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Sept. 13, 2023, 2:20 p.m. -  Coiler

The car analogy is really interesting, but I’ll admit it breaks down a bit and can be used to push hyperbolic arguments. But there are some interesting parallels and scary conclusions. For example, due to the safety concerns of cars and pedestrians mixing, we created a set of rigid rules that essentially excluded pedestrians from roads, and they became the domain of the car. Now obviously we analog (way better term) riders aren’t going to lose our trail access. But I do think there it's conceivable that more explicit rules will start being needed to deal with eMTBs, which could seriously affect the way we all ride. By way of local example: on the north shore we have very clear up and down routes. Alot of these are established by the limitations of analog bikes with the existing trails. No one is biking up expresso, because that would just be ridiculous on an analog bike. But with eMTBs, not only is that possible, its probably the most efficient climbing route to get to that section of Fromme. So now trail managers might need to start integrating the capabilities of eMTB into their signage and trail strategies. Maybe that’s a bad example, because anyone with any common sense or pre-planning isn’t going to do that. But there was a story kicking around the nsmb forums of someone on an eMTB just ripping around the woods on lower Fromme, blazing across the mountain off-trail. That would be absurd on an analog bike, but with that extra couple hundred watts on an eMTB you can make it happen. That’s the worry I have with eMTBs: they open up access to a huge area, with potential for even more loam lines forming all over the place. The amount of unsanctioned trails on Seymour and Fromme is pretty crazy right now, and they are becoming ridiculously visible and ridden in. We are lucky now that these are limited by where we can reasonably access them, so I think in big picture terms the land managers turn a blind eye because the impact remains reasonably limited. But that might change when we have these trails going further and further, maybe even deep into the watershed. Anyway, that’s my alarmist take on eMTBs, at least here on the shore where I ride.

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