Mountain Bikes (or lack thereof)...

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Mountain Bikes (or lack thereof)...

Postby ben.h » Sat 13 Dec, 2008 6:58 pm

I thought it would be interesting to hear the opinions of the people that actually matter :D
More and more these days (particularly in Kingborough where I live), signs are going up everywhere banning cycling on trails that had previously been used for decades (for instance, the Alum Cliffs track).

One particular sign (yes, a proper sign!) on another track prompted me to start this topic; it states: "Push bikes damage the bush. No cycling beyond this point".

So my questions for you all are;
Do push bikes and therefore cyclists damage the bush?
Should cyclists be banned from more of our tracks?
Should the bush be only available to walkers?
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Re: Mountain Bikes (or lack thereof)...

Postby tastrax » Sat 13 Dec, 2008 9:04 pm

Chances are that the council is only administering its regulations. Its likely that "vehicles" are only allowed on "roads" (my guess) and that "tracks and trails" are not roads. The sign might be their way of advising folk of the regulation.

In the case of PWS areas/regulations they refer to the Traffic Act of 1925 (! still in use) which has a definition of vehicle as...."vehicle" includes any description of vehicle designed to move or to be moved on one or more wheels or revolving runners, and any truck, barrow, or similar vehicle, but, except as may be expressly prescribed by regulations, does not include a vehicle constructed or adapted for propulsion on rails only.

The PWS regs state "Unless authority is granted, a person must not drive a vehicle in any reserved land except on a road." - Road is further defined as ..."a constructed road with a surface suitable for the use of motor cars; or"....a carpark

So that means no bicycles, unicycles or roller blades on tracks but its OK on the road! <grin>!

I wonder if they used a "barrow" to do up the track?

As for the damage - well everything has an impact but is it more or less than walkers? That's a question that has been debated for years (some good research available) - I seem to remember some that highlighted that bikes running downhill, at speed and cornering had a "significant impact" in one study. Thats no surprise really. There is also some good research on the impact of walkers in various environments.
Cheers - Phil

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Re: Mountain Bikes (or lack thereof)...

Postby tastrax » Sat 13 Dec, 2008 9:22 pm

Here are some articles to start the debate :mrgreen:

http://www.imba.com/resources/science/trail_shock.html

http://www.mountainbike.co.nz/politics/ ... ummary.htm

http://www.americantrails.org/resources ... pacts.html

Lots of government libraries subscribe to "Journal of environmental management" so they might also be able to get this one for nothing.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_o ... 6667c0d981
Cheers - Phil

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Re: Mountain Bikes (or lack thereof)...

Postby gorby » Sun 14 Dec, 2008 10:33 pm

The actions of the .05% that do the wrong thing usally tarnish the reputations of all the riders.

I am an avid trailbike rider and we have the the similar trouble with the idiots with the loud bikes who rip around reserves and thru sensitive areas.

I tell my motorcycle mates that bushwalking is just like trailriding without the bike :D

my answers to your questions:

1. the bikes are no more damaging than foot traffic,a lot of bikes or a lot of feet will cause damage.
2. no,they should not be banned.
3. the bush should be for multiple use,if sustainable.
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Re: Mountain Bikes (or lack thereof)...

Postby flyfisher » Mon 15 Dec, 2008 5:31 am

Totally agree with ya gorby.I have ridden my old KLX250 to heaps of well out places (like L Ina) with hardly a mark and quietly. :D

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Re: Mountain Bikes (or lack thereof)...

Postby Singe » Tue 16 Dec, 2008 9:40 am

I enjoy the bush on foot and in the saddle. AFAICT the issues with mountain bike use are social, not environmental. Some riders behave badly, causing unnecessary environmental disturbance - as do some walkers - but the activity in itself is no more damaging than walking. Conflict between walkers and cyclists is inevitable to some extent, but can be kept to a reasonable level if both parties are aware of each others needs and have reasonable attitudes to sharing the bush.

> Do push bikes and therefore cyclists damage the bush?
Of course - as do walkers. From the links, and my experience, the extent of damage is much the same in either case.

> Should cyclists be banned from more of our tracks?
Mountain biking should be managed like any other activity in the bush; in some places it will be permitted, in others not. I think the HCC has the balance about right - designate some tracks as walking only, and allow bikes on fire trails and designated shared tracks that are designed and built specifically for mountain bike riding.

