Saturday, March 29, 2008

Don't Ride Wet/Soft Trails

Friday, I rode up the Wabash Trace to Margaritaville. Slow going compared the last ride of last year. Trail is not in its summer hard-pack condition. That, and the first ride up this year, I only made 8mph up the hill.

Speaking of trail condition, Tuesday Greg (maintainer of the Trace from CB to Silver City) graded the trail surface. Even after running the grader off the trail, there are still ruts from riding when the surface is wet.

Now I know we all have gotten cabin fever this winter. But, when you ride on the wet trail, you are doing damage to the trail surface. That 1 ride you just couldn't make without, causes untold others riders misery with a rough trail surface.

The photo above is bicycle tracks in the crushed limestone surface when inconsiderate riders ride a wet trail.

After a rest stop, I headed down the hill and then over to Lake Manawa to check out the mountain bike trail. The last week we had lots of drying wind - hoping the trails are rideable.

I rode W Sidewinder, which was dry. Headed over to E Sidewinder. When I got into the wooded part, I saw that the trail is very soft, with deep ruts. It was time to stop, turn around, and ride someplace else. The second photo is of the ruts in the trail tread.

At the parking lot, I met a couple other riders. When I mentioned that the trail was too soft, one said it was good -- just soft spots and wet spots to ride around. URGH. I told him doing that damages the trail.

In this part of the country, riding on wet trails does great damage. Its not like places were the trails are on rock. I think the magazines do a disservice when they publish photos of riders plowing down muddy trails. Photos of mud encased bikes and riders enforces this image of the mountain bike rider.

Next time you ride soft/wet trails, think about who has to repair that trail. They do not heal themselves - it takes hours of dedicated volunteers to repair your hour of "fun".

1 comment:

ddeford said...

If people knew the number of hard-working hours that are spent on the trail (all volunteer, of course) they would be smarter about when they ride.

I enjoy your posts.