A California city council banned mountain bkers from a local park this winter, thanks in part to Strava data. Ryan Dunfee photo.
According to the Los Altos Town Crier, the city of Los Altos Hills, which sits adjacent to Silicon Valley, finalized a proposed ban on mountain bikers at a city park this winter after Strava speeds of area riders topping 20 miles per hour – speeds one council member called "just incredibly unacceptable" – were found recorded in the town's Byrne Preserve.
Some of the local hikers and horseback riders began registering complaints about bikers' speed in the Preserve and on the steep Artemas Gintzon trail in particular, and were vocal about concerns that young riders could suffer injury if their horses got spooked by a biker coming around a blind corner.
After no public comment was made in opposition to the proposed ban, the town council adopted the biker ban in the Preserve's trails. They stated that their decision was notably influenced by the recorded speeds of area riders easily tracked down on Strava.
The infusion of publicly-available data like that available through Strava – and even through Instagram photos – has certainly had some ill and unintended effects on outdoor recreation groups. While the posting of a camping 'Gram in a blatantly illegal spot might lead to public ire, GPS data from Strava records is helping expose fun but illegal trails all over the place. Can you say Santa Cruz?
While Los Altos Hills' action is seemingly a unique example of what can happen when folks who don't want bikers around use bikers' own data against them, it's not hard to imagine Forest Service rangers or other public officials being forced to take action against illegal trails (more on that with our friends at Singletracks), or in the case of Los Altos Hills, revoke legal trail access mountain bikers already enjoy.
If riders are getting banned going 20, what happens if they're going as fast as Francois Baily-Maître. He's gotta be stoked he's French and doesn't have to worry about this nonsense. Ryan Dunfee photo.
That's the scarier possibility – that riders perfectly enjoying themselves going fast on bikes on trails they're allowed to, and recording that experience in the process because it's hard not to in this era of big data and oversharing leads to a verbal minority finding that readily-available data and running, Excel sheet in hand, to their town council to back up their biker ban ordinance with data showing local bikers hauling ass at "just incredibly unacceptable" speeds.
If people rolling at 20 mph are getting people banned, it makes me a bit nervous considering top Strava feeds on my favorite trail in Jackson Hole are up around 33 mph. But given the inevitable posting of Strava data – as well as that from other apps that track outdoor activities – it would seem the only solution is to get out in front of the issue, own those speeds, and be the group that starts the conversation about shared use. Better that than to be on your heels, or in the case of the public comment in the Los Altos Hills case, not present in the conversation at all.
The ski troops of the 10th Mountain Division endured incredibly brutal combat in World War II, battling frostbite and hostile alpine environments during their short but violent campaign against German forces in Italy’s Apennine Mountains. Casualties in the winter of 1945 were staggering, but when the ski troops returned home they poured their heart and soul into the newly-evolving ski industry, opening ski resorts, managing ski schools and influencing innovation. Unlike most of Europe, prior
ELEMENTAL from Sage Cattabriga-Alosa on Vimeo. Sage Cattabriga-Alosa rips. Whether it is BC pillows, unimaginably large Alaskan spine faces, or desert freeriding, he puts his mark on a mountain face like a true master. Wait, desert freeriding? Like on bikes? Yup. For those of you that haven’t figured this part out yet, Sage is quite the accomplished mountain biker. Living in the two-wheeled hotbed of Bend, Oregon surely helps, but hanging out and riding with professional mountain bikers
Yup, you read that headline right. Faction Skis and Andorran bike brand Commencal Bicycles have teamed up for a special run of planks aimed at the all-mountain shredder who wants it all. At this point, we all know that Faction makes ripping skis, and that Commencal makes some of the fastest bikes on the market, so we see this partnership going places. In Commencal’s words: “Before we start, let’s make one thing clear... We are a bike brand through and through! But we also live in the