Time to tip your trail builder

Downed trees just don’t magically disappear in the spring, critical trail armor doesn’t fall off the armor tree, and drainage mitigation isn’t an act of God.

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  • jared says:

    I agree. Also, for those that live in the great state of Colorado, or plant o visit, you can help build or maintain many of those trails by signing up with VOC, often getting meals or free campsites in exchange. Add in a tip to the trails can happen in all sorts of ways.

  • DrDon says:

    I just returned from Crested Butte and Gunnison. I was only able to briefly ride Hartman Rocks and I didn’t do Doctor Park. Teo and 401 were great as well as Monarch Crest. Great job guys and gals! Dang, your mountains are big.

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Five reasons why you should shop online

While the local bike shop is in invaluable resource, there’s a number of compelling reasons to buy online. Here are five of them.

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  • david peck says:

    I was in a shop today that has the brand of bike that I want to buy next. This is not the closest shop to my home, but it is a very good shop and I am friendly with the owner. I have, in the past spent at least $1000 dollars in this shop, but the bike I’m looking at will be in the $6000 range. I can get the bike from Jensonusa and not be charged sales tax, nearly a $500 savings. I feel guilty even going in there and taking up his time knowing that I will not buy my bike from him. I will continue to shop there for many less expensive parts, handle bars, tires, seats and so on.

    • azdb says:

      If it was only $500 diffence on that bike, I’d buy it there at the shop. I am a total online purchase geek, even toilet paper, but if it is 500 out of 6k and they put it together and give residual tune ups, no question I’d go with shop….

    • Chris says:

      Go into the shop and be honest with him – if you are friendly with him and let him know you can save $500 buying a $6000 bike online my guess is he will be happy to give you $500 off the bike. He probably offers some form a service over the first year or so – as your bike breaks in he will be there to make adjustments and offer help with any questions you have. At least give him a chance to match the price – if he can help you your relationship will be even stronger – if he can’t he will appreciate that you came to him first and gave him a shot!

    • GuyOnMTB says:

      That $500 is a large chunk of change, and it makes sense to want to save what you can. I’m think the same way. However, I’ll take it a step further to try and meet a compromise with myself in order to help local business. Specially if I like the shop!

      I get wheels made at a local shop, I can order parts they don’t have contracts to buy and hand them over to the builder. I generally will buy 75 to 100 percent of wheel materials from them, other than parts cost there is a $52 Labor cost. They make many wheels daily by tenured wheel builders which keeps their cost down. I pay this happily as they will always true wheels for free that they personally build. I take them in every three months and tip a lunch burritos for the builders as they wont take my money. The shop closest to me charges $70, and their builders are experienced, but turn around times are slow.

      I would try to get the shop owner to understand my situation and see if there is a compromise available. I would inquire with the proprietor regarding maintenance/preventative maintenance that could be serviced to the bike after I buy it, for a set number of services or time. Knowing that this ‘service guaranty’ wouldn’t cover broken parts-unless manufacture defective of course-, pretty much just wheel trues, derailleur adjustment, bearing replacement ‘labor’ after a season of abuse. I’d assume that the LBS wouldn’t be able to handle warranty issues with the shock and fork, so those will always take a trip if needing repairs, unless I’m proficient with such components.-I am, but if under warranty, goes to factory-mech…

      I guess what I’m trying to say is; when we buy our bikes from our local non-ridiculous attitude bike retailers and go back for issues many are likely to be willing to true wheels for free, replace bearings-after bearing purchase- and make adjustments on the bike that some of us can’t do, for free, or maybe a substantially discounted cost. The online retailers don’t do these things unless they also have locations in cities, of which a few online retailers do… There is a particular gratitude from shops and shop owners toward customers that have purchased $big-(K)-bikes$, as that purchase help pay the overhead, the employees and the cat food.

  • jjj says:

    Got ripped off by one of the big online. Fox32 instead of a fox36 on my new bike, brakes run USA style instead of UK as requested. they refused to respond at all. So big stuff I’d pay the extra so you have some solid support for that first year.

    Small stuff I go to eBay or do a lot of searching for smaller stores. Crc dont have the prices they used to, equal to store prices mostly, and no huge savings anymore unless the kit is years old.i used to buy a ton of stuff from them (the water damaged boxes from that warehouse flood made for some huuuge savings, loved that), but alas, they sold the store on and all that is gone. Will say bike24 has massive discounts on a few things (110 for a 260rrp set of rare lowa boots, had that lol, but less so on a lot of the bike stuff strangely) some deals but not to that extent that I have seen.

    Its all much the same now, deals harder to find. But good support is priceless

  • Ryan says:

    What David Eades wrote is pretty much spot on. It only gets worse when the ‘customer’ asks for a list of specific part numbers after saying they don’t want to buy the parts. They want you to do all the research, then give them a shopping list to buy online. It helps to actually BE a customer if you want to be treated like one. There are exceptions to this, but it’s getting worse.

  • I'mRight says:

    My LBS, let me itemize:
    1. Hours, one is closed at 12pm on Saturdays.
    2. Inventory, low end bikes or only one brand.
    3. Parts, never in stock always have to order, come back
    next week to pick up.
    4.$12.99 for a tube.
    need I go on?

    • BarshKinaiSki says:

      Mate? Where the hell are you shopping at?

      My LBS, let me itemize:
      1) Hours, 10-6 Tues-Sat for General Public, 24/7 by appointment for Platinum level customers
      2) Inventory, Consistent Full size run of all the stuff that sells in our market XXS to XL
      3) Service, Repair Turnaround same/next day almost always
      4) New Parts, Practical inventory only to keep prices low
      5) Carbon Fiber Repair In-House
      6) Brake Line Rebuilding In-House
      7) Creative Modification Service In-House
      8) $7.00 for a 26×1.95 Shraeder Tube; $8.00 for a 700×23/25 Presta Tube
      9) Weekly rides hosted in Spring, Summer, and most of Fall
      10) We were the startup spark for the 18-mile perimeter trail that now exists in our town; and was responsible for the inital organization and initial funding for it.

      Sounds like you just need a different shop……. 🙂

      • I'mRight says:

        You’re very lucky to have a shop like that. I have ten shops within an hours drive and I still shop online. One shop is fifteen minutes away and they don’t stock bike over one thousand dollars – “cuz we can’t sell them”. That’s what I have available.

  • peper says:

    I generally buy online and am very specific about model numbers and making sure that I can handle the install or rebuild myself. However lots of good comments here by those who haven’t been so lucky. The local shops will generally make an effort to get close to or match an online deal if you politely ask and aren’t unreasonable about it. Many shops would like to install the purchase and could pick up service work even is the price match on the part might hurt a bit. It’s all about options and brick and mortar shops have to be on point with their staff being pleasant and full of good information and the ability to ask for the business in a way that maximizes their oportunity to sell and service everything.

  • Pedro says:

    Shame on MTBR for writing this article. Congratulations for figuring out that bying stuff online is cheaper and easier, Einstein.

    But bike shops are national treasures and have saved my otherwise-stranded ass a million times. If Chainreaction and Nashbar take out 50% of the bike shops, we’ll all be worse off.

    Patronize your local bike shop. Bring in cookies or beer when you pick up your bike. Add to the tip jar. You don’t have to buy everything at the LBS, but damn it, support our guys in the shops.

    • YYC says:

      “Bring cookies or beer when you pick up your bike.” You are making things worse a lot like feeding the wildlife. Thanks to you the standard cost of getting anything done is a 6-pack PLUS whatever $$$ goods/services would have cost you.

      Im all for doing nice things for people, but you are buying something from a business, not trying to date them… Feel free to show your support by making another purchase if you like how your last one went.

  • Cogzilla says:

    Warranty. If you buy a bike at a shop, in all likelihood that shop will be your advocate with the manufacturer if you have an issue, especially if you maintain good relations with the shop. You may spend $5k on a bike from a manufacturer every few years, but a shop often spends many hundreds of thousands a year with a manufacturer so can have some influence in now your claim gets addressed.

  • keith says:

    Many complain that shops have to charge more blah blah blah.

    1st, its not the shops fault. Much of it is the cost of overhead. I get parts withint a few dollars of online prices all the time here. Why? Because cost of the building, utilities, taxes, and the list goes on are far less than what they are in a big city. Only way an LBS can survive is to charge more.

    Then you add in the BS game that distributors play, which they charge a shop more for parts because of QTY, well LBS cant buy a higher quality when distributors and manufacturers only cater to the big sellers that have massive warehouses (isnt that the point of a distributor or begin with)

    Some distributors are not being such asshats anymore but many are still. Their slowly coming to realize they are doing nothing but screwing themselves because their is really no reason to charge an LBS 20-30% more.

    Then You add articles like this and everyone being so concerned about saving $5 (the whole reason quality is going to shit) and wonder why so many LBS are the way they are.

    When you can afford a $6k bike there is no damn excuse to have to buy online. SERIOUSLY this is so sad. Cyclists are the worst when it comes to being cheap asses (while having nice big houses and SUVs etc).

  • eb1888 says:

    My shop matches internet. They order it. I avoid shipping minimums but pay tax.

  • BarshKinaiSki says:

    @David Peck- If you can afford $6k for a bike, you can afford to let the LBS that has served you so well to make his money. Manufacturers don’t allow LBS’s to have much of a margin to begin with; so by saying, “I can get it $500 cheaper by going somewhere else” to him/her, you’re essentially saying, “I don’t think you’ve earned the money you’ll get selling me this bike, but I deserve the service I’m going to force you to give me.”
    Stop being an asshat and buy from your LBS; you’ll thank yourself someday.

  • butch says:

    All the US online bike shops are a regular “LBS” the only one that was online only was PricePoint. Jenson is just as much a LBS as any other LBS, they have a retail floor, they have sales people, they have the same bills, they just know how to make use of the internet. If LBS’s are having problems with Shimano and SRAM they need to take it up with them, it is not the customer’s fault LBS’s dont know how to negotiate for fair prices.

  • JNS says:

    Not sure why we are obligated to support LBS. How about this idea, stop retail sales all together if you can’t compete and just do service? The LBS’s around here do TONS of service. They normally tell you they can’t fit you in cause they are so busy. Why can’t this be there money maker??? What’s this bring beer and cookies discussion? I’m paying you for a service, why do I have to jack you off in appreciation in addition to paying? When I go get an oil change in my car, I don’t bring the mechanic beer and cookies. FFS.

  • Sean says:

    BREAKING NEWS! Online retailers undercut local bike shops on price and product range! Exclusive at 11!

  • Gerry says:

    Why is it such a big deal if you buy your bike from the shop? What if you buy a used bike, will they treat you like sh!t whenever you bring it in? I always buy used bikes but bring them in to service and have a great relationship with my shop. I so most of my minor repairs and maintenance but bring it in if it’s over my head or for a major tune once a year or so. If they only want to treat you well because you buy from them, they suck.

  • Marc says:

    You should feel guilty. There’s nothing cool about ‘show rooming’ – taking up the shop’s time and pawing the inventory and then buying elsewhere.

    Same with the sales tax. Don’t punish your neighbor (the shop) because you don’t want to pay your share. Technically you should be claiming that stuff on your return anyways. If you got audited, you’d get dinged.

  • Chris says:

    I walked into my LBS with a list of items I’d like to see on my new mountain bike. Instead the guy rolled out a leftover year old model that he was trying to get off of the floor without anything I requested and insisted it was better & what I wanted was garbage that he’d never give his enemies. That sealed the deal for me, my last bike came from the FedEx man. When it came time to get the wife a new road bike I just went straight online.

  • Tom says:

    I always use my LBS, I have two that I love and trust and split my money between them. They can get any part or bike I want usually within the same timeframe that an internet order could. They repair my bike as fast as they can, and stand behind their installs, and repairs. I go to my LBS sometimes just to chat, talk to other riders and enjoy the MTB atmosphere.
    I know I pay slightly more, but they live in my area. They shovel the same snow I do. They pay the same outrageous taxes I do, the same insane gas prices, the same massive electricity bills I do. They are my neighbors, and it’s really hard to run a business in NY.
    Go Bike Junkie in Bethpage!
    Go Peak Bikes in Queens!

  • LBS OWNER says:

    Have a big ride tomorrow?
    Broke a spoke?
    Need a quick-link?
    Need cassette removed?
    Shit, tore a sidewall and have a race this weekend.
    All the little things you need instantly….if you do not support your local bike shop, they wont be there for that part, for that shifter cable.
    Then when the shop is no longer there, you will say….” I LOVED THAT SHOP” but you didn’t buy shit from them. Just the little things.
    Good shops will always try and help, they will try and match prices, or maybe do a free install on the part. Understand that many prices are well below MSRP and below market price. But things that are not….please buy from your local shop. Unless of course they are dicks. But if they are…..NEVER USE THEM….I MEAN NEVER!!!!!

  • Mike B says:

    I don’t really think you can judge many people on if they buy from a LBS or Online. There are so many factors involved.

    Do they live near a good shop?
    Are the hours of the shop compatible with the customers schedule?
    Do they need something unusual? (weird tool, etc).

    Personally I try to buy from my LBS whenever possible. I bought my bike from them, but I could totally see buying one online in the future (I don’t need the free tunes). I try to buy consumables from them, but frequently they don’t have what I want…if they do, I get it from them, even if it costs a little more. Sometimes I don’t have time to get to the shop (closest shop is 20 miles from me). Amazon Prime has saved my ass in the past when I had a weekend ride planned and I had to work the rest of the week.

    My local shop is currently adding a coffee shop/bar in their main location. Shops need to evolve. I’m glad my local shop is and I hope the upgrade will keep them in business for years to come. To believe everyone should ONLY buy from a LBS is nuts. It’s the 21st Century. Eventually I believe most retail will be a thing of the past. Specialty shops that can provide that extra special service *might* survive. Shops that are stuck in the 20th Century will fail.

  • Frank says:

    There are several aspects to buying online vs at an LBS.

    First off when buying a bike it isn’t much different than buying a car, you’ll go to several lots and “waste” the time of the car salespeople only to buy a car from another dealer, buying a bike is similar, you have to “waste” the time of the salespeople to find the right bike. Salespeople actually understand this, and for every person they “waste” their time with they’re that much closer to a sale.

    However if I go into a LBS to inquire about an accessory and pick their brain only to leave and buy the identical product online for less is cheating the salesperson and the LBS out of sale, I could never do that nor have I ever done that, it’s just rude.

    However most of the time I know what I need, so I usually buy online because even with shipping (which sometimes is free) and now with taxes being imposed, I still can save at least 30% to as much as 65% buying online vs the same thing at an LBS. Of course some products are so low priced it doesn’t matter, and in some cases I need the product asap so into the LBS I’ll go.

    In addition to that I’ve have received far better customer service from online stores than I have at most LBS’s, this includes after the sale returns and warranty issues; I’ve even received great advice before the sale from online phone staffers when I needed it.

    So in my 40 years plus of being in the bike world overall my best experiences have been from online stores.

    Even with all the online purchases going on LBS’s are still not hurting like some want you to believe, just read the National Bicycle Dealers Association on the internet and read the money figures and you’ll discover that LBS’s control a commanding 49% of the dollars in the industry compared to just 8% for chain stores and specialty outdoor retailers, and a paltry 3% from internet sales!! So when I hear people cry about LBS’s losing business just simply is not true. LBS’s that go out of business is due to the shop not meeting the needs of the consumer, poor customer service, and poor business management and not due to online sales.

  • Peter says:

    Buying online is a great way to save money if you know exactly what you are looking for. However, last time I checked you can’t buy Service online. I own a shop in So. AZ and I encourage my clients to buy the part they seek online and then bring it to me and I’ll install it.This keeps my inventory costs down. My labor rates are comparable to other stores and I have the knowledge to back it all up. I see it as a WIN WIN situation for all parties involved.

  • Tom says:

    As so many examples here attest, the bike industry doesn’t want to provide customer service, they want to sell you something. (Exceptions are noted.) The constant product development of new industry standards ultimately results in planned obsolescence for bike products while they are sitting on a sales floor. Try to buy a 9 speed cassette in the size you need at your neighborhood shop, or investigate your part options for the unique frame specifications on your ride. Each of the 3 bikes I have purchased in the last 5 years is considered out of date already.

