Opinion: The Rules of Mountain Biking

May 27, 2021 at 2:13
by Matt Wragg  
Header for Matt s Op Ed pieces.

One of my favourite things about doing this for a living is that I get to talk to interesting people. Over the last decade I have been lucky enough to sit down and get to listen to innovators, trail builders, engineering geniuses, world champions and bicycle gypsies, I even got a to call one or two of them friends. Since the rise of the podcast I can’t help occasionally giggling to myself that while most people have to listen to a recording, I can pick up the phone and chat to these people, ask them dumb questions, disappear to down weird rabbit holes chasing ideas.

Recently I have had a few conversations with a lady who at just 19 years old picked up a bike and rode around the world unsupported. The stories she has are in turns fantastic, hilarious, terrifying and humbling; being held up at knifepoint in rural Spain, chased by a grizzly in Canada or high mountain riding in the Himalayas, all at an age at which most people are busy trying to get drunk and laid in their small corner of the earth. While I’ve probably been riding bikes longer than she has been alive, I’m fairly certain that I will never achieve a fraction of what she has on a bike. It is fair to say I am in awe of her in many ways. Of course, those kind of adventures demand a road bike, and it is only recently that she bought her first mountain bike. It was while chatting about this bike that she confessed to me that she did not feel comfortable calling herself a mountain biker, which makes me think our sport has a problem and we need some nice, clear rules so newcomers can easily feel welcome.


For those not familiar with road cycling, there is a mind-bendingly long and (possibly) tongue-in-cheek website called The Rules of Cycling. These days they are up to 95 entries. I assumed that they were just a joke until I was on a shoot with the owner of a road clothing brand who was mortified that his chainring had left a greasy ring on his leg. Apparently that is a serious breach of the rules and unforgivable for someone trying to peddle fashion to these people. So after several months of thinking about this, reflecting and reading comments on the internet, I have come up with the definitive, definite and incontrovertible rules of mountain biking, everything you need to do to consider yourself part of the family:

1. Ride a mountain bike.

That’s it.

Actually, the slightly more precise wording should be “ride a bike that you consider to be a mountain bike, preferably on trails,” but it would make for a shit t-shirt and 93.4% of my motivation to write this is the merchandising potential. And to avoid any confusion, yes, I think that means eMTB riders should be allowed to call themselves mountain bikers, if they want to.

What I have seen rising up in our sport is an idea that you need to prove yourself worthy to be part of it. A few years ago a failed, self-proclaimed freeracer posted on his Facebook page that you are not a real mountain biker unless you have tattoos. Apparently despite having ridden for more than 20 years and walked away from a promising career to follow this sport, I am still not worthy (and, more worryingly, this same logic suggests Levy is more worthy than anyone else here at PB). It is clearly bullshit from a would-be hipster, but it is the tip of an iceberg, buoyed by a current flowing through our sport, a web of ideas that coalesce to create an environment that people don’t feel welcome to join.

The one theme I see a lot and take particular offence to is calling people who ride eMTBs as “cheaters”, perpetuating the idea there is some notional bar that we all need to pass. If you start to work your way into this logic, you quickly start to see how toxic it is. After all, if we’re purely talking about physical work, then pushing your 28t chainring and 52t cassette up a fireroad is no more physically demanding than riding an ebike, the only difference is that you’re moving at roughly the same speed as a pensioner with a walking frame. But it’s pure, so that’s fine, even if it is mind-numbingly boring. The point is that if someone is out riding and having fun, why does it matter to you how they choose to do that? Who among us has the right to decide how other people should enjoy mountain biking?


What makes me angry is that over the years I have seen mountain bikers feel (often legitimately) aggrieved that other trail users don’t welcome us onto the trails. That if the walkers, horse riders or whoever would just work with us the situation would be better for everyone. Now eMTB riders are coming along and you’ll never guess what? Rather than welcoming these people with an eye on the bigger picture, mountain bikers are perpetrating the same bullshit towards eMTBers that they have pissed and moaned about receiving themselves for decades. After all, eMTB riders are going to need more or less the same things as riders on regular bikes. In terms of trail advocacy, this gets us to the fundamental truth at the heart of every political idea: if you want to get something done, you need as many people as possible who agree with you. So can you really afford to write off a fresh pool of potential allies?

Climbing back down off my soapbox there are probably some legitimate questions you are asking about now. For instance: what about trail etiquette? What about respecting the trails and the environment? And you’re right to be asking those questions as they are important. Everybody who heads out into the wild should be conscientious, courteous and respectful and that should be fundamental. What that is not, however, is specific to mountain bikers. If you break down every rule for your local trail network, I would put down money that they can all be traced back to those three, essential values.

And if you think I am heading down some weird, angry rabbit-hole, I would ask you to think back to the Repack days. There were no rules, regulations or lists back then - you had to show up with a bike. That was it. Every layer people try to add on top of that takes us one step further from the soul of our sport. Because right now an accomplished cyclist was nervous to try and join a sport that brings joy to so many of us, and, for me, that’s heartbreaking.


259 Comments

  • 209 11
 Don't give two sh*ts about emtb's, walkers or hikers but when a few horses come through and take softball sized chunks of soil out of the trail and trundle rocks leaving our maintained trails ruined, turned into a donkey path, that really gets me. Not to mention a huge steamy pile of horse crap right in the middle of a single track trail. CORDOVAN CAPER OUT.
  • 106 1
 I brought this up to the department of forestry that manages some of our trail systems...we are required to clean up our dog crap....why shouldn't equestrians clean up after their horses?
  • 16 1
 @RadBartTaylor: it’s a old grandfathered right from back when everybody was riding horse.
  • 108 1
 I think more so cows can go f*ck themselves. They have no trail etiquette, just run down the trail shitting while I hit my bell clearly telling them to get out of the way.

F cows.
  • 23 0
 Why not just ride trails that a horse could never make it down? Problem solved!

The cow shit is what it is though. That's what happens when you build trails on crown land lol.
  • 31 7
 Yup. Horses are terrible for trails and are a danger to their riders and others. One could argue that they're just as much a "vehicle" as an e-bike but they have a brain capable of independent thought, panic, and fear.

