Sodden trails: Should we be riding? Discuss

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  • Sodden trails: Should we be riding? Discuss
  • Premier Icon AndyRT
    Subscriber

    How much damage to our beloved ribbons of trail is warranted to get our fix of MTBing on a weekend?

    higthepig
    Member

    Slightly less than "Donkey Walloper's" seem to need.

    Premier Icon AndyRT
    Subscriber

    and where is that trail, and how did it get that name 😯

    alpin
    Member

    if you're feeling guilty you could go back and carry out some trail maintenance as things begin to dry out. or fill the puddle with gravel/sticks to prevent making the situation worse.

    Premier Icon Frodo
    Subscriber

    Its all down to route choice.

    Rocky/sandy trails = Yey!
    Chinly Churn Mud = Don't even go there.

    Premier Icon AndyRT
    Subscriber

    I like your logic, but I doubt many would bother.

    We are unique in stepping/riding out in this weather, as most horsey types would be worried about their steed going lame, and walkers stay indoors with tea and newspapers.

    It just seems like we should all know a network of trails to go to when there is too much rain for our regular haunts. It would be a good way to get to know the forum …

    Am I being too liberal, or does this make sense?

    Premier Icon postierich
    Subscriber

    Ride to the max but you need to do some payack @ some stage!

    Premier Icon Suggsey
    Subscriber

    I try and avoid the muddier trails if possible when off piste as I know it will just ruin them for when it is drier however sometimes its just not viable ie if you are halfway along a long singletrack but then I will either just go though the deepest of the gloop puddles or ride on the dead bracken well off the line of the trail-or if worst comes to worst carry the bike.

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    responsible access mean not causing excessive erosion and can only be decided on an individual basis.

    However its clear to me that many folk are unreasonable – but then even amongst reasonable people where to draw the line is not clear.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    When I was in the US recently we hired some bikes. The guy at the shop commented that he wasn't sure that he should be hiring them out as he didn't want to encourage "bad trail practices", i.e. riding in wet winter conditions! It was only after another member of staff pointed out that all the trails were frozen that he relented.

    As someone who spends a fair bit of free time tidying up in the wake of riders that use our local trails heavily in winter, part of me wishes that there was more awareness of the damage we can cause by riding all year round. I don't think matters are helped by magazines which have "mud plugging" articles, or place road riding on a par with going cottaging. 🙄

    Looking at it realistically though, in the UK I don't think we have weather that's consistent enough to be able to swear off riding every time it rains. Adopting a US-style trail protection policy would made riding over the past two summers more or less impossible. Personally I'm happy to take a pragmatic point of view, and if we have trails that are relatively weather-resistant, or that people are happy to repair when they get knackered, I don't see any problem with moderate use in bad conditions. There are some riders who clearly trudge round the same shattered trails in all weathers and these people could do with broadening their horizons a bit.

    We've had a bad case of trail distruction at my favourite trails unfortunatly…several mbt races have been held there just after heavy rain fall which has wrecked many of the trails 🙁 its gunna take some hot weather and a fair bit of work to restore the great flow it had! Real shame…

    sp
    Member

    IRC it was this wet for the best part of 2007, 2008, 2009…

    angryratio
    Member

    Yes, all the mud you return home with attached to your body/bike can be collected in a big pile and turned into dirt jumps in your back garden.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Subscriber

    Depends on your view of whether it's actual damage , as opposed to just not billiard table smooth I suppose. In comparison to other users we don't really do much damage at all

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    nickc – sorry thats just head in the sand stuff.

    Many of the pentlands trails have been badly damaged by bikes – and it clearly is from the tyre tracks and you should have seen the mess as strathpeffer.

    Bikes do a lot of trail damage

    RichPenny
    Member

    We are unique in stepping/riding out in this weather

    Nope, seen loads out. Horses, people, 4×4, trail bikes.

    However its clear to me that many folk are unreasonable

    Is it? How so? For example, how are you supposed to check trail conditions without riding?

    Personally speaking there is little mtb traffic on the trails I use locally. One I'll be avoiding till it's dry, but that's mainly because it's already been **** over by horses. Another I may avoid sometimes, already **** by 4wd cock jockeys.

    hilldodger
    Member

    Main damage to trails round here (Surrey) seems to come from people who 'go wide' to miss the puddles !
    Lines get increasingly wider and drainage gets progressively worse – if you're going to ride in the mud, ride in it, not round it 🙄

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    Pet hate of mine that Hilldodger – mainly from people who don't use mudguards

    Premier Icon Dougal
    Subscriber

    With TJ here; a lot of the Pentlands damage is caused by water following bike tracks and washing all the loose material away. While I can name areas where most of the damage is horse/4×4 related, the majority of locations are due to pushbikes.

    When it's wet I take the change to go explore patches of woodland I've not been to before, or ride in quiet ones I've found before. I certainly avoid open hillsides when it's this wet.

    Failing that, get your road bike out.

    RichPenny
    Member

    Bikes do a lot of trail damage

    In comparison to what? IIRC is it not supposed to be roughly equal to walkers? And far, far less than horses and motorised users.

    bill oddie
    Member

    just ride the trails and don't worry about it. erosion adds character and often a good technical challenge to trails. i've never rode down a trail and thought "its too eroded, i can't ride it."

    if you want pristine trails that are a piece of piss to ride then go to a trail centre.

    hilldodger
    Member

    Bikes Vs horses Vs redsox, still not sure myself but must say I have often been unpleasantly surprised just how deep a rut a trailraker leaves through soft ground.
    Horses, well without horses I guess a lot of access would've been lost in the 'pre-mtb days' and they were here first 😉
    Walkers, I find they tend to be a bit more 'fair weather' than cyclists so maybe in the case of muddy trail damage they don't do much ???

    Premier Icon AndyRT
    Subscriber

    so what about creating a network via the forum, and locating trail areas least affected by wet weather, and organising group rides across the country.

    This would seem like a good idea?

    It would mean people would have to let others know about their local routes, and risk invasion, but its a small price….

    hilldodger
    Member

    Mighty work Andy, but maybe the 'wet rideable' trails only hold up because they are used less ?
    Personally I'm pounding the fireroads and farm paths under the delusion of 'winter training' and saving the wooded delights for the glorious summer we're due…….

    Premier Icon Dougal
    Subscriber

    just ride the trails and don't worry about it. erosion adds character and often a good technical challenge to trails. i've never rode down a trail and thought "its too eroded, i can't ride it."

    if you want pristine trails that are a piece of piss to ride then go to a trail centre.

    IMO in most cases erosion makes for a less technical, less enjoyable trail. Features are flattened by the water, and lines widened by the above mentioned puddle avoidance.

    soobalias
    Member

    probably the worst idea in the history of the internet.

    the best way to ruin any riding area is to publicise it – even dirt jump teenagers know that.

    Premier Icon AndyRT
    Subscriber

    hilldodger, you have a point, but where the geology makes it OK, maybe there can be hope?

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Bill Oddie wrote, "just ride the trails and don't worry about it. erosion adds character and often a good technical challenge to trails. i've never rode down a trail and thought "its too eroded, i can't ride it."

    Depends, there's erosion and then there's singletrack that turns into swamps. Some trails really do benefit from wear and tear, I can think of a few but I reckon more are left worse for it.

    Couple of people mentioned the pentlands, and that's a great example, there's some lovely wooded singletrack near my house which is currently a swamp, and which people still ride through even though there's a landrover trail alternative 10 feet away, and even though it's no fun at all when it's muddy. But the damage done in the next month will take half a year to recover- the mud will last longer, and the trail will be left wide enough to drive a car along in places. If I could put up "trail closed" signs in September and take them down in March, it'd be far better to ride for the remaining 6 months.

    But, it depends where you are, not everyone has the luxury of avoiding vulnerable trails.

    Premier Icon AndyRT
    Subscriber

    but most of us drive

    If we do nothing, nothing will change. Its desperate in the South, as the mud is awful at the moment. Surely there have to be places/rides out there impervious to this weather, without reverting to really skinny tyres.

    Imagine if it was possible to change the consensus to thinking erosion sucks. Seasonal migrations to other areas.

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    bill oddie – Member

    just ride the trails and don't worry about it. erosion adds character and often a good technical challenge to trails. i've never rode down a trail and thought "its too eroded, i can't ride it."

    And once they are eroded down to bedrock and the council have to repair them you will complain of them being sanitised

    Remember others use the trails as well. What about the ramblers and horse riders? Oh – and I have seen trails too eroded to ride. The amount of erosion on the trails really upsets me.

    You are a classic example of the sort of unreasonable people I referred to above

    bill oddie
    Member

    mud is a good riding challenge in itself though, its useful to know how to ride trails that are dead slippy and blown out.

    just look at the number of people you see walking the more enjoyable sections when you go to an endurance event. its obvious these people recoil from riding just cos its a bit wet and mucky.

    it's the same as when you hear people complaining about braking bumps on DH tracks. just GOI and enjoy riding your bike while you've got your health!

    hilldodger
    Member

    hilldodger, you have a point, but where the geology makes it OK, maybe there can be hope?

    Sure, all my local trails are wooded – none stand up particularly heavy wet weather pounding, I'm sure other localities are more resilient…

    Premier Icon AndyRT
    Subscriber

    Bill, you have a point, but what if there was an area with no guilt etc.

    TJ, I agree with you, which is why I'm trying to think of an alternative…

    hilldodger
    Member

    Remember others use the trails as well. What about the ramblers and horse riders?

    Exactly !
    Not to mention the land owners/managers who permit access often against a good degree of pressure from locals.

    Churned up 'cheeky trails' do nothing to make our sharing of the countryside more harmonious….

    Premier Icon AndyRT
    Subscriber

    anyone out there got an answer to this conundrum?

    mattsccm
    Member

    Nowt worse than nice smooth sanitised tracks. The FC have nicely screwed stuff here in the FoD by gravelling things. What is wrong with mud holes?

    thomthumb
    Member

    some sodden trails hold up beter than others, was riding last night and of all the trails we rode i know all of them will be ok come summer – they always are. we are lucky in that they are wet now but drain well.

    I can think of placs that don't hold up so well – but they tend to be really thick gloopy mud anyway so best avoided anyway.

    the problem with knowing this is it needs local knowledge and to ride through the wet winter to test the theory a bit.

    hilldodger
    Member

    anyone out there got an answer to this conundrum?

    ….feel the power of the darkside 😕

    Premier Icon dropoff
    Subscriber

    There's a beautiful downhill singletrack on Exmoor that for most of it's lenght is a 12" wide ribbon, during the winter it gets used extensively by the pony trekking/ hunt brigade who churn it up and every year I'm amazed how it heals itself back to smooth and flowy.

    Premier Icon AndyRT
    Subscriber

    the turbo is getting a bit of use at the moment, but it saps the fun out of cycling.

    What about setting up winter welsh meets for the south, Lakeland = Whinlatter

    & staines further North, and set dates for all, and make them regular meets so STW riders can float around and know they'll come across like minded riders, and not be dependant upon the usual crew all being available for a road trip on short notice.

    Just an idea

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