    If I’m going to throw down cash for product that the industry will, if it hasn’t already, stopped supporting, I’m going to spend as little as possible so I can ensure I get my money’s worth.

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5 reasons why you should shop at your local bike shop

Buying online has it perks, but there’s a number of good reasons why you should consider shopping at your local bike shop. Click through to read our top five.

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  • blaklabl says:

    Maybe you should do another side to this story, like “What Local Bikes Shops Should Be Doing To Stay Relevant”…i.e. adequate inventory on parts, knowledgeable employees w/o attitudes, etc. My heart goes out to all of the LBS’s that actually try to earn business, but the ones that will not evolve their business model and adapt to the changing landscape are doomed to fail.

    • Saris Mercanti says:

      I completely agree @Blaklabl. There are a lot of poorly run bike shops out there but the good ones are worth their weight in gold.

  • YYC says:

    Having a local bike shop to call your own seems to take a lot of effort on my part as a customer. Service is great when you are in there spending $8k on a new bike, but that fades in time. Looking for a part or accessory? Most of the time they have to order it in. Looking for tuning/service? Book in and wait, because some bro-dude just walked in with a 6-pack microbrew and went to the front of the line. Got a question about something technical? The guy to answer it isn’t there, but you can talk to the mechanic who makes you feel dumb for not being current on whatever new hub spacing standard came out this year. The mentioned cycle shop here is more or less the epitome of a “boutique” bike shop.

  • Paul says:

    The LBS which carries the brand I want to buy, is suppose to be a great shop. I did buy my Grandson’s balance bike there and did receive good treatment. However, they offer NO demos, NO rentals, NO nothing. They even suggested I go to another bike shop, but that bike shop does not carry, nor rent, the brand I’m interested in. How am I suppose to really determine which bike is right for me without an actual test ride? I might as well buy online.

  • O Meu Nome says:

    In 10km radius there are around 20 bike shops.
    I only go to one, I check prices online, and then if he can match the price plus shipping and some extra I buy from him. Sometimes he even have lower prices that online, other times the wholesale price to him is even higher that the price online.
    My latest purchase was from the LBS and was a Fox Transfer with lever, 320€ total, I checked online and went to check his price, he asked me the lower I could get it online, and then checked the lowest price he could make.

  • p brig says:

    The days of you owing your support to your LBS by right are over. They must continue to earn your support and evolve just like every other brick and mortar business. I’m sure an LBS owner circumvents his local businesses and buys unrelated goods and services online as well.

    I’ve witnessed my own LBS is selling his goods on Ebay under an alternate account.

  • Jason says:

    My local shop Piermont Cycle is the best..This guy has has over 100 bikes in his showroom, and 3 mechanics that help you right away. Do they have the best price, don’t know, but the price is competitive and the service is bar none..Backcountry or Competive Bike isn’t getting back on the trail 15mins after I walk in..

  • mountainbyte says:

    Shop: You have contaminated your rotors you need new ones…KMC chains are garbage Shimano parts are not compatible with KMC. Shimano 10 speed cassettes wont work with sram shifters…. Nobody uses Crank Bros pedals any more… Shimano is the way to go… Cable end crimps are $2 each….Bikes have no margin anymore… 10% discount would put us out of business…. No but we can order it and have it be here in a week…Bike box costs $5 bucks. Let me go pull one from the dumpster… And we are supposed to pull out our wallets and shake our heads yes?

  • MH says:

    I think we should support our local bike Shops. Helps the local economy, like local taxes. I do buy some components on-line especially E-Bay, But when it comes to buying a new bike it is at the local shop. Another plus to having a local bike shop you regularly go to some of them well give you discounts. I my experience has been I can go into my bike shop tell them I need a shifting or brake cable they’ll just give 1 or 2 plus other perks Things like that goes a long way. They know I tune my own bike & they work with me on it.
    The Bike shop owners are trying to make a living at something they like to do & customer service is important to them. I know like everything else there are some bad ones out there. In larger communities you can usually find a good bike. They want you to come back. In the smaller communities not that many to chose from. But I find they are usually the best. They want your business when you are visiting their area for riding.

  • AS says:

    The comments section here reads more like a forum for trashing your LBS. Just as WebMD has made us all smarter than our doctors, we’re all now the most senior experts in any and everything bike related. On top of that, bike shops are supposed to somehow have every single part in stock and compete on price with e-tailers. The reality is that they’re not competing on a fair playing field and thus it is easy to find fault. I recognize that not all bike shops are equal and that I’m particularly lucky some nice shops close by. Here’s why I don’t mind spending the extra money and supporting my LBS because: A) they are the biggest/most visible advocate in my riding community, 2) they’re helping to get new people into the sport, 3) they make the local bike events happen (group rides, races, etc.), 4) they’re out there doing trail maintenance, 5) If they don’t have a part in stock, they can have it within a day or two, 6) they keep my bike running flawlessly and do the stuff I can’t do (fork servicing, bombproof wheel builds), 7) A great place to hang and grab a beer, 8) helps my local economy and a regular Joe put food on his family’s table.

  • Pynchonite says:

    I would just like to point out that many people advocating ordering parts from online are against LBS’s because they would have to order parts.

  • Johnny Rotten says:

    2 years ago, I bought a new carbon road bike from my LBS, and I couldn’t be happier with the experience, and ensuing maintenance visits.

    Conversely, I’m planning on buying a new full-suspension mountain bike in the next few months, but the unfortunate thing is that I’ll only be able to test ride these mountain bikes in a paved asphalt parking lot. That may just barely work for a road bike test, but doesn’t do justice to testing suspension and handling characteristics of a mountain bike.

    So I wish there were more shops with either an off-road loop with some features to test a mountain bike, or more demo days at local trails. That is the fatal flaw of most LBS’s, from the mountain biker side of me.

    Otherwise, I do fully support my LBS with regard to big purchases (bikes). The fact is that the selection of parts, accessories and clothing is severely cropped compared to the internet, and will cost a lot more at my LBS, including local sales taxes. I still try to buy things there, especially things that I NEED to try on in person, like shoes, helmets, gloves, jerseys, etc.

  • Oscartheballer says:

    I have two bike shops near me. The first one nearly killed me when he did not tighten a bolt on my fixie. He also stole a part off my son’s bike and resold it on ebay. The second, I bought 3 bikes from him at full price. I even said “hey, I bought two bikes from you before, can I get a discount?” and they said “No, sorry.” My friend, who is way cute, got an amazing deal. So when it came time for the big bike I went for the YT Tues and saved several grand. The bike shop at the park does my wrenching. I only use local shops when I have to.

  • Patrick says:

    I bought at LBS. I factored in about $500 of free tune ups at a minimum. My shop just swapped out my cassette for no charge. I almost bought off CraigsList. So glad I didn’t.

  • Brad says:

    I have done both LBS and direct order. Good and bad to both but what finally tipped me was dealing with an LBS where I had bought a previous mountain bike and many other accessories over the years treating me like a child who needs a lecture for bringing in a YT Capra for them to do a yearly service on. I get it, I truly do, YT, Commencal, Canyon etc is a sale that they did not make but at the same time I would hope that wouldn’t erase my past years of spending around $5k+ in their shop….but as I learned, it evidently does. Knowing a few other local folks with similar stories at other shops lead me to look around for a better solution….one that doesn’t involve having to deal with an attitude when all you are trying to do is give someone your money.

    So these days I buy the majority of stuff online, some at LBS and I wrench on what I can. For the more involved stuff I dial up Velofix and a master mechanic (who I know is damn happy to have my business given how I’m treated) shows up, at my office or house mind you, in a box van full of more Park tools than I thought even existed and wrenches away on anything I need. It does cost me more that what the local LBS would charge but I hand over my card/cash with a smile on my face because being treated as an adult and a valued customer is still worth something to me.

    I know this experience is my own and there are good bike shops out there who wouldn’t behave in this manner but it only took one to turn me off and make me find a new path.

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Six reasons you should ride cross-country

When the weather gets you down, learn to adapt! For this California girl, that meant firing up a hardtail and learning to XC.

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  • Smithhammer says:

    Earn your turns! If you only ride downhill, you’re only experiencing half of what mtn biking has to offer…

  • YourFatBike says:

    I do it for the challenge, adventure, and the climb. Nothing wrong with downhill, after all, it’s all down hill after a big climb 🙂

  • brian says:

    Nice stuff. Getting back to the mountain bike after a few years away, I’ve been kind of shocked how big trail stuff seems like the only way now. Nice to see some love for hardtail bikes and rolling xc trails. Still my favorite way to go.

  • will-i-am says:

    Absolutely nothing like a long single track day in the woods… Up, down and everything in between. Could never grasp the idea of “pushing” a bike up a hill.

  • Heffe says:

    This is a hilarious article – someone just discovering what we used to call “mountain biking”.

  • g.law says:

    Good article, but take it even a step further, get on a cross or gravel bike and hit the back roads. I’m in Northern California as well and the vast majority of our single track is a soggy mess. So we’ve been grinding out the miles on gravel back roads. Great way to see the countryside and very different but fun experience than riding the mountain bikes.

  • Pablo says:

    I was prepared to mock but then I saw the gal taking a pull on the economy sized bottle of Bullet Rye…..

  • The other Andy says:

    If your trails are closed, how are you riding XC?

  • eastcoastpally says:

    The “XC” trails where live don’t look anything like that.

  • Fleas says:

    Riding “XC” is about the only part of MTBing that hasn’t changed since the beginning – mostly because, to most veteran riders, it has always been just MTBing. Someone keeps changing the name, though.

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27.5 vs. 29: Sonya Looney chimes in

Does size really matter? If we’re talking mountain bike wheels, my answer is, it depends, says Sonya Looney.

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  • Rob Webb says:

    After riding a 27.5 for a couple years I just added a 29er to my quiver. I have only about a dozen rides on it but so far I have been very impressed with the handling, and agree with Achille that the feeling of the two sizes is merging. The long slack geometry and short chain stays seem to have increased both the downhill and cornering prowess of the wagon wheel bikes. That said, the new bike will accept 27.5+ wheels and I can’t wait to try out that option in the spring!

  • madpixl says:

    Anyone doubts if a 29er can handle like a 27.5 should try a Transition Bandit, or I guess now Patrol? I have had all manner of bikes and wheel sizes since my (currently a Tallboy for XC and a Lynx for trail)… Bandit, but never one that could handle techs like that one. I think it’s all down to the design and intent.

  • Ob1Hoagie says:

    Ok, my 2 cents. I’m not going to compare a 29’er versus a 27.5 but a 29’er versus a 27.5+ since I’ve been TRAIL riding, NOT racing, both over the last couple of years. When it comes down to the SAME frameset and different wheel sizes I’ll actually take the 27.5+. Why, you ask ?

    1. The 27.5+ tires give you incredible traction(wider tire) versus the narrower 29’er tire.
    2. The weight difference in the two “trail” tires is negligible.
    3. The 27.5+ will spin up quicker in tech situations.
    4. When I get off of riding the 27.5+ tires and DO NOT feel beat-up like I do when I ride the 29’er tires.

    The 29’er wheel does plow through obstacles easier than the 27.5+ but I’ll take the trade-off with the better agility, traction and corning of the 27.5+ setup.

    Nuff said…

  • KP says:

    I agree with Ob1 except the part that a 29er plows through stuff easier ,I think the 27.5 plus does that better as well, heck my plus size tires are just about as tall as a 29er anyway.I have been MTBing a long long time and really loved my Lynskey 29er ,till I demo a Stumpy F/S 27.5 plus ,well all 3 of my 29er are sold and now I have the stumpy & Fuse 27.5 plus ,I don`t think I could/want to ride under a 3″ tire ever again ,by the way my carbon Fuse with upgrades tips the scales at 24.3/4 lbs with full 3′ tires, including SPD`s oh I ride rocky rooty North East US

  • Greg Jetnikoff says:

    Don’t like 29 for rear wheels. Always feel like your dragging a trailer around behind you. I love 29 fronts though. Still think for smaller ( 5’6″ or less with comparatively shorter legs) riders than 26 is still better. All my girlfriends and my bikes have 29 fronts and 27.5 or 26 rears. Front steers and rolls over everything and rear has less angular momentum , so the bike turns easier. Sally did a repeat test on her Rocky Mountain element with 29er forks and a 29 and a 27.5 wheels and same tyre ( model and widths, and yes I know that is extra biasing variables but remember the bike was designed as a 26) with 26 back wheel. Timed runs and handling feel. She liked the 27.5 better for climbing and on the descents in the tight smooth stuff. The 29 everywhere else. She rides the 29 front almost all the time.

    For tall riders 29 were a godsend. Saw it completely change the riding enjoyment for 2 of my very tall firends for the better.
    As a VERY long time track builder , I noticed a lot of tight turns start to get short-cutted as 29er’s became more common. The berms have to be higher as well to get the zero vector turns.

  • Greg Jetnikoff says:

    Forgot to add. All of the above is on full suspended bikes. I have ridden 29er hardtail single speeds, and for that I do like 29 both ends, as they help rollover and speed maintenance in corners. Gearing also ceases to be relevant as you only have one anyway.

  • Brad Bain says:

    I raced Cat 3 XC, in Texas, all last year on a Giant XTC 29er HT. It rolled over everything great, but was a rough ride. Fast forward to today. I just bought a Giant Anthem (FS) 27.5 So far, when riding some fast flowy sections of the local XC race course you can feel a little more when rolling over roots, BUT, the 27.5 full suspension (FS) is SO much smoother overall than the HT 29er and I have already matched or beaten my Strava segments using the 27.5. The 27.5 is definitely more agile in the twisty turns. Overall, I would suggest that either a 27.5 or 29er Full suspension will be great for most riders. I would pick a FS 27.5 over the 29er HT any day.

  • Nick says:

    I wish they would make a 28″ tire and get rid of 27,5 and 29. Then we’d have the best of both and not have to choose.

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ASS Does Downieville: Another classic Classic weekend

Log pulls, river jumps, drunk people, crud games — and a little bike racing, too. It’s all part of what makes the Downieville Classic a true classic.

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  • Tim W says:

    G, How did you come up with the Anti-Single Speeder moniker?

  • Vader says:

    Downieville used to be a fun race but it’s impossible to get in unless you know someone. The first stage of the race is getting in

  • Vader says:

    To Larry. I gave up around 2008. I had my girlfriend, mom, brother, kid and myself on different laptops and didn’t get in. My class sold out in 30 seconds. After that, my 500 mile+ drive to race became the Ashland Enduro. Good to hear about the extra entries though.

  • Tom says:

    Sounds like a heckuva a hoo-ha weekend!

    But dude, you seriously rode your pursuer blindly into a boulder?!

    So, so far beneath you.

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The Angry Singlespeeder rides an e-bike and doesn’t hate it

Some may think the introduction of e-bikes (aka MORBs) will ruin the sport of mountain biking. But after spending a few months on one, the ASS doesn’t think these contraptions will suddenly take over every trailhead across North America.

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  • Scotch Hennesy says:

    I rode a buddies MORB. I too am a purist…but returned from a small loop with a big smile. I don’t ever see myself buying one of these…but it allows my over weight buddy to get out and ride with me. He beats me to the top of every climb now. Hey..anything on two wheels is ok with me. Thumbs up!

  • 25lbs&counting says:

    Nothing against e-bikes, it’s just how long will it take before upgrade kits become available and turn these things into high watt dirt bikes? That is my issue and then we’ll be back to square one with trail access. Trying to demonstrate to land access groups that not all mountain bikers are the kind that tears up trails trying to get “rad”.

    • Matthew Klure says:

      This is my biggest Argument against the MORB on my local trails. There are plenty of OHV trails these bikes can be on. The problem with allowing only a certain wattage and below on Shared Hiking and equestrian trails is no one is going to be policing them, better to just blanket ban them from trails shared with pedestrians and Equestrians, we have enough trouble in-certain area’s of this country just keeping access on those trails.

