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Examples of bad trail building

kidwoo

Artisanal Tweet Curator
What causes me to LOL is that the last 4 miles he hated is actually some of the funnest bits.
oh, you mean the guy on the road bike who's opinion of singletrack is..........who cares he's on a road bike

I mean how many people would come looking for his body really


Volunteering is an absolute waste of time with most supposed advocacy groups and especially the USFS. They're bad at what they do and that's why people build their own trails that become places like the PNW where people travel from around the world to ride. There's nothing worse than trying to convince people who can't build, certainly can't ride worth a damn, and can't even fathom what people actually do on mtbs that there's a more efficient, durable, and logical way to do things.

Just go do it, and do it better.

boostin knows. Spend two years building dirtjumps for a hardtail that require no pedaling, no braking, and can be squashed/scrubbed or boosted and finding momentum in the woods is cake. Just fix shit when it doesn't work out how you wanted. That's how you get good at this. The local IMBA chapter and land management agencies just stop at "there's a trail now." They never consider whether it's worth a shit or not and if it can be improved with tweaking or even rerouting after the fact. Everyone builds for 'standing there looking at it speed' and not riding speed because they're horrible human beings who have ruined mountainbiking but get high fives over some shitty IPA that night just because they built "a trail"

And yes fix shit when it sucks. There's nothing worse than a petulant whiner who can't be bothered to walk a mcleod out in the woods but whines incessantly about other people's work. If you can do better, then do it.
 
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boostindoubles

Nacho Libre
Mar 16, 2004
7,870
6,168
Yakistan
I can't stand the people who are demanding trails but they dont see the trail beyond a path between point A and point B. They could care less about any other factors like grading, potential for erosion, fun, bi-directionability.

They don't understand the joy of just being on the trail and not caring so much where it goes.

Can't let those people dictate what happens on the trails. Its a painful experience. We'd rather walk away than let those fools pull the strings.
 

kidwoo

Artisanal Tweet Curator
I can't stand the people who are demanding trails but they dont see the trail beyond a path between point A and point B. They could care less about any other factors like grading, potential for erosion, fun, bi-directionability.

They don't understand the joy of just being on the trail and not caring so much where it goes.

Can't let those people dictate what happens on the trails. Its a painful experience. We'd rather walk away than let those fools pull the strings.
the way they build shit now, I could do with a little more point A to B to be honest

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kidwoo

Artisanal Tweet Curator
That only works in the forest. Out in the sage brush all the hikers would cut those trails up cause they can see everything.
One of those in particular is so switchbacky in flat spots, it's happening anyway.

I view building like that as a failure, not something that 'works'

The problem is the USFS or partner org only gets a NEPA analysis done on a narrow swath of hillside just because it's easier. So they wall themselves in on the slope and kind of have to build like that. Make no mistake, those trails suck donkey dick. And took a tremendous amount of wasted work to build something most people don't really ride past the initial 'new trail' interest.
 

boostindoubles

Nacho Libre
Mar 16, 2004
7,870
6,168
Yakistan
One of those in particular is so switchbacky in flat spots, it's happening anyway.

I view building like that as a failure, not something that 'works'

The problem is the USFS or partner org only gets a NEPA analysis done on a narrow swath of hillside just because it's easier. So they wall themselves in on the slope and kind of have to build like that. Make no mistake, those trails suck donkey dick. And took a tremendous amount of wasted work to build something most people don't really ride past the initial 'new trail' interest.
All that process sucks the passion out of the art of trail building. The agencies are trying to solve problems on their end with "solutions" that hamstring design. Some of the process is rooted in valid concern for real problems like erosion, cultural sites, rare species/habitat. It's important to be cognizant of all the potential factors. Establishing corriodors on paper doesnt work out in the field though.

What trail means to me or you is wildly different than what it means to 99.99% of everyone else. Most people assume it's always been there, they don't give the path itself any consideration. I think the trail industry is ripe for power trippers and ego seekers. Non-qualified people seek significant roles so they can be trail builder extraordinaires.

