:: Loud Motorcycles in Yosemite ::


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Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 21, 2006 - 09:55am PT
While climbing in Yosemite and Tuolumne over the past years I have noticed the extra loud nature of Harley Davidson motorcycles. Pretty much the entire valley is affected by the aural pollution of these motorcycles. They are louder than the sanitation & supply trucks that service the valley. Should you be climbing in the meadows and a “ride in” is in progress you’ll be reminded of their presence. Hike to the top of Dana? Still there.

Aside from an aesthetical disturbance, my hunch is that loud pipes affect animals. Does the National Park Service have a decibel limitation?

No umbrage to those of you that ride Harley Davidson or other loud motorcycles.
Scared Silly

Trad climber
Jul 21, 2006 - 10:02am PT
Unfortunately, when it comes to vehicles the NPS defers to the state laws. However, what the NPS could do is require that they travel in small groups so that the combined noise is lessoned. However, I am not sure which would be worse one large pack of noisy rats or several small groups of noisy rats. Either way I agree as during our last visit we had to put with their noise verberating through the meadows.

BTW We just had some boys move into the hood with crotch rockets - their welecome ended at 12am when they decided to race down the street.

East Coast US
Jul 21, 2006 - 10:21am PT
We have the same problem in the Gunks. You can't hear your belayer when climbing in the south end of the Trapps near the 44/55 hairpin when these things roar up or down the hill.

Odd thing, if your car was that loud you could and probably would receive a ticket. It happened right in front of my house to a neighbor who builds custom cars. But the motorcycles roar right by without the slightest worry.


Trad climber
love the eastern sierras
Jul 21, 2006 - 10:26am PT
millbrook=no noise

hi conrad when you coming back to gunks? it was fun climbing w/ you out here. hope i didn't sandbag you.

the Fet

A urine, feces, and guano encrusted ledge
Jul 21, 2006 - 10:29am PT
I love the torque and comfort of riding a Harley, but those idiots who put loud aftermarket pipes on them are lame. Ride because you enjoy it, not so you're saying "look at me and how cool I am on my rediculously loud badass bike". They might as well wear tight pink lycra if they crave attention that bad.

Every time I hear a bike like that, or see other lame attention grabbing stupidity (e.g. giant SUVs with low profile tires) I picture that person with "I'm an idiot" tatooed on their forehead.

East of Seattle
Jul 21, 2006 - 11:57am PT
And what's with the rev'ing? Perpetual rev'ing! Bugs the shite out of me.

Trad climber
love the eastern sierras
Jul 21, 2006 - 12:07pm PT
most of those dudes don't even know how to ride a bike.

Trad climber
Davis, CA
Jul 21, 2006 - 12:08pm PT
not to justify it, but most of the places we all climb at are gotten to via scenic drives, which make nic erides

secondly, loud bikes mean a car can hear you and not hit you. granted what a lot of these people have are probably excessive but still
ron gomez

Trad climber
Jul 21, 2006 - 12:18pm PT
yeah kinda funny how if you make noise after 10pm in the parks, you'll most likely(and rightly so)get a visit from the man telling you to quiet down, heck it can happen in the day if yer loud enough, but send these bikes and some cars/trucks through the park....no problem. Have one pull in at 2 or 3 in the morning, forget about it! Maybe the $20.00 per unit makes the difference. Wish they'd do something about it.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jul 21, 2006 - 12:20pm PT
Annoyingly loud motorcycles are a problem in Squamish also, where some of the cliffs are quite close to the Vancouver-Squamish-Whistler highway. It is a scenic and busy road, and traffic noise in general is high. But when a plague of motorcycles goes by, it gets really loud - and unlike trucks, they at least have the option of being reasonably quiet. Sometimes it's loud enough to impair climbers' communications.

You have to wonder about the underlying motivations of the drivers. Most people, even climbers, outgrow the need to make loud noises and indulge in similar attention-getting behaviour by their early twenties. Perhaps it's a middle-age adequacy thing.

