Anti Mountain Biking Fanatic Mike Vandeman Arrested for Assault with a Deadly Weapon Against Two Bikers


Berkeley – CA 6/2/10

Michael Joseph Vandeman was arraigned in court today. He is scheduled to re-appear in court Thursday with his legal counsel.

Vandeman was arrested by UC Berkeley police last Friday May 28th for assault with a deadly weapon. The full police report is here: He was reported and arrested for carrying a handsaw and cutting one of the two bikers across the chest. This is not the first time such an incidence has been reported.


Local news station KPIX Channel 5 covered the story and it ran in the local nightly news. Video is available here:

The arraignment was at 2pm Wednesday and bail was reduced from $30,000 to $12,500. It is unknown at this time if bail has been posted. Pending contact with his lawyer, Vandeman is scheduled to reappear in court Thursday to enter his plea.

Vandeman is a long time anti-mountain biking zealot who has been infamous in the SF-SJ Bay Area for decades. His campaign against mountain bikers dates back to the heyday of local cycling internet newsgroups.

UC Berkeley police urge cyclists to come forward with any information on similar assaults. University of California Police Department Criminal Investigation Bureau: (510) 642-0472 from 8AM-5PM, or (510) 642-6760 all other times.

Please help us spread awareness of these violent acts against cyclists of all categories.

>>In an unrelated story, a Florida man stabbed two cyclists who were out on a holiday ride, this past weekend. More info on our sister site here:

>>This just in: Another story of violence against bicyclists. “Manhunt for driver who struck 4 bicyclists in S.F.”

Have YOU ever had a run in with an anti-mountain biking fanatic? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

(thanks to Berkeley Mike for relaying the afternoon’s happenings in court today and to RJ2 for speaking on behalf of mountain bikers. For more comments and opinions, read the Mtbr forum thread here:

About the author: Gregg Kato

Gregg Kato studied journalism and broadcasting in college while working many different jobs including deejaying, driving a forklift and building web sites (not all at the same time). Kato enjoys riding local Santa Cruz trails. Besides being an avid mountain biker, he is also a motorcycle fanatic. Two wheels, one Passion.


  • Datalogger says:

    Hope the victims are ok. Best wishes.

  • LeeL says:

    Glorious news

  • Ted E says:

    We have a fanatic here in Maine, contantly putting new logs and sticks accross our single track. Hallowell reservoir is the area. lets catch him

  • Jeremy says:

    This man looks evil

  • the fork says:

    Wow, I remember this guy kicking off flamewars on alt.mountain-bike from waaaay back in the usenet days. Looks like he’s taken his trolling directly to the trails. How sad.

  • SLP999 says:

    This guy hopefully is taking all 9-inches of Bubba’s meat stick. What a frickin tool. I would have beat the living shit out of him if he approached me. The hand-saw would have been dislodged from his old man grip so quick he wouldn’t have seen it coming. Then, the major beat down would have taken place, with my friend as a witness. Up North where they eat wheat-grass and wear hemp shrts, there bound to send this guy to jail longer than if he was in L.A. County.

  • David says:

    and they always seem to be from Marin County.(I always try to ask,throws them off guard, I think.)
    Go figure

  • Randy says:

    I know bikes can do damage to the trail and they were riding on a walking trial not open to bikes but saying you are protecting the environment is just an excuse for someone who obviously has some sort of mental illness. He should be put away for attempted murder

  • Mike says:

    If the trail is closed to bikes, why are people riding it? That mistake not only precipitated this incident, it’s bad for mountain biking access and makes all mtbers look bad. I’m in no way defending the actions of this saw-wielding kook, but as a land user group we need to keep our shit a little more together.

  • brad says:

    I ran into a Anti MTB advocate in the forest of nisean MArks on the SantaCruz side .
    We were their filiming at Tyler Mccaul’s road gap when a crazy guy climbs out of the forest just below the gap and starts giving us all sorta of crap about why we can’t be in a puplic forest.
    After some words were said he picked up a large branch of a tree that was on the gound and swung it at me , I proceeded to grab the end of it and shove it straight into his crest .
    He got super pissed off after that and atacked me head on with a FOLDING SAW saying he was going to cut me up and eat me , he then put me into the gound and proceeded to try and BITE my finger clean off wile telling his dog to attack me .

