. It is the liberals who throw BS ESA,Water Quality,Erosion, Speed Danger and whatever other bullshit pseudo science excuse they can dream up to stop all forms of recreation. To these bitter old silver tail hippies the only acceptable form of public land use is walking by themselves.
I have lived in in the bay area my whole life. They have government or academia jobs or are retired and place themselves in positions to control your access. The government managing these lands is conditioned to please those who complain the loudest. This is what they do.
Until the scales are tipped to real shared access without parsing everyone into little corners you are screwed. You are the enemy.
  • - 5
flag chasejj (Dec 8, 2016 at 17:25) (Below Threshold)
 @bridgermurray: You are smoking dope if you this this will do anything.
  • + 6
 @chasejj: He may be smoking dope, but its legal now...so puff, puff, pass @bridgermurray
  • + 2
 @pvd666: A4B and MCBC are two different things dude.
  • + 2
 @SacAssassin @chasejj that's exactly the attitude that doesn't get us any trails. You guys can't just sit around and poach and act like getting fined is the same as your "season pass". Smh.
  • + 4
 Screw 6 foot wide bike paths--singletrack is much lower impact than a leveled freakin dirt road.
  • + 12
 @chasejj: political neg prop you but it's true. I live and work in Republican controlled areas (orange and riverside counties). We have great access and massive riding communities -- not a coincidence that great talent has been coming out of this area for a very long time. Even in "not legal" areas there are great trail centers that everyone rides and maintains without fear of harassment. I know most the pinkbike community is in complete denial about this issue, but limited government is good for mountain biking.
  • + 9
 @leftCoastBurn: Limited government is good for freedom period. Freedom to ride. Freedom of what to drive. What you can buy. Who you can marry and so on.
  • + 0
 @jhart94949: "I have never seen such hate between user groups"

And yet look at the number of mountain bikers who bitch and whine about e-bikes on the trails: they didn't cost you what you've already lost, but lining up with them WOULD INCREASE THE NUMBER OF PROTESTERS...
  • + 2
 @SacAssassin: We'll, f*ck 'em if they can't take a toke.
  • + 6
 @leftCoastBurn: That may seem like the case in your part of the country but reference the part of the article where Vernon mentions going back to Bellingham where Mtn Biking gets a big warm hug an high five from land managers and city officials. Guess what, Bellingham has very liberal city and county governments who are working with user groups to have awesome mountain bike trails.
  • + 12
 @shami: yeah I can only speak from my experience, but I can say that we have a special kind of "liberal" in CA -- the kind that is not liberal at all. In fact, they are complete authoritarians that want to control every aspect of our lives. Yet, the people of CA keep voting more of them in every election cycle.
  • - 2
 @ACree: you put a lot of people in a place and you end up with more laws and regulations. Look at the laws in NY or CA and compare them to BC, AK or WY. We deal with different issues, but we're also a lot more educated and economically productive than damn near the rest of the world. So don't bag us on our politics if you're from a state that takes more than it gives in terms of federal taxes!
  • + 6
 @FRguild: not necessarily true. States like Texas and Florida have large populations and a much higher freedom index than CA or NY. There are many factors besides population density.
  • + 5
 @FRguild:WTF does how much Fed Taxes a state or area pay have to with the tyranny of liberals and their attacks on riding MTB's?
Educated.....you really mean Indoctrinated.
  • + 7
 @shami: It's a little more complicated than that, but your right that the term liberal should mean "freedom". What it's turned into as a political term means something entirely else these days.

In anycase, let's agree that we want more Bellingham's, North Shore's, gravity bike park, Post Canyon, Duthie's and so on! Ride on!
  • + 3
 Its all ways been this way in Marin- Repack is a fire road. I grew up there too and started riding in 1985- the best trails were illegal then and ridden anyway by me (Yolanda trail). Its amazing to me that after all this time and the sheer number of MTBers in Marin they cant get access to dedicated singletrack beyond Tamarancho.
  • + 4
 @ACree: this, what sucks for the rest of the country is wheren the Californians who have had enough, move out of state, but bring their rotten politics with them.
  • - 2
 @SacAssassin: That's an awesome comment!

"Your joking right? The governor just signed a bill that taxes cow farts."

It's funny as hell and actually something that needs to be done.
  • + 1
 @Trouterspace: Politicians reflect the will of the people. CaIfornia is full of left leaning commies. You do the math
  • + 1
 @sumarongi: Truer words have never been spoken.
  • + 2
 @sumarongi: I know a shit-ton of redneck a*sholes in CA who would kick you right in the slickrock for that remark.
  • + 3
 @endlessblockades: It was just signed. I guess we Californians are supposed to be stoked that the price of milk and trash services will go up. SMH just wait til they tax the lactose intolerant and any resturant that serves beans.

At least we get the privilege of buying the bags our groceries come in now because (insert your ecological reason here) while the kid that used to have a job as a bagger stands there and wstches me carry stuff out by hand.
/rant off
  • + 30
 So help me I'm gonna slap the bejeezuz out of the next hiker that has to remove their earbuds in order to tell me, "You KNOW there's no bikes allowed here!" Yes, I know. I stopped on the side of the trail because I wanted to see your startled reaction to me as a result of your self imposed deafness.
  • + 30
 Shit, we might be from the same part of the Bay area. Sounds an awful lot like the deep east bay. "Driving no less than 40 minutes when there's miles of trails 20 pedal strokes away" That is the song of our people, we the oppressed riders of the East Bay Regional Parks district.
  • + 16
 I'm guessing we grew up in the same shadow of the same mountain. Yep.
  • + 5
 @bridgermurray: east bay probably means Diablo
  • + 7
 I ride wherever I want in Briones. Fuck em.
  • - 1
 I used to live in Berkeley, so I know it came as no surprise to many of us to read the word 'California' at the end of the article. If it is East Bay and 20 pedal strokes away from houses I got my money on Joaquin Miller Park.
  • + 1
 Dammit, I didn't read the first paragraph. My comment above is null and void.
  • + 1
 @chasejj: Hell Yeah!
  • + 2
 @spyman1087: Diablo, indeed.
  • + 1
 @iamamodel: Why did the buzzards negprop this comment?
  • + 3
 @endlessblockades: because I didn't read the article properly before posting my comment. Which is fair enough.
  • + 1
 @vernonfelton: In reading more of the replies to the article it really sounds like it is a universal problem in throughout the entire Bay Area.
At least we have Crockett... for now.
  • + 1
 @Avanwin: It is a Norcal -problem mostly. As you branch out away from the Bayarea it drops a bit but is still a huge issue as you reach into the Sierras.
Wherever the hippies have decided they are entitled to the trails you got problems.
  • + 26
 Civil Disobedience. It is the American thing to do. Poach on....
  • + 21
 The problem with receiving a ticket on the trail is that the ranger has no real proof that I just gave him my real name, yeah my ID is in my pocket next to my phone, but he doesn't know that, good luck finding Earl Linimen in your system especially with that cleaning service phone number I just gave you.
  • + 21
 Except that they do. They have a radio and can talk directly to other law enforcement officials who can verify your information. And then good luck with how things go when you're then guilty of giving false information to a law enforcement official.
  • + 12
 @nilswalk: HOWS SOME FAGIT ASS RANGER GONNA CATCH ME DOWN SOME GNURR? HE/SHE/TRANNY AIN'T.
  • + 2
 Rangers in our area (been a while since I have been ticketed, so it may have changed) would confiscate the front wheel and only return upon payment of fine. Often in excess of $400 dollars. But its always been worth it.
  • + 3
 @nilswalk: Happened to me actually. Misdemeanor. Had to take an 8hr ethics class and pay about $200 in fines. Not worth it. Once I was done with all of that they expunged it from my record.
  • + 40
 It's illegal to ride trails and stay fit and be less of a burden on the health system but you can go down to the 7/11 and drink gallons of Mountaindew and eat crap until your insides explode and that's totally acceptable.
  • + 3
 @nilswalk: Yup. Rangers in busy areas can/will confirm with Police before letting you go. Don't try to BS them.
  • + 4
 @Joseph2136: You gotta stock up on cheaper front wheels and screw the fine!
  • + 1
 @Joseph2136: through axles FTW
  • + 1
 @Mtbkid21: Fox 36 FTW
  • - 4
flag KeithReeder (Dec 9, 2016 at 1:27) (Below Threshold)
 @beepbeepjeep: Presumably he'll just have to look for the dirty, muddy kid with the bike, at the local school for the mentally disadvantaged?
  • + 18
 Usually I really hate living in Sweden. Then I read something like this and just go out and ride! Allemansrätten FT(MF)W!!!!!!!!
  • + 6
 That and some good Death Metal.
  • + 7
 I can't imagine hating living in Sweden
  • + 2
 @speed10: for real
  • + 2
 @bvwilliams: hello Missoula
  • + 2
 @speed10: Well its not the same country as it was. Weather has started to suck year round with cold summers and warm winters (with alot of ice build up), school and health care sucks, our politicians both suck and are extremly corrupt, housing market sucks for young people, getting employed (even with a high university degree is hard), super high tax rates. And our northen region is getting a big f*** you by our capital.