They just get a pass because they're grandfathered in and equestrians typically have deep pockets.
  • 16 1
 But horses have built some of the best trails in the world - Durango in the 90's? Pure bliss. Thanks horsey.
  • 5 0
 @Dustfarter: Also, I did some research a few years back, on the hours forums (much like here with ebikes) they are divided regarding picking up vs leaving on trail....they see the synergy with other users and generally wanna be good stewards
  • 25 0
 Why can't they just strap a feed bag to the other end?
  • 2 0
 @jasbushey: I think they’re getting more aggressive too. Agree, f cows, rude bastard!
  • 16 6
 @Dustfarter: a lots of horseback riders out here and most have no business out here with their retarded cross bred ‘butter cup’ that gets startled by everything. They are the worst by far.
  • 3 1
 @RadBartTaylor: I was actually curious about this, after hiking a particularly horse poopy trail. It's because of the difference in diet. The high protein diet of a dog breaks down differently and attracts different sorts of bacteria apparently.
  • 4 0
 One excellent thing I've noticed with the increasing amount of riders this last year. Horse riders are staying off the trails and sticking to the horse only trails. Barely see them anymore on the main trails. I don't necessarily mind them that much, but it can get annoying constantly having to stop so they can pass by without the horse losing it.
  • 1 25
flag d-man (Jun 11, 2021 at 14:54) (Below Threshold)
 @Dustfarter: and nobody ever gets hurt riding a mountain bike....
You are the example of dumb that is ruining society.
  • 3 0
 @jasbushey: Cows = Leather Bags of Trouble. Bulls = Leather Bags with 10x the attitude just looking for Trouble.
  • 5 0
 @jasbushey: Cow's = reduced fire danger, which is about the only plus I can see to them. This is important depending on your location, and here in Northern California, I have learned to appreciate them.
  • 8 0
 What about mini horses? I heard they can freeride as well as a biker
  • 8 1
 @garyparkstrom: actually a lot of trails around Durango were made by dirt bikers in the 70's. Your welcome.
  • 3 0
 Then their riders turn around and say mountain bikers are to blame for worn trails...
  • 14 8
 Full suspension, top of the line mountain bike…check. Complains about horses making the trail bumpy….check.
  • 9 0
 @friendlyfoe: hate to say it man, but horses can make it down almost anything.
  • 13 0
 Ya know.... right there with you. We were recently given access to build trails in a local management area and the trail builders (who do an epic job) had just put in a few really nice berms on some faster single track sections (mind you this is pretty deep into the forest, not just out of the lot) and someone has been strolling their beloved horses right on the newly packed sections and hoofing the #*@& out of them. Granted it is a management area,but the trails they are on are signed and built for and by mountain bikers. At the very least...have some consideration with your “Yellowstone” mindset and don’t mangle someone else’s hard work. And we still have people that hike out and take their time to cut briars and lay them all over the place, constantly and repeatedly. The weak minded apparently never die off in the gene pool.
  • 1 0
 @russhandsome: You're not wrong. Was partly being cheeky. That being said some of the black trails around here I have no doubt a horse could manage, the only question is whether a rider would be willing to accompany them on their back lol. But people around here seem pretty good and I'm sure it's less so in other places. Both the mice in Penticton and Smith creek in West Kelowna have equestrian riders and I've never seen them on any of our single track. Probably helps that there's some single track bench cut that you definitely wouldn't want to ride a horse on!
  • 4 0
 @jgottya1: I will never forget an Australian girl who was visiting Canada (and mildly intoxicated) saying to me "you know everyone says how nice Canadians are but I don't think that's true. Polite yes, but not that nice." Canadians aren't any better than people from anywhere else, but our cultural norms are such that people probably are more polite on average than in other places. Possibly the only thing keeping equestrians off our single track!
  • 3 0
 @friendlyfoe: I have no issues with the animals or even really the owners.. it is just the lack of consideration and as you know, it doesn’t matter where you are..some people are clueless. As far as Canadians being nice?? Way back meeting up to ride at Mt St. Anne with the Balfa boys... everyone I ever had contact with was like family... the year I wore my bruins jersey in Montreal for a game..not so much..lol. Glad the hooves stay off your trails!
  • 5 5
 @RadBartTaylor: probably because horse shit is laughable. Dog shit or Shit in general from non plant based Liveforms are way more stinky and stick to you except the cow but I still don't care about cow shit.
  • 13 1
 @Serpentras: my preference is not to be covered in feces of any animal
  • 3 2
 @Gills: my thoughts exactly. "Can't believe a horse has made a 3inch deep depression in my trail for my 170mm 29er to get over, I don't have the right leverage rate for a square edge hit like that"
  • 3 1
 @artistformlyknowasdan: if you had any experience with horses you would know their defense mechanism is to run. They don't get "startled" by everything, just things they have not been introduced to. My horses are fine with MTB, dirt bikes, sleds because they have been around them.
  • 5 0
 @RadBartTaylor: you mean to tell me that there's a pinkbike for horses?
  • 2 0
 @PurelyNicole: that's horse propaganda
  • 1 0
 @jasbushey: yep, rode through cow shit today. Not only sucks in the moment, but the clean up is awful!
  • 3 15
flag fathamburger (Jun 12, 2021 at 20:53) (Below Threshold)
 Horses have been here before mountain bikers. They should have there way.
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: asked why are they not required to take that shit? There is your answer..
  • 6 0
 @friendlyfoe: Not likely too many trails a horse can’t make it down. Of course, I’m basing that guess on watching old Westerns. LOL
  • 1 0
 @jasbushey: Amen bro! Get along lil doggies.
  • 1 0
 @yukonman: They huck it all to full flat bro.
  • 1 2
 I ride my mtb at least 4 times a week and I always ride together with my wife, who is riding her horse.

If the horse Rider really is a trail rider, they would never ride over berms and jumps, because they respect all other trail users and their specific features.

The horse riders you are talking about are rich daughters who don’t know shit about riding and have badly trained horses that don’t know how to behave when a mtb goes by.
This is definitely not the horses fault, but the dumb daughters!

If they would ride regularly on trails to train themselves and their horses and not just every fifth Sunday when one of their rich cousins visits, these horses wouldn’t be a threat to anyone!

Also a well trained horse can go up and down trails most mtb guys can only dream about!
Natural double black diamonds are laughable to a good trail horse.
Snow and mud also isn’t a problem for the horse.
Not even dirtbikes or atvs are capable of riding the stuff lots of horses can do!

Of course I’m not talking about man made stuff like jumps or skinny’s, but real gnarly tech stuff, with disgusting roots, rocks and compressions where 200mm of suspension is barely enough to not die.

I love being able to ride together with my wife and I’d be really mad if there where trails which only bikers or horse riders are allowed on, with no exception.
  • 3 0
 One place I used to run and ride bikes used to be open to dirt bikes. The horseback riders complained so much that they got banned. I think Originally they gave dirt bikes 2 days a week - but my guess is they didn't always follow the rules, which didn't help. As a jogger, I preferred the dirt bikes because their exhaust didn't get all over the floor mats of my truck. I did once see an equestrian cleanup the mess her horse left in the parking area. That's another concern I haven't seen anyone mention - horse trailers use up a lot of parking space, which can be an issue at many trailheads.
  • 2 0
 @Pukeproof: Do you clean up after the horse?
  • 107 22
 "After all, if we’re purely talking about physical work, then pushing your 28t chainring and 52t cassette up a fireroad is no more physically demanding than riding an ebike, the only difference is that you’re moving at roughly the same speed as a pensioner with a walking frame."

I'm so sick of this conflation of gears and motors as being somehow pretty much the same thing.
  • 18 8
 I disagree. If you own a road bike and ride it down mountains, you’re a mountain biker. If you own a mountain bike and ride it on roads, you’re a road biker.
  • 27 2
 Yeah I want some of these physics defying gears. Same mass, same distance, less work... magic. Also I've never heard anyone call ebikers cheaters. I always thought this was just a straw man for ebikers to attack. I could be wrong, maybe it's more prevalent than I realized.
  • 23 5
 @expat-taff: Yes, and when you rider a motorbike in the mountains your are a mountain biker too.Got it.
  • 7 1
 @jeremy3220: No, you are right. It's used as a defensive attack far more commonly than it is employed by people who don't like e-bikes.
  • 24 0
 Agreed. Half the effort means twice the time exerting half that effort. It requires less strength but fitness wise it's definitely not the same as riding twice the gearing with 50% motor assist.
Still, I'm totally fine with people having bad physical fitness and enjoying themselves on an e-bike. It's just frustrating when you're mentally dying on a long climb and being overtaken by a whole family of non sporty e-bike riders .. But that's my problem, not theirs.
  • 4 0
 @expat-taff: So street trials is road biking? Nope. MTB is an attitude that having fat tyres can take you anywhere.
  • 87 4
 Big rant incoming. It’s a rest day and I have pent up energy.

Whether ebikes require effort or not is irrelevant to the problem of ebikes masquerading as non-motorized vehicles. No one cares how hard someone is (or isn’t) sweating during their Tuesday ride after work that they have to fit in around kids and responsibilities. The issue is public access for everyone. And as someone who also rides dirt bikes, trying to make the debate about the energy input is hilarious.

I have done several outdoor/mountain sports at an expert or elite level for my entire adult life. A 2.5 hour hare scramble is the most physically demanding thing I’ve ever done, and it isn’t even close.

Yet I can’t ride my moto everywhere, and I shouldn’t be allowed to. Entitled people buying dirt bikes and ignoring the rules has resulted in very few places to ride moto, and many of the areas that remain are at risk of closing due to a small group of riders that ignore basic trail etiquette.

It took decades of advocacy to legitimize dedicated Mtb trails, and with the huge increase in rider numbers the discreet unsanctioned trails are discreet no longer. Assuming the access we have now is guaranteed is a huge mistake; 30 years ago dirt bikes used to be hugely popular and allowed nearly everywhere mountain bikes are allowed now. Entitled users disrespecting the rules ended that.