    I had a shap weapon in my bag and was reaching for it as my busddie jim Tharp proceeded to kick the guy in the head a few times .
    We got the F outta there and found a ranger , as wewere telling our story to the ranger a Father who herd the story alked into the forest and dragged the guy out by his ear.
    This crazy SOB was then charged with assult with a deadly weapon and haulded into the local hosbital for blood work to see if he had and STD i now needed to worry about .
    turn out this gy who attacked me was a fire fighter in SantaCruz and the cops knew him by first name , so he was let off kinda easy.
    Let’s jsut say my sharp tools are now allot easier to get too in my bag :/

  • Bill says:

    I’d love to see him try that crap down here in Texas.

  • Greg says:

    They should make him ride a road bike on a set of rollers for three hours a day as punishment. That way he’d see how fun mountain biking really is!

  • Barry says:

    I remember this nut job from some other boards. He’s the guy who wants to create a pure wilderness off limits to humans. He looks as crazy as his posts.

  • says:


  • Me says:

    They should banish him to the deep of the Siberian wilderness. He should feel at home there.

  • Share the trails says:

    In New Jersey, there are various groups including equestrians, bird watchers and hikers that work very hard to get mountain bikers off the trails. Due to their efforts, many once great MTB trails particularly in the northern part of the state are now off limits to riders. I’ve been told of instances where these extremists have set up fishing line about neck high and other dangerous booby traps. Given that in most circumstances, its the riders who are working to maintain the trails, I can’t understand why so many people want to keep us off the trails and even injure us. This jerk off doesn’t belong in jail. A guy like this belongs in an insane asylum.

    • dan sloan says:

      probably because some idiots scared them on mtn bikes. here in NH we try to stop or slow way down when comming upon hikers or equestrians, say hello , etc. we even include them in trail day work whenever posible.
      Look at it this way even if youre right, all it takes is one connected idiot to badmouth mtn bikers to the right group and youre banned.
      I usually say hello, tell them were the group that maintains the trails and they usually offer to help out

  • BillyBob says:

    June 3rd, 2010 at 1:02 pm – Bill Says:
    I’d love to see him try that crap down here in Texas.

    oooohhh yeah – Texas! Don’t mess with Texas man! Everybody should be skeered of Texas!


  • Terri says:

    Mountain bikers hate Mike Vandeman because he is effective. The worst they can say about him is that they hate what he writes. The bottom line is that those who oppose mountain biking in sensitive areas cost the mountain bike industry a lot of money. Gary Fisher told me that himself. I’m sure the court process will show that Mike is innocent of any crime. Intimidation will never stifle free speech, as much as the mountain bikers try.

  • Toad says:

    Wrong Terri.

    Mike Vandeman campaign is *not* effective. His campaign started in 1994 and there has been significant growth since then. His campaign has not stopped mountain biking at all. The bike industry is not hurting because of his effects. It’s probably because he is growing frustrated at his ineffectiveness, that he is choosing physical violence to accomplish his goals.

    We dislike Mike because he is an unreasonable zealot who fails to use reason in his arguments. He doesn’t use the rules of debate for issues and he misrepresents statements and cherry picks evidence. His arguments will not hold up in a court of law.

    The court will show that he physically confined and assaulted riders and will be found guilty. Your movement no longer has the higher moral ground since you used physical violence to accomplish your objectives. You and your kind are using the tactics and strategy of terrorists and should be treated as such.

  • Sami says:

    Glad you got it straight Billy Bob. Never had a problem with such whackos in San Antonio, most environmentalists are more than happy to see mountain bike trails instead of another strip center.

  • Billy Frune says:

    It has been my experience that the equestrians leave horse poop around, the hikers and bird watchers leave garbage around. The bikers cherish the ride and don;t leave garbage around. Ban the the hikers and horses !!!

  • G14it says:

    He should try that in AZ… Most of us in my area got a gun or a knife very easily accessible.

    • GraXXoR says:


      So let me get this straight. You have easy access to firearms while on a mountain bike…. okaaaay… The US scares me.

  • finerbiner says:

    I have nothing against hikers,birdwatchers,equestrians or any group that wants to enjoy wilderness. I do think that mountain bikers are (by far) the fastest growing user group. As we gain more and more power as a result of this, lets not make the same mistakes the aforementioned groups did regarding mountain bikers. There is enough room for us all to have a great experience. Also, just think of the power we could have if we were able to band together and fight the wilderness only people drawing on our mutual interest.

