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  #1  
Old 12.04.2006, 06:49
swissbob
 
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Mountain Bikers

I know there's a few here so how about all you mountain bikers keeping off the wanderwegs?

Us hikers are coming to the end of the great winter season when most mountain bikers stay at home in front of the fire but now, as spring struggles to gain a foothold, we can't walk without fear of being mown down by loonies on bikes.

Ringing your little bell as a warning that you're coming is one thing but expecting me to jump out of your way as you fly past without slowing down is another.

Most wanderwegs, once you get up the hills or out in the country, are either gravel or dirt roads. You mountain bikers destroy them. Stop it.

Anyway, what sort of woosie bikers would stick to well made tracks - isn't the whole idea to go off road and be well hard?

Finally, what is it with the lycra - lycra doesn't look good on otherwise good looking people, on most of us it is just wrong.

And really finally, that little spoiler on the back of your crash hat - it doesn't make you go faster.

That felt good. maybe I'll have a go at caravans next....
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  #2  
Old 12.04.2006, 10:10
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Re: Mountain Bikers

That was hilarious!

I'm not going to recommend you my breathing technique....

I think you need a bullhorn to spread your message instead!



What's with the people going to spinning classes in their lycra and biking shoes, too?????????
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  #3  
Old 12.04.2006, 10:16
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Re: Mountain Bikers

Our Swissies do like their lycra don't they? But not subtle colours....they want greens and pinks - together!

Crack on with caravans. Going up the Berdardino well-kept-secret in summer to be confronted by a smoking, struggling Cloggy towing their 'van is no fun. Sopkuts!
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Old 12.04.2006, 14:10
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Re: Mountain Bikers

Oh come on! Running over or slaloming through packs of doddering walkers is half the challenge and fun of mountain biking in Switzerland! Never had so much fun on those quiet old Australian bush tracks.

Oh come on! (#2). Have you ever looked in the mirror when fully kitted out in your motorcycling gear? OK, you might get away with it if its all black and you dont have too big a pot belly and beard. Don't get me started on the race replica Rossi wannabes. Tragic!

Cheers
Cyclist & motorcyclist

Last edited by Yokine; 04.05.2007 at 09:11.
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  #5  
Old 12.04.2006, 14:22
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Re: Mountain Bikers

Nice bike (the one WITH the engine).

But you didn't post a picture of your caravan

I'm not really having a go at MBs per se, just the ones that ride on the signposted Wanderwegs.

No apologies about the lycra though. It should be illegal.
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Old 12.04.2006, 14:41
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Re: Mountain Bikers

Unfortunately it was only a rental. Still dont think I could cope with owning a nice bike here, six month winter, rain and all. I'm used to all year round riding, with one climate per day! Certainly up for a few more hires and rides over the summer.

As for the caravan, no never, but I once owned a Volvo with a tow-hitch. That's shamefull enough

Last edited by Yokine; 04.05.2007 at 09:11.
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  #7  
Old 12.04.2006, 20:35
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Re: Mountain Bikers

This where I should say I'm hard me, I ride my bike all year round, but it wouldn't be true. Liike a big girl I stick it in the Garage when the first snow flake falls and there it stays until, well, around this time of year.
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Old 13.04.2006, 07:35
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Re: Mountain Bikers

Quote:
Liike a big girl I stick it in the Garage when the first snow flake falls
Watch it! I've got a rule of 2 - so I'll tell you 2 things:

1. Most girls have an innate amount of common sense, therefore wouldn't go riding their motorcycles in the snow.
2. A lot of girls wouldn't go riding a motorcycle - period!!!

Hmmmmm...I guess it is right when you say "like a big girl...." - I just encourage all women out there to stop taking this as an insult from guys.
Sounds like a compliment to me!
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Old 13.04.2006, 07:49
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Re: Mountain Bikers

Quote:
This where I should say I'm hard me, I ride my bike all year round, but it wouldn't be true. Liike a big girl I stick it in the Garage when the first snow flake falls and there it stays until, well, around this time of year.
I put mine away from early December until February came.... You don't need to take that long off
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Old 03.10.2006, 09:52
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Re: Mountain Bikers

I noticed that no mountain bikers have responded to swissbob's comments, so here goes.

I agree - mountain bikers and hikers should not be on the same trails, and that is how it would be in an ideal world. Unfortunately, although Switzerland is a great place to live in many respects, the mountain biking here is very disappointing. This is mainly because there is not nearly enough space in this country for mountain bikers to have their own trail systems.

