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Don't ride on wet trails!

Jan 7, 2004
686
0
D.C. area
From a newbie to fellow newbies:

Hi! I’d like to suggest something very important to anyone new to mountain biking: Read up on trail etiquette and trail maintenance a little bit as soon as you start riding. I started mountain biking really recently and didn’t know one shouldn’t ride on wet, muddy singletrack (the narrow trails through the woods) until I did some introductory reading on mountain biking a couple weeks into my riding. I could have easily made the mistake of riding on wet singletrack, which causes trail damage and ruins things for everyone… trails will be closed to mountain bikers if we abuse the trails.

I bet most books about mountain biking mention trail etiquette. I have read two books so far about mtn. biking and have found them very helpful about all aspects of mountain biking:

“Mountain Bike Like a Champion,” by Ned Overend and “The Mountain Bike Experience: A Complete Introduction to the Joys of Off-road Riding,” by Dave King.

Below is a link from a trail advocacy group about why not to ride on wet and muddy trails:

Mid Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts (M.O.R.E.) wet trail advice
 

BikeGeek

BrewMonkey
Jul 2, 2001
4,531
213
Hershey, PA
Good post, especially at this time of year.

When I first started mountain bike I thought that I had to end a ride covered in mud to be considered serious. While it is fun to go splashing through a bog, it's very damaging not only to the trails, but also to the impression we give other trail users.

The usual stance is "one shouldn't ride on wet trails." It's good advice, but leaves a lot of gray areas. The largest being different opinons on how wet is too wet. The key is to educate new riders on responsible trail use, but that in itself is a massive undertaking.

Sites like the MORE one linked above, as well as IMBA and NEMBA have tons of information on the damage being done and what we as a community need to do to stop it.

Find some nice rocky trails to ride this time of year. If you can't stay off of the wet trails, at least show up for trail maintenance in the spring to help correct the damage.
 

FunkMaster

Chimp
Jun 1, 2003
45
0
Golden, CO
Good post!

It is also good to point out what to do if you encounter a puddle on an otherwise dry trail. The worst thing to do is to ride around it widening the trail (braiding). I guess ideally you would walk around it. If you can't be bothered to get off your bike it is better to ride through the middle, potentially making the whole deeper (deeper is easier to fix than wider). I like trying to jump puddles, or around town I like to try to manual through them.
 

Tenchiro

Attention K Mart Shoppers
Jul 19, 2002
5,407
0
New England
But then again here in the PacNW, if we stayed off wet trails we would only have 2 months or less of riding in some places. So more importantly than staying off them is proper trail maintenance.
 

BikeGeek

BrewMonkey
Jul 2, 2001
4,531
213
Hershey, PA
Originally posted by Tenchiro
So more importantly than staying off them is proper trail maintenance.
Maybe it's different out there. The problem here is that for every 50 people doing the damage, we get maybe 2 that show up for maintenance.
 

Skookum

bikey's is cool
Jul 26, 2002
10,186
0
in a bear cave
Originally posted by BikeGeek
Maybe it's different out there. The problem here is that for every 50 people doing the damage, we get maybe 2 that show up for maintenance.
it is different out here.
the multi use trails that are susceptible to wintertime damage are closed anyways. There is a local club here called the B.B.T.C. which i am a member of, that do trail work. And alot of these trails are buried in snow in the winter anyways.
There are many trails built somewhat illegally on private land that landowners turn a blind eye toward. And the work that goes into them by mt. bikers is simply amazing.
Even the illegal extreme trails are built with alot of knowledge in drainage and do a good job on not having a negative environmental impact.

It's a little different situation everywhere you go i suppose, but definately mt. bikers get WAY more of a bad rap than we deserve. Certainly trail etiquette has to be maintained on multi-use trails, but i would dare say a backbone in standing against being buffaloed by other trail user's is necessary. A trail is enviromental damage to begin with, nothing grows on it....
But unfortunately hiker's outnumber us mt. bikers, and spread their crap propaganda blaming us for all ills, and seem peturbed by our existance and our hinderance to their selfish wish to hog nature and trails. But if local organizations and pro-active members get on the ball it works great for everyone.

