Cyclists gear up for Pleasanton Ridge meeting tonight

Avid rider says East Bay Parks District gives cyclists a bad rap; wants to advocate for usage of narrower, separate trails from hikers, equestrians

When the East Bay Regional Parks District hosts a meeting at 7 p.m. tonight on the future of the Pleasanton Ridge, a large group of cycling advocates is expected to be present.

Cyclists who ride at the Ridge and the parks district have had their disagreements over how the trails should be used for some time. The rift heated up last fall when the parks district was campaigning for the passage of Measure WW on the November ballot. The measure, which sought to effectively extend Measure AA to fund future projects and land acquisitions, was passed by voters, but to the chagrin of some area cyclists who say the district isn't managing its parks the right way.

Pleasanton resident and avid rider Chris Beratlis, Jr. said he will be among the cyclists at the meeting. He said those who ride mountain bikes on the challenging Pleasanton Ridge often get a bad rap. He said cyclists, hikers and equestrians all use the ridge trails, but the parks district seems to want to force all three groups to use the same trails, rather than narrower trails, called single-track trails, that have been naturally formed from bicyclists and cattle over the years.

"We're trying to make them understand that a single-track trail, something really narrow, is fun," he said. "It does spread out the crowds more because a lot of people use the park, and it's ultimately safer and endangers less animals because you're not building a fire road. You're simply just making narrow pathways to follow."

Beratlis Jr. rides with a group of less than a dozen men every Wednesday at the Ridge and learned about the meeting when single-track trails they normally use were gated off and signs were posted notifying them of the meeting.

The public meeting is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Veterans Memorial Building, 301 Main St. Parks district spokeswoman Shelly Lewis said the meeting will include a presentation about the management and operation of the current trail system and preview an upcoming land use planning process. Lewis said it's an opportunity for those who frequent the ridge to learn more and also offer their thoughts.

The parks district opened 1,100 acres of open space and 5 miles of trails on the north end of the ridge in December. The ridge now has 30 miles of trails, including the additional land.

For information about the East Bay Parks District, visit click here

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Posted by Erika
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Mar 24, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Calling all users of the Pleasanton Ridge - please attend the meeting that will be held tomorrow Wednesday March 25th 7pm at the Veterans Hall on Main Street in Pleasanton. You can hear others input & give thoughts on how you want to be able to use the Pleasanton Ridge. This is a beautiful park that we have right in our backyard - let's voice our opinion on how we want to use it.

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Posted by Robert
a resident of Stoneridge Park
on Mar 24, 2009 at 3:17 pm

I have been hiking the Ridge for years. On occasion I encounter cyclist (all courteous and friendly), other hikers and on rare occasions equestrians. I do agree granting cyclist and hiker’s access to single type trails will reduce congestion and increase safety (gravel fire roads are dangerous) and overall park experience. All of the Ridge hiking trails are off limits to cyclists and I would call it discrimination if it was the other way around. Time we all discuss how we can coexists as adult tax paying citizens.

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Posted by Pete
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Mar 24, 2009 at 4:38 pm

These thoughtful suggestions above simply don't work.

There is a clearly documented history of how we've done exactly that - "voiced our opinion" and "discuss how we can coexist" over the past 10+ years!

The EBRPD has sub standard trail development compared to the other park districts in the bay area. This is the issue. They simply don't move forward.

The park district looks forward to such meetings, where the community can "voice their opinion". Then they go back to their office and are not obligated to make changes.

Go to the meeting. If you are unhappy with their progress, let them know the specifics of why, and ask why no progress has been made. Look for the local press (Janet Pelletier from Pleasanton Weekly for instance). Make it known how the EBRPD is not meeting your needs.

Don't settle for less. They count on a compliant cooperative public to continue on their same antiquated path. You'll see.

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Posted by Scott
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Mar 24, 2009 at 5:00 pm

I'm a 5th generation Pleasanton resident. My family is one of several considered a "heritage" family in Pleasanton. I've been in those hills in one fashion or another much of my life, both before and after the EBRPD first opened the park. I was also a participant on the first pre-opening hike and tour guided by Joanne Freemire, a naturalist with EBRPD at the time.

I hike, bike, and take nature photos. And I want to have legal access to more than just ranch roads while riding my bike in the park, a place where my roots sink deeply. There's plenty of narrow trails incised by 100 years of bovine hooves trodding along the contours of the ridge. I want to ride my bike on them as, other than cattle, no one ever seems to. That sure seems like a simple and reasonable request, and will certainly reduce any perception of potential conflict when all trails users aren't forced onto the same fire road system. It would be a simple solution.

