Broadcasting cheeky trails

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  • Broadcasting cheeky trails
  • Premier Icon Pook
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    Now that strava, forums, Facebook and the like mean that cheeky trails are plain for everyone to see without the need for that traditional ‘local knowledge’, is there a whole set of cheeky cheeky trails emerging that are off the radar?

    Premier Icon nickjb
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    I’d say so. I find it much easier to find hidden trails and I’ve ridden a load of local ones in the last couple of years that I never knew existed. It did take a bit of effort (pre planning and gps) so it’s not quite a free for all.

    Premier Icon jameso
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    Yes but they don’t stay hidden for long. Always someone keen to make a new segment and out the link or trail. I’ve noticed how local cheeky, skinny runs just don’t stay that way for long in recent years, compared to ~8-10 years ago. More riders, more sharing, more tracking on strava.
    No moan, just how it is.

    Junkyard
    Member

    Problem is our are all on United Utility land and they just close them down/block them off.
    CLearly its easier to find stuff as you can use the internet and some folk just dont think about the sense in publishing an illegal trail on someone’s land

    awh
    Member

    With all this evidence of demand for trails I wonder if it’ll help the issue of better access for mountain biking.

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
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    This don’t broadcast trails assumes that STW/strava must have universal following……!!!!

    If you ride illegal trails, you know what you are doing and the consequences…
    If you do the same with strava you are just taking the IDGAF one stage further…

    Premier Icon chakaping
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    Illegal odd a strong word and the wrong mindset, IMO.

    Premier Icon jameso
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    I’d say that pre-GPS and Strava, finding trails took an investment of time and sharing that knowledge was done via riders that knew each other. That (for me / the riders I know locally) meant some feeling of ownership or responsibility, not in a selfish ‘my trail!’ way, more that you knew it was cheeky so you didn’t ride at daft times or conditions, ie you appreciated the good stuff as a local asset. Listing it on Strava or a generally shared GPS route as a marked run seems to make it more of a general-use route, then I think either some of that sublety of use by some gets lost or it just suffers from increased use.

    A couple of local trails have been motorway’d/multilined/corner-cut/trashed (or whatever you’d call it) by the volume of use in the last 2-3 years, way out of proportion to the increase in actual riders or frequency of riding in the area. One good example I’m thinking of appeared on Strava about 3 years ago. The amount of hassle I’ve had from local walkers when riding it at 7-8am or 6-7pm on weekdays is telling also, a few years ago it just didn’t happen. The usual ‘oh you bloody lot, groups of X number almost running me over..’ etc. Linked to trail-sharing online creating volume of use, or more to do with general media stirring about bikes, who knows. Not sure I care tbh. ‘Mind your own’ etc.

    Not meaning this to turn towards an anti-Strava rant, it’s not, just an observation of the negative sides of that kind of thing. I emailed Strava ages ago about people marking out popular footpaths as a sort of racetrack and they did engage, to their credit, but the response was ‘we have no control over how it’s used and you can flag it up / report it’. Fair enough, sort of.. to flag it I have to be on strava (and ride/log it?) first.. yeah, thanks. I don’t use it or want to join just to be a killjoy. They’ll just get re-created anyway.

    Premier Icon Pawsy_Bear
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    There aren’t any illegal trails

    Premier Icon Pawsy_Bear
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    You can’t un-invent GPS or strava. Besides its good people are getting out and getting fit. I for one think GPS has opened up a lot of new trails I would have never have ridden. Worn trails? Check them after the horses have been through. Should we ban them?

    I don’t subscribe to the idea that it’s ok for me to ride the trails but not lots of other people

    Premier Icon Nipper99
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    But there are unlawful trails.

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
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    I like the idea that the best trails are the ones that no-one rides, ever. In a tree falling in a forest sort of way. But the reality is that a lot of ‘cheeky’ stuff is just footpaths and they’re plastered all over Ordnance Survey mapping if you can be bothered to look.

    Mostly though, the increased online knowledge base is a whack in the proverbials for the niche, elitist sort of folk who coined the ‘cheeky’ label in the first place and get a kick from that smug, secret squirrel posturing. All ime/imho etc. 🙂

    That’s not to condone poor trail etiquette, straightlining, lack of sympathy for other users mind or to knock squirrels generally.

    In my part of the world, there is an uneasy standoff between walkers and MTBers. Bridleways have been sanitised all over the place, and don’t join up anyway, meaning that any decent ride is going to involve riding on a footpath.

    The local saying is “ride where you like but don’t be a dick.” There is lots of talk locally about the “scourge” of mountain bikers, yadda yadda, and so if walkers found that they couldn’t get out for a ramble without having to dodge speeding bikes, then riding could be made more difficult and less pleasant.

