18 July 2006

Mountain bike panic!

| johnboy
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The Canberra Times has a strange story warning us of the menace that is mountain bike trail builders at Mulligans Flat and Tuggeranong Hill.

The article is odd for the way it mixes and matches trail bike riders and mountain bike riders. The two are very different groups with very different effects on the environment.

Just as odd is the assertion that building a couple of jumps on trails is responsible for the absence of small mammals in our nature reserves. I’m guessing cats would bear a large share of that blame.

But weirdest yet is Minister John Hargreaves announcing his intention to muscle up to these hooligans

“The safety risk and potentially irreparable damage to the environment caused by these activities are unacceptable.When we catch people acting illegally, constructions will be removed immediately and those responsible will be put before the courts…

Those who seek to do damage to our parks and reserves will not be treated lightly”

As opposed to drink drivers one supposes.

It’s a weird mindset, does he think these people wake up in the morning and say to themselves “Aha! I shall do damage to Canberra’s parks and reserves by building a bike jump!”


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You could refer to your beer gut as “the package” and you’re all set. “I’ve got a hot face AND the package”.

I refer to mine as the muffin. No matter how fit I am I always have some muffin 🙂

Absent Diane5:11 pm 20 Jul 06

I have a hot face but a sweet hockey beer gut should I be wearing lycra on my face….

What if you have the package and not the body like me ?

BTW – there’s nothing wrong with lycra if you’ve got the body (and the package). I wear it for road rides and MTB race days. Just make sure you don’t crash, otherwise everyone gets to see more than the shape of your arse.

Yep, another beat-up, slow news day story from the CT. I’m not really familiar with Mulligan’s, but Tugger Pines is very far from being of any environmental significance. As stated earlier it is plantation pine, so the whole forest is cut down, plowed by an earthmover and replanted every 10 to 15 years. In addition to this, it is regularly used by thrifty Canberrans as a free tip to dump their household waste.

Absent Diane2:57 pm 20 Jul 06

and then theres the whole reporting the accident to the coppers..

“Well officer I was driving along and out of the corner of my eye I saw a mountain biker… instead slowing down I accidentally accelerated…”

And they tend to clog up the tyre treads.

They make a mess of your wheel arches hay AD

Absent Diane10:02 am 20 Jul 06

yep nothing worse than off road moutain bikers when your 4 wheel driving.. 😛

Multiply the dickhead factor by 100 and thats what’s driving the cars in the ACT so I’d say proportionally cyclists are in the dickhead minority.

Its not inherently dangerous when drivers and cyclists mutually respect each other.

Now, about those off road MTB tracks again

Oh yeah … and everything said here about recumbent’s is true. I like the fact that even cyclists hate them!

I don’t actually own a bike, haven’t ridden one since I was a kid – but I can’t resist the chance to have a crack at the kind of stupid shit that gets trotted out by some dick heads every time a cycling related thread gets a run. These posts pretty well cover off on the majority of stupid ideas trotted out by the usual list of ill-informed arrogant shit-bags.

“…arrogant god given right attitude…” yeah and 4WD drivers have some greater right to the road than Hyundi drivers – because “…I’m terrified that I’m going to clean up some dickhead one day and it won’t be my fault.

”…that if they get hit, they are the ones that are in a world of shit”. You think they don’t know that? Why don’t you people just be honest and say “I don’t have the necessary skills to drive on the road in a way that is safe for me and other road users.”

And then like a sick dog returning to it’s own vomit we come inexorably to the line about cyclists not following the road rules. Now there’s a subject I can have a good rant about! here’s some examples of road behavior that shits me no end:

Drivers who think that its their god given right to dawdle along in the right hand lane on the parkway at 100km/h oblivious to the queue of drivers behind them – these shit-bags somehow feel that just because they’re driving at the speed limit they have no obligation to let faster cars past;

Drivers who feel they have the right to pull out into the on-coming lane of traffic simply because there are parked cars on their side of the road;

Drivers who have no idea what to do at an intersection when the lights are out;

Drivers who feign indignation at being cut off when I change lanes – it’s simple: if you don’t like being cut off then don’t try and close the gap when you see my indicator go on!