Motorcycles do tend to use less fossil fuels, although I don't know many climbers who travel in that fashion. Not often practical in terms of weather and payload.

I've heard of the hypothesis that louder motorcycles are more noticed by other drivers, and would be interested in any factual evidence to support it.

I was in Jackson, Wyoming about a year ago, and obnoxiously loud motorcycles were a problem there also.

There are times when climbers themselves might be quieter, and show more consideration for their neighbours. Both at the crag, and in camp. This drumming fetish, for example. It really is annoying, to almost everyone else. Even away from camp, it may disturb the wildlife if not the neighbours.


Gamma Quadrant
Jul 21, 2006 - 12:30pm PT
I've been annoyed by loud motorcycles for years now. You can go 5 miles or more off the main roads in the White Mtns in New England and you can still hear them down in the valleys. A buddy of mine owns a shop that specializes in racing bikes and even he can't stand it. He is a state licenced motorcycle inspector and routinely fails ones that are over the state limits on decibels. So what the guys do is put the stock pipes on for the inspection then go home and put the straight pipes on. It's true that if your car was that loud you'd get a faulty equipment or excessive noise summons. My wife called the local and state police plus the state department of transportation but they all just blew it off or plead ignorance of the state law. My father-in-law is a Harley owner and he can't stand the noise. He used to have straight pipes but later realized how stupid it was to have to wear earplugs while riding.

Funny thing: the guy with the shop calls Harleys 'farm equipment'.

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, Utah
Jul 21, 2006 - 12:40pm PT
IMHO I think Yosemite should follow the lead of Zion and adopt a strict no vehicle policy and implement a regular shuttle service for people to use. There would be some tweeks to this practice in the valley (camper trailers etc.) and certain differences would have to be addressed but I think this would be a step in the right direction. I was furious when Zion began the shuttle program but now I embrace it and am thankful for it everytime I climb there. The peace and solitude is priceless and when the sun goes down the place is virtually vacant except for people on the wall. If Ed had his way, people would have to bike or walk into our parks and actually put some work into the entire affair instead of snapping photos from inside their tin boxes.
scuffy b

Chalet Neva-Care
Jul 21, 2006 - 12:43pm PT
I grew up in Oakland. A friend lived next door to the President of the Hell's Angels. In those days really loud bikes got attention from cops. What most Angels rode in those days would be sort medium loudness by today's standards. I saw what apparently was the whole Northern California chapter in full colors being filmed for "Hell's Angels On Wheels". It wasn't as
bad as a lot of groups going by these days.
When I see Angels riding these days, they are on Harleys at the
quiet end of the spectrum. They're also the ones with the skinniest tires and least flashiness.
A lot of today's Harley riders seem to be aiming for the old-style "rebel" look and sound. The real deal has moved beyond that.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jul 21, 2006 - 12:43pm PT
I wonder if any of the bikers say, "These darn rockclimbers are always cluttering up the view. You can't see the cliffs in their natural state without some crap glinting in the sun and messing up my photos. Don't they know other people use these parks too?"

Jul 21, 2006 - 12:45pm PT
OMG! loud Harleys

There goes the neighborhood ........

Bitch, bitch, bitch
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jul 21, 2006 - 12:50pm PT
There's something very unsettling about Werner agreeing with me. haha

Gamma Quadrant
Jul 21, 2006 - 12:54pm PT
I don't think he's agreeing with you. I think he is being sarcastic.

Trad climber
Jul 21, 2006 - 12:55pm PT
Also one of my biggest pet peeves. I work just outside Tuolumne. We had a pack of a dozen of those noisy beasts pull in here last week. Made me want to scream.
All they did was use the toilets and move on.
Good thing I get to enjoy this place when the road closes..........
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jul 21, 2006 - 01:00pm PT
I wasn't?

Gamma Quadrant
Jul 21, 2006 - 01:03pm PT
roger that PR...
resuming minding my own biz
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