A miscarriage of justice. A nasty piece of work. A failure of journalism.

Mike Vandeman is an unlikely crusader for the environment against the scofflaw mountain bikers who ignore restriction signs on vulnerable trails and thereby cause soil erosion that can take generations to recover, and is dangerous to the intended users of these trails. On 11 April in Oakland in California he was sentenced to thirty days on a Sheriff’s Work Party, which most likely means picking up litter in an orange jumpsuit. Since he already spent eight days in a cell on remand, he’ll serve 22 days.

Vandeman was in the first instance accused of attacking mountain bikers with a saw. This is a laughable story. Vandeman has spent years writing letters about his passion, the walking trails of Northern California. He has no history of violence, and zero criminal record. He is a mild-mannered retired academic with a doctorate in psychology, and a successful polemicist. He doesn’t need violence to discomfit a bunch of stumble-tongue scofflaws.

Anyone who has paid attention can see that this old man, who merely wants mountain bikers to respect the environment and the law, was clearly railroaded on fabricated evidence. The amount of evidence the court threw out, and that the jury didn’t believe, is staggering. The accusations on which the charges are made  were brought months after the alleged events. The key charge is that Vandeman attacked mountain bikers with a saw. We see no photographs of wounds, no scars, and the supposedly damaged bicycle tire couldn’t be produced.

So Mike Vandeman is sentenced on the word of a bunch of mountain bikers who came forward months after the incidents they alleged, motivated by an emotional upsweep attendant on allegations on which eventually Vandeman was found innocent. This has all the hallmarks of a conspiracy; it is the word of highly committed mountain biking fanatics against a lone crusader for the environment. It’s a classic railroad job.

What Mike Vandeman is in fact convicted of is of being unpopular in the mountain biking community for standing up for the law and the environment.

The only “reporting” on this travesty of justice is by Peter Frick-Wright.

Frick-Wright’s reports are so one-sided, we never heard that Vandeman’s accusers are a bunch of scofflaws, environment-wreckers, and erosion generators, all riding on trails clearly forbidden to them, and that the DA and the court stopped some of them giving “evidence” because they were clearly committing perjury. Why do you think the jury declined to believe so many of these charges?

Peter Frick-Wright is on to a good thing in the Vandeman case. In his own words,

“I’m going to be turning this trial into a short graphic novel with artist Pyar Anderson, and writing a more complete and carefully told version of this story for BIKE Magazine. Not that I’ve been holding back important things learned outside the courtroom, (I totally have, and they’re juicy. I’m sorry.) but I needed to have some limits so I could offer something new in those stories.”

So, all along this mercenary liar has been shaping the story to suit his money-making ventures. “Juicy.” This isn’t journalism, this is a sick travesty of reporting.

Here’s an example of Peter Frick-Wright’s shameless mendacity. We have, on the one hand, the reality of an old man, Michael Vandeman, stumblng into the path of mountainbikers illegally on a path, carrying his little trail-marking saw. Now watch Frick-Fright turning it into something he can use in his graphic novel, in short, turn a trial report (where we have a right to expect certain standards of veracity) into a lie.

“…on my way to the courthouse this morning, I witnessed something that gave me a better understanding of the charges—and now the verdicts that the jury reached this afternoon.

“About halfway to the courthouse, I stopped to watch a fight developing at a bus stop across the street. I didn’t see what started it, but it was between a smallish guy in sweatpants and a guy in a long black trench coat. It was just a bunch of yelling at first; it seemed they were going to go their separate ways. But as they separated, some comment sparked more. They turned back at each other and kept shouting, and Trench Coat pulled a weapon.

“Or, he tried to. Trench Coat had to check three pockets before he found the one with the knife, but once it was out I could see it glinting in the sun across four lanes of traffic.

“He held it down by his side, arm straight, maybe eight inches from his body—exactly the same position that witnesses described Vandeman holding the screwdriver.

“It was not an imminent threat to the other guy’s life, but it sent a message. Sweatpants could keep yelling, but he had to do it from 10 to 12 feet away. Trench Coat didn’t have to say anything.”

This is reporting? It is an outright, manufactured lie, in which Frick-Wright segues casually from old man Vandeman with his little trail-marking saw (already become a screwdriver!) to Vandeman the maniac who brings a knife with the intention of threatening mountainbikers with it. And Frick-Wright is so poorly trained, and so biased, and so smug, that he cannot see that what he’s doing right out in the open should disqualify him from reporting on the trial.

If BIKE Magazine publishes anything from this Peter Frick-Wright, and does not prominently label it personal and biased opinion, they will be committing a crime against journalistic ethics. Any attempt to put forward as reporting anything this greedy man Frick-Wright writes will be as despicable as he is.

***
One must also wonder what makes Frick-Wright think he’s a writer. Compare this:

“You could call the sentence a slap on the wrist, but it may be even less than that”

with this, a single sentence away:

“Twenty-two days on a work crew is no picnic”.

Which is it, Mr Frick-Wright, a slap on the wrist or no picnic? Or is it 50 cents each way on a sure thing, because you don’t know how to put your mind in gear? Or has your lipsmacking gloating so affected your judgment that you cannot remember what you wrote a single sentence earlier?

***
Peter Frick-Wright is a blot on an already adequately disgraced profession.

66 thoughts on “A miscarriage of justice. A nasty piece of work. A failure of journalism.”

  1. Richard, do you know there will be an appeal or are you merely hoping for one? It would be very expensive, and the extended trial so far has already been very expensive for Mr Vandeman, while the trial expenses of the mountain bikers persecuting him have been paid by the taxpayers with the DA as their attorney.

    1. If he spent his own money, I can understand not appealing misdemeanors.

      Persecuted by the MTB community? I’ve certainly heard about him, but didn’t really care until charges were filed.

      There’s this whole western vigilantism mythos that is counter-productive in a civilized society. I find it ironic that his actions resulted in his arrest and ban, instead of the cyclists.

  2. Yo, Mtnbike Mike, what sucks here is your slack-ass failure to make any point at all. There’s no argument, just your opinion. Without reasoning to support it, your opinion is worthless. If have an argument, make it. Maybe someone agrees with you. Maybe you even change someone’s mind. But abuse will do you no good.

    1. What sucks here is your slavish slobbering on Mike Vandeman’s psychotic cock.

      Hope you die in a house fire, asshole.

  3. I think perhaps you misunderstand what rights people have when they see someone else committing minor violations. I can tell you that attempting to block or detain someone is a more serious crime in most any jurisdiction than trespassing would be. Trespassing usually only rises above the level of a violation when a person has been specifically warned that they are trespassing by the landowner or his representative. A random, angry, old coot does not get to be in charge of warning trespassers for the entire state of California.

    1. First, Bobby, thanks for making an argument.

      No, I didn’t misunderstand. I have good legal advice on the subject, and it agrees with you, except for one crucial detail, in square brackets:

      “A random, angry, old coot does not get to be in charge of [detaining] trespassers for the entire state of California.”

      There is zero evidence that Vandeman tried to detain anyone. If he used a saw, as alleged, where are the scars of the wounds? Where is the slashed tire that the court was promised but never saw? Why did the witnesses come forward only months after the event, in a very heated mob atmosphere? Why did the court and the jury decline to believe so many of the witnesses? Why did the DA stop one of his own witnesses testifying? Why was none of these unsatisfactory witnesses charged with perjury or wasting police time with promises of non-existent evidence? This has all the benchmarks of a railroad job by a DA trying to unify student opinion behind him at his next election. Peter Frick-Wright’s part in stoking up the hysteria is a betrayal of journalistic principles.

      Furthermore, you misrepresent the law. It is that bikers must give way to pedestrians, which on those paths effectively mean that the mountain biker must come to a voluntary stop, not bomb down on an old man with their bikes.

      “A random, angry, old coot”, eh? I guess we know where your sympathies lie.

      1. ” This has all the benchmarks of a railroad job by a DA trying to unify student opinion behind him at his next election.”

        He was found guilty of three counts by a jury. That has all the benchmarks of a man who has been found guilty through the judicial system because the jury found the evidence against him compelling.

        As for the opening line of your piece “Mike Vandeman is an unlikely crusader for the environment against the scofflaw mountain bikers who ignore restriction signs on vulnerable trails and thereby cause soil erosion”

        That’s not strictly true is it – as Vandeman “crusades” against all mountain bikers, not just those who ignore restriction signs. He uses flawed scientific technique in order to justify his claims, ignoring much of the evidence out there simply because it does not suit his purpose. He is a man who frequently belittles injuries sustained by mountain bikers and uses their misfortune in an attempt to further his campaign.

        1. Thank you for your opinion, Paul. You’re making my points over and over again. Mike Vandeman was found guilty by a jury because of perjury by mountain bikers. The trial was a travesty of justice. That Mike Vandeman doesn’t like mountainbikers and that mountainbikers hate Mike Vandeman may be a reason but it isn’t justification. If Dr Vandeman crusades against all mountain bikers, as you claim, that would necessarily include him campaigning against the scofflaw offroaders, or have the other mountainbikers now been so revolted by their perjury that they expelled them from the ranks?

