The Psychology of Mountain Biking

Discussion in 'Mountain Bikes' started by Mike Vandeman, May 26, 2003.

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  1. January 24, 2000 Tony Acosta Director, Office of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs 1520
    Lakeside Drive Oakland, CA 94612

    Re: The Psychology of Mountain Biking

    Dear Sir:

    For a psychologist, mountain biking is a fascinating
    phenomenon. The first thing one notices about them is that they lie
    ___
    continually! For someone from my generation, raised to tell the
    ___________
    truth at all times, this is puzzling. Surely, they must know that everyone, at least all those who
    aren't mountain bikers, can easily see through them! For example, Councilwoman Nancy Nadel caught
    Eric Muhler, President of the Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay, publicly claiming that
    mountain biking in Joaquin Miller Park has caused hardly any erosion! One look at Alec Karp's
    photographs of the park is all it would take to know that he was lying. Similarly, an official of
    ROMP ("Responsible Organized Mountain Pedalers") was caught red-handed building an illegal trail.

    Their favorite lie, of course, is that land managers who ban off-road biking are banning
    mountain bikers. Actually, it is only
    _______________
    their bikes that are banned! It would be impossible to ban mountain
    _____
    bikers even if we wanted to, since they don't look different from anyone else.

    And they aren't doing their already rotten image much good. Since none of them ever admit lying, we
    can only guess at their motivation. The best that I have been able to come up with is that they
    don't believe that they can justify their selfish, destructive sport except by lying. Well, ... yes,
    of course! Since mountain
    _________
    biking destroys wildlife habitat, drives away wildlife and other trail users, and benefits only
    the mountain bikers, it is hard to see how anyone can justify allowing mountain biking in any
    natural area.

    Similarly, it is hard to explain why land managers lie so frequently, when asked why they allow
    mountain biking. For example, a ranger at China Camp State Park told me that mountain biking is
    causing "no erosion". An equestrian familiar with the park then told me that the bikers were
    "turning the trails into powder"! I guess that the land managers are afraid to admit that they have
    allowed political pressure -- or, in some cases, free trail maintenance provided by the mountain
    bikers -- to cloud their better judgment.

    Recently I suddenly realized why this pattern seemed so
    familiar: they act exactly like the drug addicts that I knew when I
    _________________________________________________________
    worked with Synanon Foundation! They demonstrate the same
    _______________________________
    willingness to take enormous risks, just to continue their "habit". They risk their image, their
    job, their relationships, their freedom, even their life, just to continue seeking the ultimate
    "high". Many subscribe to mountain biking mailing lists at work, risking losing their job. Thousands
    risk arrest and fines for riding illegally or even building illegal trails on public and private
    land. The "Sedona Five" took advantage of a temporary closure of Grand Canyon National Park to ride
    down the North Kaibab Trail, which is closed to bikes (and got arrested). Taking serious risks to
    continue a habit of doubtful value is the best indicator of a true addiction. In mountain biking
    newsgroups they exchange stories about their latest "high" (riding "sweet singletrack"), with extra
    points given for experiences that were dangerous, illegal, or both.
    ____

    When caught riding on trails closed to bikes, in my experience, they lie ("I didn't know it
    is closed" -- but they don't offer to leave!), threaten ("I'm going to bust your head"), and
    even physically attack whoever tells them to leave the closed area (one biker rode back up
    the trail, turned around, and then rode into the guy who had told him the trail is closed,
    as fast as he could, knocking him bloody). That is a lot of risk to take, just in order to
    ride one trail illegally! And a good sign that they are addicted. Indeed, many of them, in
    their discussions on the Internet, describe mountain biking as an "addiction".

    Another psychological factor, of course, is the image boost that the sport and its
    accoutrements give to rebellious young people, just as racing bikes did for an earlier
    generation (hardly any of whom actually raced!). The knobby tires and "hardened" frames
    clearly say "I'm tough. Don't cross me!" The names attached to the bikes and tires
    ("Velociraptor", "Omega-Bite") reinforce that image, as do the photos in mountain bike
    magazines of bikers flying through the air (getting "big air"). These bikes are clearly
    intended to indicate that they will help you "conquer nature" (while, ironically, actually
    insuring that you will have even less contact with that nature, due to their speed, lack of
    contact with the ground, and suspension systems!).