Finally, gatekeeping isn’t necessarily bad if it’s used to reinforce the rules that preserve the resource that the community depends upon. I don’t care if someone identifies as a mountain biker or not, but I do care that the people using the trails don’t act in a way that jeopardizes it for everyone. If someone abuses the shared resource then I have zero problem with kicking that person out of the group.
  • 6 1
 @CaptainBLT: That all depends on where in the world you are and if the trails are public or private. Moto in Europe has pretty much always been for privately owned land only. If you are equating moto with e-bikes there are major differences between the two and the perceptions that others have of them. The speed, noise and damage to trails that motos do is not comparable to e-bikes. Btw I'm not an e-biker or a moto rider. Where I live, many of the local trails are shared access for bikes, walkers (including those with dogs) and horses. Tensions are always high with certain individuals who believe that their group should have priority and idiots from all groups just make this worse. the only solution to this is to spilt everyone up on their own individual trails, but that is costly to councils and the environment.
  • 15 2
 @CaptainBLT: PREACH!

In an area with a ton of 2 way trails shared with hikers, e-bikes are causing problems and will continue to do so as they become more prevalent. I'm not some elitist prick, I just don't want to lose access to some fun places because you have unsafe closing speeds and hikers that have to worry about speedy bikes from multiple directions. I have no issue with them on trails that are uphill/downhill only.
  • 13 2
 @djm35: absolutely geographically dependent, but that’s kind of the point.

On my last moto ride, my buddy and I played leap frog with a pair of trail runners for about an hour. We were slowed by sawing out windfall, having to turn back to take a different route due to creeks running high or snow. All 4 of us got along well, the trail runners actually commented that they were going to get a folding saw too “because runners don’t do enough trail maintenance” (his words). It’s possible to get along.

As far as moto vs ebikes, every line is arbitrary once you add a motor. An Alta MX blazing trail can completely wreck the forest just as well as a fuel injected 250 but with no noise, and an electric staycyc strider is probably less harmful than the typical mountain biker. A Sur Ron isn’t much different from an 85, aside from the price tag.

Class 1 eBikes are way closer to mountain bikes than 450’s. But if a seven year old can’t have any local public lands to ride an electric 50cc around the woods at 4 miles an hour, I can’t really see an argument for opening those lands to adults on eBikes.
  • 2 0
 @lkubica: No, then you’re an e-biker.
  • 8 0
 @djm35: I’m going to break the PB comments section here, possibly the internet. I see the flaw in my argument and you are right.

The point I was trying to make is that someone who buys a mtb and uses it to commute to work isn’t really a mountain biker. My 60 year old parents own mtb’s but the tyres have never touched anything other than a tarmac cycle path. There was a video a few years back of someone sending A line on a road bike. Martyn Ashton’s road bike party is another prime example. It’s not the bike but the intended use that defines it.
  • 2 0
 @expat-taff: Fair play mate. I do most of my riding as a road commuter but head to the hills at weekends. I also manage to do things like big drops, stairs etc in the urban environment that most road cyclists would never dream of attempting. I intend to send it and do some urban free-riding along the way, which is what separates me and those who do the same from the get off for a curb, road bikers!
  • 1 1
 @CaptainBLT: elite,that’s the reason.
  • 1 0
 @Mac1987: I pass road bikes going uphill on my ESK8 sometimes. Not the serious road cyclists, but the non-spandex wearing types. And mountain bikers - they are usually surprised to see a skateboard go whizzing by them. It's just another way to enjoy the bike path... but is not much exercise, unfortunately.
  • 1 0
 @djm35: Some ebikes are approaching motocross performance levels (if you have the $$$) Some don't even have pedals and are real electric dirtbikes.
  • 1 0
 @expat-taff: Intended use? I think you mean actual usage. My Trek Remedy 5 is intended for way more than I will ever use it for - though I try to challenge my skills, and knowing that the bike is way better than I am is confidence inspiring. Of course, sometimes I do more than my old body is really intended for.
  • 80 1
 You forgot a few:
- pick a wheel size and be a dick about it
- pick a brake / groupset brand and be a dick about it
- complain about all new standards
  • 10 0
 And the most important one... anything posted on pinkbike, be a dick about it.
  • 4 0
 @jgottya1: pb rules

#1: if you have an opinion you suck and you're wrong
  • 72 2
 That is what makes mountain biking - mountain biking. At the end of the day it's not about what you wear, where you came from, what you look like. Only that you ride a mountain bike. We're all here to better ourselves and enjoy the world around us.
  • 100 6
 and drive a tacoma..
  • 18 1
 What makes mountain biking, mountain biking?
I don't think it even matters what kind of bike you ride, I'd welcome CXers and gravel riders to our club more than the guy who bought an On-one S36 as a commuter and traded it in 2 months later because it was "very sluggish" and wouldn't take a pannier rack.

MTB rules:
1. Ride a bike off-road
  • 10 0
 @owlie: It's the law.
  • 1 2
 @owlie: This ! The secret handshake of real mountain bikers!
I love my Taco as much as I love my mountain bikes.
  • 1 0
 @Schwenn2: man I had 3 over the last decade but the last 2 frame recalls killed me..they hooked me up, but I had to step away for a while,mainly because the lady needed a new crv..
  • 4 0
 @owlie: that means most people outside of the us is not a Mountainbiker.

I don't even have a car because I don't need that. Trial's are on my doorstep...
Alps are overall 1h away, trains are common here and they bring you right next to the mountain.
  • 1 0
 Amen!
  • 2 1
 @Serpentras: mmmkay
  • 74 17
 We're maintaining a delicate relationship with other trail users and then the industry threw e-bikes into the mix, capable of silently travelling uphill (the most shared tails) at 2x speed.

Whatever. Rule Number 2: Be courteous.
  • 39 32
 When I watch UCI WC XC racing, I'm pretty sure these peeps climb 3x the speed I'd climb at. Should e-bikers ban WC XC racers for traveling 1.5x their speed?
  • 32 25
 What BULLSHIT! Even 2x the speed is way slower than all the joeys on regular bikes descending the fire road out of control. Also, at least where I live, the top XC guys are still climbing faster than the average e-biker anyway. This is just another one of those baseless anti-ebike claims that seems to persist for some reason.
  • 22 0
 @vinay: that’s a pretty low % of the population though.
  • 18 0
 Think the “be courteous” way is all that’s needed. It’s becoming the city out there on trails. Head down don’t care you’re there. Outta my way! Should chill out, say hi. Ride your bike well behind the person you’re catching, wait for them to stop, go by, say something nice. Appreciate your at someone else’s place (if you are). Every one has a good time!
  • 8 1
 @brunk3000: Well yeah, but if it were a higher percentage people would be more prepared, right?

As for your other comment, I agree absolutely. I don't have much experience with people on assisted mtb but funny enough it are those "xc types" (unassisted but on lightweight gear and trying to climb fast) who are unwilling to hold back in places where you can't pass, let alone willing to waste breath on saying "hi". The few peeps who have passed me on assisted bikes were much more mellow. After all, they weren't trying to prove anything, nor were they trying to preserve energy or be efficient. They find a spot where they can pass, then they have the power to pass by quickly. Never bothered me. They can say "hi" too.
  • 6 3
 @Dustfarter: on most of the ebike rides I’ve done I’m 30-35% faster than the KOMs on climbs and I live in a town with a ton of olympians and super fast xc folks.
  • 5 0
 @kilpatrick If we could only teach rule #2 to the world population.
  • 60 15
 What I expected to read in "Rules of Mountain Biking" was something that didn't have rant about how mountain bikers should accept Mopeds into their community simply as a nod to the idea that more trail users translates to a larger voice in the outdoor community.

Mopeds are here to stay - that's a fact. The idea of saying the mountain bike and Moped are somehow equivalent is nonsense. A bicycle is a "human powered" device - a Moped is not. The guy/gal grinding up that trail in their lowest gear may be going slow but they are doing it themselves - the Moped rider is not. Take away the motor and oftentimes you have an individual who cannot. I think a good rule would be simply to tell the truth about your riding. Either you rode the trail - or you and your e-powered friend rode the trail.
  • 7 2
 @cirque4 No better way to put it and you spelled it right out clearly. There is no E in HPV.
  • 6 2
 @jgottya1: Exactly! HPV for me, please.
  • 5 10
flag spudhimself (Jun 12, 2021 at 9:11) (Below Threshold)
 Yeah bud. So next time your noncontributing ass is banging out your favorite Fromme lap, make sure to stop and say hi to Digger and then tell him he shouldn’t be riding the trails he’s built and maintained for the last 25 years… on the e bike he was gifted by the NSMB and Rocky.

