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Does the AFCD get it?

10 years 6 months ago #425 by bob.smith
Replied by bob.smith on topic Does the AFCD get it?
I put this post in another section but thought it would be applicable here as well...

All good points.

The park managers have their objectives and the park users have theirs. In our case the objectives are better MTB trails.

But like anything in our lives there are conditions to getting what we want. We follow rules and abide by laws everyday. For one thing these land areas are "Country Parks". In most counties national park systems have very stick rules about usage and most certainly about MTBing. I have been involved advocacy for many years and I can tell you for sure it is not an instant or easy process to get trails open.

Government entities here, or anywhere else for that matter, aren't going to come running to mountain bikers asking us to let them open more trails. It is up to us to be proactive and work within the process. And the good news is, there is a process and success is possible. I for one can tell you it sure isn't easy but it is available.

Your right the park mangers do not know how to build sustainable mountain bike trails. They openly admit this. And outside the HKMBA they don't even have access to the information. So they are also in a quandary. But this quandary is our opportunity as we do know what a proper MTB trail is or have access to the experts who do.

16 years ago the HKMBA opened it's doors by a gentleman named Rick Barton Smith. At that time ALL trails in HK were illegal. He and his volunteers worked with AFCD and CEDD to get quite a few trails opened. He and his merry band worked quite hard to accomplish this but the point is Hong Kong went from Zero trials to many being opened. Now I will be the first to admit that what are called mountain bike trails here in HK is a bit sketchy. But the point is it did and can work. I think 16 years ago no one really understood the many implications of sustainable trails. The simple fact is without the work of people like yourself who have given selflessly for the good of all riders the sport of MTBing in HK would be non existent or certainly ALL underground.

At this juncture we have the ear of AFCD. They want our help, they want to alleviate the problems we all face. They have heard our explanations as to why the current trail system is not the most advantageous and I believe they sincerely want to do something about it.

But even in the best case it takes time. They must take into consideration such things as budget, other users views and wishes, flora, villages near by etc. In other words issues that would pertain to opening up any new trial in any public park in the civilized world.

Lets face it we live in a world of rules. The interest of the many out weighs the desires of a few. Do we just barrel through all obstacles when you are at work or driving your car on the road. Of course not. So instead of us complaining that the government should do something about our trails, instead I propose we take a constructive approach and see if we can make changes for the long term. If we put our collective energies into making something happen legally, something positive will occur.

I propose we give direct communication and proactive actions a try. They worked once and they can work again. If we move for conflict, it is conflict the government will give us and nothing will ever get done. Not to mention they have the law on their side.

If we approach them with respect and understanding and constructive solutions we will stand a much better chance of getting trails for ourselves and for riders after us.

If you would like to help HKMBA with this please feel free to jump on in. As for the time constraints we all have, well if we all give just a bit of our time “collectively” we can create positive change and the bottom line, get more trails.

“let us be a part of the solution not a part of the problem”

Bob Smith

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10 years 6 months ago #412 by tom
Replied by tom on topic Does the AFCD get it?
Having met with the Tai Lam AFCD on Sept 2nd with Bob and Julien, I posed this very question - "what are the nature of the complaints?" This is roughly how they responded:

1. The biggest complaint by hikers was being surprised by bikers speeding at them. Hikers had to jump off the trail and in some cases felt that there was no where to stand to let the bikers go past.
2. The second thing that bothered hikers was again the surprise factor but this time being spooked by mountain bikers speeding at them on trails which bikes are not permitted on (illegal MTB trails!).
3. The third type of complaint is related to speed. Many bikers simply do not slow down and this frightens hikers especially when the bikers come within inches of hikers.

I was given the impression that the AFCD do not have any hard numbers on the types or frequency of complaints since complaints can be lodged in a number of ways such as through a centralized govt complaint hotline, informally with park staff, etc.

I still think the AFCD don't get it and have done a very poor job in providing information to MTBers and hikers in their parks about how to responsibly share a trail. Its really is not a difficult task but simply takes a tiny bit of research and initiative.

Anyway, it will be the HKMBA to the rescue as BeardedBlunder and Julien are preparing a long overdue safety campaign to the AFCD (for free!). This will include posters and leaflets for both hikers and bikers.

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10 years 6 months ago #411 by ratcat
Replied by ratcat on topic Does the AFCD get it?
Thank Jules!! Makes interestng reading indeed. Out of the 100 complains I wonder how many of those actually involve contact between hikers and bikers? Had any bike crashed into people? Tough job of trying to shed light on the matter of mountain bike to the officials. I tip my hat off to what you guys are doing. Full respect!!!!

