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Since my other bike is a horse, I've been hearing a lot of rumblings in the area I board my horse (near Hansen Dam) of political action to remove mountain bikes from most if not all trails in the area. I've been vaguely indifferent to all of this so far, since I've neither had bad encounters with cyclists (though I know riders who've almost been killed), nor seen the cyclists treated as villains until now. I just read this idiotic rambling in which the horse bitch feels the need to bring up city bike lanes for "transportation bikers" (WTF? What does that even have to do with horses?) . . . http://socalequine.com/press_release.htm#41309
I've never personally had a serious incident with a cyclist, but I know plenty of riders who have (one said a cyclist sped down the trail, scaring the bejeezus out of her horse who then went off the side of the trail, rolling over the rider a few times and then getting them both stuck in a ditch. It's a miracle they both survived. The cyclist never stopped). My big wish is that cyclists would not only slow/stop their bikes, but make eye contact with the rider and ask what the rider needs, as the cyclist doesn't know the horse and probably can't read horse behavior, and should take cues from the rider, rather than decide that things "look OK" and keep going.
However, I don't have nearly as big a beef with cyclists as I do with unleashed dogs.
Oh yeah, and I'm also really bothered that the idiot horse bitch on that site talked about trail riding being relaxing. I usually tear down the trail on my horse (though not around blind corners, and I immediately slow to a walk as soon as I see another horse/pedestrian/whatever).
Ive been chased by dogs before and one time i almost landed on some ladies chihuawas of a huge jump she was like 25 feet away ! SHe started yelling at me so i simply said my apologies but leash law and next time he is going to be done! Check out this pic! This would have been her pooch!
And as far as the MTB vs horse thing goes...my sister rides horses and I used to be scurred of them, but then I met her horse and he was so sweet! And I guess I must just have an interest in alternate forms of transportation because now I want to ride the horse!
Anyway, I think that at the place where you board you should try to explain to folks that not everyone is like that. That we have to work together to get along, and that MTB are enjoying the trails the same way riders are (I'm assuming, since for me it would be a pleasant escape from the city). And that if they catch a naughty MTB, they should maybe try to educate them instead of get mad.
It's amazing what can happen if people talk instead of just fume.
I understand the concern, it's the same when you're on a bike! And I've ridden a horse before and I know it's not that easy! I totally respect horses.
come with us tuesday! we meet at the JPL parking lot every tuesday at 6pm sharp and climb up to lower brown and come down the el prieto trail! This is such a popular trail and is great for begginers! it last about 1 hour 30 mins! usually about 15-25 of us ! Feel free to join us!
The only solution is too ban horses from all public lands. As a hiker I've had way more horrible encounters with equestrians than I have with mtn bikers. Anything from equestrians in control but running their horses around blind corners in Griffith Park to absolutely out of control horses many times over the years.
Or at the very least every equestrian AND horse should be licensed and approved before they're allowed on public trails. At least with mtn bikers were dealing with human beings who just might have a brains. Over the years I've found it hard to believe that horses have brains.
@HappyLand: I'm not sure El Prieto is a great first mtb ride.
Pporas has never been on a Mountaineerzz, but his bike is serious downhill gear.. not your average trail bicycle..
We're going to post a May ride of the 'eerzz that will be "the geriatric ride" or something like that.. Both twowheelsgood and I are recovering from injuries, so we're gonna do a chill-paced ride. The start will be somewhere very near Hollywood.. most likely Fairfax+Sunset. Stay tuned, or shoot me an email and I'll try to offer more details.
Saying that horses should not be on trails is like saying that bikes shouldn't be on streets. That's shitty. Equestrians on trails are facing the same issues that bicycles on streets are; they're at the mercy of another group of users. Only, imagine that your bike was a 1,000lb+ animal that could kill you or someone else in a heartbeat, with or without meaning to, and had a mind of its own . . . 'cause that's the mindframe that the equestrians are coming from. It's just fascinating to me, with this whole bikes vs. horses issue, to see the CYCLISTS become the big bad fatal accident-causing vehicle, when I'm familiar enough with the bikes vs. cars issue.
Maybe I'm being awfully naive and idealistic, but I'd like to imagine that it's possible for cyclists and equestrians to coexist, and for one group to not feel more entitled to the trails than the other.
And if any a**holes think it's OK to speed past horses, or around blind corners, please keep in mind what horses are capable of, even in the hands of an experienced horseman. An example:
(And in this video, it is nothing short of an act of god that this wasn't worse.)
