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Mountain bike panic!

By johnboy - 18 July 2006 52

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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52 Responses to
Mountain bike panic!
bonfire 12:47 pm 19 Jul 06

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.

Big Al 12:28 pm 19 Jul 06

‘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?

bonfire 11:59 am 19 Jul 06

‘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.

seepi 11:55 am 19 Jul 06

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.

Big Al 11:06 am 19 Jul 06

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.

bonfire 10:45 am 19 Jul 06

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.

Manana 8:30 pm 18 Jul 06

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

Irongeek 4:05 pm 18 Jul 06

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 toad 3:21 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!

Thumper 3:17 pm 18 Jul 06

Speaking of bloody bike lanes, how dangerous is it at 0830 in the morning heading South into Civic on Northbourne in crawling traffic and then wanting to turn off to the left.

I nearly ran over, well, cut off, some fuck knuckle cyclist barrelling down the side in his bike lane at about 60kph while everyone else was doing 20-30.

There is no way in the wide world you can see them, not unless you want to drive with your head permanently looking over your left shoulder, in which case you’d stack into the car in front of you.

A cyclist is going to killed one day and some poor driver is going to have to pay for the mistakes of a misguided ideology and plan.

johnboy 3:08 pm 18 Jul 06

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 toad 3:00 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.

bonfire 2:37 pm 18 Jul 06

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.

Big Al 2:37 pm 18 Jul 06

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.

Thumper 1:56 pm 18 Jul 06

The major problem they cause is massive erosion due to tracks and jumps diverting water in specific areas.

Yes, I know, it hardly ever rains here, however, normally when it does, what does not get absorbed into the leaf litter runs off into the tiny intermittant creeks and then into rivers etc.

What happens when you have artificial ‘creeks’ from these trails and jumps, etc, is that the water then forms ersoion gullies, which is not good.

However, ‘potentially irreparable damage ‘ it is not. It’s simply a case of removing said structures and replanting native grasses and understorey. Within a year you won’t know that anything ever existed there.

It’s also not good for some of the fragile native flora species.

As for native fauna, no. Cats and urban development do that.

However, admirable as it may be, I think there are bigger fish to fry within the ACT at this stage.

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