I’m sure you’re not going to get laid out.
  • 7 2
 @spudhimself: A lot of assumptions there little fella. Actually I contributed (with Todd) in building Ladies and he helped me fix a wonky headset on my Catalyst one day. And ya, I know about his knees. And ya, I have no problem with someone riding a Moped if they need it to ride. Do you?
  • 2 2
 @cirque4:
None whatsoever! I must have misread your tone as I understood you to mean that “mopeds” are not welcome and not entitled to fair access.

If you’re referring to guys strapping Cranked kits to their V10s and blasting up executioner or whatever then I’m all for a hard ban on those. Otherwise I feel I’m in no way (and nor is anyone else) more entitled to ride any trail just because I’m on an acoustic bike …provided we all remember our manners.
  • 47 7
 Actually, there are only 2 rules and it's Respect and Obey. Respect the trail, trail builders, other users (if it is a shared trail), Obey the rules (if the signs say no e-bikes or bikes allowed, don't be a dick about it and think it is your God given right to ride any trail you please.)
  • 3 0
 Yup. This is the set of rules I ride by...
  • 25 3
 The obey one is a little difficult in areas that won't have world class sanctioned trail networks. Most trails worth riding in Central to Northern California are illegal. I'm not obeying those rules
  • 8 0
 @labrinsky: That makes sense. I think in your situation, a helpful rule for riders would be, "turn off strava" so that a massive heatmap isn't generated.

I'm blown away by strava warriors who insist on posting every single ride they do on illegal trails and then are gobsmacked when these trails get shut down.
  • 4 0
 @labrinsky: In this case I'd opt for respect: dont share online-- keep it on the low
  • 2 0
 @flashpoint50 Wow there are actually trails that ban ebikes? I have always loved Canada and I thought it was just my Balfas and outstanding lebatts from way back.
  • 1 0
 This is the way. #1 rule - Respect others and obey the rules.
  • 2 0
 @me2menow: exactly, no need to turn off Strava, just choose not to share the ride. You can still keep it for your own record.
  • 50 12
 Okay we get it... but when will PB stop posting "yo we pro ebike" propaganda?
  • 39 6
 It’s crazy how hard they are pushing for motorized bike inclusivity. Push for advocacy instead. All the work in advocacy in the past 40 years, and all people selfishly think about is how fun an Ebike is. Lots of things are fun and seem harmless, but public land is has rules. You ruin it for everyone by selfishly disregarding rules and we undo decades of advocacy. Purely selfish. /end rant
  • 9 2
 Just like fat bikes an plus bikes I give ebikes another 5 or so years before the bubble bursts.
Over here There are now, the odd electric moto X 'hybrids' showing up at trail centres claiming ignorance in "oh but it's an ebike an theyr'e allowed" knowing damn well they ain't.
I forsee a high profile accident maybe a death that will get the attention of authority an ebikes will face more legislation an scrutineers maybe even MOT tax and insurance as a motorised vehicle? Like maybe an ebike rider shows up at a trail centre an shows a disabled card and/or takes the bike to a scrutineer to get a trail pass.
There has even been one report at my local of an ebiker running a young lad off a trail!
This make riding an ebike a hassle for the moto wannabee crowd an just ruin it for the genuine elderly an disabled ebike users.
I reckon 5years they start to go out of fashion an in 10 be a rarity......
  • 6 1
 @nojzilla: I was skeptical until I tried a good one on a trail. Just felt like riding, but with instant superpowers. All the fun with none of the pain. I can't see them falling out of fashion unless they get shut out of major trail systems.
  • 32 0
 This reminds me of one summer when I was a counselor at a mountain bike camp for kids. Often kids would show up on bikes that were not mountain bikes and we'd figure out a way to get them on a mtb so they'd have fun and be able to keep up. This kid showed up on a BMX bike, rode the wheels off that thing on some pretty decent trails, and had the greatest time in the world while other kids whined.
  • 10 0
 Giving a kid a BMX bike is like giving him two more arms. They (we) just come out different in the long run.
  • 2 0
 Not just just kids. I live in The Netherlands so nearly everyone grows up riding bikes and most keep using at least as a means of transportation. Never realized how important it was for me, but because covid-regulations required me to work more from home I was no longer spending that hour on the bike on busy workdays. So yeah, it really is important. Wouldn't like to have a dayjob where I'd need a different means of commuting. I was watching RedBull Live just before the Leogang WC coverage started and there was a feature called "bikelife" on people in New York City riding bikes. It is beautiful seeing how much of an outlet it is for them. And no, they aren't on dirt trails. But they were goofing about and having proper fun doing so. So yeah by all means kids deserve access to bikes. Not just because "bikes" but simply because at that age it is what allows them to be independent, go places and maybe even learn some basic mechanics skills if that's what they're interested in. But adult who missed this opportunity early on can still get so much from picking it up later on.
  • 34 8
 This article as elitist and condescending as the Road Rules, but less self-aware. Cyclists seldom (if ever) fit any strict category. Most riders ride on roads, trails, commute, ride at bike parks, etc. in some combination. Deriding roadie culture while calling for some sort of kumbaya unity amongst mountain bikers to uphold some ideal of "mountain biking" doesn't foster inclusion, it fosters discrimination.

The biggest issue in cycling culture is a class divide. Poor cyclists-those who HAVE to ride to get around are considered and treated as inferiors. Bike lanes, bike paths, bike parks and other cycling amenities are built to cater to affluent riders who use bicycles as recreation, not transportation. The bike industry gives ZERO f##ks about making a cheap, durable bike for people who need to get to a job. A bicycle that costs 10k, requires, requires virtually zero effort to use and is optimized for purpose built trails is the epitome of that elitism, shorn of even the work ethic that has historically defined cycling.

So.....f**k your sh**ty smug attitude, and f**k eMTBs-they are a toy for rich people too unfit to ride on trails for their recreation.

The only good guys in my story are the local shops that aren't too cool to squeeze in an economically challenged person's bike before they tune that eBike......so the poor person can get to work.
  • 8 3
 OldManYellsAtSky.jpeg
  • 7 0
 In all seriousness you are 100% right. About all of this. As an elitist a-hole it hits too close to home.
  • 9 0
 @wyorider
Years ago at my shop, Northeastern US, extremely seasonal “bike” season for most.. I used to have full dockets daily from March to October and I ALWAYS fit in the poor/homeless/kids to fix their flats, adjust their brakes, etc, usually for no charge and ran late getting the custom litespeed, campy record, Carbon rims before they were cool, tubular swap done and had to endure the wrath of that ...almost 30 years later and helping people that need help, never leaves your mind.
  • 24 1
 I don't really care about "rules". If you're out on a bike having your version fun and not ruining it for other riders and people using the same outdoor space, then go for it. What I have a problem with lately is the large number of new users caused by the cycling boom who have zero care for common courtesy out on the trails. I try to say hello to every person I encounter out there, pet dogs, give people the right of way, and ask any other rider who is fiddling with something if they need a tool,co2, help, etc. In the past year I've experienced more people blowing my doors off on a climb inches away from me with nothing more than a glance my direction, more unanswered good mornings, and more walkers getting pushed to the edge of the trail than I have in over 15 years of riding in the same area. I recently had a friend slice a tire beyond repair and after a 40 minute hike back up a popular trail passing numerous riders, not a single person asked if he was OK or needed help. Mind blowing. I'm not saying I'm a Saint out there myself, and maybe it's up to the veterans of the sport to inform the newer members but it's hard to when they act like you don't exist.
  • 5 0
 Yup, rude people suck.
  • 8 0
 Haha I'm always that guy who says "hi how you doing" to everyone I see on the trails. Most have been super polite and friendly, only the occasional lycra xc guy who can't muster a breath for a simple "hey" or head nod. Just kinda makes me laugh though. Trails are supposed to be fun.
  • 2 2
 @Tayrob That is totally sucky to hear but sadly not unexpected. Thank wherever and whoever dropped the cv19 on us. Wuhan or other.. now with every Richard and female counterpart not at the gym, office party, yacht club, etc.. and have to get their “pump” on... whoa this new craze in GQ called mountain biking...giddy up and get outta the way I have to get home to watch the Kardoucheians. At least you are doing the civil thing by addressing them, if they choose to be that ignorant/arrogant..maybe they will change one day when they are on the side of the trail trying to figure out a presto valve tube and you stop to help.
  • 6 0
 @Tayrob I have had the same experiences recently. Tons of new riders just blowing past everyone, not saying hi or even acknowledging other trail users. It is so strange to me because, while I am not the most outgoing person, when I am on my bike I always say hello to everyone. Bikes are my happy place!