In fighting and elitism and anger among mt. bikers only separates and dooms the fight. Again i don't know the situation, every area is different, but i find there's alot to be stoked about in this area. Trail work is a thankless job, but the more of us there are, the better things will be. Out of the 50 that ride thru the mud 10 of those guys are gonna bring in pals that like to volunteer, and if your not a dick about it, that 10 is gonna wanna come along and turn the 2 into 12.
*edit: i'm not saying YOU are a dick Bikegeek or give off attitude, just wanna clarify that*
 

BikeGeek

BrewMonkey
Jul 2, 2001
4,531
213
Hershey, PA
Originally posted by Skookum
...i'm not saying YOU are a dick Bikegeek...
It's ok, I am a dick. :p

I agree that proper maintenance is very important, but I think it has to go hand in had with arming users with better skills and educating in responsible use. Our club put in over 2300 hours of maintenance in 2003 at official maintenance days, and countless hours off the clock. You'd never be able to tell that we did anything at some of the trails. It's very discouraging to return to the trails after a maintenance day to find our work undone because somebody didn't understand why we re-routed a section of trail or placed a waterbar on a downhill section of singletrack. We work closely with the land managers, usually county or state officials, and strive to find happy medium between our desires and goals as bikers, and their wishes. I'd like to think we usually come out on top.

I think you and I are essentially saying the same thing, but the difference in location calls for different tactics.
 

Sir_Crackien

Turbo Monkey
Feb 7, 2004
2,051
0
alex. va. usa.
m.o.r.e. is no good.

the reason that i say this is that last year 2003 m.o.r.e. took out all of the log crossings in wakefield park and did not replace them. all but one of the logs crossings had ways around them that people could use if they didn't want to do the crossings. this made the trail no fun for the rides that are more advance and now does not allow less experianced rides to advance their skill level.

so do not go to m.o.r.e. for help unless you want to support a group that does not want to advance mountian biking.

go to I.M.B.A i think it is for trail type things. like when to ride, how to repair, and how to biuld.:)
 

BikeGeek

BrewMonkey
Jul 2, 2001
4,531
213
Hershey, PA
Originally posted by Sir_Crackien
m.o.r.e. is no good.

the reason that i say this is that last year 2003 m.o.r.e. took out all of the log crossings in wakefield park and did not replace them. all but one of the logs crossings had ways around them that people could use if they didn't want to do the crossings. this made the trail no fun for the rides that are more advance and now does not allow less experianced rides to advance their skill level.
Sometimes we have to do what the park tells us.

I know for a fact that some of those crossings were cut out by a trail running group; the same group that widened the far end of the creek side trail to about 4 feet.
 

DamienC

Turbo Monkey
Jun 6, 2002
1,165
0
DC
Originally posted by Sir_Crackien
m.o.r.e. is no good.

the reason that i say this is that last year 2003 m.o.r.e. took out all of the log crossings in wakefield park and did not replace them. all but one of the logs crossings had ways around them that people could use if they didn't want to do the crossings. this made the trail no fun for the rides that are more advance and now does not allow less experianced rides to advance their skill level.

so do not go to m.o.r.e. for help unless you want to support a group that does not want to advance mountian biking.

go to I.M.B.A i think it is for trail type things. like when to ride, how to repair, and how to biuld.:)
By "log crossings" do you mean the log rolls (i.e. piles of logs stacked perpendicular to the trail)? I think Hurricane Isabel had more of a hand in taking all that stuff out. After Isabel most of Wakefield was a disaster, especially the singletrack by the creek behind the baseball fields.

If you're trying to get your "freeride" on at Wakefield, I think you're going to the wrong place. Don't get me wrong - skinnies, drops, dirt jumps, and super-tech trails are where it's at for me, but Wakefield - being a multi-use park - isn't where one would expect to sustain those kinds of trail features.

MORE has done and continues to do a great job at keeping access available to the local mountain biking community. While MORE has had a less than stellar relationship with the local DH/FR crowd in the past, I think they're trying to reach out to those interests with some promising new developments. Browse the MORE website and you'll see what I mean. I don't think we'd have half the places available to ride around NoVA and MD if MORE did not exist.
 

BikeGeek

BrewMonkey
Jul 2, 2001
4,531
213
Hershey, PA
Originally posted by Sir_Crackien
m.o.r.e. is no good.

the reason that i say this is that last year 2003 m.o.r.e. took out all of the log crossings in wakefield park and did not replace them. all but one of the logs crossings had ways around them that people could use if they didn't want to do the crossings. this made the trail no fun for the rides that are more advance and now does not allow less experianced rides to advance their skill level.

so do not go to m.o.r.e. for help unless you want to support a group that does not want to advance mountian biking.

go to I.M.B.A i think it is for trail type things. like when to ride, how to repair, and how to biuld.:)
You know, I re-read your post and you need to do some research. For starters, MORE is an IMBA club. How can they be doing it wrong and IMBA be doing it right? The IMBA trail crews taught the MORE folks everything they know about trail maintenance.

