from BikePortland.org » Appeals denied, groups now want injunction to stop Timberline MTB Park

Without opportunities for non-motorized recreation, many people will never gain an appreciation for nature that turns them into exactly the kind of environmental advocates, donors and voters that groups like the Sierra Club and Mazamas depend on.

BikePortland has a great article that y’all should read.  Bottom line, mountain bikers need a place to ride and we’ll take care of those places.  Local Eugene group Disciples of Dirt do tons of environmental trail work, and yet we are denied places to ride like the Ribbon Trail by hiker groups like The Obsidians and Friends of Hendricks Park who don’t understand the environmental benefits of mt. biking and their advocacy groups.

As a backpacker, environmentalist, and biologist (sort of), I understand why groups like Friends of Mt. Hood, Bark, Mazamas, Federation of Western Outdoor Clubs, Northwest Environmental Defense Center, and Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club might initially be wary of a mt. bike area on Mt. Hood.  But, as a mt. unicycler and occasional mt. biker, I know those fears are exaggerated, unfounded, and uneducated.  It’s time that outdoors and environmental groups stop hating on mt. bikers . Mt. bikers like Disciples of Dirt are stewards of the environment, not crazy ruffians trampling a pristine wilderness.

Furthermore, if we don’t have a condoned place to ride, renegade riders will make their own trails and those rarely are environmentally safe.  I don’t condone this, but it happens.  Having sanctioned places to ride keeps new riders riding on trails that are maintained by groups like Disciples of Dirt, rather than making their own trails wherever they want and leaving them to erosion.

Anyway, it’s rare that internet comments are useful, but you should read the following quoted comments from the BikePortland article.  They succinctly explain why YOU should support mountain bike trails, which are currently very rare.

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No Experience Required: The Trips for Kids Program

“No Experience Required.

Hard-core and girly all at once.That is what grabbed me about the email. The Center for Appropriate Transport’s “Trips for Kids” program already sounded like a good idea, since it gave youth who might not otherwise get the opportunity to get out in nature and learn mountain biking skills. The specific call for volunteers that I saw back in June was for the all-girls ride, which also got a thumbs-up from my feminist brain. But when the call for adult volunteers clearly stated “no experience required,” I went from passively approving of the project to actively writing back. “Do you still need volunteers? I have no experience…”

See, for all my current bravado as a daily bicycle commuter, I came into cycling slowly and awkwardly. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-20s that I really started using a bike, gently coaxed along by my sweetie. This same sweetie, once I got somewhat steady on my wheels, tried taking me on his favorite mountain-biking trail. And, of course, I instantly wiped out on the trail and ended up sliding down a hill on my face. Scab city!

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MTB Eugene plans to testify again at Monday’s City Council Meeting, requests all cyclists to come and show support

The Eugene City Council listens to testimony from MTB Eugene on April 26th

The recently-formed mountain bike advocacy group MTB Eugene is returning to the Eugene City Council on Monday, May 24th to lobby for the re-opening of the Ribbon Trail to cyclists.  MTB Eugene, which was formed in response to the city’s decision to ban cyclists from the Ribbon Trail, has a goal to eventually open the entire Ridgeline trail system to bicyclists.

The closing of the Ribbon Trail has proven to be the most popular subject on WeBikeEugene by far; this seems to indicate that mountain bikers in Eugene are a silent and suppressed majority.  Indeed, Eugene (like Portland) has ridiculously little mountain bike trail access in relationship to its size and large bicycling populace.  Much of this is due to a perceived conflict between mountain bikers and hikers, and the belief that mountain bikes damage trails more than hikers.  Both of these beliefs have been shown in study after study after study after study to be false.  Some studies have indicated that the real issue is the fear that hikers have of conflict with mountain bikers – a fear that for the most part exists only in hikers not exposed to mountain bikers.

MTB Eugene’s testimony before city council on Monday will address a few of these issues, as well as other specific reasons that The Ribbon Trail should be re-opened to bikes.

Go here for previous coverage of the closing of the Ribbon Trail and here for coverage and video of MTB Eugene’s previous testimony before City Council.

Take the jump to read MTB Eugene’s full press release for the upcoming May 24th City Council Meeting.

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