Re: Frequently Asked Questions about Mountain Biking



On Apr 3, 7:59 am, Mike Vandeman <[email protected]> wrote:
> Frequently Asked Questions about Mountain Biking
> Michael Vandeman, Ph.D.
> Updated April 3, 2007
> 1. Why do people mountain bike?
> a. They say that using a bike allows them to get much farther, in
> the same amount of time, than they can by walking. They also maintain
> constant pressure on land managers, to open more and more trails to
> bikes. Of course, all of these trails are already open to them, if
> they choose to walk. They also frequently claim that closing trails to
> bikes "excludes" them from the parks. This could only be true if they
> were unable to walk. Of course, they are able to walk. There's nothing
> inherently wrong with bicycling instead of walking; we all like to
> save energy, when it's appropriate. Use of a bicycle to replace
> automobile use is obviously beneficial. However, by the same token,
> replacing hiking with mountain biking is obviously not beneficial.
> b. They are interested in the quantity of nature they can see,
> rather than the quality of their experience. While riding a bike,
> especially over terrain as rough as a trail, one has to be constantly
> paying attention to not crashing. That makes it almost impossible to
> notice much else. By contrast, a hiker feels the ground, hears all the
> sounds and smells all the odors of nature and can stop instantly, if
> he/she finds something interesting. The brain thrives on stimulation.
> A biker has to travel several times as far as a hiker, to get the same
> stimulation as a hiker. (And, by the same token, motorcyclists have to
> travel several times as far as a bicyclist, and an auto user several
> times as far as a motorcyclist, since they are enclosed in a metal
> box.)
> c. They are interested in thrills. Riding a bike on a trail,
> especially a trail containing many obstacles, or a trail one is not
> familiar with, is very challenging. (But if mountain biking is the
> high point of your week, as it seems to be for many mountain bikers,
> you must be leading a pretty dull life, off of the bike!)
> d. They are interested in building mountain biking skills and
> competing with other mountain bikers. The thrill of racing drives
> people to spend more money on their bike, and ride it harder and more
> often. Racing, up to and including the Olympics, drives a lot of
> mountain biking. Of course, it is also extremely harmful to the parks
> and natural areas that are used for practice! It is hard to think of
> any other (legal) use of public lands, other than hunting, that is as
> harmful as mountain biking.
> 2. What is driving the sport of mountain biking? Besides the
> attraction for participants, manufacturers and retailers of mountain
> bikes and mountain biking accessories, as well as "adventure" travel
> guides, make a lot of money from promoting mountain biking. Even some
> auto manufacturers (e.g. Subaru) promote and sponsor mountain biking,
> and try to use its popularity to sell more cars. The tourism industry
> also promotes mountain biking, among other attractions.
> 3. What harm does mountain biking do?
> a. Most obvious is the acceleration of erosion. Knobby tires rip
> into the soil, loosening it and allowing rain to wash it away. They
> also create V-shaped grooves that make walking difficult or even
> dangerous. The mechanical advantage given by the gears and ball
> bearings allow a mountain biker to travel several times as fast as a
> hiker. Given their increased weight (rider plus bike), this results in
> vastly increased momentum, and hence much greater horizontal
> (shearing) forces on the soil. (Witness the skid marks from stops,
> starts, and turns.) According to Newton, every action has an equal and
> opposite reaction. Mountain bikes were built much stronger than other
> bikes, so that they could withstand the greater forces they were
> subject to on rough trails. These same forces, therefore, are being
> applied to the trails! To give a definite number, the winner of a
> 20-mile race here in Briones Regional Park averaged 13 MPH (the speed
> limit is 15 MPH -- where were the park rangers?).
> b. A hiker must be very careful not to accidentally step on small
> animals and plants on the trail. For a mountain biker, it is almost
> impossible to avoid killing countless animals and plants on and under
> the trail. They have to pay attention to controlling the bike, and
> can't afford to look carefully at what is on the trail, especially
> when travelling fast. And even if they happen to see, for example, a
> snake, it is hard for them to stop in time to avoid killing it. A
> hiker, when crossing a creek, will try to avoid getting wet, by
> crossing on stepping stones or logs. Mountain bikers, on the other
> hand, simply ride right through the creek bed, crushing any animals or
> plants that happen to be there. Mountain biking magazines are full of
> photos of mountain bikers throwing up spray, as they barrel through
> creeks. Not only do bikes destroy animals and plants as they ride
> across streams, they ride through streams stirring up sediment. The
> sediment in the water interferes with the oxygen uptake by aquatic
> life, for example, killing fish- and frog eggs. Young fish, insects,
> amphibians, and aquatic microorganisms are extremely sensitive to
