Sodden trails: Should we be riding? Discuss

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

    TandemJeremy – Member
    …and you should have seen the mess as strathpeffer…

    …which will be sorted by the local trail fairies in short order. 🙂

    good stuff epicyclo – and the trails will have chance to recover.

    I intended no criticism of the event or organisers – its just illustrative of how bikes can damage trails which some folk seem to deny can happen


    Its a self solving problem for me. This time of year, I lack the requisit range to get to the "good stuff" so I just knock around the bridleways closer to base. There is a set of steep roll ins along the way, but they scare the bejesus out of me in the summer when its nice and grippy, so wouldn't even dare to ride it in the wet!

    Premier Icon Northwind

    I always think it's at least partly ignorance rather than thoughtlessness, lots of people genuinely don't see bikes as causes of damage, and others just haven't really thought about it, but might ride more responsibly if they did or if they were more conscious of the effect. I've wondered if little polite signs at trailheads might help, just saying "From one rider to another, don't ride this when it's wet or it'll get trashed" or something.

    I know there are people who just don't care, or who will refuse to believe they're doing harm, but not everyone's like this. When I was getting back into riding, I rode stuff I shouldn't have not because I just didn't really know it was wrong to do it.

    Premier Icon epicyclo

    Basically it comes down to a bit of common sense. When the trails are wet don't ride like a moto-x hero, get off and walk where appropriate. No heavy braking – especially on downhills, and ditch the nobbly tyres – but don't spin up.

    Premier Icon robgarrioch

    There's definitely a case for personal responsibility; as Northwind says, many new / less experienced riders don't appreciate the effects their ridng around puddles / heavy braking etc. can have on the less resilient trails – as I didn't until this winter. I quite like the idea of putting signs up warning of the effects, but suspect 95% of the time they'd be ignored.
    I've nothing against heading to GTress or Inners as more all-weather trails when the Pentlands are vulnerable, but then I have the facilities to do that.

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

    How soon we forget…


    I ride wet muddy trails a couple of hours a week, it's either that or don't ride. I do my best to ride through puddles (and over bars sometimes) and do the odd bit of trail repair – I really do think the MX rider that tears around LW does 100times more damage than any mountain bike….horses are just as bad.

    Anyway my solution – get an all weather rock armoured trail centre built in the south. I'd heard Farley Mount was being looked at to be a trail centre. Sheer number of riders in the south, and the lack of decent winterised trails should mean it turns a tidy profit. I for one would be happy to pay a fiver to park my car to go for a decent ride within 1hr from home.

    Some muddy trails are fine – some are not – in my opinion. It basically depends on a load of factors but comes down to ( again my opinion) factors such as is another trail available for people who don't like the mud. Is there enough slope so that rain will wash the soil off, how many folk use the trail. Is it just bikes that are causing the mud or tractors as well?

    One thing I find very interesting is that when I have discussed this with folk who have a similar outlook to me we sometimes come to very different conclusions.

    all we can do is try to be aware of the damage we can cause and to attempt to minimise this and be responsible.

    Partly this stems from riding in Scotland where there are no absolute rights to any trail but instead access must be "reasoable" and this is the culture I have learnt about the mountains in.

    The antics of some would never be reasonable in my opinion and shouild be challenged.

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog

    When stuff's like it is at the moment, I feel so bad about riding and erosion that I often leave the bike at home and go off-roading in my 4×4 instead. I wish more riders were as responsible, many of you seem to have no idea of the amount of trail damage you're causing. I often have to detour round puddles and ruts which are clearly the result of excessive mountain bike use in inappropriate conditions.

    It's just a shame that there's no mountain biking eqivalent of the Scottish Avalanche Information Service with a detailed trail conditions forecast for major riding areas together with an erosion grading system. That way, if, for example, the Peak were graded 'High' for erosion risk, I could either cancel my ride or choose to go to another, less vulnerable area and create more uniform wear across the country.

    It's such a simple and easy to implement idea that I can't believe it hasn't been done yet. I'm sure we could easily organise something amongst ourselves, call it – TCF, 'Trail Conditions Forecast' – get sponsorship from one of the more responsible bike brands and at a stroke, we could more or less eliminate trail erosion in the same way that the SAIS has pretty much elimated avalanches by naming and shaming.

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog

    I know, some of you, by the way, will pour scorn on my suggestion for a Trail Conditions Forecast, but if you need convincing, check out the avalanche incidence in Scotland. For a vast part of the year there are no avalanches at all, which shows just how effective that service has been.

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