    • Greg says:


      Man, I thought going out in the woods was all about giving up power. Let’s just get rid of the egos.

  • Roger says:

    Anyone who has ever read his blog or his posts can see that his anti-mountain biking sentiment has more to do with his own emotional imbalances than an actual dedication to trail preservation. It’s evident in the assailing generalizations he makes about mountain bikers and also his refusal to acknowledge reason in any way, shape or form. In a way, he is very much like an extremist suicide bomber, using a “cause” as cover for his own aggressive tendencies.

    It’s just too bad that despite all of his claimed training and background in the area of psychology, he wasn’t able to treat or possibly even diagnose his own morbid pathology. In that regard, I really feel sorry for the guy. His state of mental disorder will now forever leave a detrimental impact on his life.

    I only wish he had sought help. And as for anyone who believes his methods have been “effective,” I urge you to seek help as well.

  • Pablo F. says:

    I believe we are now at a critical time in MTB history. We have the opportunity to become the leading force in wilderness management. I purposely used the word “management” because fear mongers use the word “preservation”. Preservation implies that you could keep an ecosystem as it is. If you understand the word ecosystem then you know, by definition, it is an ever changing environment. While I agree that some areas should be off limits to some types of use, the vast majority of wilderness should be inclusive to non-motorized user groups.

    That being said, I now have to criticize my people. Mountain bikers are shooting themselves in the foot with stupidity. When we fly by a hiker at speed (more than 8 mph), we ruin their wilderness experience, period. When we skid our tires near a hiker, we ruin their wilderness experience. If we do ANYTHING to ruin it for someone else then we lose any political clout.

    I bought my first mountain bike when Tom and Gary were making bikes together (1982), which means I have seen almost the entire evolution of the sport. It is a sport I love and I hate to see it ruined by testosterone drunk muscle heads.

    The next time you pass another person on the trail, remember they are there for basically the same reason you are. To enjoy the great outdoors. So say “hello” and “beautiful day” and “have a good one”.

  • MikeL says:

    Right on, Pablo F.

    It’s a small world with limited resources and many people who want it only their way. It doesn’t take much to be friendly and respectful to others, who could learn to do the same thing if given good examples and encouragement.

    Let’s not worry too much about this poor soul in the report. He’s an outlier. Let’s worry about ourselves and how we act towards others. It’s not that difficult (really) to be a little kind and smile.

  • Roger says:

    Pablo F.

    The term “preservation” within this context does not imply that an ecostystem is static. The environment in which an ecosystem can thrive and therefore be “dynamic” is what is being preserved. It’s not like “preservation” in the sense of preservatives that are found in frozen foods.

    For example, science is always changing. But the core principles of science such objectivity through the use of the scientific process and peer review are what “preserve” an environment in which innovation can flourish.

    So, again the important thing to remember that the term “preservation” within this context is actually entirely different from your interpretation of it.

  • Eric says:

    As someone who rides over 5,000 miles per year, I am sad to say that many riders are oblivious to their responsibilities in the saddle. I live adjacent to a multi-use singletrack through a mountain preserve that is open to hikers, horses, and cyclists. Cyclists are tertiary users, expected to yield to all other users. For ten years, I never had a single incident with a rider on this trail. In the past year, I have had to defend my 60 year-old mother and my dog from riders refusing to slow to reasonable speeds, give sufficient room for safe passing, or wait until my mother or my dog clears to the side of the trail. In the past 6 months, I have had to make two citizen’s arrests – it is a misdemeanor to damage the preserve or ride off the trail, and the city will prosecute riders. I carry my cell phone and when necessary, the police are waiting in the parking lot to cite violators. On three occasions, I have had to “remove” riders from their bikes in defense of person (my mother) or property (my dog). All three of them suffered injury – one got tossed off the trail downhill into a nasty cactus patch. Attacking someone with a saw simply to defend a trail closed to bikes is excessive and inexcusable, but there are many riders out there who need a good beating. Riders need to learn some common sense and basic civility, or someone might just give them what they need.

