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BrownMtnBob

Question about Mtn Bikers on SG trails

Okay, I'm an AVID mtn biker.  I was a mtn biker for a decade before I got into hiking and camping.  I've been biking in the SGs for 15 years now.   Well, over time (aka got older), I've begun to notice that there are a lot of trails that really (if I'm being honest) just aren't proper for mixed use.  They are single-track type things with a drop-off on one side.  Examples might be the Sam Merrils.  

I guess if 100% of bikers were very very considerate, and did everything they could to accommodate hikers (when encountered), perhaps it wouldn't be an issue.  But, too many are either indifferent or outright rude....and in extreme cases, destructive and threatening.  I've seen it all.  

So, I'm curious as to the experience of others, as it relates to mtn bikers.   What % would you say are part of the problem?  I usually say it's 5%....but maybe I'm off.   Also, the hard-core Downhill Riders with 8" of suspension and body armor....why are they allowed on mixed-use trails?   That's really the problem (imo).   I'd like to implement a rule (call it the Brown Mtn Bob rule)-  bikes with over 120mm of travel (front suspension) are outlawed on the front range.   That would eliminate downhill bikes, which really have no business on hiking trails.  

Wondering the experiences of others.    Thanks!
RichardK

Mtn bikes

I remember a report from years ago that the lady who was head of the Colorado Dept. of Parks was struck by a mountain bike while hiking. Thereafter, mountain bikes were banned on hiking trails.

Most of the bikes we encounter are in OC wilderness parks.  The main trails are one lane dirt roads. So, there is plenty of room. We do make a point of hugging one side as the 15 mph speed limit is routinely ignored by people going downhill. I have never seen any rider wearing body armor.

On narrow trails with blind curves, you must be alert and prepared to jump aside on a moment's notice. You have to listen carefully to hear the sound of oncoming riders. Once in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, we headed up a single track trail that we had seen many times, but did not know where it went. It was surrounded by head high brush. Two guys coming downhill just managed to stop as we dove into the bushes.
atomicoyote

I haven't seen much in the San Gabriels Mtns, but try the PCT in the San Bernardino Mtns - its covered with MTB tread marks, and some of the curves on uphill/downhill sections are starting to rut out.  It might be the same in the San Gabriels, I've just never been back in teh areas where the PCT runs through it.

Santa Ana Mtns - I haven't seen any MTBr's on any of the skinny hiking trails, but there are plenty of them on the fireroads.  Most are pretty conciencious and share the roads, so no big deal.  It probably helps that off-road motorcycles use the fireroads, too, and a X-C motorcycle/MTB collision wouldn't be a pretty sight to come across when rounding a curve.
HikeUp

I've encountered the the armored downhillers on the east upper san merrill - going from mt. lowe down to mt. lowe campground. They had been dropped off at Eaton Saddle and were bombing their way down to Altadena. This is a narrow cliffy single track and they came up behind me fast....since the trail was 2 boots wide and vertical down on one side, vertical up on the other I just kept walking until I had a spot to step to the side safely. They had to wait but the lead guy kept saying "Excuse me!!!" in a loud voice. I just raised my hand in a "wait" gesture. They weren't too happy but who gives a shit. I didn't want to waste my breath explaining the obvious. Anyway...they were semi-courteous (as was I) but I don't think it is a very safe situation overall.
fortified

The Mt. Wilson toll Road in the 90's until a few years back had a whole boatload of bikers racing about 30 miles an hour.
In general I don't mind the bikers, but they do tend to add more wear to the trail.
Griffith park should be an ideal area, but bikes are not allowed on the trails, and dirt roads. Bikes, and horses don't mix. Their are plenty of paved roads from before it was closed to traffic in the 90's. The day the financial crisis hit in 2008, the amount of horses in Griffith Park dropped by a high percentage. Why not have, or make a dedicated bike  course around the whole park?
scottawr

they are all over the OC parks like whiting ranch and aliso creek. most are totally nice and friendly, its a small group that acts like the trails are their race track. its a very small minority speeding around the single track trails.

a few months back I was walking in whiting ranch with the lady and the baby in his backpack carrier, we got passes by a group of 5-6 going so fast i had no time to even step to the side. they just blew past us in the grass & leaves next to the trail. this was the only time I have felt a biker has created a dangerous situation on trail. for those who don't know whiting ranch is a VERY family friendly & tame Orange county park.
fortified

Quote:
VERY family friendly & tame Orange county park.

Well, except that one day ten years ago this month...the lion.[/quote]
scottawr

fortified wrote:
Quote:
VERY family friendly & tame Orange county park.

Well, except that one day ten years ago this month...the lion.
[/quote]

I have been running around whiting lately, I sat on mark's bench last week.

I was a kid when it happened, I think I'm like extra mountain lion paranoid when I solo hike because of it. I know its irrational but I still catch myself doing goofy things to keep the kitties away.
fortified

Quote:
I have been running around whiting lately, I sat on mark's bench last week.

I was a kid when it happened, I think I'm like extra mountain lion paranoid when I solo hike because of it. I know its irrational but I still catch myself doing goofy things to keep the kitties away.

You bring up a good point. When I first started trail running in the San Gabriel Mountains, above Altadena, I assumed that being so close to the city, "it's gotta be safe". ..I miss those days when I was more ignorant. combine that, with reality of more bears than twenty years ago. One day a bear might decide to come back to the mountains after eating dinner in town like many do now.
longcut

bike story

Most bikers are awesome, wouldnt mind riding myself more often, but theres a few out there..

I was on a quiet peaceful run with my dog, little feller, hardly a speedbump. i heard the bell, turned to pick him up, and he was already rolling under the knobbies in a cloud of dust and squeeling brakes. the guy turned his helmet back for a second, yelled sorry, and then disappeared around the bend. I rinsed the gravel out of pup's bloody elbow and his limp went away in a few days.