OpenYourMind6:57 pm 19 Jul 06

I find it interesting that people have entered this argument having a general dig at all cyclists. It’s a bit like talking about a problem of Saturday night revheads and then taking a swing at all motorists.

Kids mucking around building jumps are most likely a completely different group to dedicated MTBers.

Thumper, provided that when the cyclist acts as a pedestrian they observe the relevant laws, they aren’t doing anything wrong. Something that you don’t realise until you do a bit of cycling in Canberra is that footpaths become cycleways/recpaths, which lead to onroad cycling which then lead back to footpaths etc. My trip from Rivett to Bruce combines aspects of these, the cycle paths simply don’t go from and to every destination.
Sometimes an intersection is safer to cross by being a pedestrian – it’s not illegal, get used to it.

In terms of cyclists contributing, keep in mind that Sunday CT some time ago reported that the net cost of injuries from motor vehicle accidents exceeded ALL vehicle taxes collected. It was a Dept of Transport statistic. Think about that before you suggest that cyclists aren’t paying their way.

And Bonfire, I’ll agree with you about cigarette butts being no more like litter than leaves from a tree…just as soon as autumn comes and you show me a tree dropping cigarette butts!

Absent Diane4:03 pm 19 Jul 06

yeah I hate those recucumbant fuckers (well not personally).. that is seriously dangerous…

not a fan of dudes riding on the road full stop… mostly because if my gf or bro’s or anyone I am close to is driving past a cyclist and the cyclist fucks up and causes itself death on one of these people close to me’s car… then that is something they are stuck with for life… all because some selfish prick thought that a it was as safe as car on the road when on a bike.

do I have dribble on my chin…

Irongeek – bonfire likes to make gross generalisations about cyclists. Those being that they are all militant lycra-clad, two-abreast on the highway, suckling at the government teat softheads. Bonfire assumes that there is a conspiracy of cyclists out to get him, get in his way on the road and to channel all government moneys into building cycle paths, instead of into…well…nothing…cause the government should never, ever spend any money.

Bonfire of course forgets that not only does he never see the majority of cyclists (who are sensible enough to stay the hell off the road), but that building more bike paths will make sure they stay off the road.

He also forgets that we live in a society, and that he’s not going to necessarily agree with everyone all of the time.

Bonfire is not alone. Read the editorial of the CT.

That said, many parts of the cycling community do themselves no favours by acting like tools (“I have a right to ride my bike in the right-hand lane/in heavy traffic/at night without a light on a suburban street”).

I do, however, agree with him on one point. Recumbent cyclists ought to be taken out and publicly horse-whipped.

Absent Diane3:26 pm 19 Jul 06

I think there is a lot of potential for injuries with nekkid riding!!.. but like any sport that is half the fun…

barking toad3:11 pm 19 Jul 06

Returning to the more interesting subject of nude cycling – wouldn’t lasses pedalling sans panties be, err, liable to suffer injury?

Not to mention laddies pedalling into trees while ogling.

I’m now just getting memory flashes of a Southpark episode where someone (Mr Garrison?) invented a special cycle that required an unusal riding technique.

Recumbent cyclists are gay (exludes hot lesbians two up on a bicycle built for one)

Bonfire what activities do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Because I am offended you put all mountain bikers into one category.

What is your issue with mountain bikers to hate them so much?

Having spent some significant time riding MTBs around Mulligan’s Flat (on the already marked and pre-existing trails) I believe there is, once again, a massive misrepresentation by the CT. The picture with the ranger shows ‘damage’ done by people building jumps. The ‘damage’ shown has been in place for at least 10 years and wasnt caused by MTB riders, it is a dirt mound adjacent to a pond that was naturally formed.

Just complete and utter bull shit by the CT once again, but never let the facts, or even truth, get in the way of a good story.

