On Tue, 22 Feb 2000 00:04:23 -0800, in alt.mountain-bike Ian McSherry

<ianmcsherryNOiaSPAM@madasafish.com.invalid> wrote:

Well, there seems to be a particularly 'US' slant to this

discussion, so here's a look at the problem from a Scottish

walker's perspective.

Firstly, I have never ridden an ATB, nor would I want to,

although I can see the attraction for those who have a need

to see the wilder places of any country, at faster than

walking pace (defeats the object of the exercise, I reckon,

but maybe that's just me).

Secondly, my experiences of encountering bikers in the

highlands of my country have, with only one exception, been

negative. I entirely agree with the respondent who

criticized walkers tendencies to cause erosion of the soil

surrounding trails by avoiding muddy or

otherwise 'difficult' sections. However, I have personally

witnessed bikers doing exactly the same thing on a regular

basis, and to far greater detrimental effect. The Pentland

Hills regional park (on the outskirts of Edinburgh),for

example, is to be sure, visited by many thousands of

walkers each year, but the path network now resembles a

motocross circuit in places. Paths which, when originally

laid were perhaps a metre in width, are, at places where a

bike should really be carried over, now 3-4 times that

width, and covered from edge to edge in tyre marks,

bootprints are little in evidence.

The West Highland Way, a fine 106km walk from

the suburbs of Glasgow, Northwards to Fort William, is, for

most of it's length, barred to bikes, and yet still you can

find brightly-clad 'speed freaks' streaking past, with no

consideration or care for anything other than covering that

leg of their journey as fast as their legs can carry them-

we have velodromes for that kind of thing, don't we? Most

times, when I've encountered a biker coming at speed

towards me, on a narrow path, they have a) not slowed down,

and b)seriously expected ME to get out of THEIR way- why,

when I'm seeking to enjoy the peace and beauty of the

Scottish countryside, should I be forced to jump for

safety, in order to allow some half-wit to beat his or her

personal best stage time?

It would be great if we actually lived in the kind

of world that the pro-bike lobbies tell us we all do, with

walkers, bikers, climbers, etc., giving each other, and the

environment due consideration, but 20 years in the hills

here has shown me that the truth is very different, and no

amount of spin is going to change that, I'm afraid.