Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Motorcycle Rant

My non-riding SLC friends condescendingly ask how I like living in the U.C. I tell them that it has its redeeming qualities:

The main downside is that you have to put up with motorcycles on the trails, which is something I didn't have to put up with on the SLC 1-track:

By and large, motorcyclists suffer from the same problem my sister's favorite singer named "Mika" suffers from. This Mika guy has a dynamic range that Mariah Carey would envy, with the ability to sing notes that are so high-pitched as to be beyond the hearing capability of most human beings. The problem is that he's decided that just because he can, he should. All the time. He insists on incessantly singing notes that no male should ever sing, even after nutting yourself on the top tube. And it annoys the hell out of me. I'm not sure how my sister can take it, let alone like it. I love her anyway. Now, back to motorcyclists. They reach these sections of trail that are muddy and yucky. Instead of asking themselves whether they should ride through it, they only ask them selves whether they can ride through it. Of course, the answer is always "yes", and not only do they ride through it, but they throttle through it, chewing up the trail and creating a 2 foot mud bog in the process that will probably still be there in late July. Yeah, I realize mtb'ers are also guilty of chewing up muddy trails, but at least most mtb'ers that chose to ride through muddy sections will attempt to minimize the damage while doing so. That this rant was prompted by 3 A-hole motorcyclists that not only ran me off of Tibble Fork on Saturday, but did their best to leave a big cloud of smoke while doing so, just before throttling through one of the mud bogs above. I'm not sure which is worse: Mika, or motorcyclists. Just because you can, doesn't mean that you should.

Edit: No sooner did I post this did I notice on my RSS reader that Grizzly Adam posted about motorcycles about a half hour ago. He has a link with pictures of even more destruction. I guess I'm a copycat. Or maybe we both just love motorcycles.


Bart G said...

Keep in mind that motorcycles are responsible for most of the trails we enjoy in UC and roamed that terrain long before MTB's. I agree they often make a mess of the trails but at times they can be very helpfull in smoothing out the craters left in the mud by horses. And as with everythng else it only takes a few knuckle heads to give an entire group a bad wrap.

Grizzly Adam said...

Good point Bart. The USFS uses them to get chainsaws up there as well, to clear logs and dead fall.

It's just the abuse of the power that kills me. And I mean the power of the bike.

Fish said...

Yeah, sorry to pile on, but I've also talked with USFS guys that noted that the moto guys do more trail maintenence work than all the rest of the groups combined. I got this talk when I was complaining about the condition of a trail.

I am happy they're on the trails as they keep the single track that is way back there open.

Fish said...

BTW, are you going to Fatty's Triathalon? I'll be cooking but won't be able to ride. I broke my collar bone in Hawai'i, so riding is out for a while.

KanyonKris said...

I'd rather not have the noise of the motorcycles, but otherwise I don't mind sharing the trail with them, except for one big beef I have them:

About half of the moto riders I've come across up AF Canyon spin their rear tire when they don't need to. I've seen several who goose the throttle at every bend in the trail - throwing dirt and making the trail deeper. Others spin through loose stuff instead of putting over it. Others delight in spinning through mud causing deep trenches. I used to ride motorcycles and it's fun, but most people would recognize that these fragile AF Canyon trail and not the place for wanton application of power.

I question the trail work done by the motorcycle riders. The URMB group (mountain bikers) has been working with the Pleasant Grove Ranger District to install signs and will be doing trail work soon. This district reports that more Mtn bikers have been doing trail service than other groups, at least recently (the last year or two).

Aaron said...

Thanks for the comments fellas. First of all, this was just a rant that likely wouldn't have happened had the 3 guys who passed slowed down while I finished climbing one of the steeper sections of Tibble rather than rooster-tailing while they ran me off the trail.

Note that I never said in my post that we should close these trails to motorcycles (although I'll admit that it wouldn't break my heart if they were, and it does surprise me that one of the most amazing places on earth still allows motorized vehicles on the trails). Perhaps the trails should just be closed to motorcycles in the spring (and maybe bikes too) till the conditions are ready for them.

Bart - from what I understand, you have as much experience building and riding trails as just about anyone, so I respect your point of view. I don't know if I agree that whoever builds it gets to ride it forever though, but maybe motorcycles deserve more deference than I'm giving them. It's inevitable that as trail usage and traffic changes, the trail use policy should change. Yeah, sometimes that means limitations on us too, like on the even day policy up Mill Creek, no riding in wilderness areas, etc. To your second point, I think I'd live with the craters in the spring if it meant getting rid of 3-6 inches of moon dust later in the summer.

Fish - you didn't seem too happy to be sharing the trails the last time we rode down Mill together and ran into a bunch of motorcycles heading up. Just messing with you. I'm planning on going to the triathAlon - I just hope the family schedule works out. Sorry to hear about the collar bone. I hope it doesn't affect your brat cooking abilities. Let me know if you need anything while you're healing up (lawn mowing, etc.).

Aaron said...

Adam - the abuse of power is what I'm getting at with the "just because you can, doesn't mean you should." They have the power and the simply can't resist. Of course I'm overgeneralizing here. There are plenty of "knucklehead" mountain bikers that give us a bad rap too.

Fish said...

I didn't hate moto guys in general, I hated that particular guy - the individual. I'm just saying.

Aaron said...

I know, I'm just bustin' your chops. At the time, it seemed like there was some question as to whether motorcycles were even allowed on that trail.

For what it's worth, the 3 guys who prompted this rant made the guys we ran into on Mill look like Saints. At least those guys didn't make me fear for my safety.