Every cycling commuter you see is one less car on the road

Absent Diane2:21 pm 19 Jul 06

ooh interweb fistycuffs binary throw down….

ps some soy drinks are actually quite nice…

Hey – I’m pretty hard to offend. But I draw the line at “soy-drinker”.

Throw down, bitch.

mr shab and big al – im not the one who continually turns these threads about pointless special intertest groups into threads about me justifying my beliefs or existence.

since you bring it up however, cigarette butts are litter in the same damaging way as leaves falling from trees are litter.

i ride the bus 5 days a week – which according to stanhope and his fellow travellers is ‘sustainable’ and my grossly polluting vehicles mainly see use on the weekends or holidays. by repairing and reusing old vehicles instead of buying new, im doing more recycling than when mr shab throws his plastic soy milk container in the recycle bin.

finally – why would i go to north korea ? apart from adding to my juchre book collection, i’d face hoards of bloody bicycle riders.

ive never advocated banning mountain bikes, i even proffered alternatives to destroying nature reserves – which were ignored by big al as he’d rather destroy yours and mine endangered habitats than his own property.

i would ban recumbent bikes. they transgress gods laws.

Absent Diane1:34 pm 19 Jul 06

well lets just ban non beautiful people full stop. I have always liked the thought of being banned. being banned would also make watching beautiful people riding naked seem so much more bad ass… (i am not sure if that was an intended pun or not)

Hey Doc Moss… I think I have seen it, but do you have a copy.. (ps email comin your way soon)

Clothes should be outlawed when riding bikes in summer – unless you are fat and ride – like me – no one wants to see that.

AD: you’ll appreciate Queen’s video for Bicycle Race then. A hundred-ish naked women on pushies.

Absent Diane1:23 pm 19 Jul 06

touche mr shab…

I do however approve of riding bikes in dresses (both sexes) with minimal underwear (read none)… not because it looks good (infact words can’t describe how good it doesn’t look) BUT it feels so great that I can appreciate people wanting to do it.


Stanley Steamer info here

I’ve got the lycra ones that are stiched into a normal pair of black nylon shorts. The comfort of having the chamios under your ‘taint without the, erm, you know.

While we’re at it AD – don’t be sexist. There are quite a few women who shouldn’t be wearing lycra either.

Notice that bonfire loves to rant about the horrid ecological damage that those notorious environmental vandals, the cyclists, are doing to our nature reserves, but doubtless will become strangely silent about the environmental impact of chucking butts in the storm water drains and his whopping great cars. (Just what the hell is the “Stanley Steamer” anyway? Seriously bonfire – I’d like to know, I’ve been curious for a while now.)

Putting the green lanes on some roads (especially Northbourne) was a colossally dumb idea. The gubbmint should have spent the money and put a proper (i.e – not on the road) cycle path in, rather going for the cheapest option available.

Your cries of “special interest groups” is your typical hackneyed response to anything that in any way (real or perceived) inconveniences you. I guess the football ovals the council spends so much money on keeping green and weed-free are the results of “special interest” too. What about the GDE (damn northerners should stop bleating. They’re already got a road!)

While we’re on it; quite a lot of cyclists (like me) don’t like the green lanes either – they recognise that they can be dangerous and stay the hell away from them. But have you ever ridden on the cycle paths around the lake on a weekday morning? I think you’d be suprised how much traffic there is. As petrol prices keep heading north, it’s only going to get heavier. The interest is getting less special by the day.

Bonfire – we live in a society. Get over it. It’s not all about you. How much gets spent on roads per capita compared to how much gets spent on cycle paths per capita. I’d be interested to see.

AD, you speak the truth … and if they do insist on wearing them then they should have to be new ones with nice thick lycra – that you cant see through when your riding behind them!

“You bang on about wriggling from the ecological impact by using the ‘properly constructed trails’ line ignoring deliberately the damage you and your ilk do to bushland with your many illegal tracks” – No Bonfire, all we say is that if walkers producing the exact same impacts aren’t ‘illegal’ or ‘environmentally damaging’ then neither are we.

