Steve Spiro is a 62-year-old Military infantry vet. Sue Wong is a 52-year-old highschool coach. Mick Donoff is a 77 -year-old retired schoolteacher. Stanley Ramsey an 82-year-old retired police officer. And Greg MacGillivray is a “youngish” filmmaker with a youthful, fitter spouse. All of them have one factor in frequent: electrical, power-assisted bicycles have stored them within the mountain biking recreation, with some going as far as to say it’s retaining them alive.
And but, with the pandemic inflicting a surge of biking recognition as different, protected and wholesome recreation, these people are prohibited from driving in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, our open public area. The rationale? An outdated regulation that restricts motorized autos from getting into the parks. As OC Parks explains, “Trails issues associated to crowding, velocity, security, path etiquette, widening of current trails, and creation of unauthorized trails have been raised by the general public, advocacy teams, and Park employees.”
And though a 2018 revision to the ordinance now permits Class 1 and a couple of electrical bikes on a choose 75 (of their 350) unpaved miles, none are in Laguna. As a substitute, indicators had been not too long ago put in in any respect trailheads expressly prohibiting them. Steve Spiro is doing one thing about it. He’s the Govt Director of the Electrical Mountain Biking Affiliation. And they’re advocating permitting electrical, pedal-assisted bikers to take pleasure in the identical terrain as “muscle bikes.”
However based on OC Parks spokesperson Charlene Chang, “Because of security issues, all courses of eBikes proceed to be prohibited on unpaved trails inside regional and wilderness parks the place there’s lowered long-distance visibility and/or width to accommodate path customers who must veer out of the trail of one other consumer touring at a excessive price of velocity.” Effectively that judgment is definitely arbitrary, and never aligned with the veteran stakeholders who’ve been driving these trails for many years.
Laguna is house to 3 of the best legends within the sport. Brian Lopes is a Corridor of Fame BMX champion with 19 titles beneath his belt. Corridor of Famer Richie Schley is a free driving pioneer and former BMX champion. And Hans “No Manner” Rey is a trails driving world champion who virtually invented the game. That is like having Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James dwelling in the identical small city. Why Laguna? As a result of our trails are world class!
You’d suppose our hard-core mountain biking group could be stoked to ban eBikes and maintain the paths to themselves. However Hans Rey says, “The parks, metropolis and group ought to embrace all bikers and our historical past. Biking contributes a lot to the group. Folks go to from afar, not solely from SoCal however everywhere in the nation and world.” And these well-heeled shoppers come hungry—and thirsty.
Brian Lopes agrees. “As for eBikes, I’m all for them. Laguna is a HARD place to journey, and the eBikes are serving to so many to have the ability to benefit from the open air and get train they may not in any other case get.” Lopes believes the true injury is coming from OC Parks. “I don’t see the pressure on trails from bikes like I do from the destruction horses, rangers, & employees who know nothing about constructing trails trigger.”
As for powered engines, Schley doesn’t worry them, as a result of Class 1 eBikes, “are pedal-assisted with a high velocity regulator. What’s the distinction in that and one other bike? I’ve heard all of the arguments and don’t actually see a lot power to any of them.”
As for thickening crowds, all three perceive the issues however really feel there’s room for all, maybe with somewhat administration. They’re extra involved concerning the Parks’ sudden and wanton struggle on Laguna’s legendary steep terrain. The Parks not too long ago destroyed PG, a favourite (unauthorized) bike path loved for the previous 30 years. Rey fears the enduring Telonics path, thought-about to be the “Pipeline” of the game, will probably be subsequent.
All of them really feel that OC Parks is an adversarial forms, unconcerned with the importance and worth of this sport to the area. Rey want to see advocacy from our metropolis authorities, our Chamber of Commerce, and our Guests Bureau. Actually our metropolis leaders can exert some sway with the County to work cooperatively with the biking group.
OC Parks claims they hear, and the Trails Subcommittee is having their quarterly assembly on Sept 24. The main focus will probably be “to discover if extra of the paths ought to be single use, a technique, or restricted use to assist improve the expertise for various consumer teams.” Hopefully somewhat than prohibit use they are going to increase it, and eBikes will probably be a part of the dialogue. However that relies on the biking group (and maybe members of our authorities) displaying up and making their voices heard.
Billy Fried hosts “Laguna Talks” on Thursday nights on KX FM. His firm La Vida Laguna, hosts a primary Sunday group bike journey by means of city.
Firebrand Media LLC needs feedback that advance the dialogue, and we’d like your assist to perform this mission. Debate and disagreement are welcomed on our platforms however do it with respect.
We cannot censor feedback we disagree with. Viewpoints from throughout the political spectrum are welcome right here.
Whereas everyone seems to be entitled to their opinion, our group will not be obliged to host all feedback shared on its web site or social media pages, together with:
- Hate speech that’s racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic slurs, or requires violence towards a selected kind of particular person.
- Obscenity and extreme cursing.
- Libelous language, whether or not or not the author is aware of what they’re saying is fake.
We require customers to offer their true full identify, together with first and final names, as a situation for feedback.
We reserve the best to alter this coverage based mostly on future developments.
Scroll right down to touch upon this put up.