Letter to the Editor: Don't Allow Mountain Biking in Forest Preserves

Can Kane County possibly be serious about allowing mountain biking in a forest preserve?

Dear Patch Editor,

There seems to be more interest in the Fabyan Forest Preserve Woods than the old oak trees have seen in many years.

The trail leading into the woods on the east side of the forest preserve in Geneva has a sign posted: "NO BIKES ALLOWED." Yet, as we walk the woods, some walking slower than others, we are frequently forced to move quickly to the side of the trail because mountain bikers are riding these woods illegally.

Now the Chicago Area Bike Club (CAMBr) is asking the Kane County Board to construct in these woods. And yes, CAMBr members speak publicly about riding in these woods. 

Can the Kane County Board possibly be considering rewarding this illegal behavior? That is not what we teach our children. But wait, these are not children. These are adults. Does that change the rules?

Why not mountain bikes on Settlers Hill? 

Why not walking trails in the woods?

Why not protect a national treasure of 150- to 200-year-old oaks?


Fran Caffee


Jay June 12, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Continued - I agree about the headphones (no one can hear) and while you are running, riding or walking you should always be aware of your surroundings. I have seen runners and walkers jump out of the way after I have had to yell out on your left as well (because they are deaf to the world) on a wide track (plenty of room with me all the way to the left even going really slow) and they freak out. Maybe you should turn your music down. I'm sure you can still hear it just fine and still hear people around you. Not only that but it's truly unsafe for everyone. I even went that route with listening to music and quickly abandoned the idea because I saw that it causes an impairment which can lead to possible injuries to myself and/or others. I mean you can't drive a car and do that so why would you assume that you can on a bike or even while running/walking? Doesn't make sense. Not all of us are coordinated enough to perform 2 or more actions at same time...you know who you are.
Jay June 12, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Continued - The point that I am trying to make is that everyone can share the trails no matter where they exist. I have seen this at many of the locations that Cambr over sees and I am quite impressed with the professionalism and the people that are out there day after day making sure that the trails are safe and manicured to perfection in order to avoid erosion and other issues that hamper the woods by natural or unnatural means. We all need to come together and ensure that we are preserving our treasures but also enjoying them to the fullest. We can all enjoy the same trails together. Just be aware of everyone and make sure to take precautions. We all have to exercise good judgement and take responsibility for our own actions before we can lash out at others and also try to believe that a good thing is about to happen because it is a good thing. Respectively, Jay Randall
Brian June 15, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Hi, I use the trails on foot, bike, and skis. I am very happy to have this area close by to enjoy. If the trails are off limits to cyclists, the entrances that I use are not clearly marked. Regardless, when I see people riding bikes in the woods, they are not hooligans; the avg. rider is between 35-55 years old, on a bike that costs more than $1,500. Many are businessmen/women,lawyers,doctors enjoying an hour or two in the woods. Nearly all of them go around the "structures" as they cannot afford to get hurt on them. The bridges, ramps, dams...are made by kids. Yes, some are bikers, but some are just kids playing in the water/woods (not on bikes). Hikers and mt. bikers typically share the same love and appreciation of the outdoors. A few kids should not spoil it for all bikers. If you think differently, have you ever seen a mountain biker wiz by you on the trail carrying a six pack, magazines, packs of cigarettes, or a bag of fast food? Me neither! But I have picked up my fair share of garbage & glass bottles in the woods; brought in on foot. Regarding a MTB park, I love it. But there is confusion with the term "mt. biking". It is a misnomer as it does not imply riding up or down a mountain (i.e. land fill). It is an outdoor activity that is enjoyed in an off-road enviroment which includes woods, prairies, hills & mountains - just like hiking. A "mountain bike" is a bike designed to endure off-road conditions like roots, dirt, rocks... Let's all work together! Brian
Augi Fesi June 15, 2012 at 07:34 PM
@ Brian, the pictures I have taken are not of kids or children, they are of 30 somethings riding a on blue Cannondale bikes. He was issued a ticket by the county. So don't try and blame kids. Kids also don't mark trails with bags and posts. Most of the tickets have been on adults not kids. I t was three men in the evening who went in and built stunts out of logs they carried in with them from a truck they parked on the street. While I believe not are all bad, one bad egg can and will ruin it for others. and even slight damage to a root system can kill a 200 year old tree.
Brian June 18, 2012 at 04:13 PM
@ Augi, I say well done (and thank you) to the authorities for catching them and for issuing fines! Bikers/hikers should stick to the path(s) that are already present and not take it upon themselves to create their own (take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but foot prints - or tire prints). Once again, hikers and mountain bikers agree! Regarding the 200 year old trees and their roots, they seem to be few and far between. Anyone who enjoys the woods (regardless of by foot/bike) knows full well that each storm brings down yet another tree (large & small) as the root systems are not very deep around here. You cannot blame cyclists for this - it is just simply nature.


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