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Posted by Michael Mejia
a resident of another community
on Mar 24, 2009 at 7:35 pm

The naturally developed trails are self-sustaining and far simpler to manage and maintain than the arcane ranch roads. These roads, carved to function in another time for another usage long gone, suffer from poor drainage, rutting, erosion and the need for constant blading. They are environmentally awful by any assessment. These are the roads cyclists are forced to use.

The politics which instigated and supported discrimination against a very large group of trail users, cyclists, has had its day. Its stranglehold is dying. Such discrimination simply cannot continue, cannot be supported by any logic, and cannot be allowed to enrich the lives of a privileged minority of users any further.

Go to the meeting. Tell these public servants that cyclist deserve the right to access the parks they pay for in a modern fashion. Tell them that old ideas about routes and usage need to evolve to accommodate modern times and needs. There are ready-made trails out there. Let's use them.

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Posted by Mike Vandeman
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 24, 2009 at 9:28 pm

Robert, and Michael Mejia, don't tell the truth. There is no "discrimination" whatsoever against mountain bikers. They have EXACTLY the same access to the parks and trails as everyone else has. They can WALK on all of the trails, just like everyone else. Only BICYCLES are restricted, and for good reason: they kill animals and plants, and drive other trail users off the trails and out of the parks. Of course, BICYCLES are inanimate objects, and have no rights. If there WERE any discrimination, a lawsuit could fix it. That was tried, and it failed, because there is no discrimination (see Web Link)!

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Posted by joe
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 24, 2009 at 10:26 pm

What took Mike Vanderman so long to chime in?

You are so brilliant I'm selling my bike.

For those of you who don't know Mike conduct a few searches.

Web Link

Don't be afraid.

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Posted by Kathy
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 25, 2009 at 8:59 am

Most mountain-bikers I know are nature lovers. They stay on trails and are respectful of their surroundings. They enjoy observing animals as well as the challenge of the trail. Kill animals and plants?? Hikers are more likely to harm the plant/animal life than mountain-bikers. Mike needs to loosen up a bit!

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Posted by SG
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Mar 25, 2009 at 9:09 am

We rode down Thermalito this morning. More barricades have been put up to close most of the single track trails back there. Only two sections of single track remain un-barricaded.

When we got down to the top of the Oak Tree trail there was a long line of cattle on the barricaded off trail to watering trough. They must have failed to read the signs.

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Posted by Brown Cow
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Mar 25, 2009 at 9:43 am

Stay off my trails! Mooo! EBRPD gives me access to all the trails I want. Mooo. Those fire roads, although boring, dangerous, poorly drained and antiquated, are all you bi-peds will get. My owners pay too much for grazing rights to allow you to tread on my grass. Mooo!

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Posted by Brent
a resident of another community
on Mar 25, 2009 at 1:15 pm

In the small number of actually studies of direct comparison of different user groups it has been found that bikes cause no more environmental damage than other users. The soil lose per mile is less by a bike compared to hiking (by about 3-1) and not even close in comparison to horses and cows. Granted cyclists cover more ground but they'd have to bike over 25 times the distance to create equal impact as a horse or cow. (Marion, J. L 2006 Assessing and Understanding Trail Degradation). While all user create trail damage the influence of trail grade and trail/slop alignment are the largest factor in soil erosion. A 20' fall line fire road has substantially more soil erosion than a narrow trail that winds around the hills and has sustainable grade.

It's universally accepted that the most damage to plants and soils occur with the initial traffic (i.e cows making trails) and the per capita increase in further impact diminishes rapidly with increasing subsequent use. Bike traffic on a cow trails is nothing compared to the damage caused by cows building the trail in the first place. EBRPD should reconsider their current grazing practices and design-related deficiencies before worrying about low-impact user like bikes. Almost all the "trails" throughout the park are old ranch roads or roads cut when the area was planned for housing development.

EBRPD should give cyclists adequate and diverse trail opportunities and have access policies that are fair and logical. Narrow trails make cyclists happy, slow us down, and are less environmentally damaging then plowing up the cow paths every couple years, or grading the old ranch roads. As part of the LUP it makes sense that EBRPD look at the existing cow paths that are already established and consider making them into legal trails while reclaiming the old ranch roads. It's a win for the recreational users and a win for the environment.

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Posted by a hiker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2009 at 5:41 pm

Vanderman..........always a black sheep in the bunch even with genetic engineering they still exist....too bad for all of us.

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a resident of Ridgeview Commons

on Apr 25, 2017 at 2:22 am

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Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Ridgeview Commons

on May 30, 2017 at 1:03 am

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