In regards to asking people if they are okay, most of the new riders seem pretty shocked/surprised that I even ask. I thought that was part of the mountain bike code? If you see someone stopped at the side of the trail, ask if they are alright! They may need a tool or a patch or maybe they are out of water. In the last year, I have had maybe one person ask if I was okay, everyone else is head down, ignoring everyone (or worse, they have headphones in).
  • 2 0
 I wave at everyone, and say Hi when I can breathe (and sometimes when I'm gasping)

This Strava group made me grin because it expresses the same sentiment/
www.strava.com/clubs/92910
  • 2 0
 @Fly4aWhiteGuy: I dig your mindset!
  • 20 1
 Are people in the sailing community accused of gatekeeping if they maintain that there's an important distinction between sailboats and yachts?
  • 3 1
 @makudad No silly as the yachtsmen are too rich and busy plundering the worlds resources to give a flying @*#& about any of that nonsense.
  • 7 0
 Get out of here with your reasonable logic.

I bought a 5k ebike and want people to give me props for riding up 1000m all on my own*
  • 2 0
 Sailboats are yachts, everything else is just noise.
  • 20 2
 What about “Strava or it didn’t happen”. I’ll see myself out.
  • 15 0
 Took a dump today. GOT THE KOM!
  • 19 1
 The main rule for MTB is the same as for life:
Don’t be a d**k
  • 2 1
 I don't think you're gonna make it into the club....
  • 14 0
 from Chile...
"The point is that if someone is out riding and having fun, why does it matter to you how they choose to do that?"
.... just a few days ago a guy was riding full speed an MTB 100% electric... i´m pretty sure it has no cranks.... sooo...

Maybe SOME RULES are needed....
  • 24 7
 I’m fascinated by the pretzels industry folks will twist themselves into to normalize motors in bicycles.
  • 18 4
 You want a notional bar? How about marketing and describing a motorized vehicle as a bicycle?! Ebikes are great, but not everywhere-and the name has more to do with marketing than what they are.

Pedal assist means you can be generating 15W (just rotating the cranks, no effort) and putting out 350-and that's a motorized vehicle, not a bicycle.
  • 18 3
 Coming from BMX, Street, Freeride, Dirt Jimping, roots, and over 40 years riding experience.....

Rules... What are thes rules, you speak of?
  • 9 1
 Exactly!!
Same boat here.....

My only rules are:

Don’t litter...
And, if I wanna ride a spot that’s actually built by someone I ask them for permission to ride it.
For the rest, I dunno but there’s no rules really. Be nice to other trail users. It’s so simple...
  • 6 0
 Well yeah, indeed I think the rules stated by Matt could be slimmed down. Leave out the "preferrably on trails" part. I'd love the DS/4x/street/DJ/pumptrack people to be part of "us" too. Without them, the average "us" is way less cool Wink .
  • 15 0
 Matt, this “opinion piece” could have been a 140-character twitter post- “I heard about the 95 rules of cycling and I think they’re dumb.”
  • 1 0
 Oh come on surely you can’t argue with rule #32 Wink
  • 15 2
 There are too many people mountain biking.

We need more rules to keep people out. Gate keeping is good.

Nothing good has come from attracting more people. It’s good for the bike industry but not people who ride bikes.
  • 3 7
flag platnum (Jun 12, 2021 at 7:00) (Below Threshold)
 Selfish, me me me, it should be all about me. Give me a break.
  • 7 0
 I do agree, it's boomed so fast, there are too many people and not enough trails. It feels rude to say, but it is true. I love that people like to ride bikes and in no way mean to be exclusive, but it's not hard to tell how f*cked things have gotten. Bike shops can't keep up, trail work can't keep up, every train network and bike park was blown to shit last year and will be even worse this year. it is not sustainable right now at all. But the laws of nature say what goes up must come down, so I think we will see a lot of the new riders get bored / hurt and give up on it pretty quick.
  • 11 0
 There is only one rule in MTB. Use good judgement. Do you think it’s acceptable to wreck and ruin everything you ride and ruin it for other people? It makes me angry when I see riders ruining the sport for everyone by wrecking the trail builders’ hard work.
  • 5 0
 Honestly and ethically, yes. In racing and the way it is being discussed in the media, strikingly not. I always hated it when there was a race on my local trails. Technical climbs that were just doable would be trampled to mush. Technical descends that could be ridden gracefully would be ripped to shreds by scared racers dragging their rear brakes. Fun tight wavy sections would be widened into boring parts with no challenges left. It would take weeks for the trail to recover. Then I watch how race tracks are being discussed. Take Cathro discussing the Leogang DH top section. How only a few days of practice will erode a section and serve ever changing challenges to the riders. Which is true. But imagine what would happen to that poor trail if the erosion would continue at such a rate during a summer of riding. Apparently it is inherent to top level racing. But that also implies that such racing is inherently not sustainable. If everyone would (try to) ride like that (which is a valid goal, as riding bikes is a participation sport) the track would already be mush before the WC circus drops by.

Yet at the same time of course, these top level racers are indeed mountainbike riders. So that implies that being a mountainbiker doesn't imply being respectful of the trail.

And no, I don't like that part at all.
  • 2 1
 @vinay: The problem with the sport of MTB is the same with everything else: there’s practically no one that does the sport to be fit and active. It’s all about getting sponsored, winning races, but in the end it all leads to one thing: I must be better than someone else. And when people take it to a a competetive level where the ego takes over, the trails normal riders (normal meaning doing the sport for fun and fitness) go on, and will, as you said, be trampled to mush. And I think that this is the problem. Also as you said, I’m pretty annoyed when races happen on local trails that are designated for those “normal” riders. Maybe it would be smart to designate a few trails in a network to racing, and not use ones that everyone, not only racers, enjoy? I’m personally not a trail builder, but I am part of my local trail association, so maybe people should start thinking about this a little bit more. It’s not all about the competitive aspect of the sport. Besides, when races happen on trails “normal” riders use, it creates more work for the builders because they then have to clean up the racers’ mess. By no means am I saying that racing is bad, in fact some aspects of it is good. But in the end, there’s a place and time for everything. There can be a solution to this problem, but like everything else, you’ve gotta work for it.
  • 14 1
 Congrats for finding a way to insult Levy in an article that is not at all about him.
  • 11 2
 My only concern about eBikes is rooted in trail access. When I learned to snowboard and started mountain biking in the late 80's there were very few places that allowed trail access. We now have access to lots of areas. I fear that irresponsible eBikers who ignore the no motors signs will get everyone kicked off the trails. I like having a place to ride. I don't want to go back to the bad old days.
  • 12 0
 Rule 2: don't be a dick.

THAT's it.
  • 8 0
 That's rule #1 (there's no rule 2)
  • 1 0
 This is the way. This #1 rule transcends our sport and applies to all situations.
  • 13 2
 I didnt care about emtbs a year ago, now with the way they are being forced down my throat i officially hate them.
  • 10 0
 I'm pretty sure the comments section is about to beat The Rules of Cycling with at least 100 different rules...
  • 2 0
 Just the idea of an article about the rules of MTB will automatically spark up a million controversial topics at once. Wonder what the editorial team at Pinkbike was thinkin’ when they thought this would be a smart idea…
  • 11 2
 Ebikess = Trail Viagra!
There should be more love on the trails, less performance. Just doing something longer/faster doesn't make it better.
  • 2 3
 Probably doesn’t make it worse either
  • 13 2
 Ride, don't slide.
  • 17 10
 This.