So much of the stuff that affects daily living has just started crumble for my generation, for my mom and dad's generation Sweden was great but now its just a shell.
  • + 3
 @johan90: That does not sound exclusively swedish. And your politics are corrupt? Then I don't know what word to use for other places.
  • + 1
 @endlessblockades: meant to give props, apologies
  • + 3
 @johan90: man, that's a real bummer to hear. I always thought the Scandinavian countries were pretty sorted. Sadly there is very few, if any, places that aren't totally f*cked now. At least you have Waki
  • + 1
 @EnduroManiac: I've just come to realise that they are probably about as corrupt as everywhere else its just they fly much more under the radar. Got to love the greeks, atleast there eveyone is open with itWink Just last day it was reported that some top level officials (mostly IT department) had gotten a "educational tool" that was supposed to be used at home to explore/learn windows 8.1 and not at the office where it could disturb the work. So the tool or more correctly the "christmas gift was an expensive tablet that was worked in as a new tool to help the transition between OS's.

Funnily enough there never was a shift in OS for the entire organisation because 8.1 sucked and they kept 7. The tablet was also given to some accountants and whatnot. And the reporter asked if they were supposed to expect support from those "whatnot" people, to which the reply was no.

All in all they bought tablets for close to 80k euros to give as christmas presents for a little less than 1k eu a head whereas a normal municipal worker the max per head for a gift was 30 eu.



not to mention that some private firms earn close to 80 cents on the dollar on housing for immigrants, which is 100% payed for by our government. Money which is borrowed from me and other workers. Pretty f*cking epic!


So yeah GO TEAM SWEDEN.......................... or maybe not.
  • + 3
 @johan90: what the f*ck has this to do with anything?
  • + 19
 California, the land of many useless laws.
  • + 15
 Move to Scotland...... Right to roam ! and some of the best riding in the UK... Apart from the cold,wet,miserable weather...and that's the summer...lol...
  • + 2
 Yeah. But when you finish riding .....you're still in Scotland.
  • + 5
 @chasejj: Ever been to Scotland? Its not like the typical American stereotype where everybody eats nothing but haggis, wears a skirt and looks like Mel Gibson!
  • + 6
 @petehaddock: it was a careless attempt at good natured humor, Not a serious critique of Scotland. My apologies. I have to live in Norcal. I get bitchy.
  • + 2
 Scotland might have good trails but if you live in Scotland you're probably going to be too busy doing heroin to ever ride them.
  • - 3
 @chasejj: and your point is?
  • + 4
 @allan-mde69: Uhhhhhh....it was a joke.
  • + 3
 @chasejj: sarcasm pal... lol..
....we need to be thick skinned to live in Scotland . .....
  • + 12
 I just got back from a ride where some douche just un-dug and stomped out every lip of a little line that I had repaired on my local trail near my house. Presumably because it's "too dangerous" or some other bullshit I routinely hear here in California.

I't f-ing pisses me off. I poach in protest of all these rules and the nancy's making them. I left my family and friends behind and immigrated here for the promise of ""freedom". It feels like a con.
  • + 4
 I hate that shit! Some people just have no souls and would prefer to try to destroy mine as well, along with any creativity and love for being with nature and having the cleanest siickest fun there is.
  • + 4
 It's funny to read these kind of comment. I mean where is this culture of the "it may be dangerous, let's forbid it" coming from ? I mean when I think about California, I think about surfing, skateboarding, motocross, mountainbiking, climbing, skiing, California is known for all these sports and none of them is "safe". Who are these people so affraid of everything? Do they also plan to forbid mountain lions, snakes, spiders and so on ?
  • + 10
 "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey, he is obligated to do so" -Thomas Jefferson-

I may be in my 30's... but I'm a real a*shole. Ticket me, I'll waste your time, cause a scene, take you to court, you may win... but I'll make it more of a pain in your ass than it will ever be worth.
  • + 10
 There are not enough mountain bikers to out weigh the Yuppies of California. The Bay Area will never gain ground, it's to far gone. The same progressive ideas that lead to a few guys shredding coaster bikes and creating mountain biking are dying by progressive nature preserver ideas that mountain biking is trail destruction. The Bay Area will never turn around for mountain bikes, and currently is getting worse: helicopter patrols, increase fines, speed limit enforcement by radars and speed traps.
With all that being said rural California, and Southern California are excellent. I can hardly speak for SoCal but the central coast embraces the mountain bike scene! Having been down here for school, mountain biking is great, single track open and bikers and hikers play nicely.
  • + 3
 You are 100% correct. So Cal has tons of great riding. Bay area and LA are cesspools of "progressive" totalitarianism = zero freedom for anyone not in the Prius driving, NPR donor cult.
  • + 8
 Wowzers, in the UK it seems way different. In England you occasionally get asked by angry farmers to leave their land and sometimes park rangers may ask you to stick to the bridleways and I've never heard of anyone actually getting any sort of formal punishment. You probably could if you got caught a second time but that's just stupidity. The Scots on the other hand have the right to ride wherever they please as they have access to footpaths etc
  • + 3
 Yep, it's good to live in the civilised world...
  • + 7
 The current trend is that the situation is getting worse. We are losing all of the unmarked social trails. Our advocacy groups are not fighting against it. In fact one group, MCBC even advocated for the closure of a very popular trail. They even funded an erosion soil study to justify the closure. At this point I no longer want my son to grow up here. The situation is a pathetic mess and it will never change. The cycling community is to blame or this situation. Through inaction or through selfishness and the short sighted mentality that one form of cycling is better than another, that gravity riders should be shunned. I want my son to grow up in a community that has a healthy trail situation. Where my son can work on the trails and not live in fear of the rangers or law enforcement just because he enjoys off road cycling. Marin isn't the birthplace of mountain biking, it's the birthplace of a cancer that will eventually consume us all through Wilderness protections.
  • + 1
 Thank Barb Boxer for the screwed up mess....and her pal Nancy P
  • + 2
 Well said Davey!
  • + 2
 Totally. I live in MV and it sucks. The advocacy groups have not been able to get anything accomplished, and perhaps are even making things worse (I'm actually not aware of MCBC advocating closing a trail - what was that?)
  • + 2
 @jsmbythebay: MCBC wrote a soil study to justify eradicating Kneecap trail, a social trail in the San Geronimo Valley.
  • + 8
 I know that Pinkbike hates fatbikes, but I like to ride them in the winter. Fatbikes are banned in Yellowstone in the winter, while snowmobiles and snowcoaches are allowed. Pretty stupid.
  • + 9
 Clearly the sign in first photo is only aimed at cruiser type bikes and not mountain bikes! My mtb bike's bars don't look like that!
  • + 10
 Yet another of the many reasons not to live in that nanny-state.
  • + 2
 It's spreading to the rest of the world though too.
  • - 2
 @Andy-ap: It has already arrived.............it's called progressivism, we are citizens of the world
  • + 6
 @vernonfelton I love your writing man, you are far and away my favorite MTB-ing journalist. Maybe one of my favorite overall. Just love your honestey and your approach. Keep on keepin' on, sir. \m/
  • + 2
 Thanks, man. I appreciate it.
  • + 5
 That was a good Opinion article. Thankfully my local area doesn't have many trails closed to bikes. It's the extensive motorized closures that's are an issue. Hopefully the bike community will stand strong if there is ever any pressure to close trails to bikes.
  • + 5
 We have recently had a huge trail revision in Cape Town, South Africa. Our local National Park has extended access to previously closed hiking trails. The same goes for our world famous botanical garden. This is thanks in the main to lobbying from a united group of cycling organizations including the local IMBA representatives. And of course a heap of funding. The local green belt trails that were opened this year by the City were all known as good MTB venues simply because they had been ridden illegally for years. In my case over 20 years. These trails would never have been legalized in part unless they had been ridden and identified as suitable. The same goes for some of teh new trails in our National Park. I disagree that riding these trails constitutes an acceptance of the status quo ie no cycling. Its a form of activism in its own right. When met with a ticket - go to court. If people object discuss it with them and find out why they support the ban. In most cases they don't have a very good reason other than a selfish desire to keep other people off the trails they are used to having to themselves. Most rules and laws against cycling on such trails are falsely blamed on environmental issues. When pressed for scientific proof of damage to biodiversity caused by MTB's, no such evidence is ever produced. The truth is that the main reason for banning bikes on trails is the objections from other users and perceived user conflict situations that could arise.
  • + 9
 hi....my name is jim and I am too a criminal.....
  • + 2
 Hi Jim.
  • + 1
 @DJ-24: @Jim- Welcome to the club.
  • + 4
 I spend all my time on "illegal trails" i simply do not have the patience to wait and in the interim have ridden thousands of miles of sweet california single track. When i get a ticket it will simply be the price paid for admission to access all of these great trails!
  • - 4
flag KeithReeder (Dec 9, 2016 at 1:36) (Below Threshold)
 "When i get a ticket it will simply be the price paid for admission to access all of these great trails!"