      Also I have ridden one of these, they are a blast to ride, just not on certain trails.

  • Tom says:

    Tough topic. No black and white. Kurt, I will give you a good-natured hard time about the statement that below 30% isn’t worthwhile, so you didn’t try it. Huh?! Parachute, open mind, try before you spout off, etc……

    Anyway, I have an older friend who was partially paralyzed years ago in an mtb accident. He’s recovered pretty darn well, but remains a bit on the weak side. He has tuned his Turbo Levo to 15% power using the app because “it’s exactly what I need to keep up with my wife”. Damned if he isn’t riding that thing 5 days a week.

    My biggest worry about the surging popularity of these creatures is that it will result in more crowding of my already overcrowded local trails.

    But I still want a real electric dirt bike to replace my beloved KTM 200 (for use only on moto trails, of course).

  • Jim says:

    I’ll be 69 years old in a couple of weeks, I’ve been riding mtb’s and road bikes for over 30 years and I have as yet to ride an e-bike. Hopefully I’ll never see the day where I consider riding one of these e-bikes. I won’t pass judgment on those that for whatever reason choose an e-bike, but for me my credo is, “you have to earn it to burn it”.

  • Roy says:

    I’m in my sixties and don’t need one yet. However as time marches on the climbs do seem to get harder. On a mountain bike trip last week we averaged over 3000 feet of climbing a day with our biggest day at 4800 feet of sometimes very steep climbing. There were times I wished I had a little help getting up those hills. As a strategy for stronger and weaker riders to spend time together it seems ideal.
    I have ridden the Turbo Levo and don’t think it’s advanced to the point that many people would want to buy one. As with all things the market will decide if these bikes have a future. I hope they do as I hope to ride well into my eighties.

  • somacose says:

    I posted this earlier today on the Singletrack mag homepage but as i’m an e-bike user, and infrequent poster on the e-bike forum section – too many opinionated haters so i don’t bother with it now so i thought i may as well copy/paste my thoughts on the matter.

    If it wasn’t for my Scott E-Genuis 710+ i wouldn’t be able to ride due to a 25yr old spinal injury that over the previous 8 years has now progressed into an inability to walk more than 20yards without tripping up, and these days i’m lucky if i can manage to work for 4 hours/day before i have to head home and shuffle around the house whilst bouncing off the walls to maintain my balance. This is due to a deterioration in my leg power output to such an extent that when i go out on the road for a couple of miles with my Kinesis Tripster i can get overtaken by people walking and if there is a hill, no matter how small then it’s pretty much game over – return to base.

    Previous to 2008 my spinal cord injury gave me no power output problems at all, i was usually to be found knocking in upwards of 400 miles a week on my Soulcraft single speed, i could comfortably lap Kirroughtree (a local 33km trail) in under 2hours without getting off the bike or placing a foot down and you could say riding a bike was the focus of my entire life, whether or not that’s a good thing is another issue altogether. I bought my first proper mtb, a Muddy Fox Explorer back in 1986 at the age of 14 whilst growing up in Argyll where the freedom of a fat tyre bike with gears and brakes that worked was revolutionary, I explored everywhere within a 50 mile radius of my wee village (Dalavich Loch Awe) and i covered thousands of miles on that bike before i got the desire for N+1 so you could say i was a pretty fit n’ able rider.

    My current E-Bike allows me to continue to get out n’ about, albeit at a greatly reduced pace compared to my previous riding ability, even when i select turbo mode through the motor it will only produce a multiple of the torque i can place through the crank which being practically fuck all means that “fuck all x 300% assistance” still equals very little forward motion compared to my previous riding ability.

    It’s not the same as riding a normal lightweight bike, nothing like it to be honest (at least for me) as i’m constantly aware of the remaining battery levels, If the battery runs out of power then i’m up shit creek so i always plan ahead as pedalling the bike without assistance is not really possible nor practical and the increased weight of the bike and motor really makes itself apparent when it comes to “attempted” quick changes of direction, It’s not the type of bike that leads itself to being lifted over obstacles/fences/gates more than a few times before you realise that the route you have taken is foolish. It’s good at holding a stable line through rocks and over roots which is partly due to the weight/plus sized tyres and it’s quite capable of getting air but you’d better be aware of the mass beforehand as it has a tendency to drop the front end rather quickly – as long as you get over the rear it’s capable enough.

    Having said that i would not be without it as otherwise i’d have to consider myself an Ex-MTB Rider but the weight of the bikes need to come down significantly in future and further thought has to be put into battery placement as having such a weight high up on the frame does not do the handling any favours. The inherent drag/stiction from the motor when it is not in use is very noticeable when pedalling but it freewheels fine, i’m confident these issues will get sorted over the coming years.

    It’s a brilliant bike for my needs but if given the choice i’d swap it in a heartbeat for the ability to ride my Soulcraft like it was 2007 again.

  • Sun says:

    Once I cross over the age of 70 (another 26 years in my case) I sincerely hope I’ll be able to get a little electric assist with only a 3-6# penalty.

  • Wuffles says:

    I really, really wish the focus of this debate would be on the actual issue: trail access. It sounds like ASS went and had a good time on some motorized trails. Awesome! That’s a use of e-bikes pretty much anyone other than a complete purist can get behind. And maybe that can be the driving influence to expand motorized trails that are aimed at e-bikes rather than full on motos.

    Just don’t use them on non-motorized trails.

  • dimitri says:

    Absolutely NOT! As chair of a local MTB chapter and as someone who spends a good chunk of my time advocating for bikers to be allowed on park trails, these bikes are NOT welcome. The industry is going in the wrong direction and I will boycott any bike manufacturer who is selling bikes for anything other than commuting.

  • Bicyclist says:

    “The amount of hate some mountain bikers have towards MORBs ranks on the same level as hateful old hikers whose goal in life is to keep mountain bikes off every inch of singletrack.”

    It’s not about that or that electric MTBs are not fun, it’s just that they have no place on non-motorized tails. That’s it. It needs no spin from that point.

  • freeski1057 says:

    Let’s get real here. The technology of e-bikes is in it’s infancy. They WILL get lighter, more powerful, and more agile. I am skeptical that many of these bikes for mountain biking will be used by folks with disabilities (though their will clearly be some); most I’m fairly certain will be used by those who aren’t fit enough to ride unassisted or worst case by those simply looking to go faster than they can on their own power. On motorized or multi use trails I have no issue but I think by definition they don’t belong on non-motorized trails. I’m not a “hater” and won’t be getting in anyone’s face about them. I think e-bikes in general have incredible potential for commuting and tooling around town in place of cars but I can’t support allowing use on any non-motorized trails.

    • outhere says:

      Real world, the class 1 e-mtbs have multiple assist levels, and even with 500WH, range is quite limited, so the tendency is to milk it best you can, by using the lower levels, to get in longer rides. You start putting out some effort in that case, and if you want to ride hard uphill, over 10mph, you need to put out as well. Why bother? It is very fun 🙂

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ASS Does Downieville: Don’t Get Hurt. Or Lost.

The bike road trip season opened last weekend in Downieville, CA. It is filled with fun, adventure and danger so be careful out there.

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The Angry Singlespeeder: The balance between old and new

After nearly 30 years, Paul Price is keeping the American-made mountain bike components dream alive. The Angry Singlespeeder explains how he does it.

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  • Finch Platte says:

    Awesome write-up, Paul rocks!

  • Ashok Captain says:

    Echoing Finch Platte’s sentiments. All the best Paul!

  • stiingya says:

    Where’s your dropper posts, (or helmets), you hippies….???? 🙂 Just kidding…

    Great article, Paul’s Components are works of art!

  • Gene says:

    Paul makes amazing products! I watched one of his videos that toured his shop. So cool to see what the master uses 🙂 Rock on Paul!!!!


  • Smithhammer says:

    Paul, and his approach, are a rare dose of sanity in today’s bike industry. I will support it every time I have a few extra ducats kicking around in my pocket.

  • Tim says:

    Where is the review? The text says a lot about how great Paul is as a guy and how great his company is, but Gensheimer says very little about the brakes he’s supposedly reviewing. There’s a bit about design (single-pull brake), nothing about installation, and only one thing about how the brakes work (we learn that the levers feel good when you squeeze them). This is not a review.
    Also, mechanical disc brakes for MTBs had been widely available for almost two decades, not one as the author claims.

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The Angry Singlespeeder: Strava versus eBikes

Both eBikes and Strava have vocal opponents — but which is greater danger to trail access? The Angry Singlespeeder weighs in with his opinion.

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  • Rich says:

    Kurt, I’ve decided I want to drink beer with you and Vernon Felton…..

  • Ken says:

    Not everyone wants to be a chatty Kathy when they ride, I mostly ride solo and use Strava for exercise , Koms are just intervals. Some dudes want to talk and hangout in the parking lot too ,again , not for me , how bout some respect for those wanting to push the limits on the trail and step out of the way or go ride some place where you can fart around and take pictures of turtles instead of clogging up the trails that many of us want to blast through ! You’re the guy that wants to text in the fast lane all the while deliberately trying to slow down the drivers willing to go faster than the posted speed limit . STRAVA!!!

    • Davey Simon says:

      Well said Kurt.

    • tom says:

      It sounds like you took what he said as ‘all strava users do this’, which he never did. What he said is undeniable that some strava users do it (make cuts in trails, dumb them down, lack respect for other users).

      He never said using GPS or pushing your limits was bad either.

    • GuyOnMTB says:

      “how bout some respect for those wanting to push the limits on the trail”

      I respect your need and want to have some speed and competition to your use of an internet based application for your mountain biking hobby. As it is my own hobby and going fast is fun, real fun! I look up to those who can show me how they did it faster in this and that area of the trail.

      However, I can not, will not and just don’t respect people that feel they need the fastest times over a “multi-use trail”. Multi-use trails are for everyone to “enjoy”, and for everyone to enjoy those types of trails bicyclist can’t be going up or down them at speeds dangerous to unsuspected, surprise, group meat-ups. We mountain bikers have trails that are rarely used by foot traffic or are designated for bikes or that warn foot traffic that there ‘will’ be bikes moving fast. These are accepted places of dangerous speeds and is generally accepted by the surrounding public hikers and equestrians.

      When your times over multi-use trails are important over peoples safety, you demonstrate a clear disregard for your fellow countrymen, or the people that have you as a guest. And demonstrate only ‘self-importance’, without realizing you might be potentially hurting your ability to “enjoy” that area in the future, unless the self importance perceives trail poaching as necessary to inflate ego.

      When there are only a few trails left around metropolitan areas to achieve KoM, the trails will be so cluttered with users, achieving that KoM will be next to impossible and the ego that created that fixation with have ruined what could have just been an awesome ride.

    • Smithhammer says:

      You do realize you can go fast and “push the limits” without being a Stravasshole, right?

    • Jimmy says:

      Yea you tell em Ken. cant post top ten so you hate strava. we get it.

  • George Hayduke says:

    If e-bikes hurt access for mountain bikers, it will be mountain bikers fault.

    – E-bikers will use non-motorized trails. Mountain bikers are already telling them they’re the devil, so no expectations to live up to.
    – Hikers and equestrians won’t know the difference between mountain bikers and e-bikers, and complaints from them don’t change.
    – Mountain bikers, with their panties in a bunch, will report every e-biker they can.
    – Land managers will then ban ebiker and mountain biker together, because that’s how it works.

    So basically, mountain bikers will ban themselves in a fit of stupidity.

  • Peper says:

    Strava is only shows a ranking change once in a blue moon on your “home trails”. It’s just not possible or safe to ride at your fastest ALL the time.

    ****I don’t mind your E-BIKE but don’t ask me to move over! Wait till it’s safe to pass and then go by or turn and go on a different trail. That’s e-bike etiquette.

  • broadsword says:

    just another piece of sensationalist crap from the ass… whats worse… destroying a trail with non-respectful riding, getting a trail closed by being dumb enough to publicise your use of it on strava or purposefully trying to invoke a reaction with articles like this?

    we’re human… for all its good and all its bad… cycling is so mainstream now that there’s idiots in every minute sub-section of it… we’re all entitled to our views but actively trying to incite frustrates me

    i dont like ebikes… but not everyone who rides them is a thick ignorant tosser… i like strava… but not everyone who uses it is a thick ignorant tosser… i like cross country… but not everyone who rides it is a thick ignorant tosser… i like all mountain… but not everyone who rides it is a thick ignorant tosser…. i love my single speed… but everyone who rides them arent thick ignorant tossers!

  • p brig says:

    Off road mopeds are motorized vehicles and illegal anywhere I ride. I would show one the same love I show illegal ATVers.

  • Chris Sullivan says:

    I just came back from my first 1.75-hour bike ride on my e-tricycle. I ride paved paths and roads. I obey all the rules. I want to live until the end of the ride. I have had MS for 18 years. I have no opinion about non-road bikes, trails, etc. But remember if it weren’t for e-bikes some of us would have to stay home.

  • Juan says:

    I have already become accustomed to riding alone (anyone hear heard of the book, Bowling Alone?). I can get Strava, in a way. If I was younger I would probably be down with it on occasion. Still, good points made. But ebikes piss me off more. On seperate trails, ok. How about human powered trails (a la Bootleg canyon–remember those signs?) for human power only? Is that too much to ask. Maybe I’m just not used to it yet. Now back to watching everyone staring at their phones.

  • Joe Paluch says:

    Strava has allowed me to expand my circle of riding friends by 10x to 20x. Before Strava it was the same 2-3 guys. By using Strava I was able to find others that ride similar trails as me an grow my network of riding friends. It also allows me to fun and scope out new riding trails and routes. Now as your concerns about trail use and closing down trails due to speed I have to say that is unique to your locations. California is state that run by people bent on Gov’t control and is not tolerant of proper trail use. Arizona on the other hand welcomes mountain bike use and realizes that it is good to share trials. No park rangers with speed radar here. No here park rangers organize night rides for Mtn bikers are welcome their input on trails. Strava is a great way to show how much use (ie value) these trails have to community.

  • Tom says:

    Bang on, Kurt.


  • Justin says:

    Great article. Strava is destroying mtn biking and for sure part of the reason trails in S Ca get neutered and skidiot destroyed. E-bikes are fine anyplace you can ride a motorcycle.

  • fasterjason@yahoo.co says:

    I totaly agree. I put in 200+ hours a year building and maintaining trail. I don’t call them cheater lines, I call them strava cuts, and they are the bane of my existence. There is plenty of work for me to do and blocking short cuts keeps me from doing it.

    On the other hand, E-bikes would allow me to cover a lot of ground pulling a trailer full of tools or packing a chainsaw after a storm. I would not worry about detailed tree-down reports because I could cover several trails with a lot less effort.

    E-bikes are here to stay and I hope strava goes away.

  • 1trekGA says:

    An e-bike can reportedly climb at 20 mph. On a bi-directional trail, that is a dangerous, even deadly scenario. I may finish my old-age MTB days on an e-bike, but feel a speed governor may be justified for these situations. Particularly for climbing. (10 mph?)

  • ben beeno says:

    Strava hasn’t changed my group rides. We go up slow, sometimes fast, we chat, we stop, sometimes we bring beer. We go down fast, because going fast is fun. We upload our rides. That’s it. Recording them on Strava hasn’t changed how we ride. It doesn’t make all users into assholes.

  • Frednic says:

    E-bikes are just going to create more trail users. Here in San Diego on a weekend our trails already remind me of our roadways at rush hour.

  • Jude says:


    Strava, although useful and utilized by myself has the potential for much more damage to the trail and to our cycling community than solely any eBike. Strava’s main good point is keeping track of mileage for not only health but even better for actual equipment usage for servicing or replacement.

    Thanks for your perspective Kurt!

  • cruz5280 says:

    As always, great points that I mostly agree with. My 2 cents:
    Strava- it’s a great way to track activity and improvements through the season. It’s a TOOL that people use differently. If we can agree that not everybody will become more reckless and take more risks to improve their times, than it should be acknowledged that a tool like Strava doesn’t, by default, make everyone more reckless. People that use the data from Strava to take more risks are the problem, not the app. For clarification, I don’t use Strava consistently b/c I prefer, at times, to be unconnected to the world and don’t carry my phone.