Wakefield Park, at best, is a disaster. Nearly every trail there is an example of how not to build sustainable trails. Nothing irritates me more than hearing folks whining "MORE ruined this, and MORE ruined that." The only reason those trails even resemble singletrack is because of the efforts of MORE and some other local clubs. Wakefield is probably the most heavily used trail system in the metro area. It also sees the highest concentration of inexperienced riders. The same riders that are widening the trails by riding around puddles, creating redundant trails by riding around obstacles, and creating new trails by taking shortcuts between two existing lines. It's a great place to learn to ride, I taught my fiancee to ride there, but using it as an example of why MORE is no good is ridiculous. You need to get out and ride some of the real trails in the area. A lot of them are only there because of the efforts of the good folks at MORE.
 
Jan 7, 2004
686
0
D.C. area
Originally posted by Sir_Crackien
m.o.r.e. is no good.... so do not go to m.o.r.e. for help unless you want to support a group that does not want to advance mountian biking.
Ouch. So when you say that M.O.R.E. is "no good" you are saying that that organization is "bad," right? Would you like to name another local trail advocacy group that somehow exceeds M.O.R.E.'s scope? Being a newbie, I joined IMBA and will join M.O.R.E. next, but you're saying they're bad for the sport or something? What?! Perhaps you're involved with some secret group of trail fairies that comes out at night and does loads of trail maintenance... and the rest of the mountain bikers in the area just aren't hip to it?
 

vogey40

Monkey
Jan 23, 2004
367
0
Puyallup WA
I live in Guam where it rains every day. I say ride when ever you want. Just when your done or a day or two after the ride go look the trail over and fix what ever you trashed.
 

DßR

They saw my bloomers
Feb 17, 2004
980
0
the DC
Originally posted by BikeGeek


Wakefield Park, at best, is a disaster. Nearly every trail there is an example of how not to build sustainable trails. Nothing irritates me more than hearing folks whining "MORE ruined this, and MORE ruined that." The only reason those trails even resemble singletrack is because of the efforts of MORE and some other local clubs. Wakefield is probably the most heavily used trail system in the metro area. It also sees the highest concentration of inexperienced riders. The same riders that are widening the trails by riding around puddles, creating redundant trails by riding around obstacles, and creating new trails by taking shortcuts between two existing lines. It's a great place to learn to ride, I taught my fiancee to ride there, but using it as an example of why MORE is no good is ridiculous. You need to get out and ride some of the real trails in the area. A lot of them are only there because of the efforts of the good folks at MORE.
Right on.

Man. You wanna see a disaster of a trail, have a peek at Difficult Run - going from Great Falls towards the pump station at Rt. 7, after 7 it's fine but before that, oh the horror. That's a prime example of braiding and mud riding by newbies. To start with, the trails were VERY poorly designed and as far as I can tell are not maintained. 2nd, they're shared with horses, which tear them up pretty bad. 3rd, the amount of braiding there is unbelievable, basically the entire "trail" is a giant network of go-arounds. The mud puddles are massive. Lots of newbies. I could go on and on....

Anyway I think that piece of trail is worse off than Wakefield, but you're right that Wakefield is poorly designed/unsustainable.

Y'all (BG and Damien) are also right about the log crossings - if you want a freeride experience there are MUCH better places than Wakefield for christssake. :rolleyes: As I've become increasingly DH/FR and less XC, I've become decreasingly enthralled with MORE, but I think where Wakefield is concerned, they've done the right thing. That place needs help, and it's not the 1st place I would EVER go to if I'm looking for a tech challenge anyway. I approve of what MORE has done there...

Just stay the f*ck out of the Watershed. ;)
 

RhinofromWA

Brevity R Us
Aug 16, 2001
4,621
0
Lynnwood, WA
In the PNW

Water management is essential. Moving water is bad...you need to slow it down. Next get it off the trail....by draining it so that is doens't errode the trail.

Olympic national forrest has some good MX trails that do collect water but are ridable anyway. There is some errosion from water movement but it is by and far reduced pretty well. even on the hills.

We get a lot of rain especially in the rain forests of the peninsula. It is part of the job description to divert and slow down water.

But I really should take a MTB trail building class to top off years of motorcycle trail building.