And every time, you move the chance of finally winning legal access further towards the horizon.

You're trying - and failing - to make a virtue of utter selfishness...
  • + 3
 @KeithReeder: you just keep following the rules like a good little boy.
  • + 4
 I've tried for years to get the local land managers and IMBA to build good trails. Next spring, I give up and start building my own. I've concluded that that's the only way we're going to get good, technical trails. Call me a criminal, oh well.
  • + 9
 Exnay on the bham fn a
  • + 3
 Hate to break it to you Vernon, but I live in a national park and we ride single track here legally. Mind you it took a fair bit of time to build a relationship with Parks Canada, but we are now building more single track with their blessing. I'm not saying this to gloat, just to show that it can be done with a little perseverance and diplomacy.
  • + 12
 You're absolutely right--it can be done. That was my point, though I buried it a bit towards the end of the column. There are plenty of success stories out there and yet there are places in this world where land managers are completely ignorant of that fact and believe that mountain bikers and other trail users can never share the same trails. Since they think we are incompatible with the lands they manage, they refuse to even consider letting us in. It's hard for folks who've never been to California to grasp just how crazy it is--so much open space and so few singletrack trails open to riders. It boggles the mind.
  • + 1
 It's great to have a trail in Banff, but I wonder how much of Parks Canada's decision was influenced by mountain bikers in their employ and how much one can we take a case there and apply it to California. Is total diplomacy and obeisance the way to live your life when nobody in power is ever willing to bat for you or even answer your phone calls.
  • + 2
 @jcklondon: You mention Banff...I was amazed by the nordic center trails in Canmore! That trail system has had so much work go into it. On top of that it is so well signed and mapped it seems like a mini lift access mountain without the price. Is that a city-sponsored project? Who owns the nordic center?
  • + 2
 @swamper1: The Nordic Centre is also in a park, but unlike Banff, which is a federal park, this riding area is in a provincial one. So, it's run by "Alberta Parks". There definitely are some great trails there - drop me a line next time you're here, and I can tour you around. On another note, you must be a cartographer or something, because as locals, we don't have a frigging clue what those maps are saying Smile
  • + 0
 "just to show that it can be done with a little perseverance and diplomacy."

There ya go..

Conversely, be a dick, you'll ALWAYS be treated like a dick.

Nobody being a dick ever won anything. (Last US election notwithstanding),
  • - 3
 @vernonfelton: "That was my point, though I buried it a bit towards the end of the column. "

Which was pretty disingenuous, wasn't it?
  • + 1
 @KeithReeder: A lot of trail organisations have a huge pile of "f*ck you" money. How will diplomacy work there? Literally they will not give you the time of day and see zero benefit to your existence. I am just interested if you have any bright ideas here...
  • + 4
 @KeithReeder: Not at all. I didn't mean to bury it, I'm simply being objective about my writing style. That is, looking back at the piece and thinking, "Hmmmm...that could have gone higher up in the column." Then again, I'm always hoping people will read through to the end. I'm an optimist.
  • + 1
 @KeithReeder: American revolution notwithstanding...
  • + 3
 Gather evidence of bikers going along with hikers and equestrians and a group of similar minded people and go to your town counsil with a clear plan. Than do this for several years and maybe you will have succes. Ore fuck the rules and go ride. But always be polite even if the hikers ore equestrians are not. Ride on!
  • + 1
 Kill em with kindness! Be courteous,polite, friendly...if people still want to be pissed off, that's their problem. Some people just prefer to be miserable!
  • + 3
 If you're not talking about Marin, or at very least the greater bay area (east bay and peninsula are not great either) I'd be very surprised. Honestly its ass backwards that that's the way it is around these parts, and people actually do fight and present these arguments to land managers and things just end up getting worse (well, small steps forward at the expense of tail cameras, more rangers, higher fines, etc.). Not sure if it will end up with people just giving up or if we'll eventually reach a boiling point and things will actual change but doesn't seem to be heading in a good direction at the moment.
  • + 3
 Funny that the old grizzled riders in Fairfax believe the area is still God's gift to MTBers. They're living in the past, man!
  • + 1
 @iamamodel: A past that no longer exists. They almost make things worse in a way by just harping on about the good old days and not doing anything to get trails opened.
  • + 3
 I see those signs with the line through the "town bikes" and I think, yeah it's good town bikes are forbidden on these trails. They wouldn't ride so well on single track. At least they haven't banned mt. bikes.
So I push on through.
  • + 3
 I'm torn here. First of all, mountainbiking is not a crime. People (illegally) building and riding features/trails are the ones who have helped the sport progress and become what it is today. But over here (The Netherlands, chances are the situation is fundamentally different in North America) I wouldn't ride or build illegal trails. Because everywhere there either are carefully negotiated trails built and maintained by a trail association or they are working on it. The forestry commission sees to it that these trails don't interfere with designated trails for other users and are built in a way to avoid excessive erosion. If you're going to do your own thing, you're messing with that relation and not helping anyone. Rather join or set up a trail association and do things right. But maybe cycling is a more integrated in the culture already so the government isn't adverse to some activity there. In fact they like to tick it off as "hey, we've got one more sports facility".