> sediment in water.
> c. Bikes also allow people to travel several times as far as a
> hiker. This translates into several times the impacts, both on the
> trail and on the wildlife (to say nothing of the other trail users).
> Existing parklands are already inadequate to protect the wildlife that
> live there. When they are crisscrossed by mountain bikers and legal or
> illegal trails, their habitat becomes even more inadequate. Mountain
> bikers frequently advertise rides of 20-50 miles or more. Have you
> ever tried to walk that far in a day? In other words, allowing bikes
> in a park greatly increases human presence in that park and drives
> wildlife further from the resources that they need to survive,
> including water, food, and mates.
> d. Due to their width and speed, bikes can't safely pass each
> other on narrow trails. Therefore, policies that permit mountain
> biking also result in more habitat destruction, as trails are widened
> by bikers (or by hikers and equestrians jumping out of their way).
> e. Knobby mountain bike tires are ideal for carrying mud, and
> consequently exotic plants, fungi, and other organisms from place to
> place, resulting in the spread of exotic invasive species, such as
> weeds and Sudden Oak Death.
> f. Mountain biking is driving the very young and old off of the
> trails and hence out of the parks. Even able-bodied hikers and
> equestrians fear for their safety, and don't enjoy sharing the trails
> with bikes. (The mountain bikers claim that they are simply being
> selfish and "unwilling to share", but actually they have no problem
> sharing trails with mountain bikers; it is only their bikes that are a
> problem!)
> g. Mountain bikes, which are obviously built to go anywhere,
> teach children and anyone else who sees them that the rough treatment
> of nature is acceptable. This undoubtedly has a negative effect on
> people's treatment of nature.
> h. In order to mitigate bike-caused erosion, park managers have
> been resorting to extreme measures -- even in some cases putting a
> plastic matrix or other exotic material under the trail (e.g. in
> Pleasanton Ridge Regional Preserve, near Pleasanton, California)! It's
> hard to imagine that this will have a beneficial effect on the park
> and its wildlife....
> i. Allowing mountain bikes in a park greatly increases the damage
> to the trails, damage from "bootleg" (illegally created) trails, and
> the problems of conflicts between trail users, and hence the cost of
> maintaining the park. Considering how tight park budgets are, we can't
> afford the extra costs of policing, and repairing the damage from,
> mountain biking.
> j. For the science on mountain biking and its impacts on wildlife
> and people, see
> 4. Mountain bikers claim that their sport has no greater environmental
> impact than hiking. Is that true?
> a.If you read the "studies" that make that claim, you find that they
> don't really compare the impacts of hiking and mountain biking, but
> only the impacts per foot. If, for a moment, we assume that the
> studies are correct in their having equivalent impacts per foot, it
> would still follow that mountain biking has far greater impact per
> person, since mountain bikers typically travel so much farther than
> hikers. Besides overlooking distances travelled, those "studies"
> almost all ignore impacts on wildlife. And they don't study mountain
> biking under normal conditions -- only at a very slow speed. Actually,
> the comparison with hiking is irrelevant. It would only be relevant if
> we planned to allow only one of the two, and were considering which of
> the two is more harmful. In fact, no one is considering banning
> hiking. We are only considering adding mountain biking. Therefore, the
> only relevant question is, "Is mountain biking harmful"? (Of course,
> it is!) There is only one truly scientific study that I know of that
> compares the impacts of hiking and mountain biking. It found that
> mountain biking has a greater impact on elk than hiking (Wisdom, M.
> J., H. K. Preisler, N. J. Cimon, B. K. Johnson. 2004. Effects of
> Off-Road Recreation on Mule Deer and Elk. Transactions of the North
> American Wildlife and Natural Resource Conference 69, 2004,
> pp.531-550.) See
> b. On its web site, IMBA mentions recent research on mountain
> biking by Dave White et al and Jeff Marion, both of whom claim that
> mountain biking and hiking have "similar" impacts. Is that true?
> First, "similar" is not a scientific term and really has no clear
> meaning. That term is being used only to obfuscate. Second, these are
> survey studies, not experimental studies. By its very nature, a survey
> study cannot be used to compare the impacts from two activities,
> because it doesn't control all the variables. For example, we don't
> know if the differences in erosion between two trails are due to the
> mountain biking vs. hiking use, or due to differences in the weather,
> terrain, ...
> read more »

Knock off the trolling, Dipshit. (this'll help) Tom

Bill Sornson

tom left 12 KBs of Vandedrivel {tm} just to add:

> Knock off the trolling, Dipshit. (this'll help) Tom



On Apr 3, 11:47 pm, "Bill Sornson" <[email protected]> wrote:
> tom left 12 KBs of Vandedrivel {tm} just to add:
> > Knock off the trolling, Dipshit. (this'll help) Tom


Oops. Tom