Have we hit the tipping point of no return on mountain biking? Have the authorities become willfully blind to the ecological damage mountain bikers wreak, because there are so many wayward folk lured into this addictive off-road wreckreation? There is evidence of a lack of ethics when it comes to dealing with scofflaw mountain biking, and the media has a lot to answer for it. The constant glorification of what would have been called criminal acts, a few short years ago, is becoming more and more evident in our world, as the media laps it up...
Mountain biking is just a drop in the bucket in the world where wrong-doing is being glorified and being rewarded, not chastised for bad behaviour. It echoes the loss of common-sense in a society that no long can(or will not?) discern between right and wrong. Mountain biking's ethical compass is broken...In fact, this sport never had an ethical compass to begin with. It is always about the ends justifying the means for mountain bike "communties". Let's see what this looks like, today:
The media never cease to remind folks of mountain biking's sordid beginnings in public parks and public "wild lands", glorifying this scoffaw behaviour, calling it "evolution"of the sport. I would have to call it devolution, as mountain bikers find more ways to take over our parks and wildlands, "reinventing" their sport..."Fat bikes" being the newest addition to the mtbing world, with "monster truck" tires...(all terrain, for sure). It never ends...
The article begins: "What started out more than 20 years ago with an underground group of mountain bikers trespassing on state land to surreptitiously cut riding trailshas evolved into one of the most highly regarded mountain bike destinations in the world..."
And further into the article: "Despite being born out of flouting the law, most states saw the trails and mountain biking as a way to get people onto — and get revenue out of — public lands. But it could no longer be a free for all."
But. it is still very much a "free for all" for our NSMBA on the North Shore, with much ecological damage to show for it. The media, both in Florida (above article) and on our own North Shore lap up mountain biking lifestyle/cult as some kind of "poster child" sport we should all emulate... Gofigure?
Night riding is also considered illegal in many parks and public forests, but while our North Shore public land managers turn a willfully blind eye to the "organized" night riding groups' antics, some places have stooped even lower while trying to appease the scofflaw mountain bikers, inside a couple California State Parks...(have they gone completely daft?). This also includes a High School Mountain Bike Racing League. How wonderful that what is considered an illegal activity, has been given special permits. They are teaching our impressionable youth that flouting the law earns you rewards, not punishment. You realize that while they do this "legally", they also still doing it illegally(wink wink nudge nudge...)
Folsom Auburn Trail Riders Action Coalition and NorCal High School Cycling League have been granted special permits.
FOLSOM LAKE AND AUBURN SRA - Be aware that there are two groups of mt. bikers allowed to ride at night now by special permit from California State Parks in Folsom Lake SRA and Auburn SRA.
NIght mt. bike riding is normally not allowed in California State Parks because of the disturbance of wildlife by the activity and bright lights, the danger to the bikers themselves for increased chance of injury, and the fact that the parks are closed with no Rangers to oversee the parks. These rides can only take place with special permits.
Therefore, only these particular mt. bike groups can access the parks at night and will be riding on all multi-use trails inside both parks. The Park Watch Report CALENDAR lists the dates of those weekly rides.
We cannot legislate this kind of stupidity. But the authorities continue to reward it!
Similar things are even happening on the North Shore, where both sanctioned and unsanctioned trail building continue unabated. Rather than to curtail it, our District has gone head over heels to reward the NSMBA an official "Trails Maintenance Service Agreement" (knowing full well that little of what the NSMBA do can actually be called maintenance or repair). What a boondoggle we face with the ongoing loss of ethics and scruples, these days.
"Flouting the law" pays, these days, especially when it comes down to mountain biking.
(Do I hear the approving applause of our politicians, public land managers, etc, in the background? Scoff!)
The callous treatment of mountain bikers towards their poor trail run dogs is another sordid aspect of mountain biking so many authorities turn a blind eye to. It can only come down to a couple things: selfishness and immaturity. Plus, the authorities have been cowed into submission, I believe.
We live in an extremely immature society, where "self-gratification" has become applauded --especially with freeride mountain biking inside public forests and parks being rewarded and glorified.The extreme sport of freeride mountain biking is full of middle-aged "perpetual adolescents", who first came into our North Shore mountains to build and ride without permission. They have no care for the natural environment they ride and dig roughshod on. They surely don't care for the myriad of injuries and concussions they get. And to ensure their renegade sport inside our natural and public places continues, they have become very questionable role models for our young people.
DNV has embraced this mtbing culture of disrespect/flouting the law.
Mountain biking is leaving us, and future generations, with damaged goods...
Mountain biking has gone beyond the tipping point...