But if the sport isn't established, it gets more complex. There was nice 12km hiking trail in the dunes between my previous job and home that was banned for cyclists. Shame because it had some nice technical features. But as by law any non-motorized vehicle that can't be considered a bicycle (which by definition has at least two wheels) is considered a pedestrian, I took my mountain unicycle (MUni) with me a few times per week to ride it like that. Not having a freewheel nor transmission, your speed is limited by how fast you can pedal (as you can't coast) so you end up going about as fast as a fit trail runner. You can't really skid (and not crash). And the impact of the 3" wide rolling tyre is negligible compared to the pounding of runners' feet. I always dismounted to pass hikers or animals on the trail. Some hikers warned me that I was not allowed to ride bicycles there but when I explained that this could not be considered a bicycle, they were fine with that. I definitely wasn't under the impression that I was a hindrance or causing trail damage even comparable to a hiker. Even the rangers, I waved at them, they waved back, all fine. Then one day when I was riding the trail with no one else around, a park ranger stopped me. Told me I wasn't allowed to ride a bicycle there. I explained by law I should be considered a pedestrian hence was supposedly allowed to access these trails. He told me that the road laws don't transfer to these trails. He admitted that riding a unicycle was not explicitly prohibited but it is not doable to explicitly prohibit everything imaginable. But I was obliged to always follow directions by the park rangers, which then again technically is true. I didn't want to go into a heated discussion with the impatient man as I didn't want his (probably) first encounter with a unicyclist give him the impression that we are annoying wiseasses. Still confused about the whole thing as this way the activity was only prohibited to me on the spot and there is no way I could have reasonably have foreseen that. Luckily when my local mtb trails were opened, unicyclists were officially allowed. But it is silly in a way because our speed matches that of a trail runner much better than that of a cyclist.
  • + 3
 Vernon I've enjoyed many of your articles and reviews. Never realized you grew up in the area. I grew up a couple blocks from your HS and have been riding bikes since I was a kid. The area was fantastic for a bike loving kid to grow up in. Sadly none of the singletrack I rode as a kid is legally available to me now (Lime,Shell, Diablo, Nortonville, Briones) and the places that are open restrict us to fire roads. Im in my 50's and see nothing positive in the future for this area for off-road riding at least not in my lifetime. Hope to relocate once my kids move on to enjoy retirement in a more bike friendly area.
  • + 7
 Hows do i print this here article ?
  • + 7
 id copy and paste the text into a word doc and just go from there
  • + 3
 I think the main problem in the Bay Area is that up near the open space areas, there are a lot of rich equestrians that have political clout. Out near the Central Valley, the equestrians tend to be rednecks, and don't seem to be so snobby about bikes.
  • + 7
 It's not a poach. It's a reclaim!!! Take it back.
  • + 3
 Well said Vernon.

Here, we have a fragile relationship with land managers and land owners as riders..... As a local board member, I try to pass along to all bikers that when there's a user group conflict, we will always lose. The big bad mountain bikers putting the lives of runners, dog walkers, and hikers' at risk (Sarcasm). It's exhausting.....
  • + 3
 Just south of this article is loads of great illegal trails, and there was a great open space to build and never be found. But use has skyrocketed, since loads from over-the-hill scope trails, post on Strava, and thrash the zone. Then people looking the other way are forced to take action and shut down areas. We now have a building coalition that is building trails and opening areas. However, the best they can do is gentle flow trails. I don't think this decade I will see a freeride or black diamond in our area that is legally built. Future generations will have access to these areas, its almost inevitable. However, they won't be the trails that built the sport.

(Picks up shovel and walks into the woods to continue the fight against "flow" and hide from poachers)
  • + 2
 @bridgermurray: I agree that getting fined doesn't mean you paid for a season pass. But I have been to the meetings, signed petitions talked to rangers. In fact the last meeting held in Novato was a total waste of time. MCBS can only blow their horn for getting "Bills Trail" opened for so long. What is everyone supposed to do? go to meetings, sit at board meetings and not ride? Pretty much unless you want to ride steep nasty fire roads you are forced to poach.
  • + 2
 This is what THEY do. THEY don't win every battle, but they know the end game. Which is to wear you down until they eventually win the war or you give up. You want to ride , they want to fuck you over.
  • + 1
 It's nice to see these well wishers offering the idea of organization. Do they actually think that has not occured to us here in the" birthplace of mountain biking?" There has been a gazillion hours spent trying to legally address this from every angle and none of it has worked. None of will ever work. It is not an option as the powers that be, the NIMBYs, and the holier than thous have the upper hand....
  • + 3
 I've been breaking local byelaws by riding my bike in the place I'm from so technically I think they my byelaws, most of them were made 30 odd years ago so I'm sure there's more mountain biking going on now.
  • + 2
 Such an amierican-centric subject. It's good to live in a country where all those issues are settled before the problem will even arised. Even problems with e-bikes are non existent here. But what expect from a US legislation when it comes to MTBs? I think that biking is way too far on the margin of the social problems in US. In Germany it is a normal mean of transportation in the cities. Cyclist is a first class citizen not a freak of nature. Not only cities in Europe (all of them) have sidewalks but most of Western European cities have bicycle lanes. And when I say lanes I don't means sometimes. In Munich/Berlin/... there is no single bigger street without a bike lane. I really don't think that anything will change in US regarding bicycles until the bicycle will be recognized as a valid mean of transportation and not just a toy for leisure.
  • + 3
 Used to get chased by a ranger for using forests around Augsburg. Cycling in Baden Württemberg on trails narrower than 2m in forbidden (www.bike-magazin.de/mtb_news/szene_news/abfuhr-trails-bleiben-fuer-mountainbiker-in-baden-wuerttemberg-verboten/a22067.html). Not even being a member in the AlpenVerein was good enough for some hikers to send their dogs after us. I don't think it is all well in the Vaterland either.
  • + 1
 @mitochris: haha. Thanks for sharing. I am quite new here. I live in Bavaria (Munich) and till now everything was really night and day to what they are describing here. People are super nice to one another on the single trails. Lots of lots of dedicated bike paths. Also really great bike parks just around the corner in Austria.
  • + 2
 @goroncy: I moved away some time ago, and from what I hear it is much better. As you say, more people are doing it, so the acceptance is increasing. But work is still to be done. Be polite, don't scare people, and don't leave too many tracks on the paths. And enjoy. I miss the mountains :-)
  • + 2
 Here in New Mexico, it's really easy to poach and honestly have no idea that you're doing it. Trails are generally unmarked and you don't see a "wilderness area" sign until you reach the bottom of the decent. However, we get away with it 99% of the time because there are far fewer hikers than in California. Many of the people I talk to don't even know that mountain biking isn't allowed in the wilderness areas or that it's restricted on some trails.

Still, there's stories of people putting fishing line across trails or putting out nails on the trails. I think that it's important to try to break the stereotype that mountain bikers are crazy, dangerous adrenaline junkies. Basic manners seem to go a long way. Even if it ruins your run to stop your bike and say "hi" to some lady and her dog, I think that's a lot better than jeopardizing the trail access to everyone in the area.

I know that this is a vastly different reality to that of California. At least here mountain bikers are an accepted norm. And every time I do trail work, the rangers note how much more active the mountain bikers are than the hikers or the equestrians. There just seems to be more accepting feel to the whole community than in Cali.

Hopefully you guys in California can get your trail access. I've only ridden out there once and the single track was so fun. Fast, loamy, everything a ride should be. But I do think that in order to get that access, mountain bikers need to continue to try to give off the best image possible while we're out on the trails.
  • + 1
 Cracked me up when a bunch of us went from Marin out to Utah for an endurance biking event. Here bikes are not even allowed on singletrack as the author points out, and in Utah, we were practically getting run over by guys on motos going 35mph up singletrack... legally!
  • + 2
 In Marin, the birthplace of MTB, Mountain biking is now a crime punishable by death. Local hikers and equestrians have started making medieval-warfare traps and putting them on mtb trails. Barbed wire, neck-height razor wire, tire spikes... Its crazy.
www.mercurynews.com/2016/07/30/mountain-bikers-alarmed-by-spiked-strip-on-marin-county-trail
  • + 1
 Started? They were doing this a decade ago when I first moved there, and were doing it years before that as well.

