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STAY OUT OF THE ER!

Mountain Bikers are still getting Hurt on the North Shore

Words Cam McRae
Date Mar 24, 2020
Reading time

COVID-19 has the potential to be a PR nightmare for mountain bikers. Full parking lots, shuttling in groups, (it's difficult to be 2 metres apart in a car) and riding tight with others; all of these have been happening, but that's not the worst part. Mountain bikers continue to get hurt on the North Shore, robbing resources badly needed to deal with and prepare for the growing COVID 19 crisis.

Those of us who enjoy action sports are sometimes pegged as selfish adrenaline junkies. We can solidify these stereotypes by ignoring social distancing suggestions and engaging in unsafe riding practices. Continuing along this path is bound to undermine much of the goodwill we've worked hard to build within our local communities, and cause huge problems for medical personnel.

Of course this applies to riders in every area where COVID-19 is currently a problem, which is much of the globe. So please make good decisions and scale back the gnarl factor for now. It's the right thing to do, for our sport, but much more importantly, for society as a whole.

It seems many riders are not yet hearing this message.


Here's what Cooper Quinn, the president of the NSMBA, our local trail association, had to say.

Hi all,

It's stressful out there. Believe me, I get it. And being out on the trails is a great way to try and relax; it can also be a path to the Emergency Room, hospital, or clinic if you take a tumble. Clearly, this message hasn't meant enough coming from me, so let's hear from a doctor at the local hospital.

โ€œWe continue to see patients come into our operating rooms at Lions Gate Hospital with fractures from mountain biking injuries. While mountain biking is an activity that can be socially isolating, the injuries from this activity are using up precious medical equipment and operating room time that is desperately needed to help treat as many cancer patients as we can in the days before we are overwhelmed by COVID19 patients...๐—˜๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜† ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ท๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐˜† ๐˜„๐—ฒ ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—ป ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ฑ๐—ฎ๐˜†๐˜€ ๐˜„๐—ถ๐—น๐—น ๐—ด๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐˜‚๐˜€ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ผ๐—ฝ๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ถ๐˜๐˜† ๐˜๐—ผ ๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐˜€๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฒ ๐˜„๐—ต๐—ผ ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—น๐—น๐˜† ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ๐˜€ ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—น๐—ถ๐—ณ๐—ฒ-๐˜€๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ [emphasis Cooper's].โ€

If we want to keep trails open, we're all going to have to work together. And that means very low risk riding (I've been on my gravel bike for the past couple weeks), riding only with immediate housemates in small groups, and maintaining physical separation of at least 2 meters at all times. I promise the trails will be there on the other side of all this chaos. Let's make sure as many of us get there as we can, and the load on our healthcare system is minimal. We just can't risk recreational injuries right now.

Thank you, and take care. We're all on this ride together.

Cooper Quinn
President of the NSMBA


Of course we'd all like to be able to ride with our buddies and hit the trails we like most, but our compliance is essential here. Even if our actions have little impact on the spread of COVID-19, if we give that impression through our actions, we are putting mountain biking in a lot of hot water.

If you have some strategies to help riders preserve sanity while following all the guidelines and staying out of hospital, please share them below. If we are able to keep things tidy, trails may remain open in the short term at least. Otherwise they'll be closed by local authorities.

Please, if you continue to ride, ride safely.

Tags: COVID-19
Posted in: News, Features

Trending on NSMB

Comments

fartymarty
+2 Pete Roggeman Tremeer023
fartymarty  - March 24, 2020, 4:31 a.m.

We're lucky to be allowed* out to ride so don't take the piss.

* at least in the UK anyway for solo rides.

At least LBS's can remain openย  https://singletrackworld.com/2020/03/bike-shops-classed-as-essential-service-may-remain-open/

Reply

Vikb
+6 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman Beau Miller mike Jonas Dodd Carlos Matutes
Vik Banerjee  - March 24, 2020, 6:44 a.m.