  4. Of course he’s going to appeal. All mountain bikers lie all the time, so it’s a clear cut case. He said so himself: “The first thing one notices about mountain bikers is that they lie continually!”

    http://home.pacbell.net/mjvande/mtb17

    If you ride a mountain bike, you are a liar, lazy, addicted, suffer from cognitive dissonance, narcissism and monomania. If you ever desire to ride one, it can only be an indication of serious mental troubles and you should seek psychiatric help immediately.

    1. I have his whole website downloaded, though, just in case. It’s fascinating. Vandeman’s Ph.D. is in psychometrics, the measurement of human behaviors and traits.

      http://home.pacbell.net/mjvande/mjv1

      In other words, all human behaviors are predictable and measurable. So, if you like to ride a mountain bike, you desire to destroy the environment. Logical and simple.

    2. Your remarks would carry more weight if there was a name attached to them. See how Bobby Connelly wins additional credibility for standing up for his opinions under his own name?

      I’m a bicyclist (my current fave among my bikes is a 29er made in Germany), who hasn’t owned a car since 1992, and also a psychologist. I found Dr Vandeman’s paper very interesting indeed. But it doesn’t contain any reason to convict him of anything.

      I’ve edited your second remark slightly to remove the confusion I caused about whether the link is live. I hope you don’t mind. It just makes it easier to read your remarks straight on.

      1. I won’t use my real name anymore because whenever I Google it, page after page comes up. It’s a bit much. It doesn’t matter, though, because my opinion of Mr. Vandeman is based on his own writings.

        I haven’t read the trial transcript, but some jurors seem to indicate that his conviction was the result of his own testimony. None of the jurors ride or even own a bicycle. His defense attorney made sure of that.

        Vandeman thinks very highly of himself. He uses a picture of St. Francis of Assisi as his Facebook profile page.

        He can do things that we shouldn’t, for example, we should all boycott motor vehicles: “WARNING: It is probably impossible to understand my web page, if you own a car. Or a mountain bike.” http://home.pacbell.net/mjvande/ , yet it was revealed in his trial that he does own a car and drive it sometimes, but everyone else must boycott anything to do with motor vehicles: http://home.pacbell.net/mjvande/boycott

        Hiking should be banned as well, even though it is OK for him to indulge. Note the image of hiking boots at the top of this page: http://home.pacbell.net/mjvande/overview . He is alleged to have written letters to REI asking them to stop selling hiking boots (looking for this reference).

        The guy’s a hypocrite.

    1. “To continue racing and to stay under the radar, Muravez – like Don Prudhomme, Tommy Ivo, and other famous California racers a member of the famed Burbank Road Kings car club – adopted the pseudonym Floyd Lippencott Jr. and competed at the 1963 event under that name.

      A young Steve Gibbs, in his pre-NHRA days, was the Drag News reporter for San Gabriel Drag Strip, and after Muravez won a race there, he implored Gibbs to use an alias. Hence, Floyd Lippencott Jr. was “born.”

      “The Floyd part came out of thin air, but I borrowed the name Lippencott from a college textbook that was on my shelf,” recalled Gibbs. “I threw in the Jr. part as an afterthought. The track announcer, Mel Reck, started using the name at subsequent events, and it stuck.”

      Whom should one believe — someone who hides behind a fake name, or the guy who uses his real name? That’s a no-brainer.

  5. Wow, thanks for the mental analysis Mr. Vandeman. Your writing style is so easy to spot. I didn’t realize that riding my bike ( a healthy activity by the way) made me ” a liar, lazy, addicted, suffer from cognitive dissonance, narcissism and monomania. ” and that riding is ” an indication of serious mental troubles and you should seek psychiatric help immediately.” Wow, another ridiculous statement from MV. MV, I and many many others do believe you are the one with serious mental issues. please get help before you assault someone again. I find the accusations of this trial being some sort of conspiracy laughable at best. IMV assaulted more than one person on the trails, and you both feel that this is OK? are you out of your minds? We all know better than to argue with someone who is not mentally stable and who makes totally irrational, illogical arguments. Look forward to the article in BIKE exposing MV’s reprehensible actions to the world.

    1. ”an indication of serious mental troubles and you should seek psychiatric help immediately”

      I never said that. “Anonymous” said that. Learn to read.

      Andre Jute is right on, although I don’t know how he can be so perspicacious. The police and the mountain bikers all lied under oath. I was complete innocent of all charges. But because only I and the mountain bikers were there, only we know the truth.

      The judge understood this. His sentence was the minimum allowed by law, given the bogus verdict, and not really a punishment at all! I pick up trash myself, all the time. This community service is just more of what I do normally. The judge knew that.

      The mountain bikers shot themselves in the foot, by demonstrating for all the world to see just what they are like: moral-less vermin willing to lie, in order to put someone in jail. I can’t think of anything lower. All of this will come out in an upcoming film by 30lbsskunk.com.