The digger around here is people hide behind paper and use it as a means to exert their vision on the masses. Retired attorneys that hate mountain bikes can really stir the shit. In their eyes, law is solely a tool to control / get what you want regardless of popular opinion.

The last trail NEPA I witnessed took 7 years to for approval. The trail was 7 years old when the approval happened. No tool work necessary to rough in the trail and the corridor was established during the application. It worked out in the end but waiting 7 years for process to play out before beginning work would have sucked!
 
One of those in particular is so switchbacky in flat spots, it's happening anyway.

I view building like that as a failure, not something that 'works'

The problem is the USFS or partner org only gets a NEPA analysis done on a narrow swath of hillside just because it's easier. So they wall themselves in on the slope and kind of have to build like that. Make no mistake, those trails suck donkey dick. And took a tremendous amount of wasted work to build something most people don't really ride past the initial 'new trail' interest.
In stuff that I have worked on in Vermont, USFS and state agencies have been letting us flag stuff out, then they request changes to avoid rare, threatened, and endangered, etc. Otherwise, they let us do our thing.
 

kidwoo

Artisanal Tweet Curator
In stuff that I have worked on in Vermont, USFS and state agencies have been letting us flag stuff out, then they request changes to avoid rare, threatened, and endangered, etc. Otherwise, they let us do our thing.
You guys get to live free or die out there.

Here we get to live exactly how the multimillion dollar "non-profit" supposed conservation groups tell us to, which usually correlates to nothing anyone poorer than multimillionaire likes to do rather than environmental science.


Anyway, there are very good reasons why I just always built my own shit.
 
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You guys get to live free or die out there.

Here we get to live exactly how the multimillion dollar "non-profit" supposed conservation groups tell us to, which usually correlates to nothing anyone poorer than multimillionaire likes to do rather than environmental science.


Anyway, there are very good reasons why I just always built my own shit.
And there are very good reasons that we still have stuff that we endeavor to keep off the map. Keep up the good work!
 

iRider

Turbo Monkey
Apr 5, 2008
5,653
3,092
I've spent 10 years doing what you're doing and things went smoothly. Soon as I left all hell broke loose. All rules and basic good practices I had put into action were dismissed within a year.

Just a quick list of some of the stuff that is being done/not done
Digging dirt pit right next to trail and leaving them wide open
Building berm while in drought
Not maintaining drainages
Not maintaining expert trails in priority
Leaf blowing 6ft large
Removing roots
Removing rocks and creating double lines
Armoring trails with tiny pointy rocks
And on and on and on...
Reading this makes me realize that bad trail building is an international phenomenon. Sadly all this is sooo familar.
 

iRider

Turbo Monkey
Apr 5, 2008
5,653
3,092
I don’t want to pick a fight as I’d consider most of you friends of the electronic realm. However, it would appear some of y’all should step up and volunteer more. My local trail had a lot of the above bull shit going on. Up hill berms, sharp stumps all the lot. After a few long conversations with the current trail director and local advocacy group, I now am the trail director. We host trail building sessions to learn how to build berms with proper entrances and exits and jumps that you can actually jump. It’s very easy to complain about the features that many folks build, but you have to realize most of them don’t know what they are doing and really probably just need some proper guidance. Most trail volunteers have no idea the volume of material a jump or berm actually takes.
I was really active with trail building at mainly one legal spot when I first moved to the area. Over time, new folks came in, didn't know shit about building but would not take advice at all. They have improved, but still make all the mistakes Jozz lists. And they love bermkakke, smooth jump trails and old-school freeride stuff. Zero interest in natural and tech trails, everything has to be bike-park-y, "but that is what people want to ride". :rolleyes:
I can only offer so many times to help build natural trails and get shut down by "nah bro, we will build the 1 millionst flow trail there, this is why you cannot have the corridor". So my efforts go towards keeping some non-offical gems running nicely, playing trail fairy and enjoying the fruits until the trails get discovered and blocked.
 

