Bikers must police our own

  Patrick Farrell’s Sept. 18 cover story, "Going Big," presented a fairly accurate picture of the current challenges facing the mountain-bike community. As an active mountain-bike trail advocate since 1989, I have witnessed the gradual acceptance of mountain bikes as part of the trail equation by land agencies and most trail users. The upstart downhill/ freeride crowd will, no doubt, go through the same growing pains the more traditional cross-country riders went through 15-plus years ago. Their existence depends on how they respond to those who want to shut them down.

The construction of unauthorized trails could be reduced by land agencies lending a more receptive ear to the needs of trail users. One major obstacle to this process is the ever-shrinking federal agency’s recreation budgets. Some mountain-bike trail groups and local federal land-management offices are developing innovative modes of financing trail development with the help of local and national business concerns.

My experience on non-motorized trails is most trail users tolerate other modes of trail use, and most trail users are well-behaved. It is the responsibility of all trail groups to educate their members about trail etiquette and tolerance, and police their own.

Bill Harris
Montrose, Colorado