    – eBikes….a great mode of transportation for people to explore terrain where motorized vehicles are allowed. I’m not a fan of sharing non-motorized trails with motorized vehicles. There is a great case to be made for people with physical limitations as others have listed above (MS, etc) being able to enjoy trails as they had in the past. Unfortunately there is no way to limit use to those people. I’ll leave that decision to people smarter than myself.

  • kc says:

    strava-good… e-bike-good, world hunger-bad

  • Herm Kresser says:

    What if Strava just eliminated any negative incline KOM’s? They probably have the technology to do that.Last time I checked,KOM was given the coveted climbers jersey!

  • Ben says:

    Strava is stoopid, but so is world hunger, smoking, and substance abuse.

    It’d be lovely if people cared more about others than themselves.

    First world problems.

  • Ben says:

    Oh, and Ken is a jackass 😉

  • Juan Gomez says:

    I think everyone who I’ve talked to who dislikes electric assist mountain bikes has never ridden one. I was one of them. Until a close friend loaned me one of his. It was made by Haibike and was an enduro. I love riding down the mountain and don’t really care about riding uphill. The first thing I noticed was how fun it made it riding uphill. You actually build cornering skills going up switchbacks. In fact you build a whole new skillset that is near impossible to do on a conventional bike. Skills that ultimately help in control.
    Next I noticed how I could accomplish 95% more trails and complicated climbs than before. It made my riding experience far more consistent. No more getting off my bike to push up hills or taking breaks. After a few rides I became a stronger and better rider. The bike I rode had plus size tires and oversized 4-piston disc brakes. Even though I’m now faster going up and down hills, I’m actually in better control doing it.
    Mountain bike instructor, Simon Lawton of fluidride once told me that going faster doesn’t make you dangerous. It’s the lack of skills that does.
    I know for me, I need to wake up the next morning and go to work so I can feed my children. No matter what I ride, I will ride it fast but with control.
    So now with my assist bike I’m riding I’m spending more of my time riding down hills and less uphill.
    As far as Strava, I have experienced far more good than bad. It offers accountability, personal record tracking, and plain fun.

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ASS Does Downieville: Earning good karma points

Helping out stranded vacationers and giving back to the trails are the latest adventures for everybody’s favorite angry singlespeeder.

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  • m a jones says:

    That’s my boy/man! You can count on him in a pinch to do the deed with a smile. . . . but sheesh! He’s just given me another gray hair! ( Keep peddlin’, son! ) xoMom

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ASS Does Downieville: Will MTB Mecca exist in 20 years?

Disappearance of jobs in both the mining and logging industries creating challenges that keep this historic mountain hamlet (and mountain bike paradise) from returning to its former glory as an economically flourishing community.

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  • mtb says:

    Thoughtful article, thanks.

  • teleken says:

    VRBO will soon make it impossible for anyone to rent in an adventure town.
    Carbondale Colorado (and other towns I’m sure) is currently trying to regulate the VRBO craze but it seem unlikely that a town can force a property owner to rent for $1000 a month when they can make $200 per night as a VRBO. In the 1990’s the millionaires kicked out the dirtbags & now the millionaires can’t even afford to stay.

    • JW says:

      Denver and Boulder have now put in place regulations stating that second homeowners are no longer allowed to VRBO their properties. I would expect the same type of regulations to begin hitting the mountain towns. Some of the more recent second homes to go long term rentals others will go up for sale. Many of our newer 2nd homeowners in Crested Butte bought the property counting on the ability to RBO. Once that option goes away… good riddance.

      The new wave of 2nd’s and RBO are ruining mountain towns in every state. Putting local workers and families on the street while eliminating the very vibe these people profess to love about these towns. Areas of Crested Butte are ghost towns much of the winter, spring and fall. They fill up in the summer and during the peak ski season (holidays/spring break).

  • Brooks says:

    The situation in Downieville is not unlike that facing small towns everywhere that are “transitioning” away from resource based economies. The fact is that there needs to be a balance of all types of industry and let’s face it, tourism is on the low end of being a good provider. here on Vancouver island we see stories all the time of small towns that are trying to reinvent themselves as tourist destinations after the logging and mining industries moved out or were pushed out. Diversity is the key to success for any society.

  • Chris says:

    Will and Jeanne are lovely folks. Be sure to sit on the porch and have a drink and chat with them.

  • Matt says:

    Enjoy the article and glad you mentioned the forestry service and governmental agencies are the driving force that’s squeezing the economic opportunities. Too much government is a bad thing and this is a perfect example.

  • Joe Dirt says:

    Who cares? It’ll either live or die just like thousands of American towns have up until now. If it gets its shlt together it will live.

  • Gavin says:

    Good coffee and pastries next door to St. Charles Place.

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ASS Does Downieville: Back for another summer

The lure of the Lost Sierra couldn’t keep the ASS away, so he’s back for more. This week we hear about trail conditions, old mine shafts, and rallying beater cars off cliffs. Buckle up.

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Letter to every IMBA member from The Angry Singlespeeder

“The alleged voice of mountain bikers must start listening to mountain bikers, or it’s time for a change.”

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  • Scotch Hennesy says:

    Anything listed as an “association” these days reeks of potential corruption and political red-tape. The key is for members to just withdraw their membership if they feel IMBA isn’t holding up to their end of the bargain. No funds = No IMBA…simple really, when you step back.

    • Mr. P says:

      And in turn = no local trail advocacy group (if it is an IMBA chapter).

      If you have a problem with IMBA, fine, but do not devalue your local advocacy group, as they work directly for you. Give them a direct donation of support instead of going through IMBA.

      • Mr. P says:

        My comment above is in response to Scotch Hennesy’s comments, not the article.

        Sorry, this comment format is unpredictable and sucks.

  • AC says:

    One more thing people can be doing – ask your bike shop and brands you purchase whether they support STC, and if not, why not. Support brands that support this effort (and boycott ebike manufacturers…but that’s another issue).

  • DWK says:

    I would hardly call this a no-brainer issue. There are lots of valid arguments for keeping bikes out of Wilderness areas – just because you disagree with them doesn’t make them invalid or “erroneous fear mongering”.

    There are lot of cyclists who are opposed to opening up Wilderness to more user groups, which includes opening Wilderness up to bikes. I include myself in that group. So framing this as an issue that all cyclists do, or should, agree with you is disingenuous. Why not just say it like it is – for selfish reasons you want to be able to bike in wilderness areas and you think anyone who disagrees with you should shut up and get out of your way.

    • MikeMac says:

      DWK, I think it’s fair to say that the vast majority of cyclists (at least those living in the west that have seen their access severely marginalized over the past three decades and see no end in sight to that trend) disagree with you.

      I don’t want access for me and my bike everywhere. But I also don’t want to be banned from more trails for nothing more than an emotional objection from the hiking lobby. Further, there are select past injustices (Boulder White Clouds and the re-route of the CO Trail among them) that deserve redress.

      This lone small concession (allowing local land managers to decide appropriate use) would transform existing mountain biking Wilderness opponents into ardent supporters. It’s a two-point swing, one that when realized will result in MORE Wilderness, not less.

    • duder says:

      What exactly are these “lots of valid arguments” DWK???

      Keep up the good work ASS. IMBA is a sad lot these days.

  • Another MTBer says:

    If you think Mike Van Abel is going take any action that isn’t based in self-preservation, you don’t know Mike Van Abel.

    IMBA’s actions regarding STC are the predictable result of a management style where employees who voice concerns are forced out of IMBA so often that it’s an inside joke. If you’ve ever met an IMBA employee who you thought really understood grassroots advocacy or took to heart the concerns of members, ask yourself if they are still at IMBA. Those who remain do the best they can knowing they could be next on the chopping block at any time.

    Maybe it’s time IMBA was led by someone who has a passion for mountain bike advocacy, respect its constituents, and doesn’t believe in strongarming staff, clubs, and members into agreement. Instead of writing letters to someone who has already heard and ignored those concerns, how about writing letters to IMBA’s Board asking if Mike Van Abel is the right person to be steering this ship?

  • Hmm says:

    I think criticizing individual members for not speaking up for what YOU believe in, which may or may not be what THEY believe in, is the wrong tactic. “Another MTBer” is right — if you have this big of an issue with the leadership and direction of IMBA, take it to IMBA’s board. Don’t beat up on the grassroots advocates doing most of the work to keep mountain biking alive and thriving in your backyard. I have been a mountain biker, volunteer and IMBA member for going on 7 years.

    I’ve also lost faith that our cycling media can look at this issue objectively when most of the journalists are coming at this with an agenda. This is not a zero-sum game. We need both organizations. IMBA is by no means perfect and has been stagnant for a while, I believe, but I don’t think this one issue discounts everything else the organization has done and is doing and is not worth its demise. Change is needed, but not death.

    This is not a zero sum game. There’s room for both STC and IMBA. They have totally different missions. Why can’t we accept that?

  • Steve says:

    If you want to go to the wilderness then walk. It’s not all about you and your desire to ride there, it’s about preserving an ecosystem for our children. Hooray for IMBA and their bigger picture view of this.
    I’ve been a mountain biker since 1982 and have seen trail closures galore. I try not to bemoan the injustice of it all and just go ride.
    Now if you want to work on getting the horses out of wilderness…….

  • MarkOnMTB says:

    I have this mountain bike, and I HAVE THE RIGHT TO TRAVEL UNMOLESTED ON PUBLIC LAND. I will pledge my respect to trails of historic value and not touch them with my MTB if it is not authorized.

    However, free people of America, once YOUR(lol) trail is built in our modern times in OUR PUBLIC SPACES, my bike and I are going to explore it, just as our ancestors explored. As I would have if I were on horseback during the frontier days, or on foot with a LARGE group of hikers today. I just don’t feel like taking the time to travel 30 miles by myself on foot, or having a horse leave obstacles behind for others to have their feet molested by. The horse is also too slow and more dangerous to have around people on a multi-use trails. I would also have to weight my bike and drag it on wet trails to do what a group of hikers or a single horse can do to a wet trail.

    The real problem with this issue of access, as most all issues of access in the United States, is about some group wanting to restrict another group of people from an event or place without looking at compromise. Which seems to be an anomalous problem the US has when comparing the US with other developed countries.

  • gregon2whls says:

    The largest problem is the crap that is also in these bills that are marked as wilderness protection. Which muddies up the conversation. For example most all of that wilderness area was defined as such to keep mineral rights from being distributed. Because we all know that is where the real money is. So the problem is how the wilderness bill defines use. I think the equipment users continue to develop for a greater outdoor experience will continue to evolve. The problem is that our Bills aren’t written to allow the evolution of exploration and wilderness use. So you can be right but so can IMBA in their stand. The bill should probably be amended or rewritten but the problem is everybody is scared to death of the consequences.

  • Patrick Day says:

    Thanks ASS, one of your best articles. I will stop funding IMBA and start funding STC. Perhaps if more people pulled their membership and support from IMBA and put it towards a group that’s really advocating towards their members best interest, they would listen.

  • Badger says:

    In my view, the writing was on the wall when a month or two again the former president of IMBA posted an article here invoking ‘climate change’ alarmist arguments to support their position (several times in fact). If it hadn’t already been painfully obvious, this laid bare how politicized this organization has become. I want to live in synergy with nature as much as the next guy, but invoking this alarmist political buzzword was going to far. They will get none of my money.

  • Mark says:

    As a mountain biker for twenty plus years, I agree that public lands are for all America to enjoy. The issue is if we don’t designate certain areas as Wilderness these area will open the door to negative consequences that will affect all user experiences. If we open select trails in the Wilderness areas for mountain biking other special interest groups will want their access also. ie. ATVs, 4wheelers, rockcrawlers, snowmobilers to name few, potentially ruining the area for all. It is a tough issue but we need protect some areas for future generations to enjoy — not just us.

  • Paul Lindsay says:

    It would seem that the IMBA has forgotten who it represents and believes it is part of the the Sierra Club. I have no interest in paying taxes to support massive tracts of land that can only be enjoyed hikers or equestrians. I’m afraid that the mountain biking community may need another group to represent them or face the loss of it’s best potential riding areas.

  • Elvis says:

    Many people are missing the point. The argument that allowing mountain biking in some wilderness areas would open the door to motorized vehicles is moot inasmuch as mountainbikes (any more than track bikes, road bikes, or unicycles) are not motorized!

    The intent of the wilderness act as I’ve understood it (correct me if I’m wrong) was to preserve the wilderness. But why? Not just as a Kantian imperative, or as some botanical museum for future scientists to study, but for future (and current) generations of citizens to use for recreation and enjoyment of the outdoors. So ask yourself, as more areas of the U.,S. get closed off to non-motorized, simple human use — bicycles in this case –who will be left to appreciate all that wilderness? What is the point of preserving it if only a handful of outdoor user groups have access? I do not want to see these lands built up with Starbucks or high rises, nor strip mined or overtaken by motorized contraptions. I bike and sometimes hike. They are not mutually exclusive. Which cuts both ways.

    Yes the status quo allows some of the more strident environmentalist groups, and some of the more unwilling to share hikers or horse riders, to stay happy. But mountain bikers are also a large outdoor user group. Why should we get less consideration?

    I have been personally turned off by much of what I see from the environmental movement. So much of it is elitist and exclusive and alienates me — and I am not the only one as this article indicates. Ask yourself if instead of some far off trail somewhere, the trail at issue was where your ride every week. The one you might want your son or daughter to ride one day. Or grandkids. Yes, they could hike, but why limit their ability to appreciate the outdoors? I started biking as a mountainbiker a as teen. I am now in my thirties and a roadie who is slowly becoming a roadie and a mtb’er again. The metamorphosis was forced upon me when my local trails were closed by a county government in a secret deal made by unelected gov’t employees. Only recently thanks to the work of local riders did the county finally quietly take the no bike signs down. National access or lack thereof may not be conducted in the same underhanded way but I say if you want people to support protecting nature you also have to be willing to let them use it.
    And please don’t say because a mountain bike has wheels it’d be opening access to atvs or half tracks. Again, bicycles are nonmotorized.

    I for one have ceased supporting any preservation moves — i vote no on every local open space initiative and ignore any environmental sounding “help our cause” emails. I would have a much different approach if I didn’t feel each and every one of these people was not only treating me, because i bicycle, as if i don’t count, but as if I am worthy of contempt because i ride.

    I guess the question is, whose land is it? Ours,and future generations. So, do you want them to ever be able to see it close up? Or from outside a fence? (and yes, I know if they conceding to abandoning their bikes they might be allowed to hike in, but that isn’t the point. Most bikes sold at shops are mtb’s. anything that hurts mountainbiking hurts cycling. And I am pretty sure cycling in all it’s forms contributes to a net benefit for nature — certainly for humanity. Or would you rather I drove to the store every day?

    Someone said something about IMBA seeing “the big picture”. I don;t think excluding any human powered user groups is seeing the big picture. Sure maybe the current approach will preserve more wilderness — government never seems to get smaller, after all, that probably includes its acerage. But you and I, as cyclists, will never see it.
    And I say nuts to that.

    If people want to screw us and our future over, they are welcome to try, but I will no longer be a beggar to my own demise or that of an experience I find meaningful.

  • Elvis says:

    Also, for what it’s worth, I have never been able to wrap my mind around the propensity some people have for wanting to tell others how to live their lives — I have enough trouble managing my own. I suspect many of the core agitators against cyclists are motivated more by self righteous know-it-all-ness than legit concerns for nature, even if they don’t know it or won’t admit it. On my bike, when I see a hiker, I don’t think “darn he’s in my way” — “I think, cool, another person is enjoying the outdoors!” Would that it was reciprocated, right?

  • Willie says:

    Please remove your shoes & belts, take your laptops out of the carrying case and proceed towards the body scanner.