100% this.

If we spent as much time advocating and educating people on the sport as we did arguing and trolling about eMTB or Lycra, cycling as a whole would be in a much better place.
  • 27 22
 As for e-bikes, they’re not made for everyone. But if you have a physucal disability that prevents one from climbing, my opinion is that it’s okay to make an exception for those people. NOT the ones that just want an e-bike to be faster up the hill.
  • 8 7
 exactly.
  • 2 1
 I don't have an e-bike and don't see one in the near future, but what if I ride an e-bike the same speed up the hill?
  • 12 2
 why does going up the hill even matter though... Park, DH, Dirt jumping, street, freeride are all non-uphill aspects of mountain biking. Who cares how you get to the top, if you want to pedal up, then do it! But don't get childish about people who don't find that aspect important
  • 4 13
flag crysvb (Jun 11, 2021 at 11:57) (Below Threshold)
 @luckynugget: so ebikers deserve ebikes because they don't find the aspect of climbing important? ebikers are accessing trail networks now that everyone else has to pedal.. going farther for longer, riding more laps etc. i guess that's fine though because they don't care about climbing like the rest of the people on regular bikes? no
  • 8 5
 @crysvb: Yes to the first question and yes to the second question. What you're trying to be is a Gatekeeper. This entire article was about how gatekeeping is bad and makes people uncomfortable to join MTB.
  • 12 5
 If an e-bike motivates a perfectly healthy person to get out and ride more, what's wrong with that? How, in any way, does that negatively impact your life if they are conscientious, courteous and respectful? That's the whole point of this article.
  • 8 5
 What's wrong with people wanting to go faster - should we ban people from 'training' because they'll be quicker up a hill?
  • 7 3
 @crysvb: we're each allowed to do our own thing. You having to climb the trails has nothing to do with someone riding an ebike or not. Maybe they don't like climbing, who are we to tell them they're doing it wrong? That's your opinion, I doubt you care about their opinions.
  • 5 2
 Oh you mean like those that shuttle every run in their F350s like they have been doing for years and then they make sure to youtube their wicked berm cutties cuz ride don't slide only applies to 'old' and 'lazy' trail destroying ebikers? lol
  • 6 1
 @crysvb: yeah, pedaling doesn't entitle you to shit. The only thing that does is digging. Pedaling is a mode of transportation, it does not benefit other people when you pedal up, it does not earn you karma. If you want to feel like you've earned the right to ride something, build it. Again, Pedaling up something does not mean you deserve sweet f*ck all.
  • 4 3
 @luckynugget: haha you’re barking up the wrong tree my friend. My man and all of our friends are some of the most dedicated builders I know. I’ve never seen any ebikers rocking a trail day.
  • 6 1
 @crysvb: I guess you haven’t been to any trail days around my neck of the woods. Five e bikes in our group. We are all members of the local mtb club and do trail work regularly. All of us have been riding for at least twenty plus years and are all in our fifties, a couple of us are even mid sixties. Never really got the whole only newbs ride ebikes or build.
  • 3 1
 @troy-dee: The problem is, some e-bike riders think that they’re privileged. I experienced a form of this when I was pedalling up my local mountain: an e-biker decided to call someone a “slow f-ing bastard,” and proceeded to ride away as if nothing happened
  • 3 1
 @zuckleberry: Some people are rude - what's your point? One person was rude and now we should ban their hobby of choice?
  • 3 0
 @ryan77777: Good point
  • 2 0
 @crysvb: "my man" lol so typical Big Grin He was talking about YOU picking up a spade and getting your hands dirty, not "your man".
  • 1 1
 @bananowy: LOL ok bud
  • 5 0
 I think getting older helps with the gatekeeping. A big part of adolescents and young adulthood is desperately trying to define yourself and forge an identity. It can be a really good thing to want to get better at something and find a way to be uniquely valued in society. When others try to overlap into that identity I think there is a bit of a turf war at times. Notice how when you are young you can't really just do the thing... you have to be the thing! I think if I could give my young self any advice it would be to just calm down, do what you enjoy doing, and not worry about what it means to others. I love biking and have spent three decades or so doing so now- someone who has been biking for three weeks and has a better bike or better style or thinks biking includes a motor on their crank... who cares. Just have fun. However, being a d@#$ is being a d@#$ and if you don't consider how your behavior may negatively influence others, whether you have a motor, think you are entitled to ride soaked trails, think that you shouldn't have to slow down for those coming up the trail... that's another thing. Stop it.
  • 11 3
 Motor bike do not belong on USFS single track!
  • 4 0
 I dug out my old spiral bound small booklet titled "Mountain Biking" from a guy called Elmar Moser, written in 1989. He spent quite some time scouting out forest roads and footpaths (in Italy, some of the donkey paths left over from WW1) and published tour descriptions with directions, altitude profiles, and difficulty.

A "mountain bike" would have something 26/36/48 up front and 14/17/21/26/30/34 in the back, wide (over 50mm) knobby tires and should be light enough to be easy to carry. Basically a bike for accessing offroad mountain areas. (Side note: I can't remember having seen someone carry an Ebike a long distance up a steep, narrow mountain trail)

He spent some time writing about practical mountain bike gear, stupid industry marketing claims, conflict with land owners, legal entities, proper behavior, etc. even back then

I didn't find any reference to who might belong to a group of people called "mountain bikers" and who not. I think he was focused more on the experience of being in the mountains, not so much on belonging or not belonging to some particular lifestyle.

Fast forward to today and there is discussion about who belongs to what group, where it's legal to ride the Ebike that cost more than your used car, and real pressure to channel all those potential customers into ski areas with flow trails.

I'm fine calling anyone riding on two wheels part of the family. But that's kind of missing the point. We are where we are and there's no going back.
  • 5 2
 I recently started working in a shop, service side. After quite a few years of being out of the loop. Talking to people enough proves the following: just ride the bike you want to ride, call it what you want and hopefully have fun. Having your own vision/perception of you and your bike can be had without taking away someone else's. Ride and let ride.

We need to pin this for the next POTY comp. Unbelievable how polarizing that contest gets some rounds.

As for e-whichever-bike-style, I enjoy people spending money how they want, overcoming injury or incapacity. Are there trail management discussions to be had? Sure. But there always was...someone always mentions the horses...
  • 3 0
 I think some riding and trail etiquette should be added to the list of rules. Some could easily be borrowed from the cycling list but you could probably sum it up in under 5 rules. Simply riding a MTB is not enough to be a respectable mountain biker. 1. Ride a Mountain Bike 2. Maintain your Bike 3. Obey trail directions and don't litter 4. Don't stand in the middle of the trail 5. Don't skid your tires
  • 2 0
 I sympathize with some of the newbie riders who took up MTB during COVID - the "rules" arent publicized enough and if there's no-one to teach you the etiquette, then how would you know about it? Having so many newbies at once means they all copy each other and ignore the few grizzled old riders :-)
  • 2 0
 @aviator99: This does beg the question of how are people supposed to paired up to have a group of riding buddies wherein at least one is pretty well established and familiar with generally accepted rules of riding.
  • 3 0
 The Velominati rules of cycling are good for a laugh if you remember that they're supposed to be (or at least originally were) a joke.

Unlike AMB magazine which dedicated an entire editorial to getting offended by them. Like, isn't it even clear from the most casual inspection that they're a road thing? The mere fact there are 95 of them should give it away.

Although a handful of the rules have a basis in the truth. Like #64. And #93 is road specific but there's something in it for everyone.
  • 1 0
 Yes! If somebody can read all 95 of them and still not realize that they're tongue-in-cheek, then that person is themselves the punchline. Maybe it's more obvious to me because I used to be a roadie of sorts.
  • 7 1
 I'm pretty sure the ebike rule is don't ride em where their not legal. That's a big problem.
  • 1 0
 Edit: "they're". Don't wanna sound stupid...
  • 3 0
 "pushing your 28t chainring and 52t cassette up a fireroad is no more physically demanding than riding an ebike."

