Unicycling on "no bicycles allowed" trails

If you tell your kid not to draw on the walls, only paper and the kid draws on the wall paper whose right?

My first thought is if you have to ask you probably know in the back of your mind you shouldn’t.

I have to side with the people who say stay off the “no bicycles allowed” trails.

If unicyclists want to be taken serious than we have to take an initiative to act the part. I think word play is just that, yes you can probably fight a ticket or even argue out of a ticket but deep down you know the intent was to keep wheeled vehicles off the trail.

Around here there isn’t many “bike” trails, or I should say dirt trails and there are many good county parks with great trails but bikes are not allowed on county park trails. Many times I thought and wanted to ride these but it isn’t worth it because the end result is in my opinion I, the unicyclist, loose credibility (but that is just my opinion). Yes I could argue that it’s only one wheel, not two and the definition of a bicycle is clearly a two wheeled item but…really?

It’s a hard temptation/decision that I think each individual has to justify in his or her own way. I have chosen to respect the unicycle and thus respect the rules and apply them to my one wheeled form of transportation.

nailed it. Furthermore, some of the hiking trails I’ve seen don’t allow bikes because there are obstacles that aren’t easily passable, less riding is less fun anyway.

though, if the trails are muddy/wet, most trails close anyway.

I agree. This seems to be something of the wanting to have one’s cake and eat it, too theory. We want to be considered as bike riders when it suits us, and separate when it doesn’t.
Logical extension of the ‘but we’re not a bicycle’ theory is that we should not be allowed to partake in bicycle events, or use bicycle-specific facilities.
Since there is little difference in the impact (potential speed excepted - and KH seems to be putting paid to that distinction), ask yourself before you venture down the enticing trail, would it be OK for me to ride a mountain bike here. If the answer is ‘no’, I don’t think it’s a huge logical leap to assume the same would apply to a uni.
Whether it’s acceptable / reasonable that bicycles are banned, is a different issue.
As an avid bicycle rider (and a steadily progressing uni rider), I don’t think the uni community gains much from pretending that semantic technicalities make for a valid argument.


Whether it would be OK, and whether it would be legal, are two different questions. Don’t blindly accept second-class status.

Hi, Tholub.
Don’t worry. I don’t blindly accept such things. My point was not that it is OK to ban bikes, but rather that it’s not a case of being OK for uni’s and not for mountain bikes. If you wouldn’t go there on a mountain bike, why would it be OK to go there on a uni? The technical difference doesn’t hold a lot of water for me.


That much, I basically agree with. And certainly the kind of person who’s going to give you a hard time for being there on a uni isn’t going to be swayed by the argument that it’s not a bike. (This is also true in contexts like taking your uni on a bus, or inside a “no bikes” building).

Strangely, I recently ‘suffered’ anti-uni discrimination when I wasn’t allowed access to bike trails at a park in Singapore as, unlike the mountain bikes that were allowed in, I didn’t have brakes. The little old man who was on sentry duty was too nice for me to argue with, and seemed genuinely concerned about my welfare.
No-one else has pulled me up for riding anywhere here, although I did get busted for kayaking out off Sentosa Island a few years ago - Myriads of Lifesavers in budgie smugglers chasing me along the shoreline.

Down in Australia, at least where I live, no-one seems too concerned about bikes / uni’s out on trails. The line usually gets drawn at motorbikes, atv’s, and uncontrolled elephants.


someone asking a question such as this thread is clearly not prepared to be a part of society. Please do not leave the house until you are more mature and have a decent head on your shoulders


To give a UK perspective - over here, the distinction between bridleways (rideable), and footpaths (not legally rideable), is largely a historic accident. However, the way in which paths are kept up, particularly whether they have stiles instead of gates or whatever, means that sometimes footpaths are a pain and not worth riding. But sometimes they make up great links in rides, when you want to get from one place to another.

I think pretty much all cyclists here ride some naughty footpaths, but you do have to be a bit more careful about thinking whether it is a sensible path to ride, and thinking about when you ride it. It is very different over here though, as we have so many trails due to our general access laws (pretty much any open land, woodland, hill or farmland will have at least footpaths going over it), that it isn’t like there are ever rangers or people patrolling trails, and landowners vary a lot as to whether they give a damn who rides on the footpaths on their land (or even who rides or walks on unofficial trails in many places).


That’s true Joe - most cyclists here will ride on footpaths when it’s convenient (and safe) to do so. But often it’s pretty hard to tell the difference between a good footpath and a bad bridleway without looking on the map. As long as you ride with respect to other users of the path (and be extra nice when you know you really aren’t supposed to be there) then in my experience the majority of people don’t mind. That goes for any kind of cycling.

