Review of ‘Thrillcraft’ was off-balance

Letter from Katherine Mccoy

Review – March 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

Hello, Martha,

I’m a big fan of your balanced journalism, but you seem off balance in your review of the book Thrillcraft. Yes, the book may be polemical and over the top. But realistically, where is the bulk of off-road damage coming from?

The facts point to motorized recreationists, not mountain biking. The most badly behaved mountain bike damage is a fraction of ATV or dirt bike damage. Compared to motorcycles and ATVs, mountain bike tires are tiny and the torque is nothing. And mountain bikes do not create the noise, pollution or danger that drive out other users.

Motorized recreation is greatly promoted, subsidized and lobbied for by huge corporations, mainly Japanese. The motorized coalition is forged by BIG BUSINESS, not a fringy subculture! (Of course mountain bikes have corporate support too, but it’s a fraction of the dollars devoted to motorized rec.)

“Thrillcraft” is an excellent term for the motorized experience. This recreation is at odds with public land use management, mandated to maintain natural values. Natural values do not include fossil-fuel consumption, high-performance engines, operation skills and racing technique. Most of motorized recreation focuses on the machine and very little on nature. Dust, noise, exhaust, and vehicular danger are celebrated.

We are long-term motorized recreation people — not backpackers or mountain bikers. For forty years, we have enjoyed 4-wheel jeeping to experience rare high country, historic mining sites and ghost towns — at tortoise speeds.

But dirt bikes and ATVs seem disinterested in these natural and historic values, and are focused on higher speed SKILLS and THRILLS. This is a HUGE difference. The current trend on motorized rec belongs on private lands willing to take the hit, not on public lands belonging to all users.


Katherine & Michael McCoy

Buena Vista