Tuesday Coffee Talk - Are road cyclists supported equally to Mountain Bikers?

Today's Coffee Talk asks you to look at your local area and does it support all cyclists equally?

It's March in Boulder County and for anyone living around here it means many road cyclists come out of hibernation and hit the roads. I too pulled my road bike out of hibernation (as I've been on cx and MTB for the past 4 months) and as I was out riding my usual routes I reflected on how great road cyclists have it in Boulder County. When I moved here a little over 15 years ago it was good but now it is rare to find a cycling route in Boulder County that doesn't have a extra wide shoulder on it. And no surprise, in those 15 years the number of road cyclists in my unscientific approach has gone way up on this area. In short, Boulder County transportation department along with the county commissioner have really been supportive of road cyclists.

Now let's look at a semi equal city and county in middle America, college town, population around 100k and not in Colorado. 15 years ago they had 3 amazing nearby state parks that fully supported mountain biking and 1 amazing rails to trails project that really changed everyone's perspective of active living and healthy communities along with getting them biking again. BUT zero road support. There were so few road cyclists in that town that if you saw someone else riding not only did you wave but you probably turned around and rode with them because you knew them... there were only about 40 road cyclists in that town! Riding the roads there was hard, besides the horn and a buzz by many would get yelled at, "GET ON THE TRAIL", meaning to ride the popular rails to trails route.

The popularity of off road cycling caused resentment of cyclists being on the road because their (the county and town) practices was to do everything possible to get us OFF OF THE ROAD. As a mountain biker this was not a problem, they loved the opportunities given to them in that area... while the road cyclists suffered.

Now back to Boulder or your area in 2013, what is happening? Does your county/city or parks department encourage you to ride on the road or off of the road? Is there equal support for both groups of cyclists?

Why can't mountain bikers be supported more than they currently are in Boulder County? I am only guessing but 1 ft of MTB trail probably cost a lot less than 1 foot a wide shoulder. And Boulder County has WAY more land than the Midwest county I referenced earlier. I know it's not apples to apples here but why such and imbalance? My guess is majority of America is NOT like Boulder but like the Midwest city in reference.

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2 Comments

support for mountain bikers

I think there are people in Boulder County that are annoyed by sharing the road but I think (and I have nothing to back this up) that there are many more people who believe trails should only be for hikers and butterflies. I feel for road cyclists because the animosity of a driver is frightening and can be life threatening. Mountain bikers just have a different type of adversary around these parts. Luckily we have some great advocates like the Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance. But the struggle for more trails and more access is never ending.

"Why can't mountain bikers be

"Why can't mountain bikers be supported more than they currently are in Boulder County?" -- From my perspective and from what I've seen over the past decade or so at city council and Open Space Mountain Parks meetings and in all the various land use discussions, it's mainly because changing anything in the current trails use culture is equivalent to political suicide. This is changing, very gradually, as the "old guard" are retired / voted out of office, but it's incremental change at best.