We've been riding from home avoiding driving [which is far more dangerous than MTBing or cycling in general] and hitting the less popular trails. That avoids the trailheads almost entirely and we don't see many people.

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pete@nsmb.com
+3 sansarret twk Carlos Matutes
Pete Roggeman  - March 24, 2020, 7:10 a.m.

The point about driving is important, too - and any other activity that comes with an increased element of risk. Avoid driving where possible, or keep trips short. And when you do drive, do so more slowly and defensively. I have to say that in general it does seem like the drivers that are out there are being a bit more careful than I'm used to seeing. May also have to do with the streets being less busy.

Reply

Taz123
+5 Andrew Major Timer Pete Roggeman Jason Wolfe Carlos Matutes
Taz123  - March 24, 2020, 7:32 a.m.

I was going to say the opposite Pete. With less folks on the road, I've been seeing more and more reckless driving (speeding, crossing lanes without signaling, charging orange/red lights). Rumor has it that the RCMP have reduced their staffing in half to allow for sickness...so patrols are potentially down.

I agree that we need to be responsible in the MTB world, and for those riding on the road, I'd be extra vigilant (and visible) because there are some crazies out there.

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AndrewMajor
+6 Mammal Pete Roggeman grcgrc twk IslandLife Jason Wolfe
Andrew Major  - March 24, 2020, 10:18 a.m.

This has come as a total shock to me. I always figured that the reason some North Shore drivers are total assholes to pedestrians in crosswalks, cyclists, etc was a spill-over from the stress of driving in North Vancouver traffic, but it turns out that totally isn't the case.

Riding my bike to work, in a painted bike lane, next to an empty 4-lane road, and I'm still getting buzzed by trucks. Empty taxis still cut me off. Some old f***er in his 1980's Chrysler mini-van lays on the horn and flips me the bird because he has to wait 2-secs to make his left hand turn - It's INSANE.

I actually can't believe I'm saying this but I'm actually thinking about getting a GoPro for my commuter bike so there's maybe some evidence if I get wiped out and I've only been thinking that since the streets emptied out.

-

On the other hand, the trails were ~ empty on my ride this morning on Fromme. I saw five other people and none were on bikes. We all used pullouts and patience to ensure there was ample physical distance when crossing each other's paths and everyone looked positively relieved to get some forest time.

The DNV has a brilliant sign making team and instead of closing this-and-that I'd love to see some humorous signage at major trail entrances educating folks on best practices when it comes to passing other users, maintaining 2m distance in the woods, and recommending off-peak visiting hours so that folks like me that can go at less busy times aren't in the forest in those few times a week when many folks have their only window.

Reply

mammal
+3 Pete Roggeman Andrew Major grcgrc
Mammal  - March 24, 2020, 10:26 a.m.

Great idea on the trail signage!ย 

Appalling, regarding the drivers in NV. I don't do a lot of bike commuting these days, but that just blows my mind. Most drivers that I've noticed are more laid back than usual, but perhaps not when it comes to cyclists.

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niels@nsmb.com
+1 Andrew Major
Niels  - March 24, 2020, 2:54 p.m.

I've also seen some weird driving behaviour in the past few days. I think it's because people are under above-average stress.

I think the guy who designed the humorous signs retired a few years ago, I remember it being in the local news. My favourite is the one addressed to dogs.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Niels
Andrew Major  - March 24, 2020, 4:11 p.m.

Well hell Niels, doesn't the guy know he's the hero his community needs him right now?! Let's draft him out of retirement and get some signs going that the community doesn't want to ignore!

pete@nsmb.com
+1 Andrew Major
Pete Roggeman  - March 24, 2020, 10:55 a.m.

I thought about this a little more and did see some brutal shit late last week, so...maybe I was wearing rose-coloured eye shields when I wrote that. Though I haven't been on a major road since Friday and our walks with the new dog have been deliberately as far from traffic as possible.

Reply

cooperquinn
+5 Timer DanL Pete Roggeman grcgrc AlanB
Cooper Quinn  - March 24, 2020, 8:35 a.m.