I learnt to mountain bike while living in Ontario, Canada, where there is a lot of space. This meant that on the edge of the town where I lived there was a large area specifically devoted to mountain biking trails. The 30+ km of trails were not officially open to any other type of use and they were absolutely awesome. There was a group of dedicated riders who did a great job at maintaining the trails who were aware of the erosion that biking could cause, and so they frequently changed the course of trails to allow areas to recover and to keep the trails in areas where they would do the least damage, and they made sure that all of the obstacles on the trail were rideable by a skilled rider.

There are many areas of Canada like this, but since arriving in Switzerland I have been unable to find anything like it. All that I've been able to find are hiking trails. Some of the hiking trails are rideable, but these are still far from ideal. As you say, there are often hikers on them. I always give hikers the priority, which they often seemed surprised by, and I try to go out at times of the week and day when there will be the fewest hikers. However, the hikers themselves are not the main problem. The main problem for me is that the trails are not designed for riders. There are frequently obstacles on the trail that are not made to and/or cannot be ridden over. Plus, the trails are not maintained with bikers in mind and so, as you say, bikers often cause trail erosion.

Having gone riding in the areas that I've been told hold the most promise around here and still being generally disappointed, my wife and I have pretty much given up on the mountain biking. After all, the road biking is SO AWESOME here (possibly the best in the world), why would we waste time being frustrated with the mountain biking? We are now more hikers than mountain bikers - the same trails are generally far more satisfying when hiking than when mountain biking. When I see a mountain biker on the trails I generally feel sorry for them because this is all they have to ride on, there are no true mountain bike trails on which they could really enjoy the thrill of mountain biking.

In summary, I generally agree with swissbob that mountain bikers cause trail erosion and don't mix well with hikers. These things can only be avoided by constructing biking-only trails that are properly maintained. However, I doubt that will ever happen in this small country where hiking is so popular. So, my adive is, if you want to bike, then get a road bike, and if you want to go on the trails, then hike. If you want to mountain bike, then go somewhere with a lot more space.

I must add that we live in Lausanne, in the heart of french-speaking Switzerland (Suisse-Romande), and from what I have read and heard it sounds like mountain bikers in the german-speaking part of CH may have some better options. If there are bikers who have had better experiences than me, then I'd love to hear from them.
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Old 03.10.2006, 10:44
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Re: Mountain Bikers

There wasnt really much discussion on this thread because Bob's original post was a bit of a rant/troll/joke. Though with an underlying legitimate issue.

You get these issues whenever different activities use the same space. Surfers vs swimmers at the beach, football kickers vs picnicers in the park or motorcyclists vs car drivers on a mountain pass.

I do all kinds of cycling, MTB, Roadie, touring, city transport and tinkering (fixies, singlespeeds, retro). I'm finding the bike being used the most is my tourer with front shock and slicks. So it's good for those marked cycle routes that combine sealed roads and unsealed tracks, even mud. Across the Gotthard or through the forest. The Subaru wagon of bikes

I used to do more MTB'ing but got bored with the effort riding up the mountain and then an unsatisfying descent due to the track conditions.
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Old 03.10.2006, 15:29
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Re: Mountain Bikers

Ok swissbob. This thread seems to have come back to life, and my bile is up, so I think I'll stick my oar ( pedals ) in here too. As a responsible mountain biker - as you correctly point out - I prefer to avoid paths which are clogged with doddering walkers, but sometimes I'm forced to use a shared footpath to get to and from the good stuff. When I do - I always ring my bell if approaching from behind AND I always slow down.

The walkers could reciprocate by turning on their hearing aids and not blocking the entire path, especially those surly buggers of the "I'll show this biker who owns the path" school. This technique involves blocking the path and pretending to not notice the biker, even when approaching head on, ringing a bell, then feigning surprise at the last second, topping it off with and indignant scowl, like you own path. crap. You dont!

And regarding the Lycra, well, I cant say that I'm dazzled by the walkers in the fashion stakes either. Whats with those sticks anyway. You're not skiing.

And another thing! - Horses do much more damage than mountain bikes. And the frequently leave steaming turds in the middle of the trail. I don't see you complaining about them!
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Old 08.04.2007, 21:10
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Re: Mountain Bikers

Ok... I'll try not to rant as Bob did in the first post...

But why can't all of us just coexist in gentle harmony... Most mountainbikers have been known to hike on occasion also, and so understand where the hikers are coming from...

I for one always slow down, unclip from at least one peddle, and as far to the edge of the trail as possible and let the hikers pass without getting in their way... yes this becomes a little tiresome after he 10th time you have to stop in the middle of a super fun section of trail... ...but in the aim of keeping the peace no problem.

Now... as I said, I try to be considerate of hikers so was a little peeved today when out on a ride we stopped to admire the view (well out of the way of the trail!) and had a hiker come over and do his Swiss surveillance thing and tell me that we were not allowed to bike on this trail and proceed to give us an ear bashing... When I pulled out my bike trail map and showed him that in fact the trail we were on was marked as a biking trail as well as a hiking trail he proceeded to tell us that we were the scum of the earth or some such thing...

