This is copy of an article and correspondence from Dave Norona, professional adventure racer and dirtbiker.

People need to learn to Co-Exist!

by Dave Norona

After reading all the articles over the last few weeks on the conflict between mountain bikers and dirt bikers I thought it was time I put some of my thoughts down on paper. It seems weird to hear this discussion as was it not the mountain bikers that had to spill there case to hikers just a few years back to convince them that mountain biking was a true sport and not just a fad that would go away. In fact mountain bike associations like SOCRA and NSMB have done an amazing job at rallying the troops and showing that mountain biking can co-exist with runners and hikers. I find it funny that the mountain bike community is now doing the exact same thing to the dirt bike community.

Now before you get your underpants all bunched up let me just say that I am a true mountain biker through and through. I have spent the last 12 years racing mountain bikes and currently race for the Rocky Mountain Pro Mountain Bike Team. My job over the last 15 years has been human powered endeavors from paddling events to multi-day Eco-Challenge Events around the globe. I love mountain biking and appreciate all that the sport is. However I also love riding and racing dirt bikes. It is one of the hardest sports in the world and anyone who thinks it is "easy" or that it is "cheating" just has not tried it.

I am not about to try and convince anyone that they should try dirt biking or if they should like it for that matter. However what I am trying to explain is that both are incredible sports and get people outside to the great outdoors. Many people think that dirt bikers are not for the environment as our machines run on petrol. I can only ask the question, "How on earth did those people get to Squamish, Whistler or any other mountain bike area with their bikes?" It was by car so getting into an environmental thing is just silly.

Recently I had heard of dirt bikers pinning it up the Powerhouse Plunge trail in Squamish. I was deeply disappointed in this as when I ride a dirt bike in Squamish I make and effort to stay off mountain bike trails. However for those that mountain bike and don't know too much about dirt bikes, dirt biking on logging roads is about as entertaining as mountain biking on them. It is down right boring. It is true that many people do it because they want to go fast or they are learning however the true fun comes when dialing sick single track just like riding a mountain bike. The main difference is that riding up a trail on a dirt bike is like riding down a trail on a mountain bike. That is why you find these dirt bike people riding up the precious plunge trail.

Because there is lack of single track in Squamish I ride out in Maple Ridge at Blue Mountain where there is nothing but sick single-track riding. I know this does nothing to solve the conflicts that are presented in Squamish but to solve a problem first you have to understand it.

I have also worked on dirt bike trails and appreciate all the efforts that go into maintaining a trail. NSMB and SORCA have led the way in opening up new fun trails and maintaining them. Does this give them ownership of the trails? I don't think it is fair for me to answer that as I can only have an opinion. Like I said I have worked on dirt bike trails and have seen that work go down the tube to some over zealous rider who just wanted to pin it over some roots and destroy the hour or so I put into that. Sure I get upset or even mad however all I can come up with is that there are jerks in every sport. I have been yelled at on the Whistler Mountain Bike Park as well by riders who think that they are way better than they are and feel that the trail belongs to them. Unfortunately there are this type of person in every sport as I race at the top level in over 8 sports and have yet to see a sport that does not contain some bad apples.

My opinion is that the trails don't belong to anyone, but everyone, and that we are all small groups of people in the grand scheme of things and that we need to work together so that when a logging company wants to log the Plunge everyone comes together to stop it and we are all better off because of working together.

For the woman who said, "I will never ride in Squamish" because of the dirt bikers she comes across - I feel bad for her and her attitude as she will come across conflict like this throughout her life and it is sad that her approach is such as it does not help anyone but only creates angry discussion.

The logical answer to this dilemma is to set aside an area for the creation of dirt biking single track that dirt bikers can use as well as mountain bikers and allow the dirt bikers to take care and maintain those trails as the mountain bikers do. That way we can all get along and continue to enjoy the great outdoors what ever your passion is.

Dave Norona

(This article was originally printed in website. Reprinted with permission from the author. Below is an email sent to Dave concerning the previous article and his reply)

Here is his e-mail to me:
just read your article.

couple of points if I may:

Dirt bikes are noisy! When I go mountain biking I go there to enjoy the relative quiet. I don't want to hear that god damned loud noise from the engines (case in point we were relaxing at Alice lake and two assholes come flying up Jacks trail and crank their engines...thank god for the gates going up Debbeck's hill...we "fled" there and they could not follow).

Dirt bikers can be absolute assholes. Case in point: rode up Eagle Mtn. access road and was passed by a dirt biker asshole who floored it just as he went by. The spray of rocks and dirt coming my way had me heading into the bush for cover. Same thing happened on the Mamquam FSR. Of course I know it takes real skill (NOT) to crank the throttle to go fast (yes I know I used to ride dirt bikes in my younger days.