Say what?

Mechanical work is the amount of energy transferred by a force. When the force is being generated by an electric motor and the transferred energy derived from a battery then how can riding a regular MTB where you and you alone generate the force and expend energy be no more physically demanding?
  • 3 1
 Honestly, I kind of like the rules, they are meant to be taken tongue in cheek but can also be a bit valuable in learning a bit about etiquette, style or not looking like a doofus when first starting out. I definitely don't comply to them all nor could I name any of them verbatim but I feel like I did have a few takeaways that likely stuck with me. These days I find its actually hard to get decent advice, most people don't offer it as they don't want to seem like a snob or as a know it all. Most people seem to be a broken record of 'Just ride your bike lots and have fun' which is a thing and a sentiment but isn't really actionable advice.
  • 2 0
 “ride a bike that you consider to be a mountain bike, preferably on trails,” but it would make for a shit t-shirt and 93.4% of my motivation to write this is the merchandising potential."

I'd buy that Tee. Put it in the PB shop ASAP.
  • 2 0
 Really, people care about what others ride, how they ride It, and how they label themselves? I really don't understand why people care so much about what others are doing when it has no impact on your life whatsoever. I've seen people on Walmart bikes and tennis shoes in whistler bike park. Idgaf as long as they're having fun.
  • 3 0
 Is the interview with the inspiration for the article available to listen to yet, and if so, where?
(I’m assuming *probably* the HKT Podcast, but haven’t found an episode with a matching description)
  • 1 2
 The whole point is that there in no podcast and I'm not affiliated with HKT, although I did appear on there once.
  • 3 0
 @mattwragg: Oh, ok. I read this:

“… most people have to listen to a recording, I can pick up the phone and chat to these people,“

… as saying “most people only listen to podcasts, but I get to make them”
  • 5 3
 I'll change my negative opinion of ebikes when - they can produce batteries without the need to mine lithium which causes serious damage to the environment - the batteries can last more than a few hundred charges without losing a significant amount of capacity and therefore needing to be replaced - the batteries are recycled and not incinerated or sent to landfill Or - they prove a use case for them which is necessary enough to negate all of the above
  • 2 6
flag platnum (Jun 12, 2021 at 7:07) (Below Threshold)
 I guess you’re probably against electric cars too.
  • 7 0
 @platnum: well without going as far as to say I'm against them, as a clean alternative to fossil fuels I'm much more in favour of hydrogen, and I believe that is where industry should be focusing.
But yours is a false equivalency anyway as normal mountain bikes don't run on petrol and ebikes are just expensive toys which add to the problem without offering anything more than convenience.
  • 2 0
 Without enforcement rules are meaningless. People keep saying the more the merrier but it's just not true. Overcrowded trails with garbage and poop everywhere is inevitable. Enjoy it while you can. I'll be ripping by on my fully electric bike cranking my music way to loud as I run you off the trail and throw my beer can.
  • 2 0
 Amen to that. I tried at many times teaching people trails etiquette here and no one gives a flying fuck. Park ranger jobs need to be filled. More entry fees if needed but I need someone to make sure the rules are applied
  • 4 2
 To anyone making the anti eMTB argument: Lets just say you're right, and an ebike should count as a motorized vehicle; what difference does it make? Are ebikes actually doing any damage to the trail or harming you? Are they affecting your ability to ride your bike and enjoy it, aside from hurting your pride when they climb faster?

An emtb produces nowhere near enough torque to spin the wheel under weight, so no burnouts to tear up a trail. The only way the wheel would spin out is on steep climbs or mud that a non-electric would spin out on or no one should be riding on anyhow.
An emtb is maybe 20-25# heavier than a non electric, but I see plenty of riders on non-electrics who are themselves 20-25# heavier and they don't do any more damage to a trail than I do. If you're argument is that heavier bikes are going to do damage to a trail, I have news about DH bikes from the early 2000s for you
The bike allows access to trails to a lot more riders, which should be a good thing, but you're complaining about inexperienced riders causing problems; but that's going to be the case with new riders on any type of bike. If you're going to complain about new riders you're just a part of the gatekeeper BS that this whole article was about.
If this is an issue of emtb's effecting all mtb-ers access to trails, then it's again just an issue of educating new riders. We have bad actors on analog mtb's as it is, more riders on the trail means that's going to come up no matter the type of bike they're on.

So, I'm not seeing it. Can anyone give a real reason that eMTBs shouldn't be allowed on trails other than "emtb hurt my feelings on strava"?
  • 2 0
 Amen to every word in this article. Newb here getting back into mtn biking after decades away. The douchbagery I'm reading online and the stink eye in the riding area parking lots. Wow, I had no idea. Not everyone of course, plenty of great people, but man, the other types, very eye opening. Fortunately I don't give a crap what anyone else thinks of what I'm up to, doing my best to be respectful and mindful of best practices while sharing the trails. Just like I do when I'm dirt bike riding, or doing trail maintenance.
  • 2 0
 I am not anti-ebike...perse as it is nice seeing other wise incapable people enjoying a sport I have taken part in for multiple decades. The issue is with eMTBs as there is a significant difference in speed. Invariably, this differential could/will cause problems. Not all, but many, ebike riders are not skilled bicycle riders which can also cause problems. It is bad enough to encounter one on a paved path, but an unskilled eMTB rider on a single track going at high(er) speed sounds like a recipe for disaster for many innocent people. MTB riding does require etiquette to ensure it is safe for all and everybody must know the rules before getting on the path. One of the biggest rules that is frequently ignored is UP HILL HAS THE RIGHT OF WAY ! ! ! Unfortunately, in 2021 courtesy and common sense have "left the house" as its is very much everybody for themselves and the rest of humanity be damned.
  • 2 0
 Since ebikes, or should I say electric motorcycles, have shown up on the local trails, they have been widened, brake skid trashed, rutted beyond measure, reduced challenging uphill singletracks to blown out powder dusted crap. Etc. Like the goofy gun control mantra, it's not the motorcycles, it's the riders. The fix. Post signs of where and where not you can drive them. Get caught, forfeit the contraption and get a $1,000 fine. Money ALWAYS talks. My $02. worth.
  • 2 0
 OK, so I get the don't be judgmental of others that seems to be the gist of the article. But when I read the rules for road bikes I couldn't help but think what a bunch of dicks they are with a bunch of pretentious rules. MTB's = more fun riding-more cool people.
  • 1 0
 Do people really care this much about what others think of them? Is conversation with other people necessary for you being able to go mountain biking? Do we need to be “accepted” by the designated authority of social groups for our bikes to roll on dirt?
Don’t spend too much time online…
  • 4 2
 Always respectful on my emtb when I pass. I say hi, thanks, sorry, state my age (51) and the medical reason for emtb-ing (bad left knee). Most people appreciate it here in the Vancouver, Squamish and Whistler areas.
  • 2 0
 While this one rule system is good, I propose expanding to four:
#1 ride bike on terrain that seems questionable to non-cyclists
#2 don't wreck the trail environment
#3 no jerks allowed
#4 tacos
  • 1 0
 I started reading the comments was rather disappointed the article was a nice reminder to how we all need to have a bit more compassion for others. The comments quickly went down to how certain groups of trail users suck. We should talk about how to get along
  • 1 0
 As a mountain biker and a road rider it's a bit on anomaly that I've clocked so many more kilometres riding up mountains on the road bike/tourer than I could ever do on my mountain bike, I guess my road bike is a mountain bike??
  • 2 2
 That fireroad point made me laugh so hard, and, "But it’s pure, so that’s fine, even if it is mind-numbingly boring." That's good stuff. A lot of interesting ideas in this article, thanks! Mountain bikes are having a huge impact on wilderness - heli-biking, consumerism, etc. but mostly just the volume of people. The activity is going to have to mature in a hurry - with or without tatoos!
  • 5 1
 Wear a helmet. Even the Vikings did
  • 5 5
 OMFG!!! Its about time!!! Best article on Pinkbike in a long time. Last week I was reading in disgust all the negativity and couldn't help wonder how we got here. This article nailed it. Thank you so much. What you wrote was simple but very much needed as there is a whole generation of mountain bikers who weren't around for the genesis of this sport and didn't know what made it sooo cool. Well done!!
  • 4 0
 Can someone remind me why we need to label people based on their hobbies?
  • 1 0
 Uphill rider always has the right of way, but if you are climbing a sick one and someone has dropped in, let them rip down as you know there are wayyy more uphill struggles in life.
  • 6 4
 Except ebiking doesn't meet rule 1 - don't be a dick, because it costs the planet and the environment to create the electricity for your selfish pleasure.
  • 4 1
 I guess with your logic, anyone who rides Whistler or any bike park is a dick because chair lifts are run by electricity or diesel power.
  • 2 0
 @snippysnoopy79: you can hire en ebike tomorrow if you spend all night pedalling to charge up the batteries Smile
  • 4 4
 I ride an ebike primarily to upset the whiney bitches on their retro velocipedes, mostly from Americans it seems who have some crap and backwards laws. Not really, I ride them as they are fooking ace, make every second of the ride fun and will be the majority within 5 years. Eeb it!
  • 2 2
 Mountain bikers can be some of the most judgemental people you'll ever meet.