As far as the craziness in Griffith Park, I've never ridden there but I know there's a lot of rental stables, so of course any yahoo with $50, cowboy dreams, and delusions of riding ability might be out there along with decent horsepeople. Just 'cause they can kick or hit the horse into a canter and hang on doesn't qualify them as "riders."
@HappyLand - not only are the people on rental horses a safety hazard to themselves, others, and their horses . . . even if they don't kill someone, they make the horses miserable. These horses are more often than not ridden in badly fitted saddles, with harsh bits suitable only for advanced riders who understand their mechanics, purpose, and proper usage, and kicked and yanked around, and generally hurt/confused by beginners until they're ghosts of their former selves. Even when guides go out with them, rental horses still depress the hell out of me. Besides, just because you have a guide doesn't mean s/he knows anything, or even speaks English.
A ban will never work. So don't worry about it. Most people (all people) be they a hiker, biker, or horse rider will have a few people with nothing better to do than try and control the trails for their own personal use, the rest tend to be fine.
And let's say that they "ban" cyclists. Ha. How will they enforce it? There are less than a dozen active park rangers for most of the parks in the greater LA area. Enforcing such a law would not be possible. Perhaps taking one unbalanced persons view and thinking they speak for all people from that group is not the best idea.
I MTB all I can and am willing to go ride with people if they want. I ride two or three times a week in the Valley, where the best trails are at!
It's ridiculous that the people doing the least accessible, most expensive, most space-occupying, most trail damaging, probably most dangerous, and definitely smelliest use of trails are trying to ban anyone else!
But they're the richest, so they have a big say.
@ Happyland: I ride lots. Mostly in the Mountains north of Altadena, so from downtown you can take the gold line to Pasadena and then ride to the trails from there. I'd be happy to show anyone El Prieto, it's a good introduction to real mtb trails.
Also, with all respect, Paul is wrong. The best riding around here is in the San Gabes, not the valley.
Hey mountain riders, just FYI, this is a ride I've been doing off and on for the past couple years. Would love to see some new faces. But can't stress enough, no newbies with headlamps. Be an intermediate mtn rider and have a real night-riding light. Otherwise, the more the merrier!!
LA Westside Wednesday night ride
Break up your week and add more mileage riding the Santa Monicas on Wednesdays at 8:00 pm in West Los Angeles. A small group of regulars meets in the parking lot of Cynergy Cycles on 25th and Santa Monica Blvd. around 7:45 PM, rolling out on the hour. Itís not always the same mix of riders, but the ride is always on, unless itís a special holiday week, etc. We sometimes ride from the shop, but we often drive up to the handful of trailheads nearby. Rides are almost exclusively in the nearby Santa Monicas but sometimes elsewhere (like a rare Chesboro jaunt). Most are usually decided on the spot at 8:00 and involve 1.5 to 2.5 hour variations of the nearby Sullivan Canyon, Sullivan Ridge, Westridge, Farmers/Cliffside, Hectic/Cookies, Will Rogers/Backbone, and sometimes into the Malibu trails. Ride is cross-country, quick pace (but not too fast), sometimes technical on the downhills and thereís regrouping and short breaks as needed. Sorry, NO beginners please. Just bring a decently maintained mountain bike, tire-changing kit and a good riding light/s (A MUST). And optionalÖ.we usually have a beer or two at a dive-bar near the Santa Monica meeting spot after the ride. All are welcome for that too. Feel free to email me....jbroehl at yahoo dott comm
Horses and MTBers, same old conflict. Problem is education needs to happen on both sides. As a long time MTBer, I've learned the etiquette of sharing the trails as absurb as some are.
Did you know that you've have to dismount your bike, greet the rider, if you meet an equestrian on the trail? If passing a equestrian call out to the to see if its OK to pass and do not follow too closely, it can hurt. Problem is there are protocols and many riders don't take the time to learn them.
Same is true for equestrians, they have money and have this sense of entitlement. Many live in the areas trails are found and also have that sense of ownership. I've live in an equestrian neighborhood and hear my neighbors views all the time. Some even think that I know all MTBers and go out of their way to tell me about their close calls.
It all comes down to common courtesy. Remember the horse's reaction is a big unknown, only the rider can tell you that. Slow down and talk to the equestrians as you pass, it goes a long way towards trail sharing.