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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MTB Eugene Continues to Fight for Cyclist Access to the Ribbon Trail [updated]

Members MTB Eugene before the meeting

Last Monday, 60 members of MTB Eugene returned to the Eugene City Council to continue lobbying for mountain bike access to the newly-built Ribbon Trail.  This was MTB Eugene‘s second time testifying before city council.  This time, they came armed with more reasons why there should be more mountain biking trails in Eugene–including specific rebuttals to Neil Björklund’s letter in which he listed his reasons for closing the trail.

Unfortunately, this particular city council meeting was sort of ridiculous.  The public testimony portion of the meeting ran for over an hour and a half: 42 different people testified on diverse topics like the West 11th EMX route, downtown homelessness, the new “no loitering” paint by the downtown bus station, and the two chicken limit in Eugene.  The testimonies included aggressive poetry, a few hard-to-follow rants, and a live chicken.  I rather enjoyed the entire thing, being a fan of circuses in general, but it was hard for the eight people testifying for MTB Eugene to stand out amongst the craziness.

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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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MTB Eugene and Disciples of Dirt get the attention of the Eugene City Council

Mountain biker Daisy LaPoma holds a sign that says "I Yield to Hikers."

Members of the newly formed mountain bike advocacy group, MTB Eugene, and the Disciples of Dirt (DoD) mountain bike social and trail maintenance club attended the Eugene City Council meeting on Monday, April 26th to protest the recent closing of the Ribbon Trail to cyclists. Over 50 people met in front of the city council chambers before the meeting to plan and make pro-mountain bike trail-use signs.  The goal of the gathering was to show the city council that mountain bikers are a large constituency, and to explain to them that mountain bikers and hikers can live together in harmony on Eugene’s trails.  Even though the signs were not allowed inside the chambers, the sheer number of attendees and convincing testimony from several MTB Eugene and DoD members definitely got the attention of the city council.

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Disciples of Dirt to speak at Monday’s City Council meeting about cycling on the Ribbon Trail, ask for your support

Yellow marks the newly built Ribbon Trail (click for larger picture)

Leaders of  local mountain bike club Disciples of Dirt (DoD) MTB Eugene plan to speak at Monday’s April 26th, Eugene City Council meeting in support of re-opening the Ribbon Trail to cyclists. They will urge the city to reconsider the recent decision, and would like as many cyclists in the audience as possible to help show support.  This is a chance for Eugene’s splintered cycling factions to begin to unite and support each other on key advocacy issues.  The group is meeting in front of the City Council Chambers (on Pearl Street between 7th and 8th) at 7pm to go over details, and then will enter together shortly before the meeting begins at 7:30.

If you can’t make it, you can still view the City Council WebCast

An announcement posted on the DoD webpage explains their position:

Attention Mountain Bikers and Trail Supporters!! In light of the City of Eugene’s recent decision to ban Mountain bikes from the Ribbon trail (the newest addition to the Ridgeline trail system) we are going to go to the Eugene City Council Meeting next Monday to let them know that we are disappointed in this decision. We will present numerous reasons why Mountain bikers should be allowed to share the use of this trail, as well as many of our other local trails. We hope to inform the City Council that this issue is important to many people, and educate them about how more mountain bike trails are consistent with the City’s stated goals and values.

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Ribbon Trail Closed to Bikes, Cyclist Community Disappointed

The "Multi-Use" Ribbon Trail

In what is being characterized as a severe blow to local mountain biking and the general advancement of cycling in Eugene, the newly constructed multi-use Ribbon Trail connecting Hendricks Park to 30th Ave was closed to cyclists as of 5pm Thursday. In a letter to stakeholders (see PDF at the bottom of this post) Neil Björklund, The Eugene Parks and Open Space Planning Manager explains:

“Based on our conversations with a variety of stakeholder groups, there are enough concerns about safety of allowing both hikers and bicycles on this trail that we cannot with confidence recommend both uses on this trail.”

The letter also states that maintenance concerns and the trail’s proximity to Hendricks Park also factored in to the decision, but local advocates retort that the trail was designed with bike use in mind, and that these concerns do not warrant the closing of one of Eugene’s only mountain biking trails.

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