    • Jake invic says:

      Frankly Eric, it doesn’t sound like you are helping the situation on the trail but escalating tension to the point of violence. Yes, there are idiot cyclists who don’t slow down when approaching others, but at the same time I find it hard to believe that they were going to run anyone down. That just doesn’t make sense.As far as you making a citizen’s arrest, you are walking on thin ice legally. Can you even make an arrest for something that is not considered criminal but is a bylaw violation? I mean I don’t see people arrest dog owners for leash-less dogs. Further, even if you can arrest, having to resort to physical violence in order to detain someone for a very minor offense could put you on the other side of the law with an assault charge. I obviously don’t know all the details but from what you have described you are the one that is being a problem. You admit that you have “removed” cyclists off their bikes and they suffered an injury…and what exactly was it that they did? I highly recommend you consult a lawyer before you start playing Mr.Cop or you may be in some trouble. What if these cyclist decide they need to defend them selves from you? The guy who assaulting people for breaking a local bylaw or you can try to convince a judge that that a cyclist going fast on the trail had you convinced he was intending to run into you or your Mom. Good luck with that!

    • batvette says:

      I’m pretty sure the issuing officer has to witness a misdemeanor offense himself before he can cite someone for it. You can’t call the police and tell them someone committed an infraction and the offender is charged. As for citizens arrest, LOL. This is obviously a joke post, I hope you got a laugh out of it.

  • Jim says:


    If you touched me while riding my bicycle out of fear you’d have committed the assault and be subject to arrest, not I. You can’t ram people’s cars who “almost” hit you and you can’t shove people off their bikes because you think they’re too close. Think being the operative word because until it happens you DON’T KNOW what will happen. If you assaulted me, which is what you’ve just admitted to doing to others and LE should be looking into that, I wouldn’t bother pulling out MY cell phone and calling the police, I’d take matters into my own hands.

  • APR says:

    This is amazing. He has valid points in his argument, but now he has gone off the deep end. I have gotten into email conversations with him, suggesting that he move away from such a crowded area, but that would mean he has to drive a vehicle, a concept to which he is opposed. Ted Kaczynski left UC Berkeley and settled in Montana before being crowded out of his solitude, driven to lash out at those promoting technology. Vandeman has obviously not read the signs within himself. He should have left decades ago. His actions are a symbol of the inevitable decay of a person’s sanity when he cannot handle the implications of advanced technology and overcrowded urban areas. Vandeman is foolish to think there are any uncrowded natural areas in the SF Bay Area, and Kaczynski is a much better writer.

    Before I left Marin, where I grew up, (my folks moved there from the East Bay in 1961, I was about 3 years old) I got so sick of the crowded trails and negative attitudes of other trail users (hikers, equestrians AND mountain bikers) I started hiking only on game trails and bike riding on trails only at night. In Marin, whether I was hiking or biking, I got a look-down-their-nose “this is OUR trail” attitude from many older hikers. This would happen while riding my bike on a fire road, saying “hello” and slowing down to a walking pace before I was even close. I remember a woman looking at me, hands on her hips, ready to complain, a look of disdain, but she couldn’t say anything because I was being as courteous as possible, but you could read the hate in her face and body. Another time, I was hiking down a trail, then turned onto a fire road and encountered two elderly women. I said “hello,” but they turned up their noses and looked the other way.

    If you put too many rats in a cage they start fighting each other. I had to learn to ski, but the problems you have in the Bay Area (and any other urban center) do not even begin to exist here in Idaho. There are fewer people in the entire state than there are in one of your larger cities. This is the way humans should be spread out, otherwise many people go insane. Vandeman is a symptom of this.

    I suggest that all cyclists have one of these attached to their helmets, running all the time you are riding: If nothing happens, erase the card (or dump it to DVD or something) and use it on the next ride. If you encounter a hiker with a saw threatening you, or if one of your group is hit or otherwise assaulted by a motor vehicle, you will have a record of it, useful in the prosecution of the offender. A good bicycle costs thousands. One of these cameras is a cheap investment by comparison.

  • APR says:

    I just had another thought. Like Kaczynski, Vandeman is a mathematician. Math heads deal with absolutes. “You must believe what I say because I have researched it and there is only one answer: No mountain bikes.” There are no gray areas. everything can be reduced to a formula with a predictable answer. All mountain bikers lie constantly. Mountain bikers always break the rules. Mountain bikes damage trails more than any other cause. People’s activities always ruin nature.