Thanks Cam.ย 

There's no way to eliminate risk in your life. But think extra carefully these days about what risks you're taking, and what the consequences may be.ย 

Stay active, keep your health up (physical, and mental), but keep in mind you don't want to be in the ER at the best of times and during a crisis like this you put others lives at risk if you land there.

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Shoreloamer
+3 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman Angu58
Greg Bly  - March 24, 2020, 8:49 a.m.

More than 300 people die each year in BC from automobiles.ย 

Automobiles are a a priveledge a not a nessesity.

Commuting by bike is a huge risk.ย 

I get it dont do double black trails . Living is a calculated risk.ย 

Im still riding my bike on trails. Alone .ย 

If your behind the wheel of 6000 pounds of glass and steel . Use your signals all time please. Look behind you use your side mirrors. And when there is a person standing at a cross walk please stop.ย 

Better yet ride your bike and be carefull.ย 

Thanks.

Reply

Brocklanders
+4 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman Niels Angu58
yahs  - March 24, 2020, 9:19 a.m.

People are stressed and I am finding although not many cars on the road the drivers are not paying attention. Riding low risk trails is way safer than riding the roads. Closing the trails will not get the injury count down. Doesn't matter anyways a big rain cycle is on its way here in Vancouver. That will keep most inside

Reply

Shoreloamer
0
Greg Bly  - March 24, 2020, 8:49 a.m.

More than 300 people die each year in BC from automobiles.ย 

Automobiles are a a priveledge a not a nessesity.

Commuting by bike is a huge risk.ย 

I get it dont do double black trails . Living is a calculated risk.ย 

Im still riding my bike on trails. Alone .ย 

If your behind the wheel of 6000 pounds of glass and steel . Use your signals all time please. Look behind you use your side mirrors. And when there is a person standing at a cross walk please stop.ย 

Better yet ride your bike and be carefull.ย 

Thanks.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
+15 Andrew Major Mammal Timer Todd Hellinga DanL Pete Roggeman dave_f Cr4w Niels OldManBike Cooper Quinn grcgrc ZigaK Carlos Matutes IslandLife
Cam McRae  - March 24, 2020, 10:08 a.m.

I have a friend who is an ER doc in whistler and I asked him for a quote for this article. He was keen to share: Hereโ€™s my quote: โ€œStop shuttling and riding high risk terrain you fucking idiots!โ€

Reply

Shoreloamer
-2 IslandLife Cr4w
Greg Bly  - March 26, 2020, 11:44 a.m.

Cam is calling people idiots a form of positive encouraging conversation? Your a better man than that. Mountain bikers are a rather courteous thoughtful bunch. With a few assholes in the picture.ย 

Try using positive encouraging statements .ย 

I have friends that wanted to shuttle . A few words of concern was enough to help change thiere mind.ย 

Ride alone , ride easy trails, ride slow and enjoy the nature.

Reply

IslandLife
+1 Cr4w
IslandLife  - March 26, 2020, 11:59 a.m.

But this is exactly the problem.ย  There have been many positive encouraging statements made from all the MTB assns, doctors, as well as many riders for many weeks now.ย  People were not getting it.ย ย 

Unfortunately, at some point you have to nail people to the wall with more strongly worded statements before they get it.

Also, it's very clear in Cam's comment that he isn't calling people idiots himself.. he is quoting what his ER doc friend told him.ย  You can tell because he says -ย 

"I have a friend who is an ER doc in whistler and I asked him for a quote for this article. He was keen to share: Hereโ€™s my quote:"

Reply

Shoreloamer
-1 IslandLife
Greg Bly  - March 28, 2020, 8:53 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

IslandLife
0
IslandLife  - March 28, 2020, 10:29 a.m.

Then I guess you should call up that doctor and explain your position. ย Cam didnโ€™t say it, I didnโ€™t say it. So commenting about it and blaming Cam is useless. Take care!