    I hate being all “exclusive” but when people come on here asking about trails round Hebden Bridge, I’m afraid I’m reluctant to respond. Which, I know, is sad.

    Premier Icon jameso
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    I don’t subscribe to the idea that it’s ok for me to ride the trails but not lots of other people

    Whether said with my comment in mind or not, I should be clear, neither do I. I love what my GPS can do for my riding also. My post was reflecting on the possible links and negatives of wider cheeky trail knowledge, there’s positives to it of course. It’s just change, that’s all.

    Premier Icon Pawsy_Bear
    Subscriber

    gasp unlawful, flees from fear of prosecution. That’s it no more trail for me I might be stopped, forced to give my details then taken to court. Any of that scenario remotely likely? I certainly don’t cycle across private land. Rest is free to use IMHO.

    Riding nearly every day I say hello, good morning etc to the rest of the people on the trails. I share them. Appreciate their right to access and enjoy mine. The FC have a job to do and manage the forest, I don’t complain as I see endless trails fall under the tracked beasts of destruction!

    We need more tolerance not less and not more nanny state attitude

    Premier Icon chakaping
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    Quite understandable hebdencyclist.

    I’m happy to show riders round my local trails but it winds me up a bit when people on here or on fb just expect to be directed to cheeky stuff by a stranger.

    Premier Icon jameso
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    to knock squirrels generally.

    You’d have to be pretty fast. Or they need to be pretty unlucky.

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
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    I’m happy to show riders round my local trails but it winds me up a bit when people on here or on fb just expect to be directed to cheeky stuff by a stranger.

    But you’d tell them about bridleways right? So where’s the difference, unless you really buy into the idea that footpaths shouldn’t be ridden by everyone? So we want footpaths to be legal riding, but we don’t want anyone other than the self-appointed Cheekerati to know where they are? Or do we not want footpath riding to be technically legal?

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Subscriber

    You’d have to be pretty fast. Or they need to be pretty unlucky.

    Strava has made squirrels complacent. The vastly increased traffic and the demise of the Tufty Club has created a generation of easy-to-catch squirrels… ime.

    Premier Icon Pawsy_Bear
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    I did, unfortunately, run over a squirrel. He tried to run under my bottom bracket. Clunked him with pedal and he was squished by rear tyre at some speed

    I am attending MTB rider rehab as I’m a repeat offender

    Premier Icon Nipper99
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    I do exactly the same as you PB and unless you behave like a complete bell end by digging trails, cutting down fences etc then no one in authority is going to bother you but I know what I am doing is unlawful as I am trespassing and as such influences when and what trials I ride so as to avoid conflict i.e don’t ride the coastal path in the summer months and avoid the trails on the local hills when I know that hill flocks are being gathered etc. I am quite happy with this status quo and which I why I’m not a fan of the ‘right to do as we want attitude’ promoted by the likes of Open MTB.

    I don’t publish my cheeky trails, I’m too selfish, but none of them were not discovered but just staring at an OS sheet and going for an explore – 2/3s of the time what you find is pants but that 1/3rd of the little gems discovered is what keeps you going. They are all there for people to discover, or more likely re-discover.

    Premier Icon deadkenny
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    Plenty of cheeky trails I know are generally quiet, even though many are on Strava. They’re just not in areas the majority tend to go. Plus Strava seems to have adjusted the explore feature so that it mainly shows popular segments.

    Strava isn’t so much the issue I find, rather discussing them on forums 😉

    And run over a squirrel too. Just ran across out of the bushes and straight under the wheel. Wasn’t even chasing it like I usually do trying to get points for a hit 😀

    Premier Icon jameso
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    that 1/3rd of the little gems discovered is what keeps you going. They are all there for people to discover, or more likely re-discover.

    Well said.
    Finding a nice trail keeps me hoping there’s more, there almost always is, just have to keep looking. In fact I think the search for new links and improving my own loops is a big part of why I ride, a never-ending aim to find that perfect ride made up of what’s there within a given amount of pedalling.

    I’ve never run over a squirrel. Too slow. I had a minor off after swerving to avoid one once.

    Premier Icon IdleJon
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    ……a few years ago it just didn’t happen. The usual ‘oh you bloody lot, groups of X number almost running me over..’ etc. Linked to trail-sharing online creating volume of use, or more to do with general media stirring about bikes, who knows. Not sure I care tbh. ‘Mind your own’ etc

    Part of this is just the increased number of riders who have taken up MTBing. 10 years ago this wasn’t an issue simply because we had a fraction of the numbers. (Slightly OT, but I rode to work through torrential rain and wind this morning, passing 6 other riders on the way. 8.30 on a Saturday morning in November, pouring rain. Passing a single other rider would have been notable 10 years ago.)

    I do exactly the same as you PB and unless you behave like a complete bell end by digging trails, cutting down fences etc then no one in authority is going to bother you but I know what I am doing is unlawful as I am trespassing ……….