I have ridden Vedder mountain (on a mountain bike) and have seen what damage those Dirt bikes can inflict (trenches 4 feet deep!!)

So, sorry no sale here.

I vote for keeping the "rockers" and their dirt bikes in Maple Ridge (I promise I won't bring my mountain bike there).


PS I also get pissed off when I encounter the snowmobilers in the back country. Again the frickin' noise is a total spoiler.

I also get pissed off when I encounter motor boats (there is that frikin noise again) when kayaking.

PS the reason I drive to the trail head is because I am worried that I will get killed by the idiot drivers out there who don't have any respect for bikes on the road (speak from bad experiences).

My response:

Thanks for your e-mail. Don’t disagree that there are a lot of riders out there that do what you say. Has happened to me as well. However there are also mountain bikers who pass hikers too fast and close for hikers. Unfortunately your attitude is as bad as those people you dislike. You need to learn the meaning of sharing. I GPS map a lot of the areas so that riders head off to Cat lake or places their should ride rather than going in places like they should not be. It is a matter of learning from each user group and then applying that learning to a better understanding of what each group wants and needs. Unfortunately your attitude is the kind that makes this hard for any group. I ride on the road every day and deal with cars and I may not like the way I am treated but cars are not going away and it is up to me to pick areas where I feel my training will be proper and I will have a great ride. I think if you actually looked into it you would be surprised how many trails in Squamish and Whistler were made by dirt bikers/trials riders. A good friend of mine was riding trials in Whistler with a guy and some mountain bikers started yelling at them for being on their mountain bike trail. My friend had to laugh when those people found out they were yelling at the guy who actually built the trail with a trials bike and a chainsaw for trials bikes. However these people never mind if people hike, bike or run on these trails.

Out at McNutt/Blue Mountain where I dirt bike there mountain bikers and dirt bikers and yes people are surprised when I come upon them and shut down my motor. Many don’t and it is a lack of respect. However it is the same lack of respect that you are giving off to people because of a few bad experiences and that you are not fond of it.  Likewise if you don’t want to hear snowmobiles then go to a park area like Garibaldi and problem solved. I have spent my whole career under human powered transportation however I also ride and race dirt bikes and snowmobiles and I have witnessed some of the worst trail etiquette from all user groups. Also dirt bikes do erode the trails, but if you think mountain bikes, hikers and horseback riders don’t then you need to get out to a few more trails. Ever ridden Ned Atomic Dist Bin on Seymour? That use to be a single track cross country up hill and down hill, or some of the Baden Powell hiking areas, erosion is a fact of life my friend and everyone who is out there creates it, even you.

Again sorry you have had some bad experiences however the article I wrote was to make people understand what dirt bikers are looking for so that trail issues can be addressed to keep dirt bikers off Test of Metal single track and other SORCA trails that they use, work on and create for mountain biking. If mountain bikers have the same attitude as you then nobody listens to each other and people will keep coming up from the city and dirt biking on those trails. If you read the article then what do you think about hikers that suggest all trails be closed to mountain bikers because they erode the trails and pass hikers fast and hikers were there first. Funny you would probably be promoting all the benefits of mountain biking and have no understanding why these people would do this, however this has almost happened on Fromme and your attitude is one in the same with those hikers against mountain bikers.  If you actually checked some things out before you spoke you would see that on the the Squamish Dirt biking asso. web site and my moto site we both repeat “do not ride on the SORCA trails. Maybe if you spent a bit more time learning and opening up your mind you would understand a bit more and have to spend less time venting to someone who has spent the better part of 16 years racing, writing, and experiencing the outdoors and promoting it sustainability to others to help create more areas for all user groups. Maybe check out my web site, or you can just stick to your plan and may I suggest some ear plugs? dave

This was posted here to give all riders an idea of what we have to deal with out there. I hope you all read this and understand what we all have to do to keep our priviledge to ride open to us and our future generations. Ride smart, ride quiet. (Mike Fodor - Webmaster)

Dirt Biker's Ten Commandments

1.) Ride with proper gear at all times.
2.) Have a proper spark arrestor and exhaust silencer.
3.) Obey all private property and no trespassing signs at all times
4.) Appreciate our environment and our designated riding areas.
5.) Always be considerate of any others in the area.
6.) Move aside for a faster rider whenever it is safe to do so.
7.) Be aware of slower riders and pass with care.
8.) Offer assistance to other dirt riders if needed.
9.) Be free of drugs and alcohol when riding.
10.) Keep our riding areas litter free and take all your garbage with you.
(Thanks to the Fraser Valley Dirt  Riders.)

Contents Copyright (C) Michael Fodor 2012.