I think the argument on this thread is more over the distinction between a bicycle and a unicycle. I’m with the people who think if you wouldn’t ride your bike down a path then you shouldn’t unicycle down it either. I behave in the same way on my unicycle as I do on my bike - just as a cyclist.


The coolest part? It’s likely you’re the ONLY PERSON IN THE UNIVERSE ever to have done it. (Were you alone? With uniprincess?)

On topic, I generally stay off trails designated off-limits to bikes.

Sort of adding on to what Tholub has said, it’s very key to know/understand your local trail system, why they are they way they are. Why is this particular trail for “foot traffic only” while this other one is open to “bicycles”. In my area at least, a lot of it definitely has to do with the “we were here first” argument, hikers built the early trails in my area long before folks were riding bikes off road so they take a certain ownership and want to keep things that way. Another concern, like has been mentioned already, is traffic. On some of the more popular trails i.e. near picnic areas, these are for foot traffic only because of concern of mixing high volumes of people and wheeled traffic. So I will say I’ll “poach” some of these trails from time to time (because they abut my property so it’s foolish not to use them sometimes) but I’ll go early in the morning before there is any park traffic.

FWIW the arguement that just because WE think a unicycle is much slower and more in control than a bike doesn’t do us any good because most non-unicycling folks aren’t educated in our discipline, to them they see a wobbly guy on one wheel coming down the trail and often times they panic. Don’t think so? In my limited experience, a huge amount of the time when I pass a hiker on a trail (where bikes are legal btw) they get way off the trail to let me by! I also mountain bike from time to time and I’ve hardly gotten the same response when I pass by on a bike!

Jamey is not alone in the universe if you include mtbs and he got off much easier with a $125 ticket. There was a group of 7 mtbrs from Sedona that rode the same trail when the park was closed durring a budget debate and they were arrested, had their bikes taken and were fined in the thousands.

I rode with a few of them some years back and they, like Jamey, said it was worth it.

i think the idea is not tearing up the trail though… to keep it natural looking i guess. we got a few nature trails that are no bicycles here… if bicycles were allowed, it’d prob be a big muddy mess.

that said…i’ve rode them before :stuck_out_tongue:

IMO a horse (or cow) does a lot more damage to the ground than a bike or unicycle. I think the perceived erosion problem associated with cyclists is exaggerated by walkers, who would like the trails all to themselves. Obviously, people dragging the back brake down a hill do cause damage, and places that become very popular with bikers and attract high volumes of traffic obviously suffer because of that - but so do places swarming with walkers. On my local trails, the worst bits are where cows and horses congregate.


Wow, that bit about Mike Vandeman is crazy! Luckily, I have never met anyone like that.

I am glad I live in Colorado now where I have an endless supply of trail systems to choose from. I haven’t come across any trails here that I have wanted to ride that ban bikes.

Having followed this thread I was riding today near my work. And I’ve spotted that a paved path by a river has a “No traffic” sign with an additional plate “Not applicable to bikes” (bike is pictured :wink: ) And of course I’m riding this path quite often.
That is not a trial, but anyway if we want to use bike priviledges, we need to obey the rules applicable to bikes as well.

For years I rode my bike on Tantulus trail on Oahu. GReat downhill. Then the no bike law passed. I respected it and moved on. 6 years later I started to unicycles.:wink:

The way the law was written, there no way I could or should be fined. They specifically target bikers. So I’m back and riding muni. The years I’ve been away, the trail looked highly eroded. (My first thought was bring back the mountain bikers to help maintain the trail.) This expert trail was way more technical than before. But still very fun.

I know colorado and california has a lot more hikers than we do in hawaii. I did run in to a regular hiker of the trail system and she said unicycles are the same as bikes, but she was friendly and didn’t seem to mind.

I think it’s numbers. When too many people are doing something, then rules are usually made. How much damage can I and maybe another unicyclist do to a trail couple times a year? I’m the only person anybody has ever seen riding a uni on a trail. Just be respectful of certain parts of the trail and people who hike it.

Might be a conspiracy theory but, if those cows and horses are making a point of congregating together, it sounds like they might be up to something. Keep an eye on them…

It’s too bad that so many trails are off limits. I like the shared trail idea. There really is no reason why bikes shouldn’t use the trails on such and such days or between such and such hours. Bikes do contribute to trail erosion but they also help keep trails from over growth (thorns).

I agree that horses are the worst destructors of trails. I have to admit that they do create some interesting terrain which can be fun to ride. Also, if I take my dogs on the trails I have to pick up their poop (or at least move it off the trail). Why do horse owners get to leave giant heaps of horse poop in the middle of the trail?