      1. You forgot to mention that you were also banned from those trails for three years. And you do realise that the mountain bikers did not “shot themselves in the foot” at all – you were found guilty by a jury of three counts – including
        battery:
        Penal Code 242 PC
        battery takes place when you willfully and unlawfully use force or violence upon another
        Now you can stamp your feet and and claim that the mountain bikers lied – but the simple fact remains that with regards to the three offenses you were found guilty of the jurors believed them and not you. The majority of the jury also believed that you were guilty of intentionally using the handsaw – but were unable to gain a unanimous verdict.

  6. “The amount of evidence the court threw out…”
    “…and that the DA and the court stopped some of them giving “evidence” because they were clearly committing perjury.”

    Did you attend the trial? What are your sources for backing up your statements? I wasn’t there, and Peter’s blog was my only source for information.

    As for this statement: “…in which Frick-Wright segues casually from old man Vandeman with his little trail-marking saw (already become a screwdriver!)” There was more than one charge. In one instance, he had a saw; in another, he punctured a tire with a screwdriver. It shows that he has a history of threatening people and trying to take the law in to his own hands.

    Also, trying to portray him as a quiet old man doesn’t mean he is harmless. There are numerous cases where after a terrible crime has been committed, the individual who committed the crime was said to have been a nice, quiet person who never bothered anyone, the ideal neighbor.

    1. Yo, Matt, my source of information too is Frick-Wright.

      You really want to distinguish between a charge and a conviction.

      Where’s the evidence that promised of the damaged tyre?

      Where are the scars or wounds or photographs of either, left by alleged attack with a saw?

      For Frick-Wright to try to imply, by prestidigitation with his imaginary couple at the bus, stop that Vandeman is guilty, before the verdict is in, is an abuse of the freedom and power of the press, and of journalistic principles. Period. There is no excuse, there can be no excuse. That Frick-Wright is doing it to the hated Vandeman is not an excuse either but an aggravating circumstance.

      Frick-Wright has already confessed that he skewed the reporting for monetary gain. I quote his confession above. Peter Frick-Wright is despicable.

      1. He was convicted of 2 counts of exhibiting a deadly weapon and one count of battery, and found not guilty of vandalism (damage to bicycle tire) and another battery charge. Why do you keep rambling about the “promised” damaged tire? He was found not guilty in that case. And as for the cut from the saw, a mistrial was declared.

        1. I like your attempted characterization of my remarks on the promised but never produced evidence as “rambling”.

          Look at it this way. Without the hysteria generated by the charges of wounding with a saw and, for light relief, wounding a tire, this case would not have been brought. The other charges were trivial.

          But, after the trial starts, the evidence suddenly cannot be found for the serious charges, and witnesses prove unreliable. All that is left is the word of highly emotionally charged mountain bikers, who brought their charges months after the event they allege, and only to “help” out other mountain bikers supposedly wounded.

          All that is left, after the DA drops part of his charge sheet, and judge and the DA find witnesses unreliable, and the jury throws out some charges, is ludicrous stuff depending solely on the word of mountain bikers who between them can’t show a scar or a scab or a photo.

          That’s what looks like a fit-up job, like those conspiracy trials that were once common.

          1. I agree, without the felony assault charge, the DAs office and the grand jury wouldn’t care less. They have limited resources and pick and choose what cases to prosecute.

            The only facts that matter is that he was convicted by a jury of his peers for 2 counts of exhibiting a deadly weapon and one count of battery. Anything else is armchair quarterbacking.

            In MVs world view, he wins with any verdict. Not guilty, vindicated. Guilty, martyr.

      2. MV’s attorney kept filing motions and delaying the trial. With so much time passed memories became hazy and evidence lost. The roommate of the saw victim, who witnessed the event, was unable to attend. The statement made by the defendant to the police was lost. The punctured tire was long lost. The defendant and his attorney took full advantage of the system, so he got a very light sentence.

        All “journalism” is for monetary gain. The purpose of the content is to draw eyeballs to the ads. Journalists have to eat, so they write what they think will attract an audience, so those in the publishing business will buy their works. People are jealous of Peter Frick-Wright because he is a mountain biker and the Sierra Club publishes his work all the time. He has quite a few detractors, but controversy sells advertising.

        1. “Anonymous”, you’re wanking. That there was NO EVIDENCE is not, repeat not, proof that there was a crime, it is proof that there was no crime.

          That “evidence” was promised and then not produced, on the contrary, goes a fair way towards proof of a conspirary against Vandeman by the mountain bikers, and of the self-serving complaisance of the DA.