It's funny that a few tires marks on a trail is worth more to them than an innocent father/brother/mother/daughter's life or permanent injury (and with the price and uselessness of medical insurance, the outcome can be devastating to a family). $100k for a broken arm? Pfftt...
  • + 1
 The Libtards in No Cal are the worst
  • + 3
 @iamamodel: there's a resurgence of it now led by this hiking club the "foot people"
  • + 1
 @bridgermurray: sorry to hear that.
  • - 5
flag KeithReeder (Dec 9, 2016 at 1:45) (Below Threshold)
 @CodeBlue: Do f*ck off, bell-end...
  • + 6
 @KeithReeder: you would thrive in the state of California. A state run by self righteous pseudo intellectuals who think they know what's best for everyone else, and pass laws accordingly, with no regard for what their neighbors want or believe. Just spew a bunch of bullshit with an arrogant, know it all attitude and...oh wait, you know about this already!!!
  • + 5
 Funny part about illegal trails here is they are all built by riders but all claimed by hikers as theirs.
  • + 0
 Haha ikr! Briones (an open space in CA where I ride) has some on the best single track trails and they are all rider buil! A local bike shop eeven built this one trail that is pretty gnarly and the rangers outlawed it saying it's a resource protection area after some hikers complained about bikers flying down the trail. It took them years to build it so even tho it's illegal to ride everyone still does. Riders took down all the signs and fences blocking the trails. So if it's rider built in don't think hikers should be on it just from a safety standpoint.
  • + 8
 @golfman1: the shop did not build the trail, they just had the misfortune of having their name given to it. Please make sure your Strava is off on those trails, including the heatmap, so we can keep them under the radar.
  • + 1
 Can't tell you how many times I've been accosted by people on trails built and maintained by mountain bikers.
  • - 6
flag KeithReeder (Dec 9, 2016 at 2:03) (Below Threshold)
 @loudloudrobot: Doesn't make them your trails.
  • + 1
 @loudloudrobot: Totally. We always get acosted by riders on this one Marin trail, that isn't actually open to anyone. It wasn't even passable until riders fixed it. Now of course the hikers think they own it.
  • + 2
 Mountain biking is only a crime because miserable people are trying to make it a crime..... there is only reason that mountain bikes are not allowed to ride in certain places other than a lot of walkers decided we are hooligans and lunatics and because they made enough noise while bikers were out riding that politicians listened, there is no argument that any walker can give with a valid reason why bikers cannot use areas they shouldn't use at the moment legally.... all they have to say is i don't want you here and why cant you do it somewhere else.....
  • + 6
 The worst part is we outnumber them, but we don't outvoice them. 3 loud assholes make more waves than 100 upstanding people
  • - 1
 "there is no argument that any walker can give with a valid reason why bikers cannot use areas they shouldn't use at the moment legally"

Christ! I've been a mountain biker since 1994 and EVEN I can line up a ton of reasons for banning bikers from UK trails: the fact is, many bikers are complete arseholes who think they can get away with being arseholes because they do it at speed, usually with a helmet to anonymise their arseholeness.

THAT'S WHY THERE ARE BANS.
  • + 1
 @KeithReeder:going to start by saying you came to a good place to make that argument......

simpe rules respect other trail users. in a fair few woods ive ridden in there are simple rules outlaying respect for others and i have NEVER heard of any problems
  • + 1
 @KeithReeder: And I can think of plenty of arsehole hikers that I don't want wandering out my trails either
  • + 2
 This seems like a very unfortunate situation that will be difficult to change, although passage of time and a slow changing of the guard may help. The first step would be to get a chance to prove how mountain biking can be beneficial, but it sounds like there is not much available real estate that is not already closed. And to prove it, you need to be organized and dedicated. How organized and engaged are the local MTBers? Sounds like most are OK with just poaching.

I am lucky to (currently) live in an area that has a small but well-organized and active MTB community. We also have a good-sized equestrian community, and while there are some from that community that are in positions of power, they are a bit less organized. There is a local mixed-use park where the MTB community has at least doubled the amount of trail, with the new trail designed to IMBA standards to be sustainable. And every year the equestrians ride it when it is too wet and post-hole sections that we have to go in and repair. But, we continue to play nice in order to maintain our access and build more trail for the horses to tear up. The latest park addition nearby has some great new trails that were all designed and mostly built by the local MTB community (Youth Corps has been a great help as well) -- and the powers-that-be built a new access to it with a very nice horse trailer lot at the top. Luckily it doesn't have enough trail yet to draw a lot of equestrian traffic, but time will tell. The damage they do is far worse than MTB tires.

Great article, @vernonfelton. Trail users can and should coexist, and in order to drive any change you actually have to do something. Maybe PinkBike can start a series highlighting various clubs and the local trails they have been able to build and maintain, spread awareness of what can be done if you actually take some action.
  • + 2
 +1 living the nightmare. Riding mtb in Marin is basically de-facto criminal, and I find it hilariously amusing that it's largely white males being targeted, self included. this must be a historic precedent.
  • + 1
 I've been a hiker and mountain biker most of my life and hikers are more responsible for leaving their mark in the parks. Their always off trail creating their own routes, and yes some bikers do it as well, but not too the extent of hikers. In addition they are responsible for all the litter on the trail. With regards to horses, there is no way they should be aloud on a single track, it's just not safe for anybody.
  • + 3
 Sorry urbanites. That's why I'll never live in places like the ones being mentioned. Live rural among real public lands if you want an outdoor lifestyle.
  • + 1
 Check out a guy named Lohan - see the world on YouTube. He rides over Tioga pass in California in the winter, no one up there, he makes it over the mountain and a ranger is waiting to give him a ticket on the other side once he gets down to the valley. The ranger should have patted him on the back and said good job for making it over the mountain. Messed up world.
  • + 1
 Can someone explain what the reasoning behind the ban is? I don't want to be an arse, but is the ban a bit self inflicted? I guess the ban wasn't in place before people started biking and a small but significant number of incidents led to the ban, no?
I used to ride in Germany in the 90s and we had, and some areas still have, a ban on paths narrower that 2m. The argument was that bikers destroy the forest, scare people and animals and injure hikers. Seeing some of the videos here where riders do power slides on lush green mellows, I understand the sentiment. I don't think going into forbidden areas with shovels and start digging is the way forward. A dialog needs to be made, and bikers need to be considerate towards others. We need to show that we can be responsible in these areas and share them with others. But we also need to question why a ban is in place, and why e.g. horse riders do get access. Use other areas, where riding is allowed, as references. Contact their regional regulators. I am sure they have data showing that no harm was done by opening up their land to bikes. We are enough people to stand up and challenge the status quo. One just has to be persistent.
  • - 5
flag KeithReeder (Dec 9, 2016 at 1:44) (Below Threshold)
 "but is the ban a bit self inflicted?"

Just look at some of the comments on here - I'd ban some of the buggers myself.
  • + 2
 I cant believe how rubbish this is for you lot over the other side of the pond. Proper crap. Makes me realise how lucky I am to be where I am and have the Peak District so close.
  • + 1
 Northern Italy (South Tyrol) and Switzerland have a great attitude to bikers where they "share the trail" with hikers and are encouraged to behave properly instead of being banned. Switzerland is expensive, however, so Italy is my destination of choice. The system works really well and everybody wins. The problem is changing well-entrenched attitudes to trail access, which is still a struggle in Austria, for example. The situation in California sounds similar to the Austrian one.
  • + 1
 fellow east Bayer here and occasional poacher....the problem is these entitled yuppies being physically scared of all these mountain bikers decked out with the latest bike and gear al smashing all over the place. to be honest all mountain riding and hiking don't really coexist peacefully. instead of everyone sharing we need segregation.
  • + 1
 Only bummer about this article is that poaching should be kept under the radar. The more people know that others poach, the more people poach, and once poaching hits a certain critical mass in an area, the crackdowns come.

Poach but keep yer trap shut about it. Wink
  • + 1
 "Under the ban, the land managers are not only gaining a headache in law enforcement, they are also losing a tremendous potential work force"

- So true Vernon, I've been following and reading your articles on the wilderness bicycle ban in the U.S. and the HPTW Act that the Sustainable Trails Coalition put together and is currently working to push through congress. There's so much more to lifting the ban on bicycles on public lands than making mountain bikers happy - it's about partnering with public land managers to ensure the longevity of the trails which they are tasked with maintaining...an overwhelming task which in most cases they cannot complete without the partnership of volunteer groups.

