Bikes in the wilderness

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
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Ska-T
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Re: Bikes in the wilderness

Post by Ska-T » Wed Dec 27, 2017 5:27 pm

Share the Trail.png
As a hiker I have yet to have a biker yield to me.

[I spend way more time each year biking than hiking, so don't call me anti-bike.]
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RichardCullip
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Re: Bikes in the wilderness

Post by RichardCullip » Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:29 pm

Ska-T wrote:
Share the Trail.png
As a hiker I have yet to have a biker yield to me.

[I spend way more time each year biking than hiking, so don't call me anti-bike.]
As a biker have youu ever yielded to a hiker?

I've had a few, remarkably few, bikers yield for me as I hike on some multi-use trails down in San Diego but it is a rare thing indeed.
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Re: Bikes in the wilderness

Post by Cross Country » Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:01 pm

I've ridden a bike on the bike trail close to my house literarily thousands of times. Most bikers are very compulsive people who almost can't bare to slow down. They risk collisions instead of slowing down and "loosing" 5 seconds. I always slow down and yield.

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Re: Bikes in the wilderness

Post by zacjust32 » Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:09 pm

Cross Country wrote:I've ridden a bike on the bike trail close to my house literarily thousands of times. Most bikers are very compulsive people who almost can't bare to slow down. They risk collisions instead of slowing down and "loosing" 5 seconds. I always slow down and yield.
And most hikers carry 50-60 lbs, build campfire rings, don't pack out their TP, eat at whole foods and don't contribute to society.

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Re: Bikes in the wilderness

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:25 am

:( I fear we have devolved into sterotyping here! I heartily disagree that most backpackers carry 50-60 pounds and litter. Quite the contrary- a majority of backpackers I have run into the last few years (which is only a small sampling of backpackpackers) have really bought into the UL trend, having smaller packs than I carry (and of course, a lot of new gear). I find the litter on the parts of trails heavily used by day-hikers, yet on the whole, I have not found the trails trashed-filled. I also disagree that all bikers are speed-freaks who mow down backpackers.

The danger of mixing bikers and backpackers is mostly a matter of the natural difference in average speed of biking vs walking. Nobody can see around a corner! Bikes just go faster than walking, and if there is a crash between hiker and biker, there is the potential for a lot of damage for both the biker and backpacker. Maybe some techology will solve this problem (?? radar warnings on bikes??). But for now, I simply do not see a good solution, other than designating trails as biker trails or hiker trails. Roads are different. I have backpacked in Henry Coe State Park, and they seem to have done a good job on mixing bikes and hikers and designated some trails for hikers only, and allowing bikes on others. They also have a lot of old farm roads that are perfect for mixed use.

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Re: Bikes in the wilderness

Post by fishwrong » Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:47 pm

My 2 cents is that public lands should be as open and available to the public as a whole as reasonably possible. I also think arguments pro and con should be honest.

The two issues against bikes in Wilderness that I hear the most are resource degradation, and non-compatible use. Both issues are valid concerns, but I also believe both get exaggerated frequently. In reading the announcement there are provisions for decision making, and while I'm sure there will be noticeable changes where bikes are allowed, I also think there are tools available to mitigate them. Mountain biking is allowed in much of the national forest, and while there are certainly examples of erosion, trail widening and sensitive areas which have been harmed, they're generally very limited, and the areas I frequent haven't been "destroyed", they've been "used" Where there has been damage, it can also be repaired. Protecting certain sensitive areas make much more sense to me, than overall prohibition.

As for non-compatible uses (horses, bikes, hiker trail conflict), I think we all need to repeat kindergarten. Learn to share and play nice with others. Doesn't matter the subject, there will always be the us and them groups. Every Giant's fan knows Dodger fans are idiots, and every hiker has a story of being buzzed by a mountain bike. Every mountain biker has a story of the dumb hikers who stumble randomly all over the trail and have no idea what's going on around them. I'm sure hiker/biker accidents do happen, but I'm also sure there's a bigger risk in getting in a car accident on the way to the trailhead.

