Two-Wheel Vandalism

XC Bicyclists gouged these tracks in the soft wet soil

A group of half a dozen mountain bicyclists, estimated at high school age, were seen on Friday racing their bikes in the Nature Area on the north side, where humans and dogs are not allowed. Not content with violating this area, they then repeatedly gouged the soft wet soil on the hill just east of the kite lawn in the southern part of the park.

A park visitor who tried to talk to these two-wheeled vandals reports that they showed attitude, became belligerent, and defiantly repeated the harm they were doing.

Mountain biking can be good clean fun when done on trails designed for the purpose. There are no such trails and there should not be such trails in Cesar Chavez Park. No activity tears up dirt trails for walking and hiking like mountain biking, and weekend warriors on dirt bikes can put walkers in fear of injury from collisions. There’s a club based in El Cerrito specifically formed to stop dirt biking in public parks.

It’s hard to imagine that this gang of destructive morons on big-ticket XC bikes are connected with any of the organized mountain bike clubs in the area. The singletracks.com local mountain bike trail map does not show any trails in Chavez Park. If this repeats, it will be time to lobby Berkeley City Council for an ordinance to ban off-pavement riding in the park.

11 thoughts on “Two-Wheel Vandalism

  • December 26, 2019 at 2:09 pm
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    I’m closing Comments on this post. It’s clear that the topic has a fraught history with high tempers on all sides. I’ve allowed clashing viewpoints freely but deleted a couple of posts that attacked people rather than ideas on the other side. It’s obvious that the damage done in the park does not reflect on all “mountain bikers” generally. Whether the young vandals who tore up the slope were “mountain bikers” can’t be resolved until they’re identified. An eyewitness did identify their bicycles as the “mountain bike” type — admittedly a vague category, but these were not the usual road or commuter bikes. It’s also true, as some commenters pointed out, that this two-wheeled vandalism isn’t the only kind of environmental abuse we see in the park; damage by irresponsible dog owners who let their animals dig holes, poop, and chase wildlife is a case in point. Drone misuse is another. However, abuse by others is not an excuse for abuse by one’s friends. The fact that some Catholic clergy abuse children does not give Protestant clergy license to do likewise. This website has consistently exposed and opposed all kinds of park abuse, and bicyclists are not being singled out. The hope here is that by exposing this vandalism, the numerous existing social peer networks will be electrified to send a message that this kind of behavior is not OK, and that this message will reach the perpetrators and motivate them to cease and desist.

  • December 19, 2019 at 4:30 pm
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    Most of these forest mountain bike ‘Shredits’ are filmed on logging company land, that while beautiful and raw looking, will be soon clear-cut to make toilet paper, shingles, and even pulp that is sold to China. Then we buy it back in the form of crappy particle-board furniture. That’s the real crime. This former dump site looks like it has a hill with a drainage problem that some (normal kids) had some fun on. As someone else mentioned tis would be no fun for mountain bikers. That distinction is lost on haters of all off road cycling. The vast majority of mountain bikers that I have met are very in touch with the delicate balance we have with nature and the need for conservation and sustainable access. Most of the hikers and equestrians I have met (near urban areas) are intolerant, entitled, and narrow-minded. It’s a shame they let the irrational hate color their lives.

  • December 17, 2019 at 2:57 pm
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    Lots of appeals to emotion, no empirical evidence, in these posts.

    Wow, thought liberal Northern California was the bastion of reasonable debate using the scientific method; they pounce on conservatives for making emotional arguments lacking data.

    Yet, here they are.

  • December 17, 2019 at 2:30 pm
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    It’s clear by looking at Google Maps that hikers and dog walkers have repeatedly gone off the trails and created many “social” trails and shortcuts, destroying habitat in the process (as they often do). It looks like ALL hikers and dog walkers should be banned from the park.

  • December 17, 2019 at 1:50 pm
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    While it’s apparent those tracks were done by a bicycle, it wasn’t “mountain bikers” that did that.

    Mountain bikes would have no interest in riding down a grassy hill like that. It wouldn’t be fun.

  • December 17, 2019 at 12:09 pm
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    What about all of the two-footed vandalism? Fellow hikers can’t seem to stay on established trails either.

    Take a look at Google Maps — Doesn’t seem right to call-out mountain bikers for a small section when you can plainly see lots of hiker/dog walker off-trail use all through the park.

  • December 17, 2019 at 10:11 am
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    Ok boomer. You guys need to learn how to share shit. Like the trails are not only for you and your dog. Actually most of the time you are supposed to have your dog on a leash when on hiking trails. I follow the rules and am respectful, but you have to do the same. You can not ban mountain biking, if you did I would just still send on legal shit. Learn to share, and if you are actually concerned about the environmental than stop driving and leaving your dog shit everywhere and bike. We love the environment, it’s what we biking in, and we know that we are not causing damage, most of us only bike from place to place. I don’t hate hikers except for the ones like you, who will yell at me even when I slow down, signal, and say good day. In conclusion use bikers just want to have fun and exercise and if that doesn’t work for you then so be it, just don’t go to City Hall and lobby to take out trails, it just doesn’t work. We will still ride and send, so lay off the out right hate.

