Mountain Bikes on UCSC Campus

RESCHEDULED: Panel on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 6pm will address illegal trails on upper campus.

By Dave Robinson

What do George W Bush, Larry Page, and Sammy Hagar have in common? They all ride mountain bikes. What do hundreds of riders from our local mountain bike companies, our high school and university mountain biking teams, and your neighbor have in common? They ride single track on the UCSC campus. Now the tough question, is it against the law to ride those trails?

Santa Cruz is the hub of the burgeoning mountain bike industry and home to some of the sweetest single track in the country. These trails attract riders from all around the world and have turned Santa Cruz into the hometown for many of the very best riders on the planet. How could these trails possibly be anything but good for the economic and physical health of our community? The truth is, the only “legal” mountain biking on the UCSC campus is on fire roads or pavement. How can that be?

As climate change threatens the planet and we struggle to fund our government and make our rent payments the issue of legal vs. “maybe not so” single track can seem inconsequential. But take a moment to think about what role a convenient escape into this wilderness plays in your life. Is there any better way to get perspective on our personal challenges? Do you know of a healthier activity than riding your bike? Is there any better way to instill the value of our wild lands than actively engaging them? Can mountain bike advocacy be the gateway to developing more environmental advocates?

Please join us on Wednesday Nov. 20 from 7-9pm at Stevenson Event Center on the UCSC campus as we seek to learn answers to these questions and more. Our panel of speakers will be comprised of representatives from the UCSC planning and development team, the UCSC cycling team, a campus reserve steward, a university researcher, a professional mountain bike trail builder, and a fire department rescue team member. We hope that everyone who attends will leave a bit more knowledgeable about the situation and feel the sense of camaraderie that goes along with being part of a group that is seeking positive change in the environment. After all, if Sammy and George send it, why can't we.

Dave Robinson is membership coordinator of Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz