October 1, 2006
Board of Directors
East Bay Regional Park District
2950 Peralta Oaks Court
P.O. Box 5381
Oakland, California 94605-0381
Re: Mountain Biking Threatens Wildlife
Yesterday I went for a hike in Briones Regional Park. On the Briones Valley Trail there was a gopher snake lying motionless across nearly the entire width of the trail, apparently trying to warm itself. I simply walked around it, staying far enough away so as not to disturb it. However, later I thought about the fact that mountain biking is allowed on that trail. It is easy for a hiker to see a snake and avoid stepping on it, however, mountain bikers are notorious for running over and killing snakes.
The Museum of Vertebrate Zoology (at the University of California, Berkeley) has two specimens of snakes that were killed by mountain bikers in East Bay Regional Parks –- a (federally Threatened) Alameda whipsnake killed in Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, and a ringneck snake killed in Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve (where bikes aren't allowed). If mountain bikers can't even avoid killing snakes in broad daylight, where there is no visibility problem, why are they allowed on any trails, and why is EBRPD actually considering allowing them on narrow hiking trails?!
Mountain bikers are seeking thrills (see the attached message from a mountain biker on why mountain biking is addicting). That is why fire roads, such as the Briones Valley Trail, are boring to them. The only way they can enjoy them is to speed. But even at the speed limit (15 MPH), it would be extremely unlikely that they would notice a well-camouflaged snake lying across the trail.
The last mountain bike race held in Briones Regional Park was on September 23, 2000. The winner averaged 13 MPH over the 20 mile course. One of the racers ended up in a coma, and later brain damaged. I hope that you learned your lesson, and won't permit this kind of abuse of our public lands ever again.
Please respect your duty, first and foremost to protect the native wildlife of the parks, and restrict bicycles and other vehicles to pavement, where they belong and where they can't do much harm.
Michael J. Vandeman, Ph.D.
addiction of MTBing explained in detail
Date: 18 Sep 2006 00:43:42 -0700
Any non-MTBers that have viewed video data online about MTBing probably have seen footage of guys or girls talking about it and how it's addicting and they can't make it through the week without doing it. It's like a drug and I know it's like that for everyone.
Those of you that are not and have not MTB'd need to try it to experience this hypnosis. All states have trails just some of them might not be mountains, but most likely technical black diamond exists in every state, as well as the most novice level too.
But what is transpiring between human experiencing a MTB on a trail is a maximization of all the human consciousness senses. Everything you feel on a MTB is magnified, and when you get on a trail that is treacherous it's a demand for more power from your spirit by coordinating all your senses to review the challenge (of the trail) in front of you to command the body accurately in split second timing to handle provocation of counter balance from the trail. This is very intoxicating and very powerful when you're successful and don't break your noggin open on rocks.
And the addiction lays in part by the difference of trails, in that not one trail is like another. The sequences and different stimulus of each trail is a entirely new drug. One is limited by his or her skill though. Those that cannot challenge their psyches and progress their ability to perceive forward by threatening it with technical terrain are forever locked into a very narrow but still enjoyable offering of MTBing. The more your physical skills are developed to coordination by developed perception & timing, the more you will get out of MTBing, and the more it's going to be addicting because you can do more.
I heard the exact same thing said by a 15 year old that I heard from a 48 year old - "I plan on doing it til I can't (til the body breaks down permanently and will not handle the physical demands of MTBing). And that is exactly the way I feel with no variance. Those of you that have never done it, you do it one time I guarantee you'll be hooked for life.
Rapid intense change of violent terrain which changes radically in seconds but still rideable because the bike is advanced technology to handle this, is where the talents of the biker make the determination whether or not he/she can experience excelled comprehension in intense time frames. The more you increase this ability the more it's addicting, it's very much like a drug. Being able to calculate physics appropriately to the terrain in front of you in split seconds and adjust your body & bike to clear it is an amazing power of spiritual conquest. This is what makes people say "I am going to do it until I can't".
Ride-A-Lot is void from all these experiences because of his feminin approach to MTBing. He doesn't know what he's missing. If I was him (and I have been many times) I'd goto the worst rated technical trails, and ride the sections I could and simply get off my bike and walk the ones I can't ride. That's how you learn, but he's not doing any of this, he's not developed well in his attitude. He needs a drill seargent to push him. Attacking the trail and terrain in front of you is the key, see the bike as a weapon of slaying the trail. That's what I do, and I clear almost everything.
The fitness demand is also something some of you might have to work up to. Sometimes I dont realize how great shape I'm in (because I know I'd be better if I had a home and sleep better), in that I can climb Mount Falcon without any complaint or feeling taxed of which to not want to do it ever again. I want to do it more & more all the time. So working up to MTBing cardiovascular demands is something never before MTBers would have to do if in a state that has mountains with any type of decent elevation. If you're in Colorado Green Mountain in Lakewood is good for this. Another addiction of MTBing is the workout of the body if you appreciate the physical strength opportunity to progress it by MTBing. Every muscle in your body is interactive in MTBing, except your tummy. You can see that in Ride-A-Lot he's got a beer belly - Boo Yah!!
But all things considered and cohesive MTBing is addictive for many diversified reasons and you get more out of it than any other sport existing. Try it you'll see!
Foreman, Dave Confessions of an Eco-Warrior, New York: Harmony Books, c. 1991
Knight, Richard L. and Kevin J. Gutzwiller, eds. Wildlife and Recreationists. Covelo, California: Island Press, c.1995.
Liddle, Michael, Recreation Ecology. London: Chapman & Hall, c.1997.
Vandeman, Michael J., http://mjvande.info, especially "The Effects of Mountain Biking on Wildlife and People -- Why Off-Road Bicycling Should be Prohibited", "Rethinking the Impacts of Recreation", and "The Impacts of Mountain Biking on Wildlife and People -- A Review of the Literature".