This latest Outside column is a bit of a departure for me, because I had to do some actual reporting:
Rest assured I wore a fedora at all times while working on it.
One thing I didn’t get into the column is the problem of driving. Certainly the primary issue at hand here is riders acting like douchebags on the trail, but the large number of motor vehicles descending on the area all summer long certainly ain’t helping. Granted, it can be pretty tough to go on a sumptuous mountain biking trip without driving. At the same time, it’s ironic and unfortunate that mountain biking is probably the most driving-intensive sport there is short of actual car racing. Not only do you have to drive for hours in order to partake in it, but you also need a ruggedly inefficient vehicle that can handle that unpaved parking lot at the trailhead.
What, are you going to put your enduro bike on a Honda Fit? I don’t think so!
At the bare minimum you need to drive a full-sized pickup with the front wheels hanging over the tailgate, like so:
Naively I like to say that these zany millennials and their penchant for bikepacking will lead to less car usage, but I’m sure I’m kidding myself and they’re driving to rides just as much as anybody.
Meanwhile, as cyclists flee the roads because of homicidal drivers, and land managers kick out the mountain bikers due to wanton acts of bro-baggery, it seems inevitable that recreational riders will all meet somewhere in the middle. Of course, I’m talking about gravel:
Or, if there’s no gravel available, they’ll just Zwift.