With all of the "trail conditions" talk lately...

rlb

Well-Known Member
I'm wondering if the number of trail damage issues surfacing this month are normal? I'm new to mtb so this is my first winter. I know during the spring there is always going to be a thaw/muddy period to contend with, and there will always be uninformed or selfish people riding trails at that time. However, I've seen posts stating that Allaire, Hartshorne, and Mercer have been fairly abused at this point and its still winter. Are there usually this many people barreling through the trails when conditions are so poor?
 

stb222

Love Drunk
Jerk Squad
yes, this happens every year, maybe some local people to the trails can comment on this year compared to others. This is one of the colder winters we have had in a few years. Given that most of january was in the 20's and 30's, a bunch of the weekend warriors weren't going out because it was cold (ironically they didn't know it was the best time to ride in the winter), so when it got warmer, everybody just wanted to hit the trails, maybe causing more damage than in past years.
 

clarkenstein

JORBA Money Launderer
JORBA.ORG
i've ridden for a bunch of winters, and the trails (unfortunately) get rutted up every winter and spring.

warms spells during the winter usually add to the amount of ruts as people usually dont equate sub freezing temps with mountain bike rides, so they get out when its nice and warm. i cant blame them for that. i just wish more people will either stick to the road or start urban riding (or start digging some DJs!) to avoid the rants/arguments that usually ensue over poor trail use judgement during the freeze thaw time...

i rode chimney rock this weekend (one of my local rides) when it was frozen solid, and although the trails were frozen, they were really rutty and chewed up - especially on the newman's lane side of things (some 'singletrack' is now as wide as a fireroad due to people who have gone out). the ride was great, but there was some suckage for two reasons - (1) riding ruts does not add to the fun factor, and (2) everytime i am riding over ruts i just start thinking (and who likes thinking while they ride?) "if there are other trail users that get upset over temporary trail damage, and all they see is frozen ruts made by mountain bikes that stay around for months while the ground is frozen, it just adds fuel to the access-issue fire".
 

Frank

Sasquatch
Agreed with stb222 but there is a little more to it. We had a thorough freeze and some snow on top, then a series of 50-60 degree temps which melted the snow and thawed a couple of inches of soil. The water had no where to go because it wouldn't soak through past the frozen soil and it turned into a mudfest. The posts about trail conditions were meant to inform folks that riding in these conditions would do damage and in general people stayed away(from Allaire anyway) last weekend and gave her a chance to dry out a little. The wind and the lack of precip last week helped a great deal as well. As far as the other parks are concerned, it's best to contact the JORBA folk who steward those parks for the latest info. We had some great conditions over this winter and there were a lot of folks out enjoying these conditions, the problem was they still came when the conditions were poor.
 

pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
Some like to think that certain trails could benefit from a rest from usage now and then. IMO, if there is one time to stay out of the woods, it would be the first few warm days or the freeze thaw cycle.

...and there is more to it than just ruts. Every time a wet spot develops on a trail, riders tend to go around it, making the trail wider. So even if maintainers go back and tamp out the ruts, the soil in the widened area is hardened and will not allow plant growth as easily, making the trail permanently wider. Often what makes a trail narrow is vegetation. Also trails are designed with a slight out slope to allow water to shed off the tread. If the tread is too soft, riders will create a depression where water can pool. Now, maintainers need to go back and rework the tread. Volunteers are happy to to maintain, but wouldn't it be awesome if they could spend all their time building new trails instead! my 2c

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23 days to AZ
 

Frank

Sasquatch
...and there is more to it than just ruts. Every time a wet spot develops on a trail, riders tend to go around it, making the trail wider. So even if maintainers go back and tamp out the ruts, the soil in the widened area is hardened and will not allow plant growth as easily, making the trail permanently wider. Often what makes a trail narrow is vegetation. Also trails are designed with a slight out slope to allow water to shed off the tread. If the tread is too soft, riders will create a depression where water can pool. Now, maintainers need to go back and rework the tread. Volunteers are happy to to maintain, but wouldn't it be awesome if they could spend all their time building new trails instead! my 2c

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23 days to AZ

well said Pixy
 

Frank

Sasquatch
everytime i am riding over ruts i just start thinking (and who likes thinking while they ride?) "if there are other trail users that get upset over temporary trail damage, and all they see is frozen ruts made by mountain bikes that stay around for months while the ground is frozen, it just adds fuel to the access-issue fire".

