Is Mountain Biking the Biggest Threat to New Wilderness Designations?

#46
Quote from NMC_EXP

"Mountain bikers are, as a demographic group, fit the profile of off-road vehicle users. They are predominately male, between 20-40, and tend to have above average incomes and often have the same outlaw attitude and sense of entitlement."

You are very off target on that statement - I'd like to know what study or statistics you got that from? To it looks like an opinion you try to pass on as fact.

NMC_EXP did you know in the ORIGINAL Wilderness Act documents bicycles were specifically INCLUDED... and the wording was to prohibit MOTORIZED travel... but pressure from large groups like the Sierra Club took back that allowance. Did you know many, MANY studies confirm that Equestrians and hikers (especially with trekking poles) cause more impact on trails that MT bikes?

It is very obvious NMC_EXP yo have an axe to grind against MT bikers. There are many THOUSANDS of acres of wilderness and as a hiker, biker and equestrian there is plenty of areas for many different user groups. To disallow a particular group IS bias. There is no reasonable reason why the regional land managers of a wilderness area cannot decide what activities are allowed.

I feel you NMC_EXP are the one who needs to mature and be a bit more open minded.

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Where to begin? I'll start with your first error:

"Mountain bikers are, as a demographic group, fit the profile of off-road vehicle users. They are predominately male, between 20-40, and tend to have above average incomes and often have the same outlaw attitude and sense of entitlement."

That quote is by George Weurther, a poster boy of the green movement. My post clearly shows it to be an excerpt from an article he wrote. I suggest you vent your indignation on Weurther.

Did you know many, MANY studies confirm that Equestrians and hikers (especially with trekking poles) cause more impact on trails that MT bikes?


Since that claim seems to defy the laws of physics, I am skeptical unless I can see in detail the test plan, the specific test methodology and how the data was reduced. And I would need to know what organization(s) commissioned and paid for the studies? As to the floating abstraction of "Many studies confirm...", until otherwise proven, I suspect this is just another example of the "Woozle Effect": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woozle_effect

If some draft version of the WA allowed bicycles, that is irrelevant. Why does anyone need a bicycle to enjoy wilderness?

As to speed freaks on bicycles and trail damage, my observations are closer to 25% than 1% are spewing dirt and gravel (aka carving and shredding) on downhill turns due to speed.
 
#47
Where to begin? I'll start with your first error:

"Mountain bikers are, as a demographic group, fit the profile of off-road vehicle users. They are predominately male, between 20-40, and tend to have above average incomes and often have the same outlaw attitude and sense of entitlement."

That quote is by George Weurther, a poster boy of the green movement. My post clearly shows it to be an excerpt from an article he wrote. I suggest you vent your indignation on Weurther.

Did you know many, MANY studies confirm that Equestrians and hikers (especially with trekking poles) cause more impact on trails that MT bikes?


Since that claim seems to defy the laws of physics, I am skeptical unless I can see in detail the test plan, the specific test methodology and how the data was reduced. And I would need to know what organization(s) commissioned and paid for the studies? As to the floating abstraction of "Many studies confirm...", until otherwise proven, I suspect this is just another example of the "Woozle Effect": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woozle_effect

If some draft version of the WA allowed bicycles, that is irrelevant. Why does anyone need a bicycle to enjoy wilderness?

As to speed freaks on bicycles and trail damage, my observations are closer to 25% than 1% are spewing dirt and gravel (aka carving and shredding) on downhill turns due to speed.
What is your profession? If not one that studies erosion you are approaching things the same as that dude at EPA or even Trump when he says it is cold in the northeast and therefore climate change is a hoax.

Peer reviewed scientific studies offer at lot more than one persons casual observation.
I get it....hard to reconcile ones casual observations with studies. But if we based everything off of one persons observations, we’d all be in much worse shape.

Maybe you could consider these two thoughts: 1. What really causes the majority of erosion? I’d say water does, even in dry climates. But what do I know? 2. Do you think that restricting cyclists to fewer trails such that user volume in those remaining trails goes significantly up is the right thing to do? I don’t. I moved back to San Diego after 10 years away and with considerably less single track inventory open to cyclists, trail damage and user conflict seems more significant on those few remaining sections of single track open to cyclists. But that is my observation only.


