So I spent most of last week up in the Lakes - somewhere I've not been in FAR too long. Some big rides, epic weather, magical views, and some great trails.
BUT... A lot of the bridleways have undergone some pretty serious renovation work which seems to have been done with no thought for trail users other than walkers. Long, steep, flights of steps, with (and this is the killer) really vicious water bars. Absolute wheel trappers, and given the steepness of the terrain, any rider dropping their front wheel on, will be needing a hospital very shortly afterwards.
Now people tell me I'm a pretty good rider, and yes I did eventually manage to clear Dollywagon Pike (the worst example I came down), but I did have to stop and have a good look at some of the water bars for alternative lines, whilst others were distinctly "lauch, clench and hope" efforts. The former simply defeats the point of building a weatherproof trail, the latter arguably a little stupid when I'm riding in the big hills on my own (but a 7" travel bike helps).
If I'm struggling on a big bike, a lot of other riders aren't going to stand a hope in hell. Now whilst I'm completely anti "trail sanitising", surely there's a duty of care for the people doing the work to consider all potential legal trail users and not build something that's actively dangerous? The steps I don't mind - they're just a little bit dull after a while, but surely there's a better drainage option than building wheelcatchers every 50m?
The quieter trails I rode were fabulous. Blacksail down to Wasdale was lovely - bit of everything, Grizedale -> Patterdale - nice, and a lot easier than I remeberit from 10 years ago; whilst dropping down from the top of Honister Pass down to Gatesgarth down Fleetwith was simply awesome - steep, loose, tight, technical, exposed, down right scary in places. Fantastic.
Anyway. No doubt I'm going to get a flaming/MTFU for daring to complain about trails being "too hard", but it's actually not that I'm objecting too. It's the principle of "if you need to build something, then building something that doesn't consider all potential users" that I have an issue with.