          And your next cynically self-serving “argument”, that all journalists go around railroading hapless old environmentalists who get in the way of mountain biking lawbreakers, is simply offensive to the huge, huge majority of journalists who are honest reporters. Mercenary, meretricious scum like Peter Frick-Wright are in a tiny, tiny minority. Thank God for that.

          You might show this exchange to your parents and ask if they think you’re being adequately taught at whatever college you attend. You certainly need a remedial course in Civics, and perhaps they want to pull you out and send you to a college where a better class of logic is prevalent than at your present clearly inadequate institution.

          I love your self-incrimination:
          “People are jealous of Peter Frick-Wright because he is a mountain biker…”
          Really? There’s something so special about mountain bikers that people should be jealous of them? So special that mountain bikers should be above the law? Above decency even? Permitted to commit perjury to railroad environmentalist?

          Wow, I’ve heard of a “sense of entitlement”, but this is obscene.

          Just as well you don’t give your own name, “Anonymous”, or these stupid admisions of yours will follow you around for the rest of your life.

    2. “It shows that he has a history of threatening people and trying to take the law in to his own hands. ”

      BS. Those are CHARGES, not convictions. They were thrown out during the trial. I never assaulted anyone, and wasn’t convicted of assault. The charges were dropped. But I never expect mountain bikers to tell the truth. They don’t care about the facts. They always fabricate their own “facts”.

      By the way, the saw was for habitat restoration (removal of French broom), not trail marking.

  7. Wow.

    Read that article closely. Axe to grind, much? Skewed facts much?

    MV is a retired academic? Please. He works at AT&T as a cube monkey. Hardly a ‘retirement’ job.

        1. Anyone with a PhD was once an academic. Before Dr Vandeman went into industry, he taught college. That makes him a “retired academic”, precisely as I have it. I’ll leave it to you to look up the details and come apologize for that “misrepresented”. It’s probably a civility too far to expect a jerkoff like Erich to apologize for his ignorant sneer.

  8. so what this article says is that if someone runs a stop sign on me I have the RIGHT to pop their tires detain them and cut them with a saw.

    its really not worth arguing with people that have the mindset of the author, everything will be twisted to support their point of view

    1. Where is this tire that was promised as evidence of the alleged assault with a saw? Where are the wounds or scars, or photographs of either , caused by this alleged assault with a saw?

      Of course it isn’t worth arguing with me, “Anonymous”, not for you anyway, because I have the facts lined up, whereas you’re arguing from emotional commitment.

  9. This article is too funny. Andre sounds like a sore loser. MVD got what he deserved for harassing and threatening bicyclists for years on the trails.

    1. So you admit that mountain bikers railroaded an environmentalist because they don’t have the brains to answer his legitimate charges. Okay, at least that’s honest of you.

      But we shouldn’t send people to jail for being a nuisance to a bunch of scofflaws. Vandeman’s “crime” was that he pointed out, persistently, that mountain-bikers were and are banned from those trails.

      1. An individual can make complaints to authorities about others committing crimes, but once that individual touches or otherwise unlawfully detains the other, that person is committing a more serious crime than simply riding a bicycle on a trail. A private citizen cannot take the law into his or her own hands. It has been pointed out in other blogs that, for less than the price of a lawyer, the defendant could have bought a good quality camera with the purpose of photographing and identifying those riding illegally on certain trails. He and his friends could have pooled their resources and become “protectors” of that trail, placing signs at the top, warning of a large fine and cameras to identify violators.

        He did more than “point out” mountain bikers were riding the trails. He apparently pointed objects at them, got in their way and/or touched them in some way. There is a fine line in these matters and apparently he crossed it.

        Also, complaining about a few bikes on an urban trail does not make one an “environmentalist” when there are bigger issues in the world. He is obsessed with triviality. To quote a famous piece of literature: “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Matthew 7:3, KJV)

        1. You should reread what you’ve written, “Anonymous”, from the viewpoint of a stranger who doesn’t share the mountain bike community’s hatred of Mike Vandeman. Try this distortion of the facts by you, for instance:

          “He did more than “point out” mountain bikers were riding the trails. He apparently pointed objects at them, got in their way and/or touched them in some way.”

          Vandeman was on the trail with a small marking saw. Vandeman has a right to the trail. Vandeman is not in anyone’s way. He doesn’ t have to give way to anyone. On the contrary, the mountain bikers are supposed to stop and get off the trail until Vandeman passes. That is the law. Instead these kids bombed down on him threateningly on the narrow trail. He is an old man; he grabbed at one of these young thugs to keep his balance. In these circumstances whatever is in his hand, a small trail marking saw, a screwdriver to stick into the ground and pull you up inclines (I have one in my hillwalking/mountain climbing rucksack), will of course sooner or later point at someone as his arms whirl to keep his balance. It is all a matter of interpretation, but we should start with who has by law a right to be on that trail, which is open to walkers and forbidden to mountain bikers. We notice that none of the mountain bikers were charged with breaking the law by being on the trail. Were they promised immunity for testifying against Vandeman?

