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[pct-l] Re: Bikes on the PCT
- Subject: [pct-l] Re: Bikes on the PCT
- From: email@example.com (John Brennan)
- Date: Tue, 10 Dec 2002 01:14:47 -0800
Sorry to revive this (hopefully) dying thread.
We all draw the line with breaking the law somewhere. I speed on the
freeway. Some people, including (rather amazingly) past thru-hikers, ride
bikes on the trail. Some people drink and drive.
If I don't want bikers on the PCT, it's up to me to do something about it.
No matter how uncomfortable it makes me feel, I let the biker know that it's
not OK with me. I make sure a conversation happens. One guy said, "I've
been riding my bike on the PCT in the Marble Mountains for 15 years and no
one has ever said anything to me." Well, I was the first. I hope I'm not
I learned that bikers think silence equals consent.
My first reaction on seeing a bicyclist on the PCT was to pull out my
camera. I'd take a picture of the rider before the conversation even
started. I'd try to take a couple more during the conversation. The Forest
Service appreciated the photographs. Even though they are understaffed,
complaints and photos, I was told, would help them get more funding or to
direct some of the existing funding to no-bike enforcement.
I was fortunate enough to only have two major encounters with bikers on the
PCT in 2002. My first question to the biker was, "Do you know you are on
the PCT?" I'd give the rider the benefit of the doubt. Since the response
was always, "Yes," my second question would be, "Do you know that bikes are
not allowed on the PCT?" Again, the answer was, "Yes."
That's where my politeness ended.
Just seeing bike tracks on the tread was enough to get me angry, angry
enough to 'de-maintain' the trail so that it would be an uncomfortable ride
for anyone following me on a bike. I'd hike along, on high alert for flying
metal, trying to figure a way to deal with the issue.
Both biking parties presented reasons that they should be allowed to bike on
the PCT which were just excuses. They wanted to ride it because it was fun
and beautiful, the same reason we want to hike it. Both parties had the
opinion that it was OK for them to break the law; that they were special,
that *the rules did not apply to them*.
All I could say to that (well...not all) was that if everyone could do
whatever they wanted to do, whenever and where ever they wanted to, we
wouldn't have a civilization. We all make compromises for lots of reasons,
many of them for safety. It's why we have drunk driving laws, laws against
murder, and, yes, parking laws. How do bikers feel about cars driving in
As a side note, I realized that I was not enjoying being angry at bikes on
my hike. One of the things I learned on my hike was to let go of the anger.
I could 'de-maintain' the trail. I could take pictures. I would speak up at
every encounter. After a while, I actually enjoyed walking over bike tracks
and NOT getting angry. I'd just grab a big rock, find an place that looked
like it might cause an unfortunate wheeled trajectory, and move on.
I added a page to my site with my rants about bikes on the trail:
Hiking Poles: They're not just for hiking anymore.