Hey, biker dude, if you're reading this.... I'm on that same trail every Tuesday and Wednesday between 6 and 8pm. You know, in case you were wondering what wouldve happened if you waited at the trailhead. I hurried down, but surprisingly you must have hurried even more. VERY sorry I missed you man.
Augie

I love mountain biking, but these days I mainly stick to the fire roads-one of my favorites is the Mt. Lukens fire road starting at Angeles Crest Station. Even where they're permitted on single track trails, it cramps the fun when a trail is filled with hikers. I have met my share of careless bikers in the San Gabriels especially the full armour types bombing down something like the single track Sunset Trail that parallels and intersects the Mt. Lowe Fire Road.
cougarmagic

While walking two dogs in the Santa Monicas this morning, I met 5 bikers.  All were curteous and respectful.  I'd say this has been my experience over the last 12 years.  I know that it only takes one or two assholes to ruin the reputation of others though.  (canyoneering)


This morning, I actually said sorry to the bikers for ruining their downhill - they all had to brake for me, but none were jerks about it.
VermillionPearlGirl

I feel like I've encountered my share of mountain bikers and that they have universally been nice and courteous. I particularly appreciate it when they tell you how many people are behind them, that's super helpful Smile  

I even encountered 2 mountain unicyclists once. That was pretty amazing I must say.

I've seen mountain bikers on Sam Merrill, but they're always walking their bikes. I feel bad for those guys, like they don't know better. There's so much pedestrian traffic it's impossible for them and they'd be a lot better off on a less popular trail.
DaBaba

I run into them a lot on Lower Monroe, but I feel like that is really their trail and I'm the one intruding on their space. Almost all are conscientious and courteous. I just step to the side and let them go by. The ones on the trails around Mt. Wilson and Altadena seem like they have chosen a tough row to hoe and I feel for them sometimes.
I did have to dive into the bushes huffing and puffing up a steep stretch on Upper Colby. I think that it might have been considerate to gave a spotter check out the trail before launching over the steep parts, but the trail was so lightly used who could blame them for thinking no one was there?
Every now and then, early in the morning or after a rain I'd see one or two on Garcia and I thought they were crazy to ride the upper parts, but if they could handle it more power to them.
Most of them are courteous and respectful and they are out there for the same reasons I am, to push myself and enjoy the mountains.
RichardK

Bikers busted

We hiked in Chino Hills today. We saw a law enforcement ranger, carrying a sidearm, riding a quad, giving tickets to two bike riders. I guess the park has gotten serious about enforcing the 15 mph speed limit. The quad even had flashing blue lights. Beware if you ride there.
Mike P

DaBaba wrote:

I did have to dive into the bushes huffing and puffing up a steep stretch on Upper Colby. I think that it might have been considerate to gave a spotter check out the trail before launching over the steep parts, but the trail was so lightly used who could blame them for thinking no one was there?


Nah... the mountain bikers should ALWAYS assume that there will be a horse or a hiker coming around a blind curve. The bikers must yield to the other two trail user groups.
Teejate

I was a mountain biker for many years before moving almost solely to hiking. Just like the rhythm of the trail a bit more. And while I'll hike only a few trails where MB's are allowed I've never once encountered a biker who hasn't been considerate. Of course, if I hear one coming I'm definitely giving them the right of way but if one sneaks up they'll always brake.

That's why I'll only hike the Skyline Trail in crappy weather. Those cats deserve a place where they can do their thing.
OutdoorAbstract

Teejate wrote:
I've never once encountered a biker who hasn't been considerate.  

.


I really, really, really wish I could say the same thing.  Maybe 50% plus pass me at max velocity creating a real danger to everyone AND ignoring right-of-way rules clearly posted.
Sewellymon

Great thread!! Great responses.

Except I question the "50% plus pass me at max velocity ".. statement

I hike.. a lot. I ride a long travel bike. So I straddle the fence. As I hiker, in the last 4- 5 years have had no bad bike experiences. And trust me, I'll go aggro if it happens...

As a rider, one fast group of downhillers on Upper Winter Creek came upon me too fast. I got in their face hard. They did not dig it, but what f I were a 60 year old Korean lady? Woulda shat my knickers.

I do ride fast when life allows, but also use the best of courtesy and good judgement.

I also stay off popular trails at popular times.

And yes, we DO call it the Perfect Cycling Trail. Best to ride only on portions that sees little food traffic. Or never. Give bikers a bad name, etc..  

Bummer about Chino Canyon and 15mph. Wide open dirt roads can support a bit more speed than that...
Sean

My experience with bikers has been nearly always positive. I'm more troubled by inconsiderate hikers than bikers. Only once did a biker nearly collide with me. It was on a blind turn and he nearly went over the cliff trying to avoid me.

There are a few trails (El Prieto and Mt. Lowe) that I wish bikers would stop messing with, but overall I'm cool with them screwing with fire roads.
Teejate

Re: bike story

longcut wrote:
Most bikers are awesome, wouldnt mind riding myself more often, but theres a few out there..

I was on a quiet peaceful run with my dog, little feller, hardly a speedbump. i heard the bell, turned to pick him up, and he was already rolling under the knobbies in a cloud of dust and squeeling brakes. the guy turned his helmet back for a second, yelled sorry, and then disappeared around the bend. I rinsed the gravel out of pup's bloody elbow and his limp went away in a few days.

Hey, biker dude, if you're reading this.... I'm on that same trail every Tuesday and Wednesday between 6 and 8pm. You know, in case you were wondering what wouldve happened if you waited at the trailhead. I hurried down, but surprisingly you must have hurried even more. VERY sorry I missed you man.


Wish there was a 'thumbs up' option on this forum.

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