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#49
Peer reviewed scientific studies offer at lot more than one persons casual observation......I get it....hard to reconcile ones casual observations with studies.
Are you claiming there are "...many MANY..." peer revied studies which prove: "....studies confirm that Equestrians and hikers (especially with trekking poles) cause more impact on trails that MT bikes..."?

What studies, how were the studies funded and what peers did the reviewing? Try to be specific.

As to your observation RE casual observation vs studies there is truth in that, so far as it goes. The validity of conclusions drawn depends entirely on the quality and quantity of the observations. This applies to both informal and formal studies.

Think about the logical fallacy of "argument from authority". Think about how often this fallacy is used to support or reject emotionally charged topics which have seeped out of the scientific realm and into popular culture and awareness.

The argument from authority and it's bastard child the Woozle Effect are pathetic excuses for the majority of the population on either side of any controversy not to think on their own. It is as simple as that.

I had a career in engineering. It was 30 years of setting up test plans, making observations, running tests, collecting data and drawing conclusions. When I run across (pseudo) scientific claims that do not pass the smell test, I will default to my own observations and conclusions.

FYI - the very foundation of real science is skepticism. The lack of skepticism means faith and church is the place for that.
 
#53
Are you claiming there are "...many MANY..." peer revied studies which prove: "....studies confirm that Equestrians and hikers (especially with trekking poles) cause more impact on trails that MT bikes..."?

What studies, how were the studies funded and what peers did the reviewing? Try to be specific.

As to your observation RE casual observation vs studies there is truth in that, so far as it goes. The validity of conclusions drawn depends entirely on the quality and quantity of the observations. This applies to both informal and formal studies.

Think about the logical fallacy of "argument from authority". Think about how often this fallacy is used to support or reject emotionally charged topics which have seeped out of the scientific realm and into popular culture and awareness.

The argument from authority and it's bastard child the Woozle Effect are pathetic excuses for the majority of the population on either side of any controversy not to think on their own. It is as simple as that.

I had a career in engineering. It was 30 years of setting up test plans, making observations, running tests, collecting data and drawing conclusions. When I run across (pseudo) scientific claims that do not pass the smell test, I will default to my own observations and conclusions.

FYI - the very foundation of real science is skepticism. The lack of skepticism means faith and church is the place for that.
Good arguments- specifically argument from authority.

I too was educated as a mechanical engineer- though I’m just shy of 20 years mostly with nuclear power ops & maintenance.

Someone linked a study in another post- some of the many studies are referenced there.

I’m good with professional questioning attitude. I’m not good with unscientific background folks rejecting data because it doesn’t fit their paradigm. Please note that I am not accusing you of the later. I’d rather say that I disagree with skepticism being foundation of science and instead argue that curiosity is the foundation. That’s just my opinion though.

2 other things I’d offer for you to consider:

1. Earlier I think you suggested skepticism about impact footprints and load on the ground and its contribution to damage as being insignificant between hikers and cyclists. A portion of us that advocate for access to bikes be locally determined as opposed to a blanket ban may not be what you have as an image of a typical off road cyclists. My main trail bike runs 29x2.6 tires at about 15/17 psi front and rear. I haven’t measured the surface area of my hiking boots to compare my body weight in boots vs on bike tires, but given the pressures I run, I don’t think there is as large of a difference than you may have thought. Many cyclists prefer even larger tires with lower pressures.

2. As I eluded to with #1 above, many of us aren’t what tv or magazines make us out to be. I personally want to get away and enjoy the outdoors while challenging myself. Sure, I like speed, but that isn’t what it is all about. When I go bike packing, my average speed is often within 2-3 mph compared to a quick through hiker. Because of arthritis I can no longer access deeper backcountry areas unless I’m on a bike. And I certainly can’t do a multi day self supported trip without the bike. All I want is the same opportunity as a hiker to access and enjoy the back country - with decisions being made by the local land manager.


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#54
Hmm, doesn't look to be a study funded by the bike community


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Good point.

I read the first 29 pages and scanned the balance of the 85 or so total. That study collected empirical data on how specific trails changed over time (depth and width). Typically the ruts got deeper and the trails got wider. Especially true on slopes and wet bottom areas.

However, the study did not collect data on the type of use; hiker, bicycle, horse, ATV...etc.

Therefore it could not draw any conclusions as to relative effects of transportation mode.
 
#55
Good arguments- specifically argument from authority.

I too was educated as a mechanical engineer- though I'm just shy of 20 years mostly with nuclear power ops & maintenance.

