When I first moved to the Bay Area from Europe and started riding the trails here, I didn’t believe it when people told me about park rangers setting up speed traps for bikers, writing tickets with huge fines for riding after dark etcetera. Needless to say, I’ve come a way from there.
The situation here is now such that mountain biking is used by some public agencies as a quick and effective way to raise funds or overcome budget shortcomings, by means of writing out ridiculous fines for such gross offenses as riding a trail half an hour after sunset or exceeding 15mph at the bottom of some fireroad descent (usually not on singletrack, where speeding actually could present a real hazard to other trail users).
These funds are subsequently used to acquire more land or build and maintain trails *closed* to mountain bikers, as for instance is the case here with the La Honda Creek Preserve.
This is where trail advocacy comes in – a concept which I couldn’t grasp and appreciate while living in my bike-crazy home country – and the great people that spend their precious spare time and efforts to ‘further our riding causes’, attending endless meetings in an environment often very hostile to them. But also small efforts and contributions can make a difference – I’d urge everyone to sign this petition, or attend the public hearing tonight in La Honda (even though it’s held at 4pm on a Tuesday) – more info in this thread on MTBR – bring a bike helmet!
To get you warmed up, check out this recent example that should get your blood to boil: FC from MTBR was on a short after-work ride, riding from his house to the park, only to be intercepted (at 7pm) and presented a +$300 ticket by a ranger who was driving a truck around in the park, burning fuel and spoiling the air with exhaust gases and spitting out CO2 for the sole purpose of catching offenders whose ‘crime’ it is riding a bike on a trail after dark. Two words come to mind: ‘absurd’ and ‘Kafka’…