          Let’s say Vandeman succeeded in making a conspiracy with his friends and having half a dozen mountain bikers convicted on a charge of “pointing assault weapons”, to wit mountain bikes which can be lethal at speed, at him, and of getting in his way on a trail, and of “touching him in some way” because a mountain biker in fear of losing his balance touched him. It would be clear to both of us that the mountain bikers were railroaded by a conspiracy. In that case I’d stand up for the mountain bikers and be excoriating Vandeman instead. You’d think I was a hero for standing up for truth.

          But the conspiracy was not made by honest, decent, sincere Mike Vandeman, it was made by a bunch of mountain bike lawbreakers with an overgrown sense of their own entitlement who conspiring with an ambitious DA against a decent environmentalist, and railroaded him with obvious perjured testimony and a sickening media campaign by a greedy and dishonest “journalist”, Peter Frick-Wright.

          Decent people will stand up for Honest Mike Vandeman, not try to weasel words to exonerate mountain bike bullies, scofflaws and perjurers.

          As a bicyclist myself, I’m mortally ashamed of what happened in California.

      2. Andre,

        You got reading comprehension issues. Again: MVD harassed and threatened cyclists. Hence, he was found guilty by a jury of his peers.

        The only person MVD should blame is himself.

        1. I ask you again, Robert, where is the evidence? There is none. There is only the word of mountain bikers who came forward months after the event, who could show no wounds or scars or photographs, no slashed tire.

          I’m a cyclist myself, and I have no great sympathy with Vandeman’s methods (there is a comment on this subject that suggests credible alternative actions), but he was clearly railroaded on flimsy evidence, and no action was taken against mountain bikers who were in such an emotional state that they were willing to say anything to convict the hated Vandeman. The whole aura of a perjured conspiracy hangs about this case.

          But never mind. As someone else has already pointed out, Vandeman, innocent or guilty, wins. You people, trying to explain why Vandeman should be punished for his lifelong antipathy to mountain bikers, are merely making my point over and over and over again.

          Vandeman wins, you lose.

          Vandeman’s name and cause will live long, long after the names of the conspirators and false accusers and perjurers are forgotten. In fact, I’ve forgotten them already. Perhaps you want to remind us.

    2. Telling someone the truth (that bikes are illegal on that trail) is not harassment. And the only one who was ever assaulted was ME, not the mountain bikers. You obviously don’t know what you are talking about.

  10. MV was convicted by a jury of his peers. The facts showed to his peers, beyond a reasonable doubt, that he acted maliciously. His peers found that the results of his actions were intentional, not an accident which is not punishable normally. This was all found by testimony by both the defendant and witnesses.

    As far as a failure of journalism is concerned, what piece of journalism is never skewed. We’re all prejudice to a point. That’s why we have brand loyalty at the market. If you’ve ever been the subject of an article, you will be amazed by the skew. It is after all to create controversy, which makes good reading. Just as this comment thread is doing.

    Now continue to comment with controversy so that the adds on this page are viewed and generate revenue.

  11. His “small marking saw” was 12 inches long. Blarney doesn’t work in the States, at least most of the time.

    Confronting illegal mountain bikers in the way he chose did nothing to stop them. He failed utterly and now he is the one excluded from the trails.

    I completely sympathize with his desire to keep scofflaw bikers off the trails. He had rightly recognized this problem for years. His Ph.D. mind should have come up with a clever plan. In his place I would have used a camera. He could have turned the photos over to the District Attorney. Some of the individuals he was alleged to have attacked work at local bike shops, or at least frequent them. He could have printed flyers with prominent photos of the violators, showing what bike shops they work for or visit. No business owner wants to employ a criminal or otherwise attract negative publicity. This action would have a better chance of actually stopping illegal cycling on trails. There was a recent case of a mountain bike racer using an illegal trail in Colorado. He was caught and fined, but more importantly, he was kicked off his team. Ride on this trail, lose your job. Period.

    Mike could have gotten a helmet, rented a cool downhill bike (mountain bikers are easily distracted by shiny objects) and parked himself at the top of the trail with a clipboard. He could have said, “Hey, man, I have a petition here to get these trails open to bikes. Do you want to sign it before your ride? I’ve been in contact with the UC Berkeley authorities and they are willing to listen to me.” (not a lie) He gets a name, a signature, the biker rides down the trail and one of Mike’s friends takes a picture. The courts have no choice but to cite and fine the biker. The biker is fired from his bike shop job. Hikers win. End of story.

