Caring for and Healing the Earth


Responsible Mountain Biking

Cycling in natural areas has become a very popular sport over the last few years.  Unfortunately, this has led to significant damage to natural areas in some (or many) cases.  Sometimes the damage is the result of irresponsible cyclists who do not respect the area.  In other cases it is simply not appropriate for bicycles to be in that particular area.

In light of this, please observe these guidelines for cycling in natural areas:

  • Whenever possible, ride on trails that are specifically designated for bicycle use.  This does not include trails for which no rules for or against bicycles have been implemented.  In other words, please do not assume that if there are no specific rules it's wide open.

  • Warn pedestrians of your approach while you are still some distance away.  Ring a bell, or say "excuse me" in a voice loud enough to be sure that they hear you.

  • In most cases where the trail is being shared by hikers, pedestrians have the right of way.  This does not mean that they have to move aside for you.  This does mean that they can continue walking, and you will have to ask to get by, dismounting and walking past if necessary.  Do not leave the trail to get past them.  Also please remember that not everyone has good hearing.

  • Keep the speed down.  Ride at an appropriate speed for the trail and conditions.

  • Please avoid loud talking and noise.  This is irritating to other users of the area, and disrupts bird and animal life.  Similarly, if your bike has squealing brakes, please get them fixed so that they are silent (or nearly so).

  • Stay on the trail.  This is worth repeating...a lot of the damage done by mountain bikes in natural areas is done by bikers who stray from the trail....Stay on the trail.  Additionally, stay on trails that are designated for bicycles.  Again, a lot of the damage done by bikes is done by riding on trails not designed for bicycles.

  • Please do not widen trails in wet or muddy areas, or create bypass side trails.

  • Watch for wildlife and birds on the trail.  This being a natural area, it is their home.  You are a visitor.

  • Please engage in technical mountain biking only in areas designated for this activity.  This type of riding can have an extreme negative impact on natural areas.

How NOT to ride on regular trails!

Because of the increasing use of natural areas by cyclists, there is increasing opposition to having bicycles in natural areas.  Overall, if the above simple guidelines are followed, this opposition can be dispelled, and cyclists may continue to be allowed access to these areas.

Generally speaking, it is the arrogant, fast, noisy and aggressive cyclists that turn people off the most.  And irresponsible cyclists riding in areas either unsuitable for the sport or not designated for it will help to close an area to cycling.

Cycle responsibly and respectfully, and there will continue to be areas open to the sport.  Remember that every cyclist (you) is an emissary for the sport of cycling.  Act aggressively and loud, and people will quickly brand all cyclists as aggressive and loud.  On the other hand, ride responsibly and respectfully, and people will not mind the presence of bicycles.



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