Tag Archives: Misconceptions

Mountain Biker Misconceptions

Mountain biking is a wonderful recreational sport. Mountain Biking is a very popular activity in the United States. According to imba.com, it has been recorded that there are up to “nearly 40 million participants anually.” Mountain biking provides many great health benefit, and nonetheless can be quite fun. Although, there are many myths, and disbeliefs that have been slightly tarnishing the reputation of the mountain biking community in various ways. As an avid bicyclist myself, and an activist of the sport I feel the need to eradicate these myths in hopes to change the mindsets of those who are in disbelief.

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There is a common belief that mountain biking destroys trails, and causes erosion far more than hiking. Although, there have been various scientific studies that have proven that mountain biking, and hiking cause parallel levels of erosion upon the environment. One of the main contributions of erosion in trails is caused by poor trail designs, and improper construction techniques. These scantily designed trails to not sufficiently handle runoff from precipitation. Another common belief is that mountain biking terminates vegetation. Bicycle riders, and hikers who stride the same foliage produced equal harm to the vegetation. Bicycle riders are the least likely to leave a trail than any user due to the fact that bicycles are very trail reliant. Mountain bikers that are wise, and not disrespectful know the importance to not forge new trails. While hikers are at a much greater chance to step foot off the trail, which can harm vegetation and disturb wildlife.

Bicycle riders are not a threat to other trail users. There are various trails that are exclusive to hikers, and other trail users that do not include bikes. With that being said, it is completely up to other trail users to choose to use trails that exclude, or include bicycles. Although, bicycle riders are not monsters! Many people have the conception that bicycle riders are adrenaline-seeking junkies. I cannot speak for the entire population, because that would be an invalid statement. For the most part, bicycle riders are responsible people that keep in mind the needs of others on the trail, and the trail itself.

To learn more on this subject of discussion, check out these website:

http://bouldermountainbike.org/content/bicycling-myth-versus-reality

http://www.imba.com/resources/research/trail-science/environmental-impacts-mountain-biking-science-review-and-best-practices

http://www.bikesbelong.org/resources/stats-and-research/statistics/participation-statistics/