    I live just down the valley from you and most riders in Swansea tend to have this attitude. But I also think that people are a little more easy-going down here and, of course, we have slightly different access due to the different way the land has been used historically. (Kilvey for instance didn’t have a single ROW for any user until recently.)

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
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    Personally I’m a big fan of the word of mouth approach. The problem with GPS route sharing, Strava and the like is that the routes get shared without any extra information.

    If you follow a GPX you’ve got no idea whether you’ll be contributing to tensions with landowners or other users. Even if you just go out and explore routes, how are you going to know, just by looking, if a trail you’re using cuts through an SSSI or the like? And don’t get me started on the people who see a photo or video on the internet and immediately ask where something is so they can go and rag it.

    http://bristoltrails.tumblr.com/post/112034605778/loose-lips

    Premier Icon mountainman
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    I did, unfortunately, run over a squirrel. He tried to run under my bottom bracket. Clunked him with pedal and he was squished by rear tyre at some speed

    I am attending MTB rider rehab as I’m a repeat offender

    If it was a grey ,you should be making em up with lines thru them,like the old bombers did with the hun .

    whitestone
    Member

    Good on you IdleJon for getting out on the bike in this weather. (writing this just as the end of the garden disappears from view in the next “shower”)

    It’s not just mountain bikers, when we moved to this area (just south of the Dales) there was an old quarry just above Cullingworth used by trails bikes, it was popular enough that a butty van would set up there at the weekends. All well and good until some of the riders decided it wasn’t enough and pulled down the fencing and rode on the neighbouring farmer’s land. Not unnaturally he wasn’t happy and reinstated the fence. It got torn down again. Eventually the council banned trail bikes from the workings so now they ride somewhere else.

    Someone asked on the Grassington thread why there weren’t more cheeky trails in the Dales when compared to the Lakes. In some ways it’s similar to Hebden, the footpaths are popular with walkers and often run close to farms and other habitation so there’s not much getting away with it. Also they have a lot of stiles 😯 Just looking at the Strava heat map for the area between Malham, Grassington and Hetton and there’s very little activity away from the BWs, quite possibly just a couple of riders on some of the paths. OK, not everyone is on Strava and it’s only data from the last couple of years but you have to zoom to the maximum level to even see these.

    I suppose the problem is most apparent in those areas like Hebden that are quite densely populated and have a sizeable number of walkers, bikers, horse riders.

    Junkyard
    Member

    chakaping wrote:

    Illegal odd a strong word and the wrong mindset, IMO.

    True but they are not legal so insert your word of choice here

    Dont get me wrong I dont agree with the access laws but the reality is we cannot just make anypath we like on United Utilities land

    unless you behave like a complete bell end by digging trails, cutting down fences etc then no one in authority is going to bother you

    If only but doing that exacerbates it

    There are rumours UU want to make Rivvy an SSSI to have a go at the cyclists

    I agree its pretty hard for them to enforce this but the fact we can get away with what we do does not detract from the fact its not entirely legal

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
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    I don’t subscribe to the idea that it’s ok for me to ride the trails but not lots of other people

    +1

    openmtbkie
    Member

    I don’t subscribe to the idea that it’s ok for me to ride the trails but not lots of other people

    Agree – BUT, the caveat is that they don’t act like cocks whilst doing so, and unfortunately too many of them seem to be unable to resist that temptation.

    “ride where you like but don’t be a dick.”

    Indeed, we need to spread the message throughout the MTB community that Wheatons law has to be the ultimate arbiter of our behaviour.

    Part of this is just the increased number of riders who have taken up MTBing. 10 years ago this wasn’t an issue simply because we had a fraction of the numbers.

    Agreed to an extent – however its some years since the real boom in MTB, one concern is that so many “new” MTB’ers have not some through the traditional countryside user background, and have effectively been weaned on the trail centre experience, and essentially ride the same way on PROW as they do at trail centres.

    True but they are not legal so insert your word of choice here

    “potentially tortuous”

    With all this evidence of demand for trails I wonder if it’ll help the issue of better access for mountain biking.

    I have just produced an extensive response to a ‘regional organisation’ that essentially says that, in reply to a paper they tabled stating how much of a problem mountain bikers on ROW were, and using Strava data as “proof” of the problem
    There is certainly a school of thought that trespass is how many routes came into being, and that Strava is, in the long term, evidence of demand, and use – crucially, on many of these routes where they are trying to point to it as being proof of a problem, they have had no actual complaints or conflict, so high levels of use actually go to undermine their own argument that its a problem.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    But you’d tell them about bridleways right? So where’s the difference, unless you really buy into the idea that footpaths shouldn’t be ridden by everyone? So we want footpaths to be legal riding, but we don’t want anyone other than the self-appointed Cheekerati to know where they are? Or do we not want footpath riding to be technically legal?