Without a doubt, I'd venture to say mountain bikers boast the largest and most passionate group of trail stewards when compared with hikers and equestrians. I've worked for the U.S. Forest Service on a trail crew in wilderness areas and can say from firsthand experience that the current regulations which only permit the use of primitive hand tools is a broken system. The government simply does not have the manpower to keep trails open and properly maintained without the use of modern equipment and the aid of volunteers. Excluding mountain bikers from singletrack that is perfectly suited for bike traffic is only hurting these trails and the future of their existence. If the government cannot maintain a trail, they close it and no one is allowed to use it - regardless of whether you are on a bike, horse, or on foot.
  • + 2
 Couldn't agree more. It's a pity so many land managers fail to see that fact and it's crazy because there are so many other places where mountain bikers have been accepted as trail users with equal rights and have proven the mainstay behind trail maintenance work. There are so many trails out there and, when we're talking about federal lands in the United States, so many of them are in poor repair. Government employees at the Forest Service/BLM/etc. are general overworked and understaffed when it comes to boots on the ground work with trails. It's dumbfounding that they turn away a demographic that has proven itself time and time again when it comes to being willing to maintain trails.
  • + 1
 Here in the UK we aren't supposed to ride on footpaths, but it's not actually a criminal offence, it's actually classed as a civil tort, whatever that means, so you can't be prosecuted for doing so. Reading these comments maybe we are the ones living in the land of the free.
  • + 2
 Isn't in Schotland that you are actually free to ride whereever you want?
  • + 2
 @vinay: Yes, I should've said in the UK apart from Scotland.
  • + 1
 @metaam: I read Cranked magazine (cranked.cc for reference, but the magazine is only in print) and read how it works in different places. Your Foresty Commission seems sound too. They don't necessarily always close down illegal trails and it definitely helps to communicate with them. Would be a shame to disturb that relationship.
  • + 1
 @vinay: The Forestry Commission are better in some areas than others, where I live has recently become a national park. I, along with some other riders and equestrians, went for a meeting with the local FC representative. He assured us that nothing was going to change as far as trail access was concerned. Two weeks later we found out that plans had been submitted for a holiday park in the local woods, meaning a high number of our trails will be lost if planning is granted. I find it very hard to believe he didn't know about the plans at the meeting.
A survey in a UK magazine showed that over 60% of riders use footpaths, most of us do so with respect for other users and in my experience it doesn't cause problems for most people.
  • + 1
 @metaam: My understanding of trail access in the UK is largely based on articles in Cranked. It must have been edition 3 or 4. Isn't a footpath officially accessible by bike? That is, when the term footpath and bridleway were defined riding bicycles offroad wasn't so much a thing to make specific laws for that. It was just called a footpath because it was too narrow for a coach. I'd have to look up the article to figure out what the exact rules are.

I'm not sure how it works with the submission of such a holiday park. Could be that there is a large project developer behind it who just develops a plan, submits it and only starts negotiating when the plan is rejected. But it seems to me like hikers, riders, equestrians etc have a say in this. One of the tasks of the FC is to organize recreation such that it doesn't conflict with other users. So if one party wants to build that park in a way that it compromizes other users (interrupts the trails etc) then it seems to me like it can only continue if they provide a fitting solution. I expect that project developer was just too lazy to figure out who other users of the area are hence simply submitted something from his/her own perspective and only negotiates with whoever objects. Which does mean of course that you should speak up now that the plan has been submitted!
  • + 1
 @vinay: The FC are in partnership with the developers. This has been going on for some time, petitions have been signed and people have been speaking up. Whether they are listening or not remains to be seen.
  • + 2
 Yeah, baby! I poach, poach, poach..... but responsibly, at night or on weekdays in remote areas, only in my own country, and never under the influence of any tasty intoxicants.
  • + 1
 There are basically no mountain bikers in my area and I figure it's likely to do with the fact that the few forests around are full of anti riding signs and yuppies who only go the the woods to walk their dogs and otherwise would prefer to see anything natural to go the way of round-up and development--it seems that now all the neighborhood kids sit inside and play the computer brain instead. Sucks to see the way things are going--I would like to think that my somewhat hated dirt jump building is helping somehow.
  • + 1
 Right ON Vernon. Your point is right on...

and. I/out crew are here to shred, and ride with as much irresponsible, personal risk as possible.
AND I/we go out, and work trail, and partner with land managers and improve the situation.
My buddies and I spend countless hours in boring meetings, writing emails, calling folk, organizing sparsely attended work days. SO TRAILS STAY OPEN !!!

we gotta do WORK to GET the playground.
FS and other land managers respond to people proving that they are partners....it means work.
  • + 2
 Funny thing is , THEY don't work. I have built trails. Hikers don't ever do anything. They just operate as if it all belongs to them.
  • - 1
 "we gotta do WORK to GET the playground"

Well said, fella - you win only by engaging on their terms and beating them with the weight of well-formed arguments,
  • + 4
 @KeithReeder: Your faith in sound arguments overcoming prejudice seems especially misguided considering recent political upheavals, both domestically and in your neck of the woods. Vernon (and many others) have made sound arguments against the blanket-ban of bikes in Wilderness, but that has done nothing to sway the Wilderness proponents. The same is true in many other locales -the prejudice of hiking groups overcomes logic, and we are left being excluded from public lands.
  • + 2
 Do you really think that we have not worked here? This is not only the birthplace of mountain biking, it is an activist community. We have spent combined tens of thousand hours trying to get access - and had a grand total of ZERO successes. It's especially ironic when you are riding on an old trail, that is technically closed to everyone, and riders have put in the time to make it passable, and guess what - here's the lecture from the hiker - who's never done a single thing.
  • + 2
 @jsmbythebay: honestly...totally sympathetic. multiple bay area buddies...everyone moved away, cuz it was just stupid. plenty ofpromised land with badass trails out there...but Nor Cal is a disaster. I hate to say it...but, people...too many people. really no point in that area with the population density. Rebel, with a 2 wheel rage to express in Bay area oughta be on a Supermoto or maybe if really badass, track bike with no brakes. Go shred the urban wasteland
  • + 5
 Why does the 6 year old eat toilet paper?
  • + 7
 Apparently, it's delicious. Or so I keep being told.
  • + 1
 Haha!
  • + 2
 @vernonfelton: at least its not drywall or couch cushions, which is apparently a thing according to . . . The learning channel i believe
  • + 1
 @LuvAZ: Well, who doesn't love a good mouthful of drywall?
  • + 2
 @vernonfelton: shitting toilet paper. Which u then use to . . . The circle of life!
  • + 2
 Eat your toilet paper! I don't want to, I'm not hungry. Problem solved.
  • + 1
 Surely in the US you can sue the land owners for discrimination or something! Seriously though I live next to the New Forest in the UK, where bikes have to stick to 6 foot wide gravel paths. I used to always obey the riding code as it was drummed into us as kids in the 90's. These days though I ride where I please in the forest, the only people that complain are hardcore hikers and horse riders whereas normal people just wave and say hello. The complainers somehow think it's their duty to point it out, I think it makes them feel important in a 'you're not allowed in our club' kinda way. I ask them why it's not allowed, and that usually stumps them, because the usual 'erosion' issue can't be argued when horses are allowed. Us mountain biking lot are all pajama wearing reprobates who tar the countryside with our neon kit, jumps and berms. F them all, do as you please, the more they have to deal with the more they have to account for not allowing it.
  • - 3
 "F them all, do as you please, the more they have to deal with the more they have to account for not allowing it."

No, they REALLY don't: they'll just ban more and more.

It's not rocket science.
  • + 1
 @KeithReeder:

I totally hear what you say, I originally tried to talk with the park authorities, but not one email was replied to, they just don't want to get into discussion, period. So maybe it is wrong but I just do as I please, being courteous and polite to everyone I meet to try and present a good image. I also don't ride where it's going to damage the trail and leave massive ruts, and I think most bikers do the same. I think this way they tolerate it without actually having to make it legal.
  • + 2
 @kipvr: perfect approach ride where you want don't be a dick about it and be friendly with everyone and you will never have a problem.
  • + 1
 Between my house and the legal riding area is a flora and fauna reserve and anything other than fireroad is illegal. I abstained from riding the singletrack to be a good citizen and model MTBer. While riding a fireroad one day I pointed out to yet another couple collecting firewood that what they were doing was illegal (downed trees provide habitat to critters). I was abused and threatened to be bashed with some of the timber the much-larger-than-me-husband was carrying.

So why should I obey the laws and preserve the park when others don't? Not only is there no-one to uphold the rules, if there was, they ain't catching me. So now I ride the singletrack and if any hiker says "You are not supposed to be on this trail." I make it very clear to them that I most certainly know that to be the case.