However Judgment on Equipment, Skill, where you're from happens in a lot of other sports (like Surfing for example). MTB is no exception to this. It's arguably human nature.

E-mtb gets a bad rep for not being 'pure' enough but they are absolutely brilliant for areas where you might have a 1hr non-stop killer fireroad climb to get to the best trails (i.e No cable car access!). Can give you an extra few runs when you might only manage a couple on a regular bike.

Most Mountainous/Hilly areas of Ireland and the UK fit this bill (with the exception of Fort William). The UK/Eire hasn't got the privilage of Gondola's that the Alps have as most mountains simply aren't big enough for ski resorts but still often more than high enough for DH MTB etc

Many places offer 'car-trailer uplifts' as a consequence but the environmental impact of driving big cars up and down hills several times surely must totally eclipse that of someone cycling an electric MTB back up the hill!

E-mtb's could actually help reduce the environmental impact of MTB In general if less people come to rely on fuel powered-uplifts.

We in the UK/Ireland should be encouraging people to use them.
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg: Sorry I'm a little late to this one, but who was the failed Freeracer and is there anywhere I can go read/listen/watch some of the stories of the cyclist who cycled around the world unsupported?
  • 2 0
 pb: Writes article about how bad gatekeeping and negativity is to MTB community
community: welp lets fill the comments with gatekeeping and negativity
  • 1 0
 Here’s the thing, I reject the premise that gatekeeping is automatically bad.

Gatekeeping is just the enforcement of social norms established by a community. It can be bullshit (eg, you aren’t a real cyclist if you ride in cotton), or it can be necessary to protect a communal resource from degradation (eg, pack it in, pack it out).

When newcomers join the community they can enrich it (eg, bmxers and other crossover athletes created slopestyle) or harm it (eg, sharing the location of unsanctioned trails on social media)

eBikes are just the newcomers or the moment. They are damaging the relationship with landowners by violating explicit rules against motorized use. The people building new unsanctioned trails in the same zones as established trail orgs are also messing things up for everyone. The difference is, pinkbike doesn’t post articles conflating sanctioned and unsanctioned trail building 3 times a week.
  • 1 0
 @CaptainBLT: hmm, nope. Gatekeeping is bad, 100% of the time. If newcomers to the sport are doing something wrong, you teach them, you reach out to them, you include them. If you wrap them into the community they have a chance to learn the 'rules' and social norms. By excluding and gatekeeping this community the newbies will either feel animosity, and so have no desire tot learn or follow your rules, or will be left unaware that there even are rules.
  • 1 0
 @sharpGT: This, 100% this.
  • 1 0
 @sharpGT: Okay, you make a good point for total newcomers. Consider my mind changed on that point.

How should we deal with people who know the rules but then choose to ignore them? Most of the people I encounter blatantly ignoring the landowner rules about eBikes are moderately experienced male weekend warriors in their 30’s or 40’s, and the occasional 20-something expert with industry connections.

For my rogue trail building example, I think it’s either teens who don’t understand the process or experts/pros in places without trails at their level. The teens can be corrected by channeling their energy into trail org work days, the experts hopefully know better than to build in areas under scrutiny but the ones who know and don’t care are probably the biggest problem of all.
  • 3 3
 Have a read, www.bicycling.com/culture/a36672989/caroline-cooley-riding-e-bikes then put yourself in that age group and tell me what you think about eMTB. Hats off to Caroline!
  • 2 0
 I could get on board with the tattoo thing if the inscriptions on my shins count. My new flats do pretty good work.
  • 3 0
 One rule, don't be a dick.
  • 2 1
 IFHT should make a video regarding this matter..
1- How to be a mountain biker..✓
2- How to buy a mountain bike..✓
3- Rules of mountain biking..
They're damn good..!
  • 2 0
 where's @jasonlucas when you need him? He should put such a video together.
  • 2 0
 @SuperHighBeam: please..make this happen..
  • 1 0
 There are enough rules in regular life. That's the magic of mountain biking-- there are no rules! Especially when Yoann breaks the rules of physics in BC Big Grin
  • 2 0
 I don’t care about hikers but trying to swerve horse shit gets old real fast
  • 3 0
 what happened to wear a helmet and dont do drugs?
  • 5 2
 Nailed it!
  • 5 6
 100%. The more people that ride their bike, the more trails we get, the larger financial incentives for innovation become, and more importantly - the healthier we can become physically and mentally. Ride yo bike.
  • 13 3
 or the trails need more maintenance more often.. trails don't build themselves, people
  • 2 1
 if we're going to be assholes about it you need to be able to manual and bunnyhop at least 2 stairs to be a mountainbiker
  • 9 11
 Great article.

I hear and read so often that mtbers are such a friendly amazing group of people - sure some are, but my predominant feeling when coming across other riders is one of feeling not cool enough/fit enough/wearing the right gear etc. As a community we can be judgy, stand offish and be huge gatekeepers, even to other "real" mtbers. Man the amount of times I've gone riding in a running top or a generic t-shirt because my riding tops are dirty and people have given me weird looks and stuff.

Also literally EVERY TIME I ride past any other mtber the first thing they do is check out my bike before acknowledging me.

Oh and the ebike thing? Surely we can drop it now?! That got boring like 4 years ago. If you hate ebikes fine but no-one asked for your opinion so keep it to yourself, it ain't funny or friendly to make passive agressive remarks to emtbers about the fact they're on an emtb
  • 1 0
 Out on the trails I don't think I've talked to anyone who wasn't super chill and welcoming. The gatekeeping and anti social clique behavior really seems to be more of an online phenomenon. People like to have an identity then can't stand when someone else doesn't agree or does it differently. Look at anytime sram vs shimano comes up, you'll have people claiming one brand is unusable trash. Out in the real world, never seen such debates.
  • 6 0
 @lkubica: I'll stop hating ebikes when they stop braiding trails
  • 9 1
 And nobody asked for the opinion of the insecure ebikers either. I’ve read plenty of things about how great they are online already. I don’t need to know how thanks to ebikes their dead grandmother rode out of the grave to the rampage.
  • 2 0
 @wibblywobbly: Yeah that's fair enough, I agree with you there
  • 2 1
 I'm curious if any of the unofficial road cycling rules include following the actual rules of the road. Doubt it though.
  • 3 1
 No dig, no ride. Simple as that.
  • 3 1
 One rule you are the motor
  • 2 0
 Rule #1 - have fun
Rule #2 - don’t be a dick

That’s it that’s all
  • 1 0
 This article seems to have the format of the older PB articles.
  • 4 4
 Well said! I get so pumped if I see anyone outside having fun, who cares what their vehicle is?
  • 2 0
 Just send it !
  • 1 0
 Isn’t this all just common sense?
Or these days, un-common sense.
  • 2 1
 EMTB propaganda article + Lots of comments = $$$€€€£££
  • 1 0
 Taj Rules!
  • 1 0
 Well said.
  • 1 1
 Dare I........
  • 1 1
 E peds
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