    Yet another factor explaining their insistence on biking at all costs, even at the risk of
    getting arrested, is embodied in the
    psychological term "Cognitive Dissonance": after spending often more than $2500 for their bike, it
    would be very embarrassing and upsetting if they had nowhere to ride it!

    Perhaps this explains why, after years of talking about how they are going to put an end to
    the erosion damage, illegal riding, and illegal trail building in Joaquin Miller Park, the
    mountain bikers are continuing all of those activities unabated.

    Sincerely,

    Michael J. Vandeman, Ph.D.

    pps Mountain biking also provides very bad role modeling for our children. Whether or not a bike is
    ever ridden off-road, any child looking at one will get the impression that it is used to tear
    up wildlife habitat, and that this is okay.

    ===
    I am working on creating wildlife habitat that is off-limits to humans ("pure habitat"). Want to
    help? (I spent the previous 8 years fighting auto dependence and road construction.)

    http://home.pacbell.net/mjvande
     
    Tags:


  2. Mike Vandeman wrote:
    > January 24, 2000 Tony Acosta Director,
    > Office of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural
    > Affairs 1520 Lakeside Drive Oakland, CA
    > 94612
    >
    > Re: The Psychology of Mountain Biking

    hoooooo mikey! you just get better and better. i hope you really sent that letter, anyone receiving
    it will know in the first paragraph that you're fresh outa the boobyhatch and not quite stable on
    your meds.

    you Are still taking your medication aren't you toadturd?
     
  3. On Mon, 26 May 2003 14:52:31 +0000, Mike Vandeman wrote:

    > P.S. Mountain biking also provides very bad role modeling for our children. Whether or not a bike
    > is ever ridden off-road, any child looking at one will get the impression that it is used to
    > tear up wildlife habitat, and that this is okay.
    >
    >
    Mikey:

    We've got kids in middle school screwing in the bathrooms. With posted lookouts no less. We've got
    middle school kids killed on school property in gang initiations. We've got a 60% high school drop
    out rate. We've got 6 year olds coming in to school who have never seen a book. We've got 26 year
    old women who can't get a GED because they're taking care of their daughter's baby. (Do the math on
    that one, Mikey.) We've got to plan multiple emergency shelters and bus different gangs to
    different shelters.

    And I live in a small town, one of those that is supposed to be far away from those kinds
    of problems.

    And you're worried about mountain biking? Good grief! Spend some of that time solving the real
    problems kids have. I'd love to get some of these

    siblings / parents / caregivers.

    For a PhD, you sure are woefully ignorant. And you still have not responded to my offer for
    comparing academic and professional credentials.

    -Dondo
     
  4. Lou W

    Lou W Guest

    "> And you're worried about mountain biking? Good grief! Spend some of that
    > time solving the real problems kids have. I'd love to get some of these

    > siblings / parents / caregivers.
    >
    > For a PhD, you sure are woefully ignorant. And you still have not responded to my offer for
    > comparing academic and professional credentials.
    >
    > -Dondo

    Methinks the PhD is for his daily med routine; Prozac, Haldol, Diazepam. Considering the number of
    posts he has made lately I think he missed a few doses.
     
  5. Captain Dondo says:

    <snip amazingly good sense for this ng>

    All this and a nice rack, too. ;-)

    Steve
     
  6. Dave Stocker

    Dave Stocker Guest

    "Lou W" <[email protected]> schrieb im Newsbeitrag news:[email protected]...

    > Methinks the PhD is for his daily med routine; Prozac, Haldol, Diazepam. Considering the number
    > of posts he has made lately I think he missed a few doses.
    >

    I was once bored and actually looked at his website. This pompous mofo had a PhD in Phychology!
    Phychology? ROFTL!

