Hikers peace on trails should not be ignored

In response to Vernon Huffman's Marin Voice column on Nov. 15, I would like to offer this rebuttal.

Among the pleasures of hiking and horseback riding on Marin trails is the sense of peace and solitude experienced by the hiker or rider as well as the opportunity to look at plants, animals and marvelous views.

This is what draws thousands to Marin open space.

I once borrowed a bicycle to test the mountain biking experience. I discovered that on the uphill, I was concentrated on pumping the pedals to make the grade and on the downhill, to go fast.

On the contour, I concentrated on not falling off the hill.

I didn't have much time to look at wildflowers, animals or views except when I stopped and got off my bike.

Bicycling is great exercise, tests ones agility and has the fun of getting somewhere fast.

It seems to me that the conflict between hikers and bikers is embodied in the question of the benefits of going fast or going slow.

Example: a hikers peace and solitude are quickly destroyed by a biker racing around a corner in the trail, surprising the hiker or even forcing the hiker to dodge the hurtling bike.

My experience of yelling at bikers to slow down has most often resulted in being ignored or sometimes acknowledged by a middle-finger salute.

There is not much left of a feeling of peace after this sort of confrontation. Now the mountain bikers want to have it all their way. The issue is not whether there are risks of hiker/biker collisions or trail erosion; the issue is whether a group will be allowed to destroy the quality of the hiking and horseback experience.

People are enjoying those pleasures less and less as bikers multiply and seek to expand and dominate new territories.

John H. Dakin, Greenbrae