Someone linked a study in another post- some of the many studies are referenced there.

I'm good with professional questioning attitude. I'm not good with unscientific background folks rejecting data because it doesn't fit their paradigm. Please note that I am not accusing you of the later. I'd rather say that I disagree with skepticism being foundation of science and instead argue that curiosity is the foundation. That's just my opinion though.

2 other things I'd offer for you to consider:

1. Earlier I think you suggested skepticism about impact footprints and load on the ground and its contribution to damage as being insignificant between hikers and cyclists. A portion of us that advocate for access to bikes be locally determined as opposed to a blanket ban may not be what you have as an image of a typical off road cyclists. My main trail bike runs 29x2.6 tires at about 15/17 psi front and rear. I haven't measured the surface area of my hiking boots to compare my body weight in boots vs on bike tires, but given the pressures I run, I don't think there is as large of a difference than you may have thought. Many cyclists prefer even larger tires with lower pressures.

2. As I eluded to with #1 above, many of us aren't what tv or magazines make us out to be. I personally want to get away and enjoy the outdoors while challenging myself. Sure, I like speed, but that isn't what it is all about. When I go bike packing, my average speed is often within 2-3 mph compared to a quick through hiker. Because of arthritis I can no longer access deeper backcountry areas unless I'm on a bike. And I certainly can't do a multi day self supported trip without the bike. All I want is the same opportunity as a hiker to access and enjoy the back country - with decisions being made by the local land manager.


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First, thanks for the reasoned response. I have learned that mountain bikers tend to be extremely touchy about the issue of trail damage. Enough so to bring to mind "Methinks the [biker] doth protest too much."

--I would be interested in actual contact patch data from typical bicycle tires. I did takes some measurements from my size 13 boots, and made rough estimates for bike tires and horseshoes. Then estimated static contact pressure for 200 lb gross weights for hiker and bike and 1000 lb for an equestrian. Came out similar to the numbers in the report above. The issue of the relative amount of soil displacement seems like it must involve several other factors beside static contact pressure and has to be fairly complicated.

--Good point about curiosity being a cornerstone of science and I fully agree. However, the scientific method is based on skepticism. For a claim or hypothesis to be accepted it must be falsifiable as well as repeatable & reproducible.

--I agree regarding blindness due to confirmation bias. My direct experience with MBers does color my opinion but I realize this sort of information does not support a conclusion. It is just anecdotal information and I will not bore you with the details.

Thanks again.
 
#56
The deep ecologist George Wuerthner is after back country bicycle riders again:

Source: CounterPunch

Date: 02/09/2018

Link: https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/02/09/mountain-biking-and-wilderness/

What follows is from the article.

[begin excerpts]

A small minority of the most aggressive mountain bikers have formed the Sustainable Trails Coalition (STC) to sponsor legislation to open designated wilderness to mountain biking. Republican Congressman Tom McClintock of California introduced HR 1349 to Amend the Wilderness Act to allow wheeled vehicles like bicycles and Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah has introduced the introduced the Human-Powered Travel in Wilderness Areas Act, S.3205 to the same purpose. Both pieces of legislation are aimed at busting open the 1964 Wilderness Act to biking and other uses.

[snip]

Beyond the clear legal mandate to ban mountain bikes, there are ecological reasons to oppose the growing plague of mountain bikes on backcountry trails. Unlike non-mechanical means of access such as hiking, mountain bikes, and their mechanical advantage permits more rapid travel. The distance that a mountain bike can cover in a day means that many previously remote areas of our backcountry and wildlands are intruded upon by human activity.

[snip]

Mountain biking is exemplified by speed and requires concentration. We are separated from nature in so many ways today with cell phones, cars, videos and the like that we seldom have a quiet interaction with the natural world. Speed robs you of the natural interactions.

All you must do is look at the covers of mountain biking magazines where riders are often airborne and careening downhill to understand what is important to the aggressive mountain biker. Indeed, the aggressive mountain bikers do not differ significantly from dirt bikers and other thrillcraft in their appearance and behavior.

Or scan the names of mountain bike brands. There is Cannondale Bad Habit, Cannondale Scalpel Cannondale Trigger, Evil Bikes, GT Aggressor, GT Fury, Marin Attack, Scott Voltage, and Titan Punisher. What kind of behavior do you think these bike manufacturers are promoting?

[end excerpts]