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10 years 6 months ago #388 by ratcat
Replied by ratcat on topic Does the AFCD get it?
bad link....I would love to know the reason why they are moving so slow

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10 years 6 months ago #387 by julien
Replied by julien on topic Does the AFCD get it?
Check out this article: Hong Kong Mountain Bike Politics

This will help you to understand why the AFCD is moving very slow towards more trail opening.

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10 years 6 months ago #334 by ratcat
Replied by ratcat on topic Does the AFCD get it?
Very well said Brandon. The fact is openning trails mean officailly removing the no cycling sign post and replacing it with a 'yes' sign. I think all of it should be removed. The big idea of us bikers and hikers are in conflict is an illusion. I never heard of a hiker being injured by a speeding mountian bike. But then correct me if I am wrong. All hikers, and I mean 'all' the hikers I talked to on the trail agrees the AFCD is putting too much stupid stone steps on the trail and a lot of them actually told me to try Kap Long downhill section for fun. They love us mountain bikers. Ok some I hadn't talk to while I was going down the hill, they weren't too happy. But this is just the same as seeing a big bad bull blocking a hiker's way. I don't see anyone organizing 'kill the cows to clear up hiking trails' campaign. Mountain bikes is just as intimdating and as timid as the cows.
Hypocrisy is the key word here with AFCD. The guys in here knows all about it I am sure with so many meetings with AFCD. There are just plenty of trails in TMS and all country parks in HK that is good for mountian biking. Lady Clemet's Ride is one that baffles logic and sense. The best ride in HK side indeed. I went there one time at weekend day time to risk having being caught. I intentionally talked to a few hikers (there were quit a few) and intentionally i suggested questions to them seeing if they mind people riding bikes in the area. All of them, I mean all say it would be very very nice to see a few riders now and then.
If you takes a sarvey on the trails with hikers I am sure 80% of them don't mind sharing the mountains with us. Oh the other 20%? Well I am sure of all the people you meet on the trail, 20% would be new comers who would love to see all the trail paved.
The AFCD believes mountain biking is in conflict with hiking and therefor unwilling to open new trails. But this believe is not based on facts. It is just an illusion. Our response to that is, open more trails to reduce contact. Open more trails actully promotes contact. Remember, openning trails only mean changing the signs. But that's ok, whatever it takes to get more official kilometers. But the above just don't make too much sense.....

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10 years 6 months ago #332 by brandon
Replied by brandon on topic Does the AFCD get it?
Hmm, if you're a Hong Konger and you have an imagination, you probably don't work for Donald Tsang. And you certainly don't work your way up the ranks to the point of being able to make planning decisions.

The ideas have got to come from us, so keep them flowing! I seriously doubt that, no matter what our efforts, the AFCD or any other department is going to 'build' mountain bike trails - they will either designate existing trails that hikers don't use and are sustainable for mountain bike use, or they just might [fingers crossed] give us the nod to clear out abandoned, disused and/or overgrown trails ourselves and let us use those.

I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for Whistler-in-Asia, but if we get enough numbers and make enough noise, somebody who is forward-thinking with money to invest is going to see it as a golden opportunity for green development.


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10 years 6 months ago #316 by tom
Replied by tom on topic Does the AFCD get it?
I like to ski too. I went to Switzerland many years ago and had a fantastic time. There was lots of snow, big hills, and almost unfettered access minutes from the village. I did not require a country park pass either.

Being a mountain biker is HK is a bit like being a skier visiting Switzerland but being banned from skiing... aiyaa.

What does it take to convince the business obsessed government to invest in trails and access. For starters, the Ngong Ping 360 would be a perfect place to set up a world class downhill run... if only they had some imagination!

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10 years 6 months ago #275 by BeardedBlunder
Replied by BeardedBlunder on topic Does the AFCD get it?
Whistler BC bike park celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, last years profit i recall was in the region of 2 million US!

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10 years 6 months ago #271 by jezblanchard
Replied by jezblanchard on topic Does the AFCD get it?
Bugger this storm is noisy.

Hey Tom, hear what your saying.

I was laid off as i did the shoulder mess up thing, i knew where i was going just messed up and the shoulder bought it, 5 Ti Screws later things are working again!

Yes the big question is how as BB says.

Effort for Sure, but to get some of that money and assistance someone somewhere needs to understand what our sport is about, Tom, maybe offer to show them Whistler Bike park and the money and prestige such a venue can generate, maybe then and only when Money and Image ( like the IOC example ) come into play will someone wake up and get it. Or Maybe as Bob plan is we work to wrestle some responsibility from the AFCD under a formal work group umbrella, its a bit like a carrot and stick approach I guess.

Bob if you read this, I am ready for action!!!


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