  • James Scarlett-Lyon says:

    One point I’d like to add to this thread, and this is particularly in reference to Tim Krueger’s original response. My favorite kind of riding is all day epics deep into the back country. I have done this kind of riding all over the West. I would say that for the generation coming up that has grown up with mountain bikes the attitude toward wilderness access is somewhat modified. Many of this generation hike, backpack, mtn bike, ski and see little conflict between these different modes. I have run into a large number of younger backpackers deep in the wilderness, (not official Wilderness Areas mind you), who don’t seem the least bit bothered to find me out there on a bike. We chat, exchange experiences and more often than not they tell me the downhill coming up on the other side of some steep saddle push is going to be awesome. They do not apparently begrudge me my presence out there.

    Another point that I would make is, in many deep back country areas I frequent aside from some popular, high traffic areas, there are a lot of trails literally disappearing from lack of use and no regular upkeep. Large tracts of wild areas are getting very little use and a few bikes traversing those routes is a great way to help keep the trails alive.

    I am a big proponent of the “wilderness corridor” approach that some have suggested as a compromise where bikes can traverse a Wilderness Area but need to stay on certain trails. It might be a least a starting point.

  • S says:

    Many of the closures are absurd. For instance, the wilderness designation on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge has been interpreted to mean no wheels at all…No strollers, no wheelbarrows, and no canoe carriers for portages. Yet, there are roads in portions of this wilderness, still used daily, but only for official use.


  • Tom says:

    IMBA’s approach has always been go along, get along. I used to support that.

    But after the recent trail grabs in MT and ID — of trails that had been legally ridden by mtbs for decades — I said enough.

    I’ll keep supporting IMBA a bit, but STC now has my heart and my wallet!

  • Elvis says:

    I have to agree with James Scarlett-Lyon, when I encounter hikers they never have a problem with me. I think the anti-bike animosity comes from certain quarters, beyond the regular joe you might meet on the trail.

    That said, if IMBA refuses to challenge default prohibition they aren’t really doing anything to safeguard mountain biking.

    and to all those people who say wilderness preservation is more important than bike access: Who said it has to be either or? By making that false choice you are buying into what the anti-bike folks want. They’ll just keep taking from you and you’ll let them. If that’s your choice fine but don’t pretend to speak for all riders nor that your view is the only rational one on the issue. I find that many times those who claim to see “the big picture” can’t see the forest for, ahem, the trees (or trail).

    If the goal is to preserve the wilderness for people to enjoy, you run the risk of using circular logic unless at some point you actually let them enjoy it and have access to it!

    Given that the original wilderness act didn’t even ban bikes I find it hard to believe we are even having this debate. It illustrates why it is all the more important that these decisions be made above-board, with citizen input, and no monkey business behind the scenes.

  • Elvis says:

    Ultimately that is the issue. The wilderness act was passed by elected representatives of congress who we at least have some (alleged) control over via elections. The anti-bike interpretation was made by bureaucracy — gov’t employees who we the citizens have no say with.

    Perhaps more than IMBA’s stance one way or the other, the controversy over bikes in the wilderness is an indication of the perils of allowing laws to be essentially made or modified by people at a level of government without accountability, oversight, or input from the people they would regulate.

    But I fear if we cannot solve the IMBA issue, reforming the method of government by fiat that colors so many land use and other issues is not something we will soon resolve.

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The Angry Singlespeeder’s take on the Wilderness issue

The ASS chimes in, trying to explain why the Wilderness act should be changed — and why we should support the STC.

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  • Jeffrey Scanlan says:

    great explanation of the issue!

  • Steve says:

    I appreciate your summary. But, as a mountain bike of 33+ years, I feel it’s OK to have wilderness with disappearing Historical trails, that it’s OK to have no biking in Wilderness Study areas. It’s even OK to not defer these decisions to local land managers susceptible to more in-your-face pressue I know I’m in the minority here, but someone has to speak up for true wilderness. I’m happiest when I’m mountain biking, but almost equally happy going cross country (or on a trail) in a wilderness area with no horses, bikes or people in sight. More wilderness will serve our children better than more mountain bike trails.

  • Bob says:

    Aside from if we do/don’t get into existing Wilderness areas (which we should in appropriate areas), the problem is the insatiable appetite the pro-Wilderness crowd has for MORE Wilderness -w IMBA on board. These people would take every last inch of land if given the opportunity (and it seems like they’re trying). If you value your sweet riding areas, I’d support the STC because the Wilderness cabal is probably licking their chops as to how they can obtain it.

    Glad to see rally for change coming from the bottom up as the top down approach (IMBA) has FAILED miserably at backcountry singletrack preservation and acquisition for mountain bikers. We “lost” 80 miles of alpine trails but saved 5 miles of trail ugg. KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING STC !!!!

    p.s I’ll support any bike industry (or other industry) company that supports STC

  • darko says:

    I would fear a slippery slope outcome on this. Not all bikes are equal. Now that we have motorized bikes, what is to stop mopeds, scooters, et al from claiming their use of such trails? We are already facing motorbike_ok vs motorbike_not_ok arguments on our regular, sanctioned and available trails.

    • Gerry says:

      Your reply is the slippery slope, bikes have nothing to do with motor bikes, any kind of a motor, electric or otherwise.

      • Lee Baldwin says:

        Just as Kurt is attempting to re-write the language in the Wilderness Act, the folks with e-bikes or motorized bicycles will try and re-write the language of their ban should bicycles of any kind be allowed in Wilderness Areas. The 1964 Wilderness Act must stand. One thing that could change that is trail license as in back-packing. Make cyclists get the trail permit. That would limit the number of cyclists on a particular trail just like back-packing permits do. I would support that type idea & folks trying to get a wilderness permit for an e-bike would be denied. The equestrians are the group here in California that stopped mtn.bikes on trails and that could be argued as well. Riding a horse is not human powered.

  • Joe Floren says:

    Thanks for your clear write-up Kurt. The Wilderness bike ban and growth of Wilderness and study areas is already turning our mountain biking friends against the folks who should be our natural allies in the conservation movement.

    While it is disappointing that IMBA has chosen neither to lead nor follow on this issue, the least they can do is stay out of the way. Go STC!

  • pkenney says:

    Let the wilderness be, walk it. There’s no reason with the myriad of trails to ride in the wilderness, that’s just selfish. Look around at the trails where there is access and the disintegration is inevitable. Be it from those looking for quickie trials on the trail edge, or the group jacked on testosterone ripping up the trails, the “I have a mtb and I can go anywhere” crowd, the Sunday rider, or anywhere in-between. The trails will degrade.

    Seriously, while riding who looks around at the scenery anyway, that’s a secondary bit. We ride for the ride not to gawk as we’re bombing down a hill. Walk the wilderness, you’ll appreciate it way more.

  • James says:

    Having ridden and raced mountain bikes for nearly thirty years now, I warned fellow riders and trail users from the beginning that the environmental movement was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It accelerated in earnest under the Clinton Administration when upon executive order on his way out the door Bill declared millions upon millions of acres of wilderness lands a national “monument” and thus off limits to all forms of recreation. Why? As payback to all his enviro-nazi campaign supporters who worship mother earth above all else. So glad to see there is finally a growing organized pushback against the insanity. As an aside, where I have lived and shared multi-user trails (in Michigan and western NC) it has always been the mountain bike community who have done the most work in building and maintaining trails. I expect that to continue.

  • Sean says:

    Umm, horses are allowed in wilderness. And it is not just the USFS. There are refuges (USFWS) that do not allow bikes on some of THE ROADS. Not trails, but honest to goodness roads used for access by staff. In fact, they have even banned anything that rolls (wheelbarrows, strollers, etc.).

    I dont want to see wilderness ripped up by bikers shredding hillsides. But, if horses are allowed, and they can really destroy trails, then perhaps a new standard is needed.

  • Tom says:

    Kurt – I’ve given financial support to STC, and I know you have too. Please keep fighting the good fight in print, and thank you.

    Don’t forget that the last straw IMO was the relatively recent decision of the USFS to regulate Wilderness Study Areas as though they are already actual Wilderness. So, BIKES OUT! We just keep going backwards. Time to fight!

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Guest Opinion: The Sustainable Trails Coalition responds

In response to outside criticism, STC co-founder Ted Stroll explains rationale behind organization’s strategy and why it can succeed.

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  • Tom says:

    Nice response, Ted. Actually, the article stands nicely on its own, regardless of what triggered it.

    For me, the tipping point was when the USFS unilaterally decided to start managing study areas as wilderness. Gloves off.

    Thanks for fighting.

  • Jesse Gutierrez says:

    After reading both comments and looking at each of their web sites, my $$ will go to STC. It makes me think of a quote from D.D.E., history does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid. You have to try something.

  • Dimitri says:

    Ted thank you for the well worded reply.
    Maybe a list of politicians with links to access them that the riding population can use to voice our concerns would be helpful. What can the riders do to help clearly point out to the law makers the biased discrimination that STC is trying to reform?
    Mountain biking is an extremely healthy pursuit for a family on so many levels, it floors me there are those that try to criminalize it.

  • Eric says:

    I just made a donation to STC.

    I have read all 3 letters, and my money is going to NEMBA (already a member) and STC (just now made my first donation).

    Kudos to Mr.Keyes of NEMBA for bringing all of this information to light.

  • Daniel says:

    Ms. Korenblat’s original piece, although somewhat ill-informed, was a pretty good summary of the obvious objections to STC’s initiative. But it also made apparent exactly why STC is doing the right thing.

    Whether it succeeds or fails, STC’s efforts have forever moved the dial away from the level of complacency and impotence that the off-road cycling community has lulled itself into over the past twenty years. What Ms. Korenblat characterizes as a more mature, circumspect and effective strategy of gradual, low-level appeal to other stakeholders on a trail-by-trail basis has resulted in a second class mentality among bicycle advocates, not to mention questionable accomplishments. Ms. Korenblat’s “us vs. the environmentalists” view must be abandoned in favor of the conviction that we ARE the environmentalists. Cyclists care deeply about the land and it’s preservation and there’s no reason we should accept any other label. Ms. Korenblat confuses STC’s forcefulness with naivete about the challenges we face, but the time has come for the off-road cycling community to push one tire deliberately into an admittedly uncertain future rather than remain mired in the strategic bog where we’ve barely managed to keep the wheels turning.

    Win or lose, nothing that STC is doing compromises the integrity or legitimacy of the cycling community. As Ted Stroll points out, all STC is trying to do is to ensure that Ms. Korenblat and the rest of us can continue to pursue exactly the type of local, collaborative discussions regarding conservation and trail access that we all favor. The only difference is that STC is trying to remove the stick that has been stuck in our spokes for far too long.

  • J H says:

    I would like to see some numbers regarding potential changes to trails under the proposed legislation tweak. Where I ride the FS and BLM are pretty proactive making trails for us, and/or keeping trails in good shape. We can’t ride in some local wilderness areas, but frankly I am fine with that. I want to conserve portions of our public land in as untrammelled a state as possible, we have 100s of other miles of trails to ride. I imagine in some places, trails in or near wilderness are the bread and butter routes for some folks….so how many of these miles would be affected? I guess from where I stand the issue of whether to allow MTB on Wilderness is a non-issue, and I want to know how big of a deal it really is elsewhere…in terms of NUMBERS not just opinions. Second thing is, say a popular trail gets closed…I imagine most riders will just ride it anyway. I realize this can be very bad for our image in the minds of other trail users (very bad indeed and could hurt us in the long run), but hey just being real, few of us are gonna just stop riding our favorite trail just because the legislation changes. Most agencies don’t have the person-power to enforce the change anyway.

  • Jacob says:

    I have been a supporter of IMBA in the past but have not for the past couple years. No other reason than I don’t see a ton of influence in my area aside from them adopting a local chapter of trail advocates. I kinda look at them as I do the NRA. I support the views but not so much the direction they are taking. After reading up on the STC I will be donating and supporting. I believe there is a fight for us MTB riders and we should get access to trails and think what they want to do is worth a try. Just my humble opinion.

  • Charles Caldwell says:

    And this is why STC is on my monthly donation list now. I think that sometimes years of fighting for a cause can lead to fatigue, and STC is the new energy needed at this time. Also, i’m surprised that the industry companies don’t want to get behind this. Having experienced the UK mtb scene earlier this year, they’re light years ahead of us in terms of people getting into the sport because they have magnificent trails coupled with shops and family activities all built into their “Trail centres”. We have random trails, with shops dozens of miles away . … . . .It’s fine, but that’s not going to advance the sport and capture a lot more hearts in the USA.

  • Shark says:

    Also a supporter of STC here, for many of the reasons mentioned above. You can’t keep doing the same thing year after year, and expect different results.
    The Mountain Bike Community needs to stand up and fight to be treated fairly.
    Sounds like some people are happy to lose amazing established trails in return for “new” replacements, but the IMBA-standard trail cannot replace these amazing trails that are being lost all over the county.

  • Ted Stroll says:

    Thanks to everyone for your words of support. You’ve written so eloquently that I can’t think of much to add.

    I thought of a couple of things, though . . . .

    1. Thanks to many people reading this, we’ve raised about $75,000 through today. Sixty thousand dollars have gone to pay our lobbyists through February 29, 2016. We spent about $1,500 on a brochure we’re handing out in congressional offices. We spent $850 to get our federal tax exemption approved. We did all of the legal work ourselves, but the IRS charges $850 to apply for the exemption, so that was unavoidable.

    Aside from those things, here is how STC has spent your money:

    Salaries: $0
    Benefits: $0
    Travel: $0
    Meals: $0
    Phone calls: $0
    Stationery: $0
    Postage: $0 (we spent $18.11 on an overnight mailing but the post office took two days, so we got a refund).

    Not only that, but STC board members have donated well over the approximately $2,350 that went to the brochure and the IRS. So 100% of your money, minus the 2.9% credit card company deduction if you donated that way, is going to LOBBYING.

    2. Ashley is again raising the point that the environmental community is stronger than we are. No doubt. But that’s beside the point.

    To explain why, recall the old joke about the two campers in the Alaska tent. They hear a bear in the middle of the night. Soon the bear is tearing into the tent and evidently plans to eat the campers.

    One of them starts putting on sneakers. The other says, “That’s stupid. You can’t outrun a bear!”

    The other replies, “I don’t have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you.”

    Same philosophy here. We don’t have to be stronger than the orthodox, temperance-movement “environmentalists” who, rather than dealing with real environmental problems, strive to maintain the Exclusive Wilderness Club for their own enjoyment. We just have to find members of Congress who think we, and not they, are right.

    Stay tuned. And thanks again.

  • joe says:

    “Win or lose, but at least someone will have tried”. That’s sounds like the sentiment of someone who doesn’t understand public policy very well. It’s called sausage making, and it takes a very, very long time. I expect better from a dedicated advocate. I’d be careful about sending any money to these guys-maybe they’ll get us some trails but it’s pretty hard to do “small tweaks” to existing legislation without having other stakeholders jumping in. I guarantee the resource extraction industry has way more hot shit lobbyists ready to go than STC.

  • Bike D00d says:

    This reply by the STC shows precisely why they will be successful where IMBA is not. It exposes a candid and realistic viewpoint of the nature of the battle and how it should be fought to best result. It is a fresh and appropriately shrewd approach without the apparent crutches and is thankfully free of moonbat alarmist anecdotes about climate change.

    I know where my money is going.

  • Steve says:

    Ashley Korenblat Sevenoff – I would suggest you accept that some people, although appreciative of IMBA’s efforts, want to go a different route. This is like a bad breakup, where people are moving on to someone new, and you’re just saying how this new person is not as ‘right’ as you and will just hurt us. Maybe we want the excitement of someone new with big ideas and goals? Please try to take the higher road, and just wish these defectors (myself included) good luck in our new relationship, and that IMBA will be there if it doesn’t work out.

    STC – donation coming.

  • Dennis says:

    Ashley has a lot of experience, background and connections. She clearly has mtb passion. I appreciate that. I also have not heard her state she speaks for IMBA directly. It was her opinion and it takes a lot of guts to state her case in this anonymous world of the internet.

    However, after reading both opinions twice I find that Ashley does come across like a career politician. Losing site of what the constituents want instead of just making deals/victories that can be reported to sponsors. I was not part of the mtb battle when sides were drawn and laws written. All I can tell you is right now I want to stop the wilderness closures and open anything we can.