I have no problem in you accusing me of being selfish because, by your own definition that puts me in the same class of people as those who expect the government to pander to special interest groups like people who drive cars, sick people expecting medical treatment or parents wanting to get their kids educated at a Government School – all “vocal special interest group’s”.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – if you don’t like what you get no ones forcing you to stay – you might even enjoy living in North Korea – where because they find democracy abhorrent they go about beating people with sticks – sounds like your kind of fun bonfire (just don’t smile – they don’t allow fun either)

Absent Diane12:56 pm 19 Jul 06

male cyclists should be banned from wearing tight shorts/pants.

see Big Al, you are displaying typical cyclist attitudes, easily proving my oft stated point that you are selfish arseholes.

you bang on about wriggling from the ecological impact by using the ‘properly constructed trails’ line ignoring deliberately the damage you and your ilk do to bushland with your many illegal tracks.

it doesnt surprse me that the gummint hands you money. youre an obscure vocal special interest group. you probably sprinkle confetti like the words ‘green’ ‘ sustainable’ ‘environment’ through your submissions. the gummint loves sucking up to people like you.

now jump on your recumbent bike, put your silly little flag up and pedal away.

‘If you don’t provide the facilities the young and industrious will go out there and build them anyway.’

…so how does staking a fact about some shit bags snotty nosed kids imply that CORC are going to build trails illegally?

coupled with ‘the Government has never provided capital’

Statement of fact past tense – Mountain bikers now has a whopping $200,000 of your money to spend as we want on trails in the Stromlo area


‘CORC contends that off road cycling does not lead to.’

Again, statement of fact – despite numerous scientific studies conducted in Australia, the US and Europe no one has been able to demonstrate an impact different to existing activities like walking and horse riding and where properly constructed trails are built environmental degradation, soil compaction, increased run-off and weed invasion are a non-issue.

tends to indicate that:
a – there are sections of the community who will just do what we want
b – by being a member of the Australian community you expressly support the funding of these types of activities – because if you didn’t you wouldn’t just have a pathetic whinge about it – you fuck off to some communist country where fun is banned; and
c – we have the same ecological footprint as any other recreational activity and can prove it

got anything better – or just more of the same recycled crap you sprout from your arse?

‘If you don’t provide the facilities the young and industrious will go out there and build them anyway.’

coupled with ‘the Government has never provided capital’


‘CORC contends that off road cycling does not lead to environmental degradation, soil compaction, increased run-off and weed invasion.’

tends to indicate that:

a – we just do what we want
b – please let our tiny special interest group suckle at the govt teat
c – we are ecological vandals but you cant prove it

so Big Al, go fuck yourself.

A couple of years ago Downer Community Association built a bike area on the old school oval – it had little dirt jumps and ramps and was hugely popular. Then it had to be bulldozed due to the ACT govt worrying about public liability insurance. Campaigning to keep it was one of Katy Gallgher’s election promises.
I don’t think you can stop kids riding bikes in nature parks without offering them some other alternative. And education would be a beter way to go than fines – most of them probably have no idea why they shouldn’t ride off the paths.

Bonfire says ‘…it that doesn’t matter because you’ll build illegal tracks anyway’ were you reading a different post mate or are you just a fuckwit?

Or maybe get this – we could ride on the fantastic mountain bike paths that are being built at Mount Stromlo that your tax dollars also paid for – to the tune of some $200,000 they’re going to be great – and even more fun because we’re getting something that other people despise us for – when was the last time you got the government to spend up big just for you and your mates?

Every time you come out with you whingy little bog-paper missives about cycling I can hear that little tiny violin playing Bonfire – and you guessed it mate, it’s playing just for you. If you don’t like it here feel free to leave.

gee anthony, if we dont like it that doesnt matter bercause you’ll build illegal tracks anyway. very responsible.

heres a solution – ride on the green bike paths my tax dollars paid for. or buy your own block of rural land. you can cause as much ecological damage as you like then.

