Take a hike, cyclists | AspenTimes.com

Take a hike, cyclists

Dear Editor:

Regarding “Registration opens for monster Aspen bike race” (Aspen Times online, July 7, 2011), “racing” on single-track trails makes no sense! How can you pass anyone? This is an abuse of public lands and wildlife habitat and should not be allowed.

Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1994: home.pacbell.net/mjvande/mtb10.

It’s dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don’t have access to trails closed to bikes. They have exactly the same access as everyone else – on foot! Why isn’t that good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking …

A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more harmful to wildlife, people, and the environment than hiking, and that science supports that view. Of course, it’s not true. To settle the matter once and for all, I read all of the research they cited, and wrote a review of the research on mountain biking impacts (see home.pacbell.net/mjvande/scb7 ).

I found that of the seven studies they cited, (1) all were written by mountain bikers, and (2) in every case, the authors misinterpreted their own data, in order to come to the conclusion that they favored. They also studiously avoided mentioning another scientific study which did not favor mountain biking, and came to the opposite conclusions.

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Those were all experimental studies. Two other studies used a survey design, which is inherently incapable of answering that question (comparing hiking with mountain biking). I only mention them because mountain bikers often cite them, but scientifically, they are worthless.

Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and, worst of all, teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is OK (it’s not!). What’s good about that?

Mike Vandeman

San Ramon, Calif.