    I will not stop supporting IMBA and my local chapter. They do great work with our trails and the proximity strategy has worked.

    I will now start supporting STC and hope they succeed.

  • JD Svoboda says:

    I’m sorry, but could someone clearly and concisely explain how the STC work directly threatens the Wilderness Act? I don’t get it and I read almost all of this. Is IMBA interpreting any attempt to seek a modification in management as a threat to the act as a whole? That’s pretty damn silly, if so. Or is it perhaps more that the Sierra Club, driven by older folks (me) who mostly hike and hate mountain bikes in wilderness and IMBA just doesn’t want to disagree with them? That’s a load of bull if that is it.

    How often do the local Sierra Club chapters have trail work days? I thought so…

  • Heffe says:

    STC gets my support.

  • JD says:

    STC donations make an EXCELLENT Christmas gift!!!!!

    thanks Ted and STC.

    IMBA – I’ve supported you for years …..time to stop waddling around and take a formal stance – and action. You’ve done some good stuff. But we should have just as much say and clout as the hikers, motor, and sled heads that all get attention by putting their $$$ where their mouth is. As much as it kills me to say this (b/c ethically I wish it wasn’t true) suing the forrest service is the best way to get attention.

  • Abdullah says:

    Donated $50 towards STC.
    If STC needs any help, just ask and we the community will do what is within our power.

  • Mark says:

    Regarding the point made in the article that the bike companies would rather spend lobbying money on trying to get Ebikes on current singletrack. This comment is designed to emotionally alienate the bike companies, to frame them as the enemy and capitalize on the (In my opinion) luddite attitudes of egotistical expert riders threatened by the prospect being passed by a beginner, twice their age, on an Ebike. Surely this sums it up. It seems as if trails are opened most easily when the economic benefit to the local area is recognized by the right people. Ebikes are designed to broaden the appeal of mountain biking and therefore increase sales/profits and the amount of riders. To a large extent, in the vicinity of populous areas where by definition most riders live, it becomes a supply and demand situation. It is a situation linked to the local economy and trails will be supplied to meet demand. This is why your local bike shop gets involved in trail building, group rides and race sponsorship. They want to stay in business and grow! Therefore Ebike access means more riders which means more demand, which means more trails. The bike companies are right. Their very survival is dictated by trail access, so I think dismissing their approach is counter-productive.

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Guest Opinion: Say no to the Sustainable Trails Coalition

Former IMBA board president Ashley Korenblat speaks out against fledgling trail advocacy group and its tactics.

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  • Steve says:

    Wow, I’m at a loss for words. As a mountain biker I’ve been viewed-as/called many things, but this takes the cake. Well done IMBA you’ve lost my support.

    “Instead our constituency of mountain bikers—who love the out doors, who value health and fitness, and who, as part of the recreation economy, have become a powerful economic force in every state in the Union—will be seen as selfish brats who care nothing about the greater good.”

  • Sean says:

    My understanding is that without changing the Forest Service’s interpretation of the Wilderness Act and exclusion of bikes (and tools like chain saws and wheel barrows for trail maintenance) that land managers of Wilderness designated areas have no discretion whatsoever in allowing bicycles into those regions as it’s black letter law at that point. Is that not correct? Maybe the STC strategy isn’t so futile after all…

    • AC says:

      Exactly. And it’s not tinkering with the WA itself, it’s tinkering with the USFS administrative decision to exclude bikes that occurred with no public process, at he behest of anti bikes, some 20 or 30 years after the law was passed. STC is doing work that IMBA should have done long ago. Even considering that though, multiple national scale organizations is a sign of maturity for the sport, and should be viewed as a good thing by all.

  • AC says:

    Ashley, thank you for confirming that my decision to send $ to STC rather than IMBA was the correct choice.

  • AC says:

    “By concentrating IMBA’s efforts closer to where populations exist we brought more trails to more people faster, as opposed to tying up our resources on a few miles of trails in remote areas.”

    A bike park near town does not replace remote backcountry trail. IMBA strategies may have gained net miles, but at the expense of hiqh quality, remote trails that epitomize the epic singletrack experience. To say we’ve gained access relative to this discussion is laughable.

  • Brian says:

    The thought you put into the response here is appreciated and all the work you’ve done is appreciated. However, there’s some serious issues with logic in points you brought up, and many other articles recently seem to agree with the other side of the argument, that maybe you should reconsider. (I’ll cite the outside magazine article pro STC and Bike Mag also as well as the NEMBA post).

    Issues with your post:
    1. “You have no inherent right to ride your bike on any public land anywhere. Just like any other public land user you have to earn that right. So if you want to drill for oil or protect endangered species habitat, you have to prove that your proposed use of public land provides the greatest good to the public.” Where did equestrian or hikers earn that right, and how is it specifically only to them but not for mountain bikers?

    2. “Subaru would not have been interested in sponsoring a group such as IMBA if their largest budget item was a legal battle against many of their other customers. (Turns out Sierra Club members buy Subarus, too.)” Does that same logic hold for the Sierra Club which advocates against mountain bikers and receives Subaru sponsorship? It turns out mountain bikers buy Subarus too…

    3. Nothing in your post addressed the e-bike issue which was a major point in the NEMBA letter. Silence there is eye-opening.

    4. You seem to feel that people wanting to go another direction with trail advocacy somehow hurts the IMBA efforts. (See the People’s front of Judea/Judea People’s Front from Monty Python’s “Life of Brian”). It doesn’t

    5. Finally you use the term “I did… ” quite a bit in this article. You are not all of IMBA. If you’re trying to convince people to your side maybe use “we” a bit more often. Also the NEMBA letter is not a personal attack, you don’t need to defend yourself quite so much.


    • Bobby says:

      Hello, Brian!
      In defense of Ashley’s argument (not sure whether I agree or not yet):
      1) They don’t have an inherent right, either. Their use is just more entrenched, and therefore if, say, we wanted to GET THOSE GODDAMNED HORSES OFF THE GODDAMNED TRAILS, it’s much more difficult to make a case for their exclusion considering their historical use.

      2) The point is historical: back then, there were far more Sierra Club members than MTBers, so Subaru would have weighted their interests accordingly.

      3) She probably takes e-bikes for granted; if normal MTB’s are excluded, then so are eMTB’s.

      4) Her argument is that it does, by both reinforcing negative stereotypes of MTBers that groups like the Sierra Club (who have a historical antipathy to MTBers) can use to justify their exclusion, and by threatening partnerships with environmental groups (who are NOT behind this) who are willing to work with us now, but not if we are perceived as attacking the idea of wilderness. (Which, whatever we might think about bikes, they feel that the mere presence of a bike endangers the wilderness character of a place, whatever that means. The more cogent argument is that increased use will endanger the wilderness character of a place, but that argument doesn’t exclude bikes, just overuse.)

      5) I think she’s trying to A) separate out her own opinion from others, even at IMBA, for whom she recognizes that she doesn’t speak, B) she’s building her own credibility to speak on the issue (which I think she’s earned).

      I’m not decided yet what I believe with this issue. However, after arguing with some of the hikers on Outside Magazine’s site, I will say that it’s refreshing for there to be an argument about it, rather than just a flame war.

      • Brian says:

        Bobby… good discussion!
        1. No one is saying lets get the horses off the trails. And certainly historical use is a certain leg up for them. However for others to say “we have access because we always have, but no one else new!” seems wrong.

        2. Is IMBA catering to subaru or the members? I would rather it didn’t take money from Subaru if the values are compromised, with all the consequences.

        3. Again, speculation. That was not addressed. And the whole point of the NEMBA letter this was responding to was to ask for clarification.

        4. Right. One could make the argument that STC’s efforts could hurt IMBA’s and vice versa, and a better way would be to unify fronts. However how does STC reinforce negative stereotypes of mtbikers? I would claim they do not, and have modest goals. Moreover the whole reason STC came around is that people are frustrated with IMBA’s approach here. If the IMBA’s method isn’t working for most people, even if it counters some of IMBA’s “goodwill” they’ve grown with other groups, someone else like STC has every right to try a different tack.

        5. Fair enough, but it comes across somewhat self-congratulatory. Also it’s not exactly clear from the piece that she is NOT speaking for the IMBA, rather she seems to be presenting their case.

  • Molly Winters says:

    If you want to light your money on fire and then flush it down the toilet, feel free to support the STC. They will never get anywhere with this.

    • AC says:

      As opposed to giving it to IMBA, where we lose singletrack to Wilderness but gain a pump track in the neighborhood park and proclaim it victory?

  • Jeff says:

    Seems like Subaru’s sponsorship dollars were more important than the organization’s mission.

  • Hugo Z Hor says:

    It is becoming quite obvious that IMBA is becoming a corrupt organization. They no longer represent the interests of our mountain biking community, instead they give preference to their own political devices, trying to stay relevant in a changing world. Great job NEMBA, shame on you IMBA. Now someone tell me how I can support my local NEMBA chapter without approving of the IMBA policies…

    • Bobby says:

      The groups have different goals at different scales. STC’s national and Public Lands Solutions is regional (SE Utah). They also seem to have different goals (from what I can find on their website). I’m not sure how they’re competing.

    • JIm says:

      That is exactly what I suspected. She makes bank on perpetuating each small arguments she makes. If you solve the bigger issue… the small ones do not need massive funding to resolve.

  • Kevin Loomis - San Diego Mountain Biking Association President says:

    Ashley, a primary problem with Wilderness, STC, and IMBA has been narrative. IMBA lost the narrative and allowed the vacuum to be filled by STC. I applaud you stepping forward to express your opinion but you made a strategic mistake in your approach!

    You have made yourself as an elitist superior to anyone who disagrees with your approach. You then resort to name-calling – we’re ‘selfish brats’ if we don’t drink your juice – SHAME ON YOU!

    Your response was also disingenuous on STC’s claim and stance. They are NOT looking for motorized access to wilderness – something your elitist superior intellect knows. They are also NOT fighting to have access to all wilderness – again something you know but intentionally left out. STC is looking to have local land managers evaluate if their local trails can allow human access. Wow. That is a far cry from your plea regarding the sea of selfish MTB brats!

    Ironically, I agree with most of what you are saying! I do agree the best approach is local. I also agree showing MTB use can be a win for all users and the community. I also agree with the strategy of working with environmental groups, the local agencies and local politicians to allow cycling in newly declared wilderness. I also agree riding on trail is a privilege not a right.

    What I am appalled at is your intolerance to other people’s view. Where has name calling every gotten us? Sadly you’ve made yourself the spokesperson of IMBA in the worst possible light and worst possible time. Don’t belittle IMBA members – educate, guide, and communicate openly. Be tolerant and teach. Be willing to professionally and politely agree to disagree. STC has done a great job bringing this topic front and center – they should be applauded not ridiculed by a previous IMBA President – fortunately PREVIOUS is the important word.

    One last thing. As the President of one of the largest Chapters in the United States – San Diego Mountain Biking Association, I can honestly say you are wrong on how small wilderness effects trail. You live in a state which is almost entirely public land! Of course you’ll have countless areas to ride even if you lose big sections. CA, WA and OR compromise close to 50% of the Federal Wilderness in the lower 48 states. Worse, CA, WA and OR have massively more trail closed to cycling on wilderness study areas along with massive state land designated as wilderness. Here in San Diego a majority of riders use illegal trail! Why? Due to massive wilderness designations and land restrictions. We’re working locally and starting to make solid progress. However our biggest problem are loops and trail no longer being available due to wilderness. SDMBA has almost 900 members who disagree with you Ashley. Wilderness is a big issue we face locally. Should I send an email to all of them stating a past IMBA President says they are selfish brats? I actually just may do that! It would take nothing to get your name and email our to our members. I’m sure they would be happy to express their feelings being called selfish brats!

    You blew a perfect opportunity to communicate IMBA’s views and what is being done. I’ve spoken with Mike Van Abel and agree with IMBA’s approach! Ironic isn’t it? It appears IMBA still has a long way to go on controlling narrative.

    • isawtman says:

      Kevin. Wilderness Areas comprise of only 2% of the land area in the lower 48 states. Furthermore, only 3% of the population goes mountain biking. Right now, the MTB Project has mapped 1733 mountain biking trails in California, 444 in Oregon and 645 in Washington state. Of the over 1700 mountain biking trails in California, over 215 are in the San Diego Area. So, basically everything you’ve said is a load of crap. And shame on mountain bikers who ride illegal trails. That’s only hurting the sport of mountain biking. If they can’t use trail systems that allow mountain biking correctly, do they really deserve to be biking in the wilderness or PCT?

      • John says:

        In my home state of CO, over 80% of roadless areas are off limits due to Wilderness designation alone. Add to that National Parks, National Monuments and other USFS, BLM, state and local closures and that percentage jumps further. Then consider that many trails start and end outside Wilderness boundaries, but some portion passes through Wilderness, rendering the entire route nonviable for cycling.

        If hikers and equestrians were barred from over 80% of their most cherished lands, we can safely say they wouldn’t see that as okay because they have other trails in the frontcountry, no matter how numerous they may be.

  • Cary says:

    Geez… this chick seems like a barrel of laughs… Can’t fathom going on one of her tours…probably would just hear over and over again about all the things she has done..so typical these days. Earth to whoever you are: ‘The squeeky wheel get’s the grease!’ There’s an army coming to turn the tide of repeated trail closures and in order to get that done in America these days, one must not leave out the legal option. Being passive and nice doesn’t get you much these days…

  • Shark says:

    You lost me shortly after this comment: “1. You have no inherent right to ride your bike on any public land anywhere. Just like any other public land user you have to earn that right.”

    Public land is just that, public. It belongs to all of us, NOT just hikers and equestrians. We are a zero-emissions hobby that promotes exercise and spending time outdoors. There is zero reason to keep pedal bikes out of the woods.

    The other trail users that are trying to keep mountain bikes out do not play nice, I don’t understand why we should.

  • Heffe says:

    This is a great discussion; cool to see it on this site.

  • Kelly says:

    I feel like anybody who criticizes the idea of bikes in Wilderness is immediately labeled a hater and anti mtb. I think Ashley has valid points that should be considered — and not just dismissed due to the rhetoric, animosity, and general craziness surrounding this issue.

    • Brian says:

      @Kelly… well that’s wrong and you’re right, people jump on that. There are arguments to be made for and against bikes on wilderness lands. A main goal as I read it of STC is to evaluate them on a case by case basis. I.e let each land manager decide whether to all allow bikes on his/her wilderness region.

      She has valid points however the dismissiveness that she uses towards a different approach are just as bad as what you are describing.

  • Tom says:

    We need them both. IMBA is the honey, STC is the hammer. STC seems to be fully aware of this. IMBA needs to grow up and realize that the “new kid on the block” just wants to help in his own way, and there just may be room for more than one approach.

  • Mike says:

    I sure do love to ride my mountain bike. And I sure am glad there are places that neither I nor anyone else are allowed to ride. Let’s not forget that recreationists aren’t the only stakeholders on public lands; heck, let’s not forget that HUMANS aren’t the only stakeholders on public lands. There need to be places where all species can have a peaceful, low-speed outdoor experience. We can already ride on vast majority of public lands; let’s leave wilderness alone.

  • Bob says:

    . . . What ? So over the past many years I’ve watched thousands upon thousands of acres of lands be taken away from mountain bikers for exclusive hikers use (BS) and all the while IMeBA was working FOR new Wilderness Areas ? ? ? Unbelievable!! The game was rigged all along? Just unreal. No wonder we kept losing time and again.

    And no we can’t ride on the vast majority of public land ! Wilderness picks out the best spots and tries to land grab & claim it for their narrow minded group. Time for change.

    If STC ever starts offering socks for members, imba is about done . . .

  • Daniel says:

    Mike wrote: “There need to be places where all species can have a peaceful, low-speed outdoor experience.” I agree, and nothing STC is doing will prevent us from preserving places exactly as you describe.

  • Rich says:

    For a while now I have had the feeling IMBA is more like a trade organization for the bike industry.