    The hard evidence against scofflaw bikers would have been easy to obtain. Instead, he is convicted on flimsy evidence.

    Oh, well …

    Welcome to the Mike Vandeman Internet White Knight Brigade. That makes three of you. You will never admit that he could have taken a more intelligent approach. His response to the thugs on bikes was an utter failure and damaged his cause. The result might be that bikes may now be officially allowed on these trails for the reasons you outline above. Welcome to the world of “democracy,” where the mob rules.

    1. Illegal trail riding is roughly as illegal as J walking. It’s no big deal. We all do it all the time, and authorities don’t really care for the most part. The smart thing would be to legalize trail use to cyclists. That would be a lot simpler. Instead, the bay area is full of wanna be greenies that simply don’t want to share trails with others, and go to great lengths to maintain the unfair access situation by pretending that cyclists hurt the environment (clue: they don’t).

      If there’s a mob rule, it’s really the rule of the bike haters that so far have been winning the trail access war.

    2. You don’t know what you are talking about. Violators of a bike ban can’t be arrested on the basis of a photograph, only by the presence of a police officer. I informed the police about the problem for 20+ years. They failed to stop the bikers. I was only exercising my First Amendment right to talk to them. ALL of the charges were false. But I know that mountain bikers don’t care about the truth, only about riding their bikes wherever and whenever they like, the public be damned.

  12. You must be a different “Anonymous”.

    I have no problem with your critique of Mike Vandeman’s methods. I’ve thought for years that he was headed for a martyr’s end. But that is no excuse for framing Vandeman with manufactured “evidence”, which then could not be produced.
    As for “blarney”, I’m holding a 12 inch trail marking saw in my hand and, after one subtracts the handle and the collet, the blade is a bit over four inches long, in fact not much longer than what is normally considered a penknife (instead of a weapon) where I live.

    “Welcome to the world of “democracy,” where the mob rules.” Well put.

    1. (A four inch saw or a two inch knife blade could open someone’s carotid artery and the person would bleed to death. I guess the WWII era 7″ blade “Western” knife my old man used to carry backpacking would be illegal in the UK. I still have it, sharp as a razor.)

      No, I’m not different, I’m just able to see both sides of the story. I’ve been a rabid wilderness hiker and backpacker since my dad took me on walks when I was about 4 years old. I’ve also been a “mountain” biker since before they were called that. I’ve seen double track vehicle roads through formerly grazed and logged dairy farms re-named “trails” (width unchanged) and the area re-defined as “wilderness” for the express purpose of banning bicycle use. I used to ride those dirt roads from the time I was old enough to ride the 30 miles from home on the road. When the “no bikes” signs showed up my friends and I ignored them.

      Now I live in a state where these hiker-biker conflicts are completely unheard of, because there are fewer people and more trails. An eighth of a mile from my house is a “crowded” single-track trail up a hill with hikers, runners, bikers and pet dogs. On a weekend there’ll be 15 cars parked at the base. Some people park their bikes and walk, while some ride up the trail. It is on private ranch property, switchbacking up a steep hillside. No conflicts. Zero. None. Everybody says “Hello.” “Excuse me.” “Thank you.” There’s no excess erosion or “v-shaped ruts” because the trail is graded properly and the equestrians in the area usually use the more extensive trails further out. I guess we need someone like Mike to tell us what we’re doing wrong. (LOL)

      1. You’ve put your finger on it, Anonymous. These animosities flare in proportion to the increase in numbers cyclists on the trails. Where I walk and ride, people smile and greet me and hold gates for me. I doubt they would be so agreeable if I brought thirty yahoos with me.

        In Europe, carrying a seven-inch blade is likely to get you a jail sentence…

      2. “When the “no bikes” signs showed up my friends and I ignored them.”

        That says it all. Mountain bikers don’t give a damn about wildlife, the environment, or other people. The “V-shaped ruts” were confirmed by a mountain biker researcher (see http://mjvande.nfshost.com/scb7.htm). Bulldozing is only necessary because mountain bikers wreck (their term is “shred”) the trails. Hikers tend to flatten the trails. It is a well-known fact, and visible on the trails. Private property is just about the only place where that kind of destructiveness is tolerated, although it shouldn’t be — wildlife can’t really be “owned”.

        1. At least I’m telling the truth.

          The area west of my house is a mix of private and public property. Formerly mined (a few small tailings piles from a century ago), it is now lightly grazed, if at all. Some of the low lands are irrigated alfalfa fields. Looking at the big picture, though, from a decent vantage point, human impact is minimal for miles around, mostly confined to the large river valley floor. Trails do not contribute significantly to erosion, simply because they take up an insignificant fraction of the environment. We see wolves, elk, moose, foxes, coyotes, raptors, rodents and plenty of rattlesnakes in the summer. (We have rabbits, foxes and ungulates wandering through our yard here in town.) The greatest impact to the tributaries is made by beavers, which are making a comeback. If you sit very quietly for an hour with some binoculars you can watch them work. They chew down small groves of aspen and cottonwood, creating ponds and meadows.