Real good point as well and it does happen. I received an e-mail from a "non-cyclist" complaining about the damage done by bikes. It took quite a few replies to calm her down.
 

pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
We have had some good early winter conditions throughout 3/4 of New Jersey this winter, and people are out riding. Great to see. However there are times when trails should be avoided. Hopefully this years new winter riders will figure this out and find an alternate plan on those days.

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23 days to AZ
 

Ian F

Well-Known Member
Real good point as well and it does happen. I received an e-mail from a "non-cyclist" complaining about the damage done by bikes.

Oddly enough, I've discovered horses can help with this a lot. Hoof prints will break up bike ruts... and vice-versa... as bike tires can smooth out hoof prints...

Of course, the horse people never seem to see it that way... :rolleyes:
 

xc62701

Well-Known Member
I know that we both can cause some damage but the horse prints can really ruin some of the nicest trails. I was on the Colorado trail last summer and was trying to enjoy the beauty of the scenery as the wickedness of the choppy trail from the horses was ruining everything. I've never seen such gorgeous singletrack destroyed by horses. They can be every bit as desructive as bikes and hikers.
 

Ian F

Well-Known Member
I know that we both can cause some damage but the horse prints can really ruin some of the nicest trails. I was on the Colorado trail last summer and was trying to enjoy the beauty of the scenery as the wickedness of the choppy trail from the horses was ruining everything. I've never seen such gorgeous singletrack destroyed by horses. They can be every bit as desructive as bikes and hikers.

Oh, I'm not arguing that... but one of the quickest way to fix said damage is for a few groups of bikes to ride over the prints and smooth them out... although for the first few riders it's a rough ride... :(
 

rlb

Well-Known Member
Thanks for all of the good perspectives. I've been on the bike 3 times in 2009 :cry: and two of those were at six mile dodging frozen ruts. Not fun! I wish things would freeze up again for a few weeks. I guess we need to start looking forward to the dry side of spring (mid May I'm guessing? I never paid too much attention until now....). I'll be happy enough to turn my clock ahead in 2 weeks.
 

Ian F

Well-Known Member
Thanks for all of the good perspectives. I've been on the bike 3 times in 2009 :cry: and two of those were at six mile dodging frozen ruts. Not fun! I wish things would freeze up again for a few weeks. I guess we need to start looking forward to the dry side of spring (mid May I'm guessing? I never paid too much attention until now....). I'll be happy enough to turn my clock ahead in 2 weeks.

Where is Woodbridge? There are other places to ride that are less affected by the current conditions: Wissahickon in Philly... some of the Southern NJ parks seem to drain well (mostly sand)...
 

rlb

Well-Known Member
Where is Woodbridge? There are other places to ride that are less affected by the current conditions: Wissahickon in Philly... some of the Southern NJ parks seem to drain well (mostly sand)...

It's central NJ near Perth Amboy/Staten Island, so there isn't too much riding around here w/o a 45 min drive. I'll live :)
 

Ian F

Well-Known Member
It's central NJ near Perth Amboy/Staten Island, so there isn't too much riding around here w/o a 45 min drive. I'll live :)

Yeah... Philly would be a bit of a hike for you... bummer... I've heard rumors of snow this w/e anyway... :(
 

secondspeed02

New Member
"The Tourne" status <

Look everyone Im here to only pass this along .The trails are really wet wait for couple more days even better if we have a freeze in 20s - 30s over night. Ride early in morning forget mid afternoon to late.. It's stinks but cant wait for late Feb or even worst late March... ya Im road riding to work early March peace keep cranking everyone .. I'll be at one of first Tm of year 2009somewhere n' this state
 
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