  • J H says:

    I have worked in restoration ecology. The decision to have mtbs in Wilderness Areas should be case by case. Also, I agree with the STC’s point that legislation dictating management in Wilderness can actually harm the wildernes (i.e. no management, or mechanically limited management.) Common sense regulation should be pushed for (i.e. no blanket ban, reasonable management tools). However, I also think that many Wilderness areas are not suitable for mountain bikers (or horses for that matter), but some areas are. The decision needs to be based on a case by case basis that accounts for trail load, substrate type, where the trails go (i.e. by a rare plant population, or through a squishy meadow) etc. I personally don’t like horses in a lot of Wilderness…but normally there are not that many equestrians so the damage they do is limited. Now there are quite a lot of us mtbers and we could get pretty deep in the wilderness fairly readily. These are my fav type of rides too, but I acknowledge that it would take me two days to hike to where I can ride my bike in a half day…this means a lot more disturbance to wildlife (which sometimes may avoid trails for that reason) and potential impacts to sensitive spots (like meadows). Plenty of Wilderness areas get tons of hikers anyway and could withstand mtbers lets ride there, and not in these sensitive spots!

    Finally, after reading both of these pieces I am very disappointed in the lack of actual, specific information…there is a lot of opinion, because we all care about riding and the environment…but not a lot of info here. For instance, I had to go to STCs website and dig around for awhile to figure out EXACTLY what legislation they were pushing for, frankly I still feel the specifics were not very well stated on there (had to go to the FAQ for some vague bits and pieces). Nor, is it stated how they will accomplish a lift on the blanket ban, and an amendment of the wilderness act to reflect common sense management. I think the only way we can get these two reasonable goals to get incorporated into law will be to partner with environmental groups that have done their homework and realize the constraints land managers face due to anachronistic Wilderness legislation. We all want to preserve Wilderness, and to do that the laws may need tweaked…if we all band together, then we would have a big enough voter base to achieve something. More mtbs on Wilderness where it won’t hurt anything, and better management of the deep Wilderness in the face of invasive species, tree encroachment from fire suppression, etc.

  • ThatGuyOnABike says:

    To the Nay-sayers and the go-getters…


    What the STC is doing should have been done by IMBA long ago. Always continue crafting your argument and reinserting it… Like congress with surveillance and Net laws!

  • will says:

    IMBA is irrelevant and does not represent the interests of the average mountian biker. They do not deserve our support.

  • joe says:

    Ashley speaks like someone who has been in the trenches crafting public policy and understands the process. I’ve been there myself and I understand how difficult it is, and how compromise is always a part of the ultimate product. The blade always, always cuts both ways. Until you’ve actually been involved in crafting a piece of legislation from start to finish it’s very hard to understand that.

  • Bike D00d says:

    This article lost me the moment the alarmist term ‘climate change’ was thrown into the mix and attempted to be made relevant in the context of public lands usage by non-motorized vehicles. And it did so at least twice. Clearly IMBA representation is too politicized and motivated by a specific worldview to effectively represent our community and interests. Strike IMBA as a recipient of my support.

  • Dan says:

    The Boulder-White Clouds debacle laid bare just how impotent IMBA really is. No matter where you stand on the “opening existing Wilderness to bikes” issue, if you trust IMBA to preserve access to existing legal trails you’re a fool.

  • Steve says:

    I’d always thought I should be more supportive of IMBA and other groups (like the Sierra Club), but when I do research into what they’re actually doing, I always find that their actions/views do not align with my own. Now opinions are not right or wrong, they are just one’s (or a groups) view. But why on earth would I support IMBA when their point of view does not align with my own? The Sierra club is the same.

    I am originally from New Zealand, and it took a dedicated group something like 20 years there to get mountain bikes to be considered differently from motorbikes. Once it finally happened, it didn’t open up all the National Park trails to bikes, but simply allowed the local park management to identify trails that could be, and then make changes in their plans. I’d guess in the ten years since this happened, there are probably only a dozen trails that have opened, but they’re ones that were deemed suitable and have proven to be.

    That’s all I want from the land managers here. If bikes have no more impact than hikers/horses in a particular trail (soil type, steepness of terrain all play a part), then let the local managers decide that and allow bikes. Right now there are probably thousands of miles of back country trails that, if opened up, would show zero signs of damage from the few dozen bikes that’d use them every year. It appears that the changes in 1984 were not a ”bikes are destroying the trails, we need to ban them”, and more an oversight based on the fact that nobody knew where mountain biking would end up. I dare say that if the wilderness act was being implemented now, it would have an exclusion for mountain bikes on trails that the local management view as acceptable. STC are just correcting an oversight, and will have a donation from me to help them do it. IMBA, some fresh blood and soul searching is needed.

  • JD Svoboda says:

    It seems wrong and un-American to believe that the history is what should be the determinant. Yes, horses have been in wilderness a long time, but that doesn’t make them inherently right/better. Horses were once productive beasts of the backcountry but that time is long gone so that use has also evaporated. Now they are recreation (just like MTBs)- very expensive recreation available only to the most fortunate among us, whether you own or use an outfitter.

    Also, on the legal distinction of a “mechanical conveyance”, would not a horse’s saddle qualify as a mechanical device? Is it not a man-made mechanism? If the objective is keep the uses so legally pure I should think all equestrians would be required to ride bareback. And before long there will be suspended horse saddles with gyros and accelerometers to reduce lower back shock, etc. Times change, technology changes. Parsing legal phrases is really not the point- cooperation and reasonable, non-destructive use is the point.

    My wife and I took our 17 year old daughter on a short backpack into the Wild Basin area near RMNP recently. The trails were ripped apart by horse outfitter damage to a degree I had never seen before. Pretty ugly and no fun to hike with lots of loose babyheads.

    I’ve spent a good deal of time in the backcountry over the years and IMHO bikes sure don’t belong everywhere, but they would do just fine in most areas. But I will say this: I volunteer and I have never seen a single equestrian show-up to a trial work day.

    I’m not rich and have bad knees and mountain biking involves a lot less pain than backpacking for me. It does not seem an unreasonable notion that I could ride in most backcountry areas. “Animal-Powered” is the phrase we need to build in the public conscience. Say it with me again:

  • Rob says:

    I live in Washington and quit the IMBA a long time ago. I have watched the steady loss of trails for 30 years in my state. I am constantly sickened by the messes hikers leave on trails that have been deamed to sensitive for Mountain bikes. As far as equestrians go, maybe in CA where it is dry they do little damage to trails, but here where its wet, a single horse will do more damage than 20 mountain bikes, yet they are allowed access to areas we can only dream about, and the IMBA has done nothing to help us. The IMBA is like so many other organizations. They start out small with a good mission. As they grow in size their overhead grows and a smaller and smaller percentage of the money given to them actually goes where it was intended. With the addition of corporate sponsorship, the original community the group was supposed to advocate for has a smaller and smaller voice untill, like the IMBA today, the average mountain biker no longer has a voice, and the now huge organization feels that they, and they alone know what is best, and if you speak out against them you are just a spoiled brat……….The IMBA has run its course and outgrown its usefulness and is now just a self serving organization, it is time for them to go the way of the many trails we used to have in my state.

  • Will says:

    Why are you on mtbr if you’re against mountain bikes?

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ASS Does Downieville: Calling it a Season

The ASS signs off from his summer in Downieville, but he’s already looking forward to 2016.

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The Angry Singlespeeder: Red Bull Rampage must change or die

With risk — and major injuries — continually on the rise, the Super Bowl of freeriding is going downhill fast.

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  • Gerry says:

    I was amazed at the destruction that these guys get away with. I don’t know how they can get permits to cut lines in the hills like that. I assume that they do a bunch of repair after the event but, the ASS is right, Sierra Club must be jumping all over this to tarnish MTBing.

    • Cortney says:

      @Gerry – I’m not 100% certain, but I’m pretty sure it’s private land. I went to the event a few years back and it was all fenced and gated.

    • Honcho says:

      They pull the wood structures out but most of the lines and cuts are still there for years to come. A lot of times they go back after and re-hit stuff they didnt want to do during their run for video parts.

  • Zimmerman says:

    The event is held on private property. You know, the kind where you can do what you want with the land you own. Don’t worry, your 5% grade IMBA flow trails are still the norm on public lands.

    PS. Fuck the Sierra Club.

  • Fahzure Freeride says:

    You are just plain wrong about the lines and jumps being bigger, less safe. With the second year at the new site, all of the lines were better defined, safer. The canyon gap landing was substantially altered, eliminating a number of crashes (McGazza X2) experienced last year. The site is on UT State land, otherwise available for oil and gas leasing. The situation is far more nuanced, please talk to people who were there/doing it, instead of relying on what you can glean from the Interweb.

  • Johann Miller says:

    Some of your points are valid, but your screed mainly shows that you just don’t like rampage, and you obviously fear the Sierra Club.

    The lines build into tiny section of the Utah desert are hardly going to cause environmental catastrophe. If you really care, why don’t you take issue with the Air Force’s live munitions testing over wide swaths of the American southwest? Because you – and the Sierra Club – are impotent in the face of true power that causes significant blight.

    As for the “image of mountain biking”… I’m pretty sure if you asked a bunch of 15-25 year olds about the image of mountain biking, rampage makes them more stoked to get on a bike than a story about the latest 100 mile gravel grinder you did on your single-speed.

    You raise genuine issues concerning exploitation of riders – allowing a rider to continue after falling from a cliff, for example. Ultimately, riders have the power here. There are about 30 humans on the planet that can ride these lines. If they formed a union, they’d have immense bargaining power over their compensation and health care benefits.

    At some point, someone will die at rampage. But that could happen in a big wave surf contest.

  • El Dorado MTB says:

    Grist to the mill,…nothing more

  • scott says:

    I’m with you Kurt. I think these events are promoting a part of mountain biking that needs to be fixed. Not really sure where to begin with fixing it though. . .some thoughts are that the “freeriders” shouldn’t have to perform at a contest to get their money. I don’t really know if that would ever happen, but I know personally that no one is “on” every day, so expecting people to perform at their absolute limit (or beyond) on any particular date (that most contestants have to travel to) is just silly. At Rotorua and Whistler Brett Rheeder was coming off a flu or something similar, the fact that he won Rotorua speaks volumes about Rheeder’s incredible abilities, but should not be expected from everyone, especially their sponsors.

    I personally prefer watching video clips of these guys showing what they can do after they have perfectly executed what they want to, like Brandon’s Rad Company and Revel in the Chaos, UnReal and all of the other incredible “freeride” videos that came out this year. Too bad that alone isn’t enough to get the sponsors to pay up. . .

    The thing about Rampage that makes it hard to argue about is that these riders personally select what they are going to ride and how they are going to do so. . .it just seems like they should be allowed to spread out when they do their runs over a week so they can perform in conditions they are comfortable with.

    I love mountain biking, I love watching people push themselves both mentally and physically, and I love hitting jumps with my bikes, I don’t know exactly how big a jump/drop needs to be to consider yourself a “freerider” but I know that if I F*cked up some of the stuff I hit I could be lucky to walk away. . .but thankfully it’s not my job to make sure I do a rad trick every time I jump.

  • riderfree says:

    zink has a film coming out about his preparation for last year’s rampage. he went and set a world record 100ft backflip with full media coverage at mammoth. he even said who knows maybe 150ft… and now it’s f rampage. everybody take a knee

    respectfully disagree with this article’s author.

  • Greg Beardslee says:

    I think that Red Bull should step up and pay all the athletes adequately, and cover insurance as well. If not, then just shut it down and call it good. To continue this model would be disgusting.

    • Jon Yates says:

      You realize that if Red Bull were to cover insurance for the riders, corporate lawyers would be instantly and 100% involved. What lines could be took, what tricks could be performed, etc. No athlete is forced to compete, no guns are held to heads. Could the purses be larger, sure. Would that not lead to increased risk taking for the largest $? Who defines adequately? Why not have the riders individual sponsors cover insurance, and increased salary figures.

      A fatality occurred during a east cost 100-mile endurance race this year. A second occurred during EWS east coast event.

  • TB says:

    Funny how two Rampage articles precede this article. Sad…..I though this was a mountain bike site…Red Bull Rampage is NOT mountain biking!

  • Doug Johnson says:

    Event or no event, money or no money, extreme athletes are going to do what they do. Positive healing vibes to Paul and wishing you a speedy recovery.

  • Gogogordo@earthlink.net says:

    You sound like my wife before I go ride.

  • Gogogordo@earthlink.net says:

    The Ass has spoken once again.
    Go suck YE ASS some more.
    Short timer.

  • The Angry Singlespeeder says:

    Johann –

    My screed says nothing about being afraid of Sierra Club or environmental catastrophe. I fully understand what the dig teams are doing out in the desert aren’t going to cause irreparable damage. It’s nothing compared to all the commercial exploitation of public land that happens. But its the perception that does the real damage. Have you ever tried to negotiate with anti-MTB folk when gaining trail access? Guess what, these bike-hating zealots use events like Rampage against us. We’re making ourselves easy targets is all I’m saying, nothing more.

    And as far as getting kids stoked on riding, unless you are involved with NICA or a youth development program, what you’re “pretty sure” of means nothing, so don’t come at me with that weak sauce. And you must have me mistaken for someone else – I’ve never done a 100-mile gravel grinder on a singlespeed. That’s stupid. I use gears.

    – ASS

    • fasterjason says:

      Agree 100% on trying to deal with anti-bike people when negotiating trail access. No matter how pragmatic your approach, nothing you say or do will change their mind.

  • The Angry Singlespeeder says:

    Gogogordo – I can’t argue with that. Your intelligence and well thought-out viewpoint leaves me with nothing. Congratulations. You’re a scholar.

    – ASS

  • Structure says:

    It’s easy to say “Let them take their own risks” but in reality it’s never that simple. Injury compounds. Politically, but more importantly personally with friends and family left to deal with the consequences. In the end, I can’t stop someone from taking extreme risks, but I can stop watching. I can say they don’t represent the sport or anything that I value.

    Fetishizing risk isn’t just a mountain bike thing. Rock climbing was early and “extreme.” Many sports now seem to idealize the title.

    We need more events that focus on the beauty of riding and trails and less on who is the most “extreme.”

  • phil burleson says:

    I know, first impression, vomiting at the mouth before the result can be processed by the brain, and before reality sets in…I bought a dirt bike to ride woods, race enduros and hare scrambles at the age of 39. Broke my neck at 41. Everyone assumed it was from motorcycles, been riding mountain bikes since 1990. Broke my neck in practice of a local dual slalom mountain bike race! Did’t know if I’d ever ride ANYTHING again. is my point! Been back riding mountain bikes and motorcycles for 18 months. I guarantee that Paul Basagotia will be back riding if his body allows. Also Guarantee he knew the risks and rode anyway. I DID! For free!!! Because I love it. Think Erik Roner didn’t know the consequences? He DID. So did hid his friends and family. Is it sad? of course! is that why we watch? Is that why we push ourselves to go beyond what we perceive our limits to be? Yeah, of course. my point is, I broke my neck doing something I’ve done 500 times, I sure Paul Bas has done it 5000 times…Im sure Roner did it 500 times.

    You think anyone asked Dale Earnhardt Jr to stop racing when his dad died? NO WAY! Difference is, unfortunately, money. I get it, there isn’t enough money to pay extreme athletes the same as ‘main stream” athletes in times of trouble…but attack redbull,or specific events? The bicycle world will take care of ‘it’s” own”…believe me. I feel horrible for Paul B, Roner’s family and friends, Earnhardt’s family and friends, all the FMX wives and families who’ve lost someone…But I feel just a little worse for people like Paul Basagotia, people like Rory Mead.

    I’ve been following many athlete’s for years. Nobody ever said, “shut down Motocross” when Eli Tomac crashed last year…Pretty sure John Tomac, his dad, (best BEST overall mountain biker of his time) ever had injuries as serious as his son’s. There weren’t too many people screaming for ending professional surfing when mick fannning, pro surfer, was attacked by a shark a month or so ago. I could go on and on…

    Let’s just give whatever we can to Paul B, since this sport we love, hasn’t figured out how to take care of him and his family yet. I’m sure we will, but until then…give him and his family break, open your wallet’s as much as you open your mouth’s! What did your last MRI cost you? my last was $1000.00 MY Total hospital bill…Over $300,000K!