    Now do us all a favor and plonk him!

    -Dave
     
  7. Gyp

    Gyp Guest

    Enough is enough.. Mike Vandeman is now in my killfile..

    Gyp
     
  8. Bomba

    Bomba Guest

  9. John Harlow

    John Harlow Guest

    "Stephen Baker" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Captain Dondo says:
    >
    > <snip amazingly good sense for this ng>
    >
    > All this and a nice rack, too. ;-)

    Thule or Yakima? ;)
     
  10. On Tue, 27 May 2003 06:45:09 +0200, Dave Stocker wrote:

    > Now do us all a favor and plonk him!

    Some kinds of idiocy have to be answered, lest through our inaction it's assumed we actually agree
    with the idiocy.... (If only Asimov was writing today. There would be a Fourth Law of Robotics,
    pertaining to Usenet.)

    It's a fine line between feeding the trolls and standing up for common sense....

    -Dondo
     
  11. Gyp

    Gyp Guest

    bomba wrote:
    > Gyp wrote:
    >
    >> Enough is enough.. Mike Vandeman is now in my killfile..
    >
    >
    > Here... have a medal.
    >

    Cheers, Is it one of the gold foil kind that contains chocolate or did I mean coins?.. Is there a
    diffirence?, Not that it matters they would both melt if left in the sun?

    <Chuckle>

    Gyp
     
  12. Michael Dart

    Michael Dart Guest

    "bomba" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Gyp wrote:
    > > Enough is enough.. Mike Vandeman is now in my killfile..
    >
    > Here... have a medal.
    >

    ...or a chest to pin it on. ;^)
     
  13. On Mon, 26 May 2003 17:59:23 -0400, "Captain Dondo" <[email protected]> wrote:

    .On Mon, 26 May 2003 14:52:31 +0000, Mike Vandeman wrote: . .> P.S. Mountain biking also provides
    very bad role modeling for our .> children. Whether or not a bike is ever ridden off-road, any child
    .> looking at one will get the impression that it is used to tear up .> wildlife habitat, and that
    this is okay. .> .> .Mikey: . .We've got kids in middle school screwing in the bathrooms. With
    posted .lookouts no less. We've got middle school kids killed on school property .in gang
    initiations. We've got a 60% high school drop out rate. We've .got 6 year olds coming in to school
    who have never seen a book. We've got .26 year old women who can't get a GED because they're taking
    care of their .daughter's baby. (Do the math on that one, Mikey.) We've got to plan .multiple
    emergency shelters and bus different gangs to different shelters. . .And I live in a small town, one
    of those that is supposed to be far away .from those kinds of problems. . .And you're worried about
    mountain biking?

    Yes, of course. Were you hopng that people would overlook the damage you are doing to wildlife, just
    because humans have some other problems?

    Good grief! Spend some of that .time solving the real problems kids have. I'd love to get
    some of these

    .siblings / parents / caregivers. . .For a PhD, you sure are woefully ignorant. And you still have
    not .responded to my offer for comparing academic and professional credentials.

    If you had any, you would have presented them long ago. With a name like "Captain Dondo", I can just
    imagine what they are....

    .-Dondo

    ===
    I am working on creating wildlife habitat that is off-limits to humans ("pure habitat"). Want to
    help? (I spent the previous 8 years fighting auto dependence and road construction.)

    http://home.pacbell.net/mjvande
     
  14. On Mon, 26 May 2003 10:21:40 -0800, James Connell <[email protected]> wrote:

    .Mike Vandeman wrote: .> January 24, 2000 .> Tony Acosta .> Director, Office of Parks, Recreation,
    and Cultural Affairs .> 1520 Lakeside Drive .> Oakland, CA 94612 .> .> Re: The Psychology of
    Mountain Biking . . .hoooooo mikey! you just get better and better. .i hope you really sent that
    letter, anyone receiving it will know in the .first paragraph that you're fresh outa the boobyhatch
    and not quite .stable on your meds. . .you Are still taking your medication aren't you toadturd?