I was disturbed to read this article but heartend to read most of your comments. This is as much about kids getting out and dirty as it is about damage to Canberra Nature Park. If you don’t provide the facilities the young and industrious will go out there and build them anyway. That being said Canberra Off-Road Cyclists (CORC) condemns the illegal building of trails. We reinforce to our members and the greater off road cycling community the need to engage the land manager, the Government and the Community in the development of planned sustainable trails.

CORC contends that off road cycling does not lead to environmental degradation, soil compaction, increased run-off and weed invasion. It is well accepted within the scientific community that all users, including walkers, equestrians and cyclists, will have an impact on the environment. What leads to erosion is poor trail design, causing water channeling and runoff.

The article also claimed that the ACT Government provided a number of dedicated mountain bike trails. Prior to CORC working with the Chief Ministers Department in developing Stromlo, the Government has never provided capital or person hours to the actual design, construction or maintenance of off road cycling trails.

The discovery of illegal trails, be they walking or cycling, in Canberra Nature Parks is of concern for all user groups. CORC has for several years offered to work with Environment ACT to find real solutions to illegal trail use and building. We continue to wait for any acknowledgment of these offers and hope we can work together on delivering workable solutions to trail and conservation issues. (I wonder how much longer we will have to wait…)

Anthony Burton
CORC President

Most moutain biking in the ACT is done in Pine Forests which will be torn up by bulldozers and replanted in a decade or so, or burnt out by bush fires….

barking toad3:21 pm 18 Jul 06

True – but it would suit me if they would transfer vehicle inspectors to bike path monitoring duties.

Maybe then I wouldn’t have got a defect notice slapped on the vehicle for a worn tyre while it innocently sat in a carpark and exactly in the middle of the space. And, to make it worse, they want a full inspection in 14 days. Not just an inspection of the tyres.

Get out and slap notices on those track-gouging kangaroos ya pricks!

Ah BT, you forget that while ACT Government’s delight in making rules they’re notso hotso at paying anyone to enforce them.

Which is just as well as it stops reality from intruding on playtime at the London Circuit Soviet.

barking toad3:00 pm 18 Jul 06

And ban kangaroos. Bloody skippy freaks bounding through the scrub making tracks and pathways.

We seriously have too many politicians if they need to harp on these issues to try and make themselves relevant.

Next thing we’ll have bike path police to stop kids taking short cuts off the officially approved sealed surface.

bloody selfish cyclists. they con the govt into spending millions on green bike lanes and then go and destroy public forest.

they are like junkies, always demanding, always justifying and never contributing.

Two words: School holidays. I for one would be a lot happier about my kids out building dirt jumps and getting some exercise than sitting on their arse in front of the telly.

I guess that it’s always going to be easier picking on mountain bikers as the cause of all our problems than actually looking at how the damage is being done. Under-resourced land managers and politicians eager to grab a quick headline like to dump on a nice convenient identifiable target – like mountain bikers.

Any realistic assessment of the ills befalling the natural environment around town would dismiss mountain bikers as a minor player. Of course we never see these people using language like “illegal walking tracks” oh no, that might just identify the real problem – people who like to wander around wearing paths all over our parks, often cutting corners of existing tracks or heading straight up the fall-line and causing “massive erosion” the next time it rains.

What a bleeding bunch of hypocrisy – if the Government was really worried about open box woodland ecosystems it wouldn’t have waited until Mulligans Flat was the last bit left. If they really gave a rats arse about small mammal populations in our nature parks there would be tougher regulations on people keeping cats, a ban on exercising dogs in nature reserves and better resourcing for pest animal control … instead we get that hapless shit-bag John Hargreaves staggering out into the spot light, all guns blazing. Hey John – how about you concentrate on getting over your alcohol abuse problem and then fixing the ACT Governments balance sheet before you go chasing kids on push bikes.

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