Banning bikes on the Colorado Trail and Continental Divide Trail

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I came across this gem today in the Denver Post:

Opposition is mounting to a proposed plan to ban bikes from a new rerouting of the Colorado Trail and the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail — or the CDNST — in southern Colorado’s Cochetopa Hills area of the Rio Grande National Forest.

For the last two years, the Forest Service has studied the development of a new, 31.2-mile trail in the area to pull CDNST hikers off a hard-to-navigate maze of gravel roads used by cars, motorcycles, horseback riders, hikers and cyclists.

After studying four alternatives in an environmental assessment, the Forest Service has identified a proposed action that would keep bikes off the new trail from Lujan Pass to the La Garita Wilderness. The agency cited trail erosion by bikes as well as the “social effects” of mountain bike use when it suggested its preferred alternative.

“A biker coming around a corner at high speed can come upon a hiker before either party is aware of the other,” reads the Forest Service’s review of each alternative. “In general terms, bicycle use on the CDNST is not consistent with the overall objectives” of the trail.

First things first: I am very happy to read that there is some strong opposition to this new plan by the USFS.  Obviously trying to re-route sections of the Colorado Trail and Continental Divide Trail to a wilderness area (and therefore banning mountain bikes) will probably piss off a fair amount of the readers of this site, and I am one of them.  It drives me batshit that reasons like “erosion” and “social effects” are brought up as reasons to keep mountain bikes off of trail.  These “reasons” are a total crock of shit, and the assholes at the USFS who used them deserve a swift kick in the balls.

I had the pleasure of riding sections of the CDT trail in both CO and MT (you may remember I wrote about the section of the CDT off of Homestake Pass outside of Butte, MT).  While riding I have encountered hikers, and by slowing down, making sure to say hello, and smiling (basically trying not to be a total dick), no one was harmed, and occasionally a friend was made.  Similarly I’ve encountered horses while riding a bike, and by not being a deuche and following some simple rules no one was harmed, and all parties involved went onto enjoy their day.  How about that for a “social effect”.

The sad fact is bullshit reasons like this have fucked over mountain bikers in great areas.  The example that comes to mind is when 160 miles of trail in the Gallitan National Forest trails were closed down a few years back.  The jackass of a judge who ruled on the decisions cited “solitude” as a reason to close the trails to mountain biking.  Never mind the fact that you can go into a recognized wilderness area and load up a mule with a boombox and crank Slayer until your ears bleed (that is one way to destroy someone’s solitude).

Im not sure how this instance with the Coloraodo Trail and CDT is going to pan out, but I would like to see the intresets of mountain bikers factored into the decision.  The good news is that the Colorado Trail Foundation has ganged up with IMBA and the Colorado Mountain Biking Association to work towards a logical solution.

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About 40 Hands

A fan of riding bikes with one gear, malt liquor, riding without knowing how many miles I’ve covered, and strip clubs that let you bring your own keg. I typically have a stupid grin on my face, it is because deep down I know that no matter what, my mom thinks I’m cool. Denver, Colorado, USA

23 Replies to “Banning bikes on the Colorado Trail and Continental Divide Trail”

  1. Those mountainbike hating dick bags are all too prevalent in Colorado! Opening up a new trail to mtn biking that isnt commercial is harder than fuck all and the trails we do have that are open face constant oposition! I would like to see some mtn bike specific trails for mtbing only. I’m overly polite to equestrians and hikers and it isnt working. And I have no trails to take my cattle dog off the lease either, but a horse can trample, erode and shit all over the trail. Is it ok cause those fuckers have more money? Anyways! Fuck the USFS and all those dickbag wannabe trail police! I agree! this shit needs to stop!

  2. I know we’re all trying to be punk rock here. But as a square living in Colorado I don’t see anyone giving more to trails than mtb’rs. It’s ridiculous that IMBA doesn’t do a better job advocating for us. It’s ridiculous that equestrians damage the trails and we get a bad wrap. It’s incredulous that hippie hikers have a stronger lobby than we do. MTB manufacturers and IMBA need to do a better job lobbying for us or we need to spend our money elsewhere. Trail access for the largest single track user has been an issue for too long. It’s like scooter drivers dictating driving laws. We pay taxes, we volunteer, we’re the end user, we need to be represented. If not then places like buffalo creek and sections along the platte and waterton canyon should be closed to hikers because cyclists are the primary user and its dangerous for me adjust my riding for their safety.

  3. When this land was deeded to the public it was given to the “General Public”, that is, all of us, for economic benefit and for recreation. It was never intended to be given over to one set of users over another. Period.

  4. “An automobile coming around a corner at high speed can come upon a bicyclist before either party is aware of the other,” reads the DOT’s review of each alternative. “In general terms, automobile use on roads is not consistent with the overall objectives.” Why hasn’t someone come out with Strava for cars? Seems legit.