    So many questions.

    The answers are obvious if you disengage internet prat mode and engage common sense.

    Premier Icon MartynS
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    Around Teggs Nose (Maccelsfield Forest) Signs have gone up with the headline
    “damage to paths caused by cyclists”
    and that the deep ruts and grooves caused by cyclists are a danger

    Its a council notice (seemingly)
    so should people just ignore the signs and ride it anyway or leave it alone until the heats off a bit?
    Clearly the damage is being squarely attributed to bikes. Walkers couldn’t possibly have done anything…

    I’d suspect the rangers will pay the area a bit more attention now. What is the response if the ranger catches you?

    hora
    Member

    My favourite cheeky trail was ridden by the Bogtrotters then featured twice in *a mag* (favourite peak rides and loop guide). Even though it wasn’t on their actual route it was photographed insitu/location placeable due to the landscape shots.

    Mags (for me) need interesting scenes. Dull double track pics dont sell mags. So if punters get a sniff thryll question who/where and soon find THAT trail that was featured in photo(s).

    What’s my point? The horse has bolted. What WE can do is ask people to stop, disuade and educate. Sadly 15plate A6 man ain’t going to listen.

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
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    The answers are obvious if you disengage internet prat mode and engage common sense.

    So what are the obvious answers if you could switch off abusive keyboard warrior mode for a second and engage your brain? No offence, but I don\t think it is that obvious. In the real world I mean, rather than inside your head. 😉

    I’ll spell it out. We exist with an outmoded rights of way system that few of us believe in and has no real reference to suitability for use, yet while we’re happy to tell people about local bridleways and happy to ride footpaths ourselves, we don’t anyone else to know about them. Does that make sense?

    And why the abuse?

    Premier Icon deadkenny
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    Not exactly cheeky as it’s so obvious and well ridden, but certainly illegal trail with signs up telling people “we spent ages on this, please don’t publish / post pinkbike videos”*, which subsequently went all over the net and then a certain magazine posts a video testing bikes on the trail! (to be fair it’s in a very obvious place and right next to a trail that has their name on it) 😉

    * – something which the landowner has been talking about recently, about how daft it is with so much unauthorised digging on his land and then seeing signs like this.

    Premier Icon chakaping
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    Sorry BWD you’re right, there’s no need for abuse.

    Just seemed to me you were being deliberately obtuse in trying to prove your point.

    In a nutshell – I’m not comfortable with publishing directions to non-designated tracks online because they’re often the result of other people’s hard work. Or in sensitive locations which I take care to visit at quiet times.

    My approach would be the same even if we already had Scottish-style access laws. You might even say that “responsible” access kind of entails not sending strangers from the internet to ride sensitive trails?

    mickmcd
    Member

    is there a whole set of cheeky cheeky trails emerging that are off the radar?

    Without a doubt its taken a lot of work but its now possible to get from langsett to ladybower without touching or seeing the regular route, thankfully

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
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    Okay, so what’s confusing me a little here is that you’re the same person who in this blog post writes about riding a specific footpath in the Lakes and says this:

    ‘I wouldn’t have mentioned this, but I am writing about riding on a footpath – and I know even some MTBers frown upon that.

    ‘It’s not something I will apologise for though. My opinion is that the best way for mountain bikers to prove that a Scottish-style law of responsible open access would work is for us to act as though we already have one.’

    So you’re saying – above – ‘You might even say that “responsible” access kind of entails not sending strangers from the internet to ride sensitive trails?’ and there you are writing about a sensitive trail where you had an encounter with an aggrieved local on a public blog.

    I’m finding that a little confusing, but maybe that’s me being obtuse. Not trying to score cheap internet points btw, it just seems a little inconsistent.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    That’s a very well known and frequently ridden footpath, not the kind of trail this thread is about.

    So your stance is “tell everyone about everything”?

    Cheeky trails are a a tough issue. On one hand, you’re directly flouting current RoW law, but arguably by moving off the RoW network, you spread traffic and impact. But, I expect we’ve all seen the best of our cheeky trails get hammered by all and sundry once the cat is out of the bag on social media. Problem is theres no going back.

    In practice, I’ve moved from an all inclusive show all comers attitude to chapakings position, pretty much for the same reasons, but it’s magnified due to the local conditions, which suffer quickly in wet conditions.

    Even by keeping schtum, the increase in riders generally, together with the fact that virtually everyone but me seems to strava everything means that the life span of cheeky trails round my way is shorter than it used to be.

    Interestingly, this new accessibility for all seems to have shown a ‘trail life cycle’ this last couple of years. There are a couple of trails that have been so hammered that they’ve fallen out of use and in the last couple of years have recovered and I’ve been able to reopen them, usually in a slightly different guise.

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