  • The Angry Singlespeeder says:

    Nobody’s saying Rampage should be shut down, but it needs to change to make the event safer for everyone involved. Some people find this disagreeable, which I can’t understand. What’s wrong with looking out for the athletes, photographers, volunteers, medical staff and spectators? Do they deserve less? Or is looking out for the safety of people for pussies?

    Structure – you hit the nail on the head. The neverending dick-swinging competition of who can be more “extreme” is a losing game that ultimately ends in death. We shouldn’t celebrate this kind of athleticism. The whole base jumping/wingsuit thing is another example. One of my close friends has lost a few buddies over the past couple years to base jumping, and he’s sick of it. He refuses to be friends with base jumpers any more because he feels its like being friends with a junkie addict. He should know, he used to be one. They live for the fix, the adrenaline fix.

    – ASS

    • Matthew says:

      Its not a matter of swinging anything. What these guys have hanging is something they are not worrying about bragging about. What they have done with the progression of mtn biking is the foundation for its future. Besides obvious mechanical advantages, the growth of the sport comes from seeing what is possible. Redbull lets us see it. We want it and the media gives it to us. We learn from it and then we can teach others what is possible. Sure Cam Zink wants first place, but what he wants more is to be a model for the future. We could get a flat and go over a cliff on some mellow rides or we could pull a hundred foot backflip over a canyon with hundreds of spectators. How do you want to go out? With your adrenaline gland suppressed and bored criticizing others for what you obviously are afraid of, or as a pioneer that was willing to take chances in the name of progression?

  • fasterjason says:

    Rampage is not that dangerous, relatively speaking. Isle of Man TT averages more than two deaths per year. For some the taste of death is their disease. I think the younger riders will self-regulate some after seeing big crashes. I did not see anyone try to front flip the canyon gap this year.

    Redbull should be providing insurance for these guys.

  • AngryElf says:

    I’m old, and because I’m old I’ve never really considered Rampage mountain biking. Is it fun to watch? Yes! Are these guys incredibly talented and brave? Absolutely. But it just it just doesn’t have much in common with what me and my friends do at China Camp or Mt. Burdell. And, I agree that it is the perfect event for groups like the Sierra Club to point out how destructive mountain biking is. Anyway. great column Angry Single Speeder. You hit the nail on the head.

  • Farmer Ted says:

    ASS, for once I agree with you. The only other thing I’d add is that the image that these kinds of events portray (and related videos) causes a bunch of wannabes to go out locally and act like complete d-bags while showing no respect to anyone or anything. These are the guys who wear full face helmets and pads on XC trails, push their downhill bikes up every hill and show no regard for etiquette or anything else on the way down. The irony is that pretty much all of the ones I’ve run in to are horrible riders and they probably don’t stick with it too long but the damage they do (on all levels) is tremendous. I’d really like for mountain biking to lose this extreme bro-brah image that has been portrayed over the last 5+ years.

    Maybe I’m old but I’m jonesing for the old school mtb culture from the early to mid 1990s.

  • Josh says:

    You talk like the riders are forced to do this, when it is their choice-spoken like a true liberal.

  • Ben says:

    The Rampage is no different as a venue than the videos and films depicting extreme athletes. As long as there are people willing to watch and pay for the voyeuristic pleasures of safely watching someone else risk their life, the show will go on.

    The Sierra Club exists to protect things that cannot protect themselves, ie. plants, animals, the natural environment. If you are not able to see the good in environmental protection, you may want take a moment to reflect on why your ride in natural areas.

    Vibes to Paul …

  • Pete says:

    Race and event organizers often don’t take the necessary time to actually consider the real chances of serious injury or death in their events. You have to sit down and discuss what the chance of death is at your event. Then you have to be comfortable with those chances and prepared to handle it. Is it a 1% chance, a 5% chance? What are you comfortable with?

  • Swingset says:

    I like to watch things die- from a good, safe distance……

    Maynard James Keenan “Vicarious” Tool

    ….and yes, I am being sarcastic

  • Brian Mayeux says:

    well at least the taxpayers aren’t paying the hospital bills… It’s their body/life, let them risk it. I would only object if the taxpayers were paying the medical bills…

  • Tom says:

    It would be cool to see this sport follow the path of GP-level motorcycle road racing. A few decades ago, the tracks were death traps. Brick walls, steel guardrails, bad pavement and the like. In short, Kenny Roberts got riders of the time organized, and got the ball rolling on safety measures. The long-term result is that the tracks on which MotoGP and World Superbike are contested today are astounding from a safety standpoint.

    Not that these sports can ever be completely safe, but measures can be taken (see also the progression of FIS World Cup Skiing downhill course safety measures over the decades).

  • Shark says:

    Nobody is forcing the riders to do this stuff. Sheesh.

  • Jeff C says:

    Once again I disagree with the “ASS”. Would it have killed him to do some research on whether this was public or private land?

    Here’s the main issue. These riders are adults. They can make their own decisions. I’ve never heard of a title sponsor providing insurance for athletes. If you can ride a bike like these guys you can get insurance for yourself. If you can’t afford it, but you’ve been invited. Get on gofundme.com and I’m sure people would help if the rider really wants to ride in the Rampage.

    In the end there is a saying that fits this situation: “You can’t lose a fight you don’t show up for”. Good on Cam Zink for not taking a risk he felt was too high.

  • Randy Collette says:

    So I have personally known someone killed in a fall on a normal trail. On average, there is a road cycling / commuting death 40 times per year in my state.

    I have heard this argument after surfing big storms or riding fast at night on illegal trails. There will always be people that want some authority figure to say “no” to things that scare them. I’m glad I am not one of them.

    I wish Paul Basagoitia the best. Rampage is awesome. It’s one of the few things I watch on TV and can’t quite imagine actually doing. Rampage and Ski/base/squirrel suit flight. Just good crazy stuff.

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Ben Jacques-Maynes: How I learned to love the bike

Ben’s advice: Skip the confining definitions and just ride for the sake of the ride and the joy of rolling on two wheels.

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Video: Tribute to Will Olson’s life

Will Olson died in the Enduro Wold Series in Crested Butte earlier this year. Here is a tribute to one of us, the best of us.

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  • jim says:

    my condolences.

    forgive me for answering, how did Will perish? Was it a bad fall? did he land on rocks and internal bleeding?

    If he smashed against rocks, it might be advisable to wear a chest protector as they do in motocross.

    Again, my deepest sympathy to his surviving family, friends, and his girlfriend. Very sad story and a reminder the short time we are here.

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ASS Does Downieville: Almost doored by a Ford

Come along for the ride as The Angry Singlespeeder looks back at the 20th annual Downieville Classic weekend.

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  • AC says:

    I always wonder why promoters don’t catch on bump or DQ riders that sandbag like that.

    Care to share which brands of carbon rims you saw cracking? Presumably every direct from china rim exploded on impact with the first rock.

  • Jesus says:

    Dear Angry,

    Why do people that do not believe in me keep taking my name in vain? “I don’t know if it was catlike reflexes or pure luck that saved me” Are those the only two choices? I am surprised that someone that spends so much time in my creation, engaging in such a risky activity, does not show more respect.

    “Be angry and sin not”

    Your friend,


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The Angry Singlespeeder: Stop the bleeding of mountain bike access

If you care about continued equal access to trails for mountain bikes, the ASS says there has never been a better time to act. Find out why — and where you should send your money.

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  • tyrebyter says:

    The Wilderness Act isn’t a policy; it’s a law. And oddly enough, it does not prohibit bicycles. That is done by USDA regulation and therein lies the problem.

  • Tom says:

    So much of the intent of laws gets futzed up by often not at all well-meaning bureaucrats, when they take a law, and turn it into regualtions.

    It’s time to stop this. I’m a longtime member of IMBA, and they utterly failed in the White Clouds. It’s time to respect the idea of another approach. I’ll be donating to STC.

    Thanks, ASS, for bringing this to light. Beat the jungle drums, and talk to your fellow journalists. There should be a feature article about this on every similar mtb website.

  • Tman says:

    Even Ted Stroll says that this effort may not provide any results. Basically you are just flushing your money down the toilet. To fully understand this issue you guys need to read my blog here: http://tisfortrails.blogspot.com/2015/07/an-in-depth-look-at-mountain-biking-on.html

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    Tman –

    “…moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” – Barry Goldwater

    Could the STC fail? Yes.
    Could the STC succeed? Yes.

    Anything in life worthwhile involves risk. I’m willing to back an effort that could fail, because it could also be a huge victory.

    And to your discussion on the PCT – until 1988, the Forest Service in D.C. never felt a need to cut off bicycle access to the PCT. It was a non-issue…that is until the predecessor to the PCTA continued to nag the Secretary of Agriculture to ban mountain bikes for whatever selfish reasons. Since D.C. had no intention of doing it, three Forest Service Regional Foresters in the West (clearly in cahoots with the PCTA predecessor) signed their own directive to close the PCT to bike access with no opportunity for public notice or comment. In short, this was a regulation, not a federal order, and seen by many including the PCTRI as illegal. According to the PCTRI, two of the three Regional Foresters who signed the directive are still living and have told the PCTRI they would support removing the ban. But perhaps you already knew all of this.

    – ASS

    • AC says:

      It’s guaranteed to fail if the effort isn’t made. ASS, You’ve written a lot of columns of questionable value IMO, this isn’t one of them. Well done.

  • guy smiley says:

    “The very laws that were created to allegedly protect public lands are the same laws preventing them from being used and maintained.” Put biking aside and keep driving deeper… that’s exactly the point these fanatical wilderness yahoos are trying to make….no human intervention eventually means no human access. The access problem is extreme conservationism.

  • Murray Hann says:

    I fully support what the STC is attempting to do here. As has been pointed out, it is actually an interpretation of a rule (within the Law) that currently forbids mountain bikes. Mountain bikes were allowed for many years, when the rule was interpreted as “no motorized vehicles” (and “no motors” unless utilized in management activities). The rule was “re interpreted” after the Sierra Club lobbied the agency to specifically eliminate mountain bikes from all wilderness areas. They wanted these areas reserved only to their members. For years, the Sierra Club maintained 10 fundamental tenets of the club, one of which was “elimination of all mountain biking from public lands”. This is despite federal studies showing mountain bikes do similar or less overall damage to the environment as walkers (and 160X less damage than horses,… which are allowed in wilderness areas. A 1500 lb non-native animal with steel shoes is OK,… 30 psi rubber tired bikes are not…).

    I am not sure how STC can succeed without somehow making peace with the Sierra Club (which is governed by over-the-top environmental extremists).

  • Steve says:

    Just out of curiosity, what is the penalty for riding a bike on a closed section of the PCT or in the wilderness? I have always respected trail closures but am about ready to just ride the trails and pay the damn fine. I have been supporting IMBA for over 25 years and it is not working. I am going to grow too old to ride before IMBA effects any change. I gave $100 to the STC as money talks in Washington. It is worth a shot.

  • skinewmexico says:

    I truly don’t understand why horses get magic status in Wilderness areas. But I don’t see the priorities given the family farm either.

  • JD Svoboda says:

    Lots of good comments here. Horses are favored for reasons of history, pace and perceived wealth/maturity/influence of participants. For this issue, as well as E-bikes, we need to employ K.I.S.S., and be 100% consistent, to sell it politically:


    If it is animal powered, it should be permitted, if not, then not. Horses are NOT indigenous to North America, so they do not necessarily belong in the wilderness any more than a person on a bike. Commercial outfitters really do not belong, but I understand such is tough to enforce and there is a lot of grey area. The “mechanized” term is also fraught with potential grey areas.
    At what point does a saddle become a machine?
    What if it incorporates gyros and actuators to provide a small amount of suspension?
    What about a horse with an artificial limb or two? What if they incorporated power?
    Who determined long ago that a traditional saddle is not already a mechanism? The U.S. Patent Office would most certainly consider it a mechanism.

    The point is that the rules should make common sense, not focus on where certain types of technology are today, and should apply universally as much as possible. It would simply be fair and logical. Obviously certain trails and areas are completely inappropriate for bikes, just as some are for horses (and Yosemite Valley is for vehicles, as John Muir famously observed 100+ years ago). When was the last time an equestrian group had a trail building day in your area? Could they reasonably be viewed as the “takers” of back-country society?

    Animal muscle power is likely to be a pretty good guideline for a very long time. Let’s consistently drive that message home.

  • Tman says:

    Hey Angry,

    That predecessor of the PCTA that you posted about was the Pacific Crest Trail Advisory Council, a Committee authorized by Congress to figure out the details of
    the PCT. The reason the Forest Service in DC decided not to do anything about the bikes on the PCT issue was that it was a west coast issue, so let them handle it. And PCTRI keeps saying that order is illegal, well at least they did. It’s so illegal that they decided not to challenge it in court, and now they are saying it might be legal. Plus, who reported that the 2 of the foresters supports lifting the ban, was it Outside Magazine? MTBR.com, No, it was PCTRI itself. I think I’d rather have an independent journalist report that story. You gotta stop drinking the PCTRI koolaid.

  • Capt.OGG says:

    Land of the free must be one of the most regulated countries regarding land access. So sad.

  • C says:

    I stopped obeying trail mandates years ago. There is nothing sound about the whole issue. It always comes down to who knows who and those who do not like ‘bikes’ on trails always seem to get their way when they make any real attempt at removing trail rights from the biking community. I pay zero attention to ‘no access to bikers’ signs. I ride everything and anything I feel inclined to ride. I’ve been chased a few times too, and at no time have I EVER been caught by these idiots in trucks. Not once. Ever since my favorite trails were ‘absconded’ by the horse and hiker community I stopped obeying ALL laws regarding this issue. Ironically, the very same trails that MOUNTAIN BIKERS BUILT were taken AWAY from mountain bikers in my area…so go figure.

    Today’s abundance of ‘law’ so called, to me, holds not weight. Today’s ‘law’ not just in the environmental sense but in nearly ALL respects is totally out of hand and of zero bona fide authority in my book. Man up and reclaim your American Spirit : Ignore the law. Do whatever want. Piss on all these paper shuffling imbeciles. Think free, RIDE free. If everyone does it we will simply overwhelm their capacity to stop us.

    • Marquis says:

      I’m with “C”. I worked on some local trails for years with a very small group of other local riders. In spite of our always being courteous and deferential to hikers/dog walkers/horses, one day some lady got upset that mountain bikers were on “her” trails – the ones we nurtured and maintained for 15 years. So she went on the warpath and got a naive local government to “close” the trails to bikes. We agonized about what to do until we came to the conclusion C did – we’re riding anyway. The rangers won’t get out of their trucks (I don’t think they care, actually) and the trails are all tight singletrack, mostly along cliff lines and in canyons, so it’s not like they could catch us even if they wanted to. We’ve never had any issues in the two years since “closure” and don’t expect any.

  • pbass says:


  • Z says:

    When I first became acquainted with Kurt’s written work, I thought he was just trying to make a name. But after reading his latest article in Dirt Rag, about a 420 mile bike trip, I see he is the real deal. Great story! I am unfamiliar with the ins and outs of the legislation but I donated because of respect for the author. He gets it.

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ASS Does Downieville: A trifecta of debauchery

Booze, guns, kids, trail building, and the legend of Stinky Larry highlight this week’s Angry Singlespeeder dispatch from up in the hills around Downieville.

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ASS Does Downieville: More to Downieville than Butcher and Pauley

Downieville Classic downhill and cross-country routes barely scratch surface of region’s expansive ride opportunities.

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  • Gregg Kato says:

    Dammit. ASS made me have to look up a word again!

  • Lance says:

    Kurt! You nailed it bro! Big Boulder to 3rd to 1st is a solid day…and if you need more…2nd shuttle and hit Poly to Butchers to 3rd to 1st – or – the classic! Spent!

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