  • December 17, 2019 at 8:25 am
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    Like moths drawn to a light, the 3 commenters thus far – Craver, Vandeman and Sullivan – all belong in the mountain bike hall of fame for their life long anti-mountain bike obsessions 😋. They are SO GOOD at finding every negative story about mountain bikers (although they also desperately try to turn positive stories into negative ones).

  • December 16, 2019 at 10:07 am
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    I am a Canadian who is happy to hear that conservation groups, such as yours, will actually speak the truth about the ecological vandalism done by mountain bikers (and their accompanying belligerent bad attitudes) that come with this wily dirt biking sport. I live on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada, where mountain bikers seem to be adulated and appeased by far too many conservation and environmental groups. Or, these groups remain silently complicit, even helping the mountain bikers dig trails.

    Ecological vandalism, like this: https://www.instagram.com/p/BxvbcPRnoMR/ only gets a finger wagging, and more funding for the mtb org! This vandalism happened near a park I have worked very hard to get protection for (the photo is still live, because they brag about such things, without fear of repercussions)

    Still, mountain bike trails snake down the slopes, nearby, full of stunt structures: skinnies, jump ramps, teeter-totters, etc. The accompanying erosion and compaction from all this riding four seasons a year, day and night, inside a temperate rain forest, is just unforgivable. This is a public forest — not a bike park. Here is how mountain bikers in BC, Canada rip and shred up the trails (a slow-motion video) – https://youtu.be/apaTlPfnR3A

    Our own authorities are gutless, as the mountain bikers ride and trail build indiscriminately and are leaving damaged watersheds behind. It is like black and white how mountain biking is treated by authorities and conservation groups, up here in BC, and in general in Canada. Thank you for speaking out against the ongoing vandalism perpetuated by so many mountain (dirt) bikers. More people and groups need to speak out against the two-wheeled vandalism being inflicted by mountain bikers — and now motorized e-mountain bikes….

  • December 16, 2019 at 6:27 am
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    Mike Vandemann sent in this Comment via the Contact Form:

    What were they thinking??? Mountain biking and trail-building destroy wildlife habitat! Mountain biking is environmentally, socially, and medically destructive! There is no good reason to allow bicycles on any unpaved trail!

    Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1996: https://mjvande.info/mtb10.htm . It’s dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don’t have access to trails closed to bikes. They have EXACTLY the same access as everyone else — ON FOOT! Why isn’t that good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking….

    A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more harmful to wildlife, people, and the environment than hiking, and that science supports that view. Of course, it’s not true. To settle the matter once and for all, I read all of the research they cited, and wrote a review of the research on mountain biking impacts (see https://mjvande.info/scb7.htm ). I found that of the seven studies they cited, (1) all were written by mountain bikers, and (2) in every case, the authors misinterpreted their own data, in order to come to the conclusion that they favored. They also studiously avoided mentioning another scientific study (Wisdom et al) which did not favor mountain biking, and came to the opposite conclusions.

    Mountain bikers also love to build new trails – legally or illegally. Of course, trail-building destroys wildlife habitat – not just in the trail bed, but in a wide swath to both sides of the trail! E.g. grizzlies can hear a human from one mile away, and smell us from 5 miles away. Thus, a 10-mile trail represents 100 square miles of destroyed or degraded habitat, that animals are inhibited from using. Mountain biking, trail building, and trail maintenance all increase the number of people in the park, thereby preventing the animals’ full use of their habitat. See https://mjvande.info/scb9.htm for details.

    Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and, worst of all, teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is okay (it’s NOT!). What’s good about THAT?

    To see exactly what harm mountain biking does to the land, watch this 5-minute video:

    In addition to all of this, it is extremely dangerous: https://mjvande.info/mtb_dangerous.htm .

    For more information: https://mjvande.info/mtbfaq.htm .

    The common thread among those who want more recreation in our parks is total ignorance about and disinterest in the wildlife whose homes these parks are. Yes, if humans are the only beings that matter, it is simply a conflict among humans (but even then, allowing bikes on trails harms the MAJORITY of park users — hikers and equestrians — who can no longer safely and peacefully enjoy their parks).

    The parks aren’t gymnasiums or racetracks or even human playgrounds. They are WILDLIFE HABITAT, which is precisely why they are attractive to humans. Activities such as mountain biking, that destroy habitat, violate the charter of the parks.

    Even kayaking and rafting, which give humans access to the entirety of a water body, prevent the wildlife that live there from making full use of their habitat, and should not be allowed. Of course those who think that only humans matter won’t understand what I am talking about — an indication of the sad state of our culture and educational system.

  • December 15, 2019 at 12:35 pm
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    Time to ban the bikes; it’s a nature conservancy, not a place to recreate. No excuse for this and the NorCal coaches are totally failing in teach the kids and teams respect for nature, trails and other trail users.

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