    Hit a nerve, didn't I? :)
    ===
    I am working on creating wildlife habitat that is off-limits to humans ("pure habitat"). Want to
    help? (I spent the previous 8 years fighting auto dependence and road construction.)

    http://home.pacbell.net/mjvande
     
  15. Mike Vandeman wrote:

    > . .you Are still taking your medication aren't you toadturd?
    >
    > Hit a nerve, didn't I? :)

    when you get stable on your meds, take a good look at that letter mikey. no sane person would take
    you seriously! your generlized rambling discord is the best thing MTBers can get, please keep it up!
     
  16. On Sun, 01 Jun 2003 15:47:36 +0000, Mike Vandeman wrote:

    >
    > Yes, of course. Were you hopng that people would overlook the damage you are doing to wildlife,
    > just because humans have some other problems?

    I don't own a mountain bike. I've said this repeatedly. There are greater problems facing our kids
    than the impact of mountain bikes on trails... Or do you consider 13 year olds murdering one another
    a lesser crime than mountain biking?

    >
    > If you had any, you would have presented them long ago. With a name like "Captain Dondo", I can
    > just imagine what they are....

    Enlightnem me please. What does my handle say about me? Inquiring minds want to know.

    -Dondo
     
  17. Dashi Toshii

    Dashi Toshii Guest

    "Captain Dondo" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:p[email protected]...
    > On Sun, 01 Jun 2003 15:47:36 +0000, Mike Vandeman wrote:
    >
    > >
    > > Yes, of course. Were you hopng that people would overlook the damage you
    are
    > > doing to wildlife, just because humans have some other problems?
    >
    > I don't own a mountain bike. I've said this repeatedly. There are greater problems facing our kids
    > than the impact of mountain bikes on trails... Or do you consider 13 year olds murdering one
    > another a lesser crime than mountain biking?

    Mike may actually have a valid point.

    A 13 year old killer very quickly becomes an 18 year old killer.

    Execute them at an early age and get rid of the problem adult.

    Dashii
     
  18. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Mon, 26 May 2003 14:52:31 GMT, Mike Vandeman <[email protected]> wrote:

    >January 24, 2000

    Damn you type slowly! I could have finished that letter in an hour!

    > For a psychologist, mountain biking is a fascinating phenomenon. The first thing one notices
    > about them is that they lie continually! For someone from my generation, raised to tell the
    > truth at all times...

    ROTFLMAO! I hope the ink doesn't come off when he uses it, people will think he's been wiping his
    arse with leaves.

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
  19. On Mon, 02 Jun 2003 17:41:49 -0400, "Captain Dondo" <[email protected]> wrote:

    .On Sun, 01 Jun 2003 15:47:36 +0000, Mike Vandeman wrote: . .> .> Yes, of course. Were you hopng
    that people would overlook the damage you are .> doing to wildlife, just because humans have some
    other problems? . .I don't own a mountain bike. I've said this repeatedly. There are .greater
    problems facing our kids than the impact of mountain bikes on .trails... Or do you consider 13 year
    olds murdering one another a lesser .crime than mountain biking? . .> .> If you had any, you would
    have presented them long ago. With a name like .> "Captain Dondo", I can just imagine what they
    are.... . .Enlightnem me please. What does my handle say about me? Inquiring minds .want to know.

    For one thing, that you are afraid to use your real name. For another, that you are an escapee from
    some children's program.

    .-Dondo

    ===
    I am working on creating wildlife habitat that is off-limits to humans ("pure habitat"). Want to
    help? (I spent the previous 8 years fighting auto dependence and road construction.)

    http://home.pacbell.net/mjvande
     
  20. On Sat, 07 Jun 2003 14:53:51 +0000, Mike Vandeman wrote:

    >
    > For one thing, that you are afraid to use your real name. For another, that you are an escapee
    > from some children's program.

    LOL - now that's funny. Any other vets out there think there's a grain of truth to that children's
    program thing?

    -Dondo
     
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