> Should the bush be only available to walkers?
*cough*
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Re: Mountain Bikes (or lack thereof)...

Postby Taurë-rana » Tue 16 Dec, 2008 11:19 pm

ben.h wrote: Should the bush be only available to walkers?

No! But parts of it should.
My background - lifelong passionate "greenie", bushwalker, Four Wheel Drive Tasmania committee member, Tasmanian delegate to Four Wheel Drive Australia.
I believe there definitely should be areas set aside just for bushwalking, but why shouldn't cyclists be allowed on tracks if the tracks can handle it? And why shouldn't 4WDrives be allowed on 4WDrive tracks? That is possibly an issue for another topic.
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Re: Mountain Bikes (or lack thereof)...

Postby ben.h » Thu 18 Dec, 2008 8:14 am

Some good points raised so far :)
I see mountain biking as being very similar to bush walking. I go bush almost every day and normally do an epic bush ride on a Saturday or Sunday and often my rides involve parts of tracks that I've walked previously. I find it a bit offensive when a trail I've ridden for years is suddenly closed to mountain bikers due to "degradation" of the bush when clearly, the people who made this decision (e.g. Kingborough council in the case of the Alum Cliffs track) have no idea what they are talking about and have sought no opinions or consultation from the users affected (such as the Kingborough Bicycle Users Group, Hobart Wheelers / Dirt Devils, Southern Pedals etc.). What makes things even more hypocritical is the insertion of drainage, steps, benches etc. along the Alum Cliffs trail (and other urban trails) which in my opinion "degrades" the bush much more than the odd mountain bike tyre mark!

Anyway, those are urban trails so it doesn't cramp my style too much (I just wanted to point out the lack of care for the opinions of particular user groups in that case).

Most tracks I ride are far enough out of the way to not be affected, yet.

One last note: I'm heading up the west coast to do Queen Hill, Montezuma Falls (part of the Wildside MTB) and others around that area. What a great opportunity to ride to East Pillinger along the old Bird River track and check out the ruins of the old mining / pining town, or so I thought! According to PWS: "Vehicles, including mountain bikes, are not permitted beyond the barrier on the northern side of the Bird River Bridge." Has anyone here walked to East Pillinger? Does the track follow an old railway line and if so, is there an obvious reason why mountain bikes should not be allowed?

Ok, time to stop ranting!
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Re: Mountain Bikes (or lack thereof)...

Postby johnw » Thu 18 Dec, 2008 9:05 am

ben.h wrote:What a great opportunity to ride to East Pillinger along the old Bird River track and check out the ruins of the old mining / pining town, or so I thought! According to PWS: "Vehicles, including mountain bikes, are not permitted beyond the barrier on the northern side of the Bird River Bridge." Has anyone here walked to East Pillinger? Does the track follow an old railway line and if so, is there an obvious reason why mountain bikes should not be allowed?

Ben,
IMHO a terrific walk, as green as I've seen in Tassie, and the ruins and history of the area are fascinating. Even though we did the outward leg in constant rain (not unusual for the West coast :lol:). Yes, it follows the remains of the old railway alignment from the Bird River bridge to East Pillinger. Mostly flattish easy walking. However it is wet, very muddy in places (not deep though) and there are some landslip areas to negotiate, which may be the reason for no MTB rule? The final one or two kms to East Pillinger the ground becomes quite root infested and a little awkward to walk through, so that could be another reason. But I'm only guessing.

In any case the 5km section from the Mt Jukes Rd to the bridge is also part of the old railway, and almost as scenic. It's 4WD only and possibly OK for MTBs (although very wet/muddy/slippery when we did it in 4WD). Maybe you could ride that section, hide the bike somewhere near the bridge then walk to EP. Best of both worlds? :wink:

From memory one of Keith Lancaster's diaries describes a trip from near Queenstown through this area. And I think he used a bike to get there (at least for part of it), although no doubt the rules were different then.
John W

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Re: Mountain Bikes (or lack thereof)...

Postby ben.h » Fri 19 Dec, 2008 11:15 am

Thanks John (I do sometimes stash the bike when I have to). I'm looking forward to my west coast adventures :)
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