Go, Vernon, go!
  • - 8
flag KeithReeder (Dec 9, 2016 at 1:47) (Below Threshold)
 " I was abused and threatened to be bashed with some of the timber the much-larger-than-me-husband was carrying."

So did you shop him to the police?

Y'know - DID YOU DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT?

I'm guessing not. And you seriously can't see the link?

"So why should I obey the laws and preserve the park when others don't?"

By that logic I can break into your house and steal your bike, because someone once did that to me...

Got it.

Seriously: THINK, FFS,
  • + 2
 @KeithReeder: police don't do anything about 'threats', especially to cyclists. Been there many times before. Many many many...

There's different levels of criminality. Breaking into a place is at a different level to some douchebag threatening (which I'm still not prepared to call his bluff). And even then, no theft or break in I ever reported to the police resulted in an arrest.
  • + 2
 Lol what? Soon people are going to need government tracking tags. I get f*cked by the government as my day job because I have "mental illness", which is literally just them f*cking you, and paying you for it.
  • + 2
 Three things make this an issue difficult to tackle officially: The status quo, vocal minorities, and revenue from tickets issued.
  • + 1
 Maybe I missed it but we should have a poll. Would you poach, yes or no?

For the record, you're damn right I'll poach that trail. I'll be dead and gone before it may be legal, what's the fun in that?
  • + 0
 Well here in the uk it's illegal to ride on most pavements (in a lot of cases far safer than riding in the road) but we see the likes of Danny Macaskill flouting that in most of his edits. It is however a law that is very rarely enforced and like the american trails, surely the police have more serious crimes to attend. Wish we all had the same law as the scots with their right to roam.
  • - 12
flag KeithReeder (Dec 9, 2016 at 1:53) (Below Threshold)
 "in a lot of cases far safer than riding in the road"

Not for pedestrians, unfortunately - y'know, the people the paths are for...

I've made an early New Year resolution to kick every bike that passes me on a pavement, right into the middle of the fecking road, where it's supposed to be,

"surely the police have more serious crimes to attend"

You are aware that people are seriously inured or even killed every year by being taken out by some dick on two wheels riding illegally on the pavement? EVERY YEAR.

How "serious" do you want?
  • + 4
 @KeithReeder: Although I do not condone violence, I agree that as bikers we should not pick the fight with pedestrians but with cars. Bikes are squeezed between cars and pedestrians and due to the physical separation between road and side walk, we tend to have more conflicts with pedestrians, than with cars, if we ride on the side walk. The solution by authorities is to squeeze pedestrians further to the side to give cyclists some room. But they should squeeze the cars. Make it more difficult for cars and give more space for bikes and people.
  • + 2
 @KeithReeder: Yeah I'm aware of that but the number of cyclists killed by dangerous drivers is much higher. I have the difficulty of navigating clueless pedestrians on an almost daily basis, that's not on pavements btw it's on designated cycle lanes that pedestrians think they have more right to use than a cyclist. (where I live these are generally split lanes for cyclists and pedestrians, just a white line to separate us, not on the road) Some cities are much better than others for how cycle friendly both their roads/drivers and pedestrians are, mine is terrible.
  • + 1
 @djm35: As I mentioned. This is the problem. Most places just put a white line down and give about 1m for pedestrians and a bit more for cyclists. The problem is, pedestrians can't walk next to each other, which I think they should be able to, and for cyclists it get's narrow, when coming in opposite directions. In the mean time, we are physically separated by a curb from the cars. There is a reason why we have elevated side walks, so that we do have this physical barrier and not only a white line.
  • + 0
 @KeithReeder: cyclists are pedestrians too.
  • + 1
 @KeithReeder: some next trolling in the comments section dude.
  • + 0
 Lol mt Diablo is full of great Single-track and guess what you can't ride them legally. So I have to resort to night riding and hoping a ranger isn't on the trail. Lol I've met bikers that say they just come at night to steal all the trail signs that say no bikes allowed haha.
  • + 3
 The bay area is shit for mountain biking. I'm in the east bay, so many good trails, all illegal.
  • + 2
 Lol I'm tired of biking the wide fire road trails in Diablo. It's just too easy!
  • - 3
 @golfman1: Do it on a unicycle, then?
  • + 3
 Vernon always brings the clicks! PB made a good move when they signed him to the team.
  • + 4
 That's why I build.... Secretly.....
  • + 0
 Just some food for thought., this sounds a whole lot like ATV riders and E-Bikers sentiment about why they should be able to ride wherever they please.

Let's turn this around, how would you feel if you found an ATV poaching your local trail that primarily bikers built and maintain?

I agree that there should be some compromise and middle ground between the trail managers and bikers...but poaching trail won't get you there.

Let the downvotes roll in...
  • + 1
 I see your point which is probably valid for your location but it doesn't apply for the area he is talking about and most of the Bay Area. These trails were never legal for dirt bikes or atv's so it's a nonissue. Diablo is a State park and never allowed motorized vehicles off-road and all of the surrounding park land/open space was bought from ranchers in the 50's, 60's. Other then Diablo none of these areas even had rules mentioning bike use until the late 80's or even the 90's. These areas day one had always banned all motor driven vehicles.

Ebikes I agree are a bit different but still the rules day one banned any motor driven users.
  • + 2
 Of course we're outlaws. Everyone hates us and all of a sudden we're trynna fit in. No more false smiles middle fingers up rubberside down MTB till I die
  • - 9
flag KeithReeder (Dec 9, 2016 at 2:02) (Below Threshold)
 "till I die"

Won't be too long, I imagine...
  • + 2
 I actually disagree with this if you are serious. The hikers you are passing didn't personally do this to you (most likely) they are just out hiking. Although our legal trails are few and not very interesting, I'd rather keep them legal and animosity ain't going to help that. And a ranger told me the more complaints - the more enforcement. So just ride and smile, even when you are braking the law....
  • + 1
 @jsmbythebay: I get it. I'm just going with the flow. I'm the nice guy or a*shole, I'm pure reactionary. I've met hundreds of hikers nice people but the couple of hikers who act outta pocket get the worse of me
  • + 5
 Cant'afornia
  • + 2
 Can't-afford-ia
  • + 1
 On a side note how about if Vancouver shuts down tomorrow if the storm is as bad as expected. Just don't drive please. you can go to Nordstrom on the weekend or next week and buy overpriced gifts. Less cars less carnage.
  • + 3
 thanks mom
  • + 1
 Mom is always right, right?
  • - 6
flag KeithReeder (Dec 9, 2016 at 1:57) (Below Threshold)
 @MaxDeutsch: Except you. You can get yourself killed.
  • + 4
 @KeithReeder: That's nice
  • + 2
 So poaching makes you dirty...real dirty and naughty!