Leafy

Monkey
Sep 13, 2019
547
357
Even the pro builders get stuff bad. The highland trail crew is building Loon mountain out, the trail titled Derailleur can best be described as, bro I heard you liked step-ups so we put step-ups upon step-ups on this trail, which isn't super terrible. But you know what is? The probably 4th jump on the trail when being hit at trail speed with a normal amount of pop on the lip sends you passed the landing, and its not a small jump, probably 12ft from the base to the lip. I used all 200mm and just kissed my chest on my top cap coming out of it.
 

Jm_

sled dog's bollocks
Jan 14, 2002
18,949
9,625
AK
Yeah, it's sometimes random or at least seems that way. There are two relatively large doubles in sequence on one of our DH trails. I built the lower one with a few friends, a few other friends worked on the upper. Ours looks bigger, has a steeper launch with a few more rocks, looks like i'd "kick you" more, but it's the opposite, the one before somehow kicks your rear end way up in the air and ours launches you perfectly. I know we kept trying to fix and get the angles right...for both, but for some reason the upper is just janky. My pet peeve though, as I mentioned before, is putting in trail features when it's either impossible or bordering on impossible to have the speed to actually take advantage of them.
 

Jozz

Joe Dalton
Apr 18, 2002
5,821
7,295
SADL
Even the pro builders get stuff bad. The highland trail crew is building Loon mountain out, the trail titled Derailleur can best be described as, bro I heard you liked step-ups so we put step-ups upon step-ups on this trail, which isn't super terrible. But you know what is? The probably 4th jump on the trail when being hit at trail speed with a normal amount of pop on the lip sends you passed the landing, and its not a small jump, probably 12ft from the base to the lip. I used all 200mm and just kissed my chest on my top cap coming out of it.
The trial and error is part of the game. I always leave the first 30-40 feet unopened and hidden. I ride the new trail at different speed, girlfriend rides it at her speed (except double blacks) and I ask uber fast friends to try it out before grand opening. I gather comments and impressions and fix what can be fixed, and mitigate problem sections that can't be totally fixed. Jump trails is an entire different ball game.
 

boostindoubles

Nacho Libre
Mar 16, 2004
7,870
6,168
Yakistan
The trial and error is part of the game. I always leave the first 30-40 feet unopened and hidden. I ride the new trail at different speed, girlfriend rides it at her speed (except double blacks) and I ask uber fast friends to try it out before grand opening. I gather comments and impressions and fix what can be fixed, and mitigate problem sections that can't be totally fixed. Jump trails is an entire different ball game.
I love starting new trails 30-40ft off the existing trail. Everyone rides past it and I can shape and tweak it before the masses put the finish work in. Generally I rough in the trail and make sure theres no land mines. Then I turn the public down it. After a few months of use, the trail is usually beat down and in. Any trouble spots present themselves nicely and we come in during the wet season for finish benching all the spots people are blowing off trail or washing out.
 
I love starting new trails 30-40ft off the existing trail. Everyone rides past it and I can shape and tweak it before the masses put the finish work in. Generally I rough in the trail and make sure theres no land mines. Then I turn the public down it. After a few months of use, the trail is usually beat down and in. Any trouble spots present themselves nicely and we come in during the wet season for finish benching all the spots people are blowing off trail or washing out.
We have some stuff that we carry the bikes in the first 30-40 feet all the time. Not going to change it.
 

Jozz

Joe Dalton
Apr 18, 2002
5,821
7,295
SADL
New trend around here. (sorry, no pics)

Vertical bench cut with inside drainage gully... :shakefist:
 

canadmos

Cake Tease
May 29, 2011
20,385
19,400
Canaderp
I haven't been yet, probably won't because far and pedaling. But if it's like anything else around here, you probably have to pedal hard between the features to do that.


And then watch out that tree on the exit....
 

Jozz

Joe Dalton
Apr 18, 2002
5,821
7,295
SADL
So after a summer of closed trails and rain, the local trail organization decided it was finally time to do some maintenance. Too bad they don't have a clue. :disgust1:

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