October 21st, 2020

Mountain bikers ready to ride at Alberta Summer Games

By Woodard, Dale on November 27, 2019.

Lethbridge Sport Council

The Lethbridge 2020 Alberta Summer Games will be host to up to 72 riders competing in the exciting sport of cross-country mountain bike racing next July.

“Hurtling down a steep mountain track while dodging natural obstacles to beat the competition to the finish line offers an unparalleled adrenaline rush.” This is how Cycling Canada describes the sport of mountain biking.

“Racing requires fitness, smooth skills, flowing hair and a high pain tolerance,” according to the Alberta Bicycle Association

The Games racers will test their skills on trails behind the Lethbridge College on 20 to 40 minute courses. Each Zone team will consist of up to 9 athletes, males and females in U13, U15, and U17 categories.

Qualifier races will take place next spring to name the team to represent Zone 1 – Sunny South.

Lethbridge has several bike trails and park options for riders of all ages. The newest feature is in west Lethbridge, a bike pump track in the neighbourhood of Watermark at the Senator Joyce Fairbairn Middle School grounds.

The Lethbridge BMX Club’s track is next to Dave Elton Park off Stafford Drive North.

Visible from Whoop Up Drive, the Mountain Bike Park featuring jumps, pump track, and >trick stunt areas. This public bike park is open year-round.

City of Lethbridge website writes “Initiated with the Coal Banks Trail, the Regional Trail System continues to grow. The trails are used by pedestrians, cyclists, runners, in-line skaters and people using wheelchairs. This paved trail system ties together neighbourhoods and major parks.

Four local volunteer run cycling organizations are dedicated to guide and develop cycling as a sport, active recreation and mode of transportation in Lethbridge.

The Lethbridge Alberta Cycling Association serves to >protect, develop, and promote the Lethbridge single-track trail network and >the Mountain Bike Park. They are working with other coulee user groups to sanction and sign the existing recreational trail network.

Established in 1979, Lethbridge BMX is a bicycle motocross racing club that has a membership consisting of both male and female riders of all ages and abilities. Their website says, “If you can ride a bicycle without training wheels you can race.”

The Headwinds Cycling Club formed in 1986 to promote the sport of cycling in southern Alberta in all aspects and levels of bicycle road racing, touring, mountain biking, and triathlon. They host the annual Coulee Cruiser and Trailblazers Youth Racing in cooperation with the local cycling shops.

If you are interested in getting involved or learning more about cycling programs visit our online Sport Directory https://lethbridgesportcouncil.ca/sport-directory/sport/cycling

Throughout the year, Lethbridge Sport Council will publish articles about each of the 14 sports included in the 2020 Alberta Summer Games being hosted in Lethbridge from July 23 to 26.

For more local sport information visit http://www.lethbridgesportcouncil.ca.

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What were you thinking??? Mountain biking and trail-building destroy wildlife habitat! Mountain biking is environmentally, socially, and medically destructive! There is no good reason to allow bicycles on any unpaved trail!

Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1996: https://mjvande.info/mtb10.htm . It’s dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don’t have access to trails closed to bikes. They have EXACTLY the same access as everyone else — ON FOOT! Why isn’t that good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking….

A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more harmful to wildlife, people, and the environment than hiking, and that science supports that view. Of course, it’s not true. To settle the matter once and for all, I read all of the research they cited, and wrote a review of the research on mountain biking impacts (see https://mjvande.info/scb7.htm ). I found that of the seven studies they cited, (1) all were written by mountain bikers, and (2) in every case, the authors misinterpreted their own data, in order to come to the conclusion that they favored. They also studiously avoided mentioning another scientific study (Wisdom et al) which did not favor mountain biking, and came to the opposite conclusions.

Mountain bikers also love to build new trails – legally or illegally. Of course, trail-building destroys wildlife habitat – not just in the trail bed, but in a wide swath to both sides of the trail! E.g. grizzlies can hear a human from one mile away, and smell us from 5 miles away. Thus, a 10-mile trail represents 100 square miles of destroyed or degraded habitat, that animals are inhibited from using. Mountain biking, trail building, and trail maintenance all increase the number of people in the park, thereby preventing the animals’ full use of their habitat. See https://mjvande.info/scb9.htm for details.

Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and, worst of all, teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is okay (it’s NOT!). What’s good about THAT?

To see exactly what harm mountain biking does to the land, watch this 5-minute video: http://vimeo.com/48784297.

In addition to all of this, it is extremely dangerous: https://mjvande.info/mtb_dangerous.htm .

For more information: https://mjvande.info/mtbfaq.htm .

The common thread among those who want more recreation in our parks is total ignorance about and disinterest in the wildlife whose homes these parks are. Yes, if humans are the only beings that matter, it is simply a conflict among humans (but even then, allowing bikes on trails harms the MAJORITY of park users — hikers and equestrians — who can no longer safely and peacefully enjoy their parks).

The parks aren’t gymnasiums or racetracks or even human playgrounds. They are WILDLIFE HABITAT, which is precisely why they are attractive to humans. Activities such as mountain biking, that destroy habitat, violate the charter of the parks.

Even kayaking and rafting, which give humans access to the entirety of a water body, prevent the wildlife that live there from making full use of their habitat, and should not be allowed. Of course those who think that only humans matter won’t understand what I am talking about — an indication of the sad state of our culture and educational system.