          This is all possible because of a small human population density. I doubt it has anything to do with where bicycles are allowed or not.

  13. Andre’s comments are absolutely correct. Mountain bikers hate Mike Vandeman because he is influential in restricting their access into natural areas and he isn’t intimidated by them! The mountain biker ran into the pruning saw because he was speeding down a gravel road toward Mike and his friends and couldn’t stop. The bikers ran into Mike. I was in the courtroom. Attorneys for other cases waiting for this one to end could not believe such frivolous charges had been brought. Mountain bikers are almost always the same: if you don’t jump out of their way so they don’t have to slow down, they threaten you and swear at you. I, for one, do not yield to mountain bikes.

  14. “I was in the courtroom. Attorneys for other cases waiting for this one to end could not believe such frivolous charges had been brought.”

    Thank you for bringing reason and facts to the discussion, Terri.

    1. Mike may have some influence in a small circle, but he has not been allowed to represent the Sierra Club due to his extreme views. Anyone who writes REI asking them to stop selling hiking boots is likely to elicit ridicule as opposed to respect. He has also written NASA asking them to “de-map” wild places. These are examples of tilting at windmills, exercises in futility.

      Mike thinks he knows something about psychology, but he spends the remainder of his working career writing code for the phone company, because he understands computers and mathematics more than people. His psychology degree is nothing more than the reductionist quantification of the taste preferences of ethnic minorities. (Look up Synanon and Attack Therapy for information on Vandeman’s brief psychology career)

      Ted Kaczynski, who taught math at the same school that Vandeman attended for his undergraduate degree, thought he could bring down the system by mailing bombs to scientists and executives. Vandeman thinks he can stop mountain biking by confronting them on trails an writing sensationalist prose on the internet. Both have been utter failures due to their basic misunderstanding of human nature. Kaczynski is a much better writer, by the way.

  15. You guys must really be hurting if at this distance of time you’re still trying to denigrate Mike Vandeman. If he is so unimportant and ineffective, why is it necessary for mountain bikers to perjure themselves to criminalise Vandeman? Why is it necessary for Frick-Wright to sell out every journalistic principle to lie about Vandeman? Why is necessary for you to snipe childishly about the length of Vandeman’s career in psychology? Why is it necessary for an entire community of mountain bikers repeatedly to expose their viciousness and pettiness in public? What is it about Vandeman that gets under your skins so?

    1. The reason is that his rantings are so far-out that we can’t help it. People mock him so he’ll write more. Maybe we do it because it is entertaining. Many of us do a “Mike Vandeman” search every day, looking for his latest. From my perspective, though, it is getting boring, because his arguments become so repetitive, i.e., “IDIOT…LIAR!” It’s all pretty mean of us, because he probably has some form of narcissistic personality disorder, so I feel some pity for the man. He cannot see the world or himself as others might, except for his “white knights” like Terri Alvillar and Ed Dolan. Don’t become one, Andre.

  16. For entertainment you people have publicly demonstrated that you will tell any lie, commit perjury, break the law, persecute an old man? If the entertainment of mountain bikers is to demonstrate that they are scum, no wonder they are so widely hated.

    By the way, I love the way you blame your victim for your failures of character and upbringing and socialization. “The reason is that his rantings are so far-out that we can’t help it.” That’s a fascist argument made notorious in the 1930s and 1940s, if you didn’t know.

  17. Lets just call this article what it is, damage control for Mike V. His reputation is shot so he needs a supporter to post an article to attempt to rebuild. The problem is that with just a little research the truth comes out and all the vitrol he has spewed over the years comes to light. He claims to be a spiritual religious person and yet he takes true pleasure in reporting every time a biker gets hurt or killed. He calls it evolution and says they are getting what they deserved or it is Karma. I would say Karma is what Mike got.

    1. Thank you, Aaron. Your argument comes down to this: “It is karma, fate, inevitable that mountainbiking lawbreakers should lie and perjure themselves to railroad an elderly conservationist who only wants to stop them wrecking the environment.”

      That is what I and others have been saying all along. Scum is as scum does. Mountainbiking scum is still scum. There is nothing special about mountainbikers to justify the grotesquely selfish sense of smug entitlement that underlies all these arguments you make.

  18. Vandeman and Jute, flaming liars and assholes who deserve to be chained to each other and left on an ice floe.

Speak your mind!