I mtn biked...said the guy who is just about to get is ass beat in jail when asked, "what are you in for?"
  • + 3
 "When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty"
  • + 1
 Well said.
  • + 1
 Well said TJ
  • + 3
 I'm not sitting in the back of the bus. F#$% that.
  • + 3
 The best trails are still illegal.
  • + 1
 "Stolen waters are sweet" Jim Bridwell (as per John Long in 'Rockjocks, Hangdogs and Wallrats')
  • - 1
 I love mountain biking obviously i'm here on this site, But did any of you guys ever stop and think that maybe the world wasn't made for US? and when i say "US" i mean us mountain bikers. There are actually other people on this earth believe it or not, and their wants and feeling matter just as much as yours, so yea there may be some places you can't ride your bike, so let's all whine and bitch about it because because all the people who made those trails over the years(the ones not intended for mountain biking because it didn't exist) clearly should have known that we were going to come along, therefore we own the trails. How about instead of us all being a bunch of selfish a*sholes we actually think about other humans who don't bike and still want to enjoy nature.
  • + 1
 @ryanbpoquette- for many areas your opinion is probably correct to an extent but not when talking about the area the article is generally speaking about. The trails in the EastBay were built up by BMX riders generally way back in the late 70's, and most of it was just ranch land with Diablo State park the exception. How do I know? I'm old and grew up here and know several of the people who built them.
All of the park land/open space created in the area had no mention of rules banning bikes until into the 80's and even the 90's. So you see in this area it's the opposite, bikers built trails and then years later rules were put in place banning us to fire roads or from some areas altogether. Unfortunately we ignored the rules put in place and enforcement was lax for a longtime but as park users have increased the crackdown has started...I personally don't have hope it will change in the area
  • + 1
 Always good to see Satchels work, even if it makes him a criminal too, assuming he didn't take those photos from a legal location with a !,000,000 telephoto.
  • + 2
 I got tired of poaching in Santa Cruz, CA, twenty years ago, so I moved to New Mexico. Trail bliss ever since.
  • + 1
 Who's dumber the horse or the person riding it?
I personally like to ride at night to avoid them and never been ticketed! Come get some cop'er ????
  • + 3
 heads up several new infrared cameras in the area were added recently. shit is getting real.
  • + 1
 The man was writing about California but it could equally have been Madrid province in Spain. EXACTLY the same. Really lame way of organising things.
  • + 3
 Unsanctioned trails are the best trails
  • + 1
 Heheh
  • + 2
 rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men
  • + 2
 @vernonfelton nothing compared to bmx.
  • + 2
 Ontario canada has a big community and lots of free and paid trails
  • + 1
 I read that as 'plaid trails' at first....
  • + 1
 I could considered illegal when I am on Santa Cruz V10, it's a very sharp tool.
  • + 2
 "Judas Priest - Breaking the Law" always plays in my head when I poach.
  • + 1
 Hey me too!
  • - 3
 Hey, Paul Asston! Are they being too mean to the hikers and Soviet Citizens of Marin? Sounds like a rowdy bunch of MTB'ers are exercising their Free Speech rights again. Don't just sit idly by.... Do you feel another defensive article coming on? You should break out your pen... You know... The one with the Red ink.
  • - 7
flag KeithReeder (Dec 9, 2016 at 1:52) (Below Threshold)
 No end to the stupidity of Americans, is there, PLANDS00?
  • + 3
 @KeithReeder: Coming from a Brit, that's rich!
  • + 1
 Which part of california did you go anyway? Remind myself not to go there!
  • + 1
 Wow so blessed here in tolerant New Zealand.
  • + 1
 so much for the land and the free! Canuckland Trumps good old USofA
  • + 12
 Ah I see what you did there... That's HILLARYous! But no seriously, it's pathetic. I live in a place where hikers, bikers, and equestrians are tentatively allowed to share trails, although the equestrians think that bikes are the devil. A few weeks ago I saw a 3000 lb beast of muscle trotting down a trail with its little rider off to the side, crying, holding on to the reigns, being dragged through the mud.... And I'm the problem, the guy with the brakes and only one brain doing the thinking.
  • + 8
 @snowwcold55: I believe in segregation for this exact reason. Horses and bikes just don't get along. I don't want to assign blame, but one side of the debate weighs a ton and has a brain the size of an egg and get scared by anything on the trails that isn't similarly a ton with an egg brain, and even then they still get anxious around their own kin.

I don't like getting yelled at by some fat mom on a horse because I'm scaring her precious shit factory that costs more than my bike and truck combined by using the trails.
  • + 1
 @ClaytonMarkin: I definitely agree with you that equestrians strongly dislike MTB. Folsom area on the other side of Los Lagos, oh geez, like you set the place on fire! Tried to talk to an old lady just walking out there and she's like I'm going to go get the ranger. American river parkway... rarely see horses out there when walking. I guess what I'm saying is if opened up it would get a lot more use and potential money for the Parks district. Lots of people love riding bikes, only a very few ride horses. They do get spooked, but I'd they get conditioned to sharing, it could be safer. Personally, if I can have it all open, I wouldn't care if e bikes rode there, realistically very few if any will be used based on price point alone, plus it's cheating
  • + 2
 @sjdeweese: Just as an aside, I've never had any problems with any equestrians that I've run into while riding. Everyone in the woods and mountains of Washington is pretty friendly, go figure.
  • - 3
 @ClaytonMarkin: "Horses and bikes just don't get along"

Actually they do. Perfectly well, I share all of my local trails with horses.

So here's what you do (feel free to take notes):

You slow down a bit and say "coming through on the right..."

REALLY simple, works perfectly.
  • + 1
 @ClaytonMarkin: You know, I actually have less incidents with equestrians. And I've never seen a horse freak out either. No doubt they cause WAY more erosion, and it's ridiculous that they seem to have more priority.

If we segregate, that will mean even less trails.
  • + 2
 Resist-Unlearn-Defy
  • + 1
 Keep mountain biking a crime.
  • - 7
flag KeithReeder (Dec 9, 2016 at 2:07) (Below Threshold)
 Yeah, that's a sustainable model, Einstein..
  • + 2
 @KeithReeder: Don't get your bullocks in a twist, everybody knows that the best trails are illegal.
  • + 2
 Fuck Marin County
  • + 2
 Marin county?
  • + 2
 You know, the county named after the bike company.
  • + 1
 So many great trails to ride in Marin but they are mostly illegal to ride. Realky ridiculous that Single-track trails are outlawed to bikers.
  • + 5
 @h82crash: I know. Why would a county name itself after a bike company and then not allow bikes?
  • + 2
 @h82crash: Orange county? Sorry, couldn't resist...
  • + 1
 @DJ-24: exactly! It makes no sense
  • + 1
 Sounds like an ebiker article. Haha!
  • + 1
 Exactly my concern. When we ride on trails we aren't supposed to, we get on our high horse and talk about how we shouldn't follow unjust laws, but if an ebiker shreds our trails we get (rightfully so in my opinion) super butthurt.
  • - 7
flag KeithReeder (Dec 9, 2016 at 2:06) (Below Threshold)
 @ClaytonMarkin: "but if an ebiker shreds our trails we get (rightfully so in my opinion) super butthurt."

That's because you're a f*ckwit who doesn't understand a fecking thing about e-bikes.

"Shreds", FFS...

What about "the more bikers fighting the bans the better" confuses you?
  • + 1
 Always has.
  • + 1
 How much is a ticket?
  • + 1
 how would they give you a ticket? chase you down whilst writing down some sort of bike license plate and asking for your real name and address.
that's what im wondering
  • + 1
 @markg1150: Waiting at the bottom of trails, wildlife cameras capture photo and run your face in the state database, hang out at the top, hide in the bushes off the side of a trail. Many ways to get caught, and true you get away the majority of the time, but you will get caught eventually. I grew up in Marin and love the riding there, but part of the reason I live in Squamish now. @pbuser2299 I've heard of and seen tickets ranging from $300 usd to $2500 usd.
  • + 1
 Got one a couple years ago that was $275 (marin county), though been talks of increasing every year until there's a drop in tickets given out...

@markg1150 ranger was hiking the other direction on a narrow traversy trail so wouldn't really be able to flip around (plus running just makes it worse if you're caught). Ranger was cool about it and even dubbed it a usage fee, though know people who've had not so great ticket stories.
  • + 2
 400$, and apparently riding a trail on your bike is a traffic violation, according to the rangers.
  • + 3
 @markg1150: On any of the famous Marin trails named after coins we'd to send one guy down the trail first. He'd call if the coast was clear. If there was no call... well, we split the fine he got. No biggie on a big group ride and twenty bucks each.
  • + 1
 @markg1150: we used to have a couple jump sites for bmx on the American river parkway in CA. Rangers started hiding out, riding MTB, even chasing us down on KTM 125!!! More so because a couple bad seeds ruin for the majority. Never allowed for bikes, but horses never went to these areas. I got ticketed once after washing out the front wheel after overshoot. Was dusting myself off and ranger wrote me a ticket that ended up costing $120.00! In 2000! I stopped riding there after that
  • - 3
 @sjdeweese: "More so because a couple bad seeds ruin for the majority"

Usually the case - many of the muppets on here banging on about their "pride" at riding illegally are those same bad seeds,,,
  • + 2
 funny you Americans can carry assault weapons around but not allowed to ride bikes. CanadaFTW
  • + 1
 @evo233: Actually, depends what jurisdiction in Marin. I think many of the districts are going to $275 for first offense, and it just keeps going up with more infractions.
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