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AndrewMajor
+18 DMVancouver Kenny Niels Pete Roggeman OldManBike grcgrc Nouseforaname Mammal Colby Gordon Timer twk satn mike taprider Adrian White Tim Coleman Andy Eunson mrraulduke
Andrew Major  - March 24, 2020, 10:31 a.m.

Mountain Bikers as a user group are easily identified, self-shaming, low-hanging fruit, and folks need to get some perspective. Pedaling up to the forest today, in the rain, there's not a single construction site in North Vancouver closed down. Some guys putting shingles on one of the steepest roofs I've seen. A smoker on every corner. Multiple transit buses (because how else would grocery store workers who can't afford to live on the Shore get to work?). People running red lights, blowing through crosswalks, and generally driving like assholes.

Going out in the woods, riding within your limits, practicing patient and friendly physical distancing with fellow travelers - these are not no-risk activities but leaving the house to be in the forest is still safer than just about anything else you can leave home to do right now. Look after your mental and physical health.

Reply

Cheese67
0
Colby Gordon  - March 24, 2020, 11:47 a.m.

Well said

Reply

Cheese67
-1 mrraulduke
Colby Gordon  - March 24, 2020, 11:46 a.m.

People should be wearing protection knee arm chest full face helmets that is a guarantee to minimize injury or ย prevented and chill out

Reply

cerealkilla_
+1 Cooper Quinn
jdt  - March 24, 2020, 5:03 p.m.

Regardless of what anyone thinks about COVID-19, and regardless of their attitude towards choice and personal risk, OUR ENTIRE SPORT AND RIDERSHIP will be judged based on how we behave over the next few months. This will endure for years to come, and will directly impact all the work that is done to maintain trail access and preserve the privileges we enjoy. There are also vultures, ready to pounce on the carcass of any bad publicity that is left behind.ย 

Not only do we need to heed the warning, but our recreational leaders need to be fully prepared to take stronger action, even if symbolic, to direct the behavior of the ridership. That may lead to advocating local authorities to close the trail, if the most degenerate among us cannot be brought to heel (and ALL GROUPS, not just bikers) have degenerates. It would be far better for us to call in the measures than to have them imposed upon us.

There is a social license at stake and no way that a selfish few should be permitted to jeopardize that for everyone.

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IslandLife
+5 Pete Roggeman Mammal Andy Eunson Velocipedestrian Cr4w
IslandLife  - March 24, 2020, 5:09 p.m.

Man... I have a brand new bike being delivered at the end of the month... it's going to be really hard not to give it a proper shakedown...ย 

But I am genuinely concerned about being "that guy" that breaks his pinky finger and needs to take vital time away from health care workers so that they can help me wit my wittle fingy... fuck, how douche-tastic would that be!

Also, the whole aspect of exposing myself to that environment (hospital) and the following potential exposure to my family, means it's just not worth it.

Well, looks like I just talked myself into taking it easy... guess I'll get really well acquainted with how my new bikes climbs then.ย ย 

Maybe I'll just take lots of pics of it in the forest... get all artsy... then look at it a lot... and touch it... talk to everyone about it.ย  Maybe I'll take it on a tour of friends houses... just like stand with it outside, while they look at it from inside their house while I text them fire and 100% emojis.ย  Hmmm, I could get really really annoying with this, sounds like fun!

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mammal
+1 Cooper Quinn
Mammal  - March 25, 2020, 8:49 a.m.

I feel for ya. I got my first new complete bike in 13 years, beginning of Feb. First month was just mellow, with snow still around out here. I was just starting to get up to speed, get used to big wheels and feeling confident with new long wheel base and geo... Oh well. It'll be waiting for me at the other end of this. The hard tail is more fun for mellow rides, so it likely gets the call until then.

Reply

Losifer
0
Carlos Matutes  - March 25, 2020, 4:03 p.m.