This is not the first time this has happened to me... happened twice in Engadine last summer, except last summer the hikers in question were German and couldn't even read the map which I showed them to prove that we were on a bike trail!!!

Please, please... hikers... us bikers are humans too, and we just chose to take our outdoor enjoyment in a different way. Lets just coexist in let bygones be bygones!!!
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Old 09.04.2007, 22:42
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Re: Mountain Bikers

A few years ago I read an article that mountain biking is no worse than hiking at eroding trails. A Google search turned up this article. Judge yourself.

I've never had a problem with hikers while mountain biking. On a narrow trail I will normally slow down to a walking pace, show that I'm willing to yield the trail (they usually yield for me), and then thank them with a smile. I usually get a pleasant response.
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Old 10.04.2007, 09:01
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Re: Mountain Bikers

As a mountain biker I also had no negative experiences here in Switzerland so far. I experienced animosity from hikers far more frequently in the UK. As someone mentioned, a smile and a thank you goes a long way to maintaining the status quo!

One thing I did notice here is that the distinction between the trails that the bikers are and are not allowed to use is not clear here as it is in England (footpath vs bridleway). I have to admit, I am not aware of the exact rules in Switzerland. I have some official MTB trail maps where pretty much all paths (except for some unrideable ones) are marked as bike trails (which suits me just fine of course)
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Old 10.04.2007, 09:16
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Re: Mountain Bikers

Why is it that mountain-bikers get scowled and/or grumped at, but a family of four out for their Sunday bike ride along the same path do not, even if they are taking up its whole width? I've seen it happen, and admittedly, the ickle kiddies on their pink tricycles are cuter than me in my lycra (yes, we do wear it for a reason - the same reason that you don't swim in jeans, for example) but I am far less of an obstacle but it's a classic case of the book being judged by its cover.

Many paths (in fact, probably the majority) are for cyclists and pedestrians and both need to be considerate of each other's speed etc. I don't have a problem with having to wait while slow walkers who were chatting and didn't even see me coming move to one side, and if the feeling is not mutual, I just thank my lucky stars that I don't have their high blood pressure, as if you're out enjoying the great outdoors, it's really not worth throwing your toys out of the pram over. You see far worse things on the streets of Zurich every day - like being told by cyclists to 'luege' because you nearly stepped out onto a PEDESTRIAN crossing in front of them, but then we all know city cyclists don't have to observe any rules of the road (I've also been shouted at by fellow cyclists (not mountain-bikers, interestingly enough) for stopping at a red light and getting in their way). Now that is a different matter entirely. . .

Mountain bikers and motor bikers are actually really cute and fluffy on the inside - the lycra/leather is just our day-wear
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Old 10.04.2007, 09:31
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Re: Mountain Bikers

Ok... sorry about my rant... But 99.9999% of hikers are no problem at all, they give you a pleasant Greutzi or Hallo and even smile when you slow down and exchange pleasantries with them... This guy on Saturday came out of his way to tell us that biking is "Verbote" where we were!

But what about this weather... bike season has well and truly started...
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Old 10.04.2007, 10:31
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Re: Mountain Bikers

Quote:
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A few years ago I read an article that mountain biking is no worse than hiking at eroding trails. A Google search turned up this article. Judge yourself.

I've never had a problem with hikers while mountain biking. On a narrow trail I will normally slow down to a walking pace, show that I'm willing to yield the trail (they usually yield for me), and then thank them with a smile. I usually get a pleasant response.
Pity a university professor can't see the bleedin' obvious. I cannot image how that report was concocted, but lets see what happens to paths in real life and not in the ivory towers of academia:

On steep earth and lose gravel paths, bikes make continuous ruts while both riding and breaking. When it rains these channels allow erosion - much more than unconnected boot footprints.

I have not walked in the Züri-Oberland for over 5 years now thanks to mountain bikers. The final straw was having to wait while a group of 30 bikers passed us on a walking path, only to have them stop ahead and run up to a summit as we walked past them. 10 minutes later, we had to stand to one side as the 30 mountain bikers pass again. This happened a dozen times. Apparently the group were going up 20 peaks over 1000 metres.

More generally, mountain bikes and walkers simply do not mix. As the two groups travel a vastly different speed. I'm sure bikers would soon get fed up if walkers travelled at 5 times their speed and mountain bikers had to stop and get off every time a walker rang their 'bell' when they passed, or came towards them.

Do mountain bikers get off as walkers approach on narrow paths? Or are walkers expected to stop instead and let the bikers pass? This is the problem.
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