I much prefer an attitude of mutual respect for others enjoying what is collectively "ours" as opposed to the simple mind set of "keep them out of my place". A little bit of education and respectful attitude goes a long way with most people, and no regulation will fix stupid, so how about a little "we're all here to enjoy the same place, even if for different reasons" ethic? Like I said, only my 2 cents.

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Re: Bikes in the wilderness

Post by oldranger » Thu Dec 28, 2017 4:38 pm

I really think that most of you are missing the point. A friend who is almost as old as I am says he could easily do 40 miles a day on any wilderness trail in oregon. his 40 year old son could do over a hundred. There are lots of mountain bikers in bend that could negotiate virtually any trail in the sierra. All issues of compatibility aside, what this means is that anywhere bikes were permitted that the old 6 mile rule (day use limits for most 6 miles out and 6 miles back) for day use becomes invalid. Mountain bikers are likely to more than double the number of day users on any trail opened to mountain bikes and the ability to get away from it all on multiday hikes on trails will become impossible. It is extremely likely that if mountain bikes are permitted on a trail that quotas will be implemented for day use which means it will become more and more difficult to engage in casual, spur of the moment day hikes. So for me the issue is that allowing bikes will increase the number of persons utilizing the wilderness, especially more remote areas, and at the same time ultimately reducing opportunities for existing users as more people compete for access to designated wilderness.
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Re: Bikes in the wilderness

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:45 pm

Oldranger has a point. I personally think all day-hikers should have permits and quotas. The trail runners cause the same issue of crowding the trails many miles into the wilderness. Like any other user, bikes or trail runners, a few far into the wilderness are fine, but it can get too much, particularly on weekends. I noticed this particularly in the Minarets.

As to just "learn to share", that too depends on numbers. As all mothers who watch toddlers know, at some density of little bodies, all hell breaks loose and the sandbox is destroyed!

Wilderness designation can be overdone. The opposition will call this "locking up public lands". The result may be a big push-back against wilderness in general. My experience is that private land owners boardering wilderness areas, who lock their gates, lock up more wilderness than the rules about who can use the wilderness. When I climbed, I contributed to the Access Fund, which fought for keeping and obtaining public access to public lands. It is a balancing act - keeping wilderness truely wild, yet not "locking" it up. And there never is going to be 100% consensus as to what that balance is.

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Re: Bikes in the wilderness

Post by zacjust32 » Fri Dec 29, 2017 12:36 am

oldranger wrote:I really think that most of you are missing the point. A friend who is almost as old as I am says he could easily do 40 miles a day on any wilderness trail in oregon. his 40 year old son could do over a hundred. There are lots of mountain bikers in bend that could negotiate virtually any trail in the sierra. All issues of compatibility aside, what this means is that anywhere bikes were permitted that the old 6 mile rule (day use limits for most 6 miles out and 6 miles back) for day use becomes invalid. Mountain bikers are likely to more than double the number of day users on any trail opened to mountain bikes and the ability to get away from it all on multiday hikes on trails will become impossible.
I get the mileage thing, but remember that wildernesses will only be opened on a case-by-case basis. I am absolutely, emphatically, and positively certain that the vast majority of the Sierra (Deso, Yose, SEKI, JMW, Inyo) will not be opened to bikers. No one will allow that to happen. I can see Domeland wilderness, Sequoia National Forest-south, and many trails north of Tahoe being opened though. But that is only if they are accepted on a case-by-case basis.

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Re: Bikes in the wilderness

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:50 am

For those of you who do a lot of mountain biking, when does it get too crowded for your own safety? How many others on the trail for any given day do you deem appropriate?

I ask this, because I think quotas, as much as people do not like them, really protect the user from bad experiences. If trails are opened to bikes, I still think permits and daily quotas are needed.

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