    If Vandeman is convicted or if it looks like that will happen, I predict that his last attempt at vindication will be to throw himself in front of a mountain biker, preferably on an illegal trail. All he has to do is hide behind a tree and listen. Just as the biker is about to pass, he will fall into the trail, resulting in an unavoidable accident. If he breaks a leg or dies the score will be bike haters one, mountain bikers zero. Avoid this guy like the plague. He doesn’t go to trial until December. Plenty of time to be a martyr. I am making this prediction because it is the next logical move and will generate sympathy in court. Stay off illegal trails near him. (Go poach Tam, LOL! Just kidding.)

  • sunday rider says:

    always carry a dh seatpost when riding. you will never know when you need it hahaha

  • Mike says:

    As a mountain biker I share trails with hikers, when I see hikers I slow down and if necessary stop till they pass – they appreciate it. I know some MTB’ers behavior gives us a bad name, some hikers however will never be satisfied till they see no MTB’ers at all – there is no pleasing everybody !

  • Lanyon B. says:

    You can’t defend this guy for any reason…period.

    That said, I think the ideas that people here are sharing resonate throughout the US, possibly most of the world. If we want to make this sport last we can not just do “our own thing.” The way you get more trails and preserve old ones, is to make sure they are of interest to more than one group. Everyone has to respect everyone else’s use of the delicate natural areas we enjoy, otherwise we will continue to see them diminish.

  • Bhammtbiker says:

    I always ride like we are on the chopping block. Yes being a courteus is always a good thing. And i go out of my way to make sure i give hikers and horses the right of way. But the only way to truely keep bikes on trails is to be the primary ones maintaining them. When we do work days here in Bellingham we have 60-70 people show up, all of which are mtn bikers. Even better pick an old overgrown trail and clear it, this makes the ultimate impressipn on the land managers. Other users will have a tough time saying you need to go when it is the bikers who made the trails beautiful.

  • Abe says:

    As a landscaper and environmentalist I would have taken my mountain bike and beaten the crap out of him with it if he’d hit me with a saw, just like it was a bear or cougar attack.Then I’d chase or drag him right to the nearest police officer. I do trail building and maintenance. Know what damage a saw does. From a 1/8 of a stroke of a pruing saw cutting my right index finger 25 years ago it is more sensitive to cold than any other part of my body and I ski.
    The cycling community of the Bay area should show up at this guy’s trail, in mass!

  • Dennis says:

    He was recently posting some craziness about mountain biking being illegal on a local East-coast newspaper on a discussion about an article on the state parks dept proposal to charge fees for use of mountian bike trails.

    Around here at least, the argument that mountain bikes damage the trails nonsensical. The trails were built by mountain bikers for mountain bikers. The trails wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for mountain bikers. Trails that are also enjoyed by hikers, runners, and bird watchers. Trails who keep hikers and bird watchers from trampling down the flora as they would if the trails didn’t exist.

    Does erosion occur on mountain bike trails? Sure. But erosion occurs naturally. I bet Vanderman is really pissed at God about the Grand Canyon and every little valley in the world.

    Trail builders go to great lengths to stop erosion. So yes, while erosion does occur on mountain bike trails, this erosion is promptly repaired. An argument could be made that mountain bike trail builders prevent more natural erosion than they cause.

  • Patriot says:

    The only way to rid ourselves of this problem is to find out which wild animal capable of killing humans is local in each area of the country. Then, when we encounter radicals like this guy, ensure that they are incapicated, prepared with what will attract the beast who will seek out the prepared prey, and promptly kill and /of consume the offender of our freedom. Problem solved, and it will look like one of those rare people/predator encounters that just ends badly for the weaker of the two.

  • JB says:

    Is there yet a well-accepted trail marking for “This Trail Maintained By Mountain Bikers”?

  • tomas says:

    That pysho also recently posted on a Seattle area article.

    This article is about a great place to ride btw.

  • Elvis says:

    He was also in the news for previous attacks including one incident where he had an ice pick. Why do they keep letting him go? Do they feel bad for him, or is it because he has a PHD? Or is it because his excuse is he’s attacking people “for the envronment”? Unibomber coulda said the same thing. They’re both nutjobs.

    Thank goodness I live on the east coast. The idea that one might come after me with a saw like someone from a slasher movie is worrisome. It won’t make me reconsider riding, but it might make me more likely to carry my u-lock… and a phone with the park cops number.

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