I built up my new Fugitive last month, and haven't gotten nearly as many rides in as I'd like due to the weather and trail conditions, which are really starting to get nice. I realized the other day that I was pushing myself WAY faster (it's my first full squish in 20 years...) than I normally do, and had to make the difficult decision to stay on my singlespeed until this situation is a bit more under control.

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skooks
0
Skooks  - March 25, 2020, 7:14 p.m.

Nice! How did you like the fugitive on the rides you managed to get in?

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Losifer
0
Carlos Matutes  - March 26, 2020, 12:35 p.m.

It's ridiculously good. My timing on some moves on tech climbing needs work, but that is all me. This thing rides as good as it looks, and I have yet to walk by it without having to stop and stare for a bit!

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jordankenna
+2 Pete Roggeman IslandLife
jordankenna  - March 24, 2020, 5:35 p.m.

I tried a small trail run today. First one in a decade. Shredded a couple decent loam sections and hit 3 solid airs. Nailed a Frenchy on a nice step up i ran up. Ball grab spread eagle is next on the docket.ย 

Enough of my bike crashes have been "stupid mistakes" in spots i have ridden numerous timesย  --- emotionally tough, but logistically easy to take that outcome out of the mix for the time being. Trail run will do.

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FLATCH
+2 Pete Roggeman IslandLife
flatch  - March 24, 2020, 6:29 p.m.

Donโ€™t sprain an ankle, it could happen

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AndrewMajor
+2 Pete Roggeman mike Mammal IslandLife
Andrew Major  - March 24, 2020, 7:04 p.m.

Whoโ€™s more likely to sprain an ankle - the hyper-focussed trail runner or the distracted moron stepping off a curb while reading the latest C-19 stats on their phone?

This business of worst case hypotheticals is getting insane. (*edit: I mean this in general, not in response to your benign ankle comment) What if everyone born between 1975 and 1992 suddenly develops a lethal lactose allergy?! Dude, youโ€™re still drinking milk?

Weโ€™re possibly settling in for months of this sh*t show. I get it, more than a couple folks arenโ€™t doing the basics we should all be doing like limiting number of trips to the liquor store and physical distancing. And yeah, no matter how careful everyone is some non-C-19 folks are going to end up in hospital. Folks still need an outlet - maybe more than ever.

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FLATCH
+2 Andrew Major IslandLife
flatch  - March 25, 2020, 4:42 a.m.

Exactly my point Andrew, check youโ€™re sarcasm meter.๐Ÿ˜‰

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AndrewMajor
+2 Mammal IslandLife
Andrew Major  - March 25, 2020, 7:13 a.m.

Ugh! Apologies, gotta really flash the neon sarcasm sign for me these days. Iโ€™m more than a little lost between whatโ€™s the Onion and whatโ€™s for real.

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DemonMike
+1 IslandLife
mike  - March 25, 2020, 8:13 a.m.

Was out for a good part of the day digging. Only saw 2 trail runners and 1 hiker. As I drove past Mill Pond. I was dumbfounded at how busy the parking lot was. Same with the spots along the Stave Dam. I bet there was 30 cars at the pond.And another dozen or more parked at the other spots.

#northsidetrailbuilders

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andy-eunson
+3 IslandLife mike Todd Hellinga
Andy Eunson  - March 25, 2020, 9:05 a.m.

Count yourselves lucky the be able to even ride now. I live in Whistler and there is still a meter or two of snow everywhere. Both Pemberton and Squamish have asked that riders stay in their own communities and I will honour that request as much as want to go ride in Squamish. We all must do our part. So I walk my dogs. On icy trails. Probably riskier than driving to Squamish but there you go. We must all do our bit to stay out of emergency rooms. Dial it back.

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martyz
0
Marty Zaleski  - March 30, 2020, 5:54 p.m.

I found last week that my riding was as good as it's ever been for early season. I think it's because I've been extra careful and mindful on each move, making sure a moment's inattention didn't throw me off my bike. Nothing like a public health crisis to keep you in the moment.

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