  5. Thanks for the post. I do have a little more intel here, I am a memeber of the Colorado Trail Foundation (CTF), just to keep up with info and make sure we mtn bikers have advocacy. I received the Winter Newsletter for the CTF. From what I read they added Collegiate East Loop beginning in the second half ofSegment 11 through the first half of Segment 15 beginning near Twin Lakes and ending near Monach Pass on the south. I think this is the section written about in the Denver Post? It is just a loop off the beaten path from what I can see. I know most of the players at the CTF and none are working toward excluding any one trail user, at least not to my knowledge. Join the CTF and help keep mtn bike advocacy, they actually have a good Christmas party next month in Golden.

  6. When I ride my sweet magna with the boombox all bale-wired to the handle bars, the only sound coming from those clapped out speakers is SLAYER.

  7. If I read this correctly, part of this re-route passes through a designated wilderness? mechanized vehicles aren’t allowed in the wilderness, never have been. There is nothing new here, it’s a tempest in a teapot.

  8. The proposed trail re-route does not pass through designated wilderness. The re-route is between Lujan Pass and ends before the La Garita Wilderness area. The USFS presented four alternatives in their Environmental Assessment. The USFS Preferred Alternative (Alternative 2) would limit trail use to horseback riding & hiking only. Alternative 3 would allow horseback riding, hiking and mechanized (non-motorized) use. Not a tempest in a teapot at all – we stand to lose use of 32.1 miles of single track even before it is built. Submit comments to the USFS in support of Alternative 3. Thanks.

  9. And people think I’m exaggerating when I say the “anti” crowd will try to get the mtn bikes out once they get the motos out…

  10. recently Colorado Springs moto trail Cap’n Jacks was closed to moto use…endangered trout. I say moto trail cause they built it and maintained it. It is fantastic on a mtn bike…but guess what’s next? please comment, option three is a fair and balanced proposal.

    Oddly enough the only time I have NOT had to recue or aide a hiker while out mtn biking the CT was when I rode with 40 hands. If they kick us out who is going to save their dumb asses?

  11. Mr. Jim G speaks sense and frames his position well.

    But reading the next three comments, we come to the fly in the ointment. Are mountain bikes persecuted like motos? We can’t lose access! Or should they be granted access like horses? We should be able to ride in the wilderness! The MTB advocacy is hopelessly schizophrenic.

    Disclaimer: I am an Advocate-level supporter of TWS. Wilderness is capital-i Important and it’s EXCEEDINGLT importnat to do it correctly. You can’t grow back a 600 year-old tree. I do have a beef with the “non-mechanized” language in the law, though.

  12. Oh hoh, Strava haters, finally. I’m a roadie from Flirida soon to be in Colorado, yes back to hills, bliss. It seems like I’m surrounded by Tri geeks who believe Strava boards equal achievement. I think the all lack in a detain area. Even my roadie riding buddy us hooked, but keeps mostly silent as I have threatened to hang him by his balls, I know it’s off topic but its my first time here and I’m just so pleased.

  13. M.

    I think the “mechanized” is included to allow mechanized trail building.

    As for being persecuted like moto’s, they are often the first to be kicked out after building and maintaining the trails for years. then us mtn biker folk come along and get to play on them trails, until the hikers decide that they no longer want to share THEIR trails. Then we are kicked out. I follow moto boards for just this reason. It is like having a crystal ball.

    There is no fly in the ointment. It is just a group of self righteous pricks who think they own the outdoors. They are for more organized than us ( and moto’s ) due to them being older and richer with far more hate mail writing capabilities and time than you or I — because we are actually out on the trails. Our love and passion then becomes our greatest enemy…

    So please take the time to write, even if you have neve been to Colorado. That network is awesome. I would hate for it to become like the North Country trail.

  14. “It is just a group of self righteous pricks who think they own the outdoors. They are for more organized than us ( and moto’s ) due to them being older and richer with far more hate mail writing capabilities and time than you or I — because we are actually out on the trails”

    Mr. Buddhist— you’re usually quite persuasive, but this bit is part of the problem, not the solution. Have you ever actually met a hiker? Old and rich? I don’t think so. It’s the moto, MTB and equestrian dudes with major investments in equipment, logistics and training. A hiker need a pair of decent shoes, a water bottle and a ride to the trailhead.

    I think the reason that hikers appear to have a strong political lobby is exactly for this reason: it’s easy to be a hiker, it’s very inclusive, and as a result, there’s a lot of them.

    And unfortunately, from the hikers’ perspective, there’s an awful lot of ‘pricks’ on motos and freeride MTBs poaching trails, being loud, riding unsafely, and generally being STRAVA anal pores. It only takes a handful off assholes to make an entire constituency look bad, and cycling suffers badly from this effect.

    So run a muffler on your moto, slow down for uphill hiker traffic and try to be nice. It’s a beautiful day to be in the backcountry. Rubber side down, brother.

  15. Two points: First, I’ve logged a shit-ton o’ miles on trails with hikers and have NEVER had a problem (maybe with one of their dogs, but that’s because it bit me)….and I was still diplomatic about it.
    Second: It REALLY pisses me off that they continue to group cyclists/mt.bikers with atv/motorcycle users. Clearly not the same and totally different impact on the trails.

  16. @rollingrob: “I think the all lack in a detain area. Even my roadie riding buddy us hooked”

    English, motherfucker Do you speak it?