1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Covered hole on trail sent me OTB. Common trail feature or dumb prank?

    Had had my first mtb crash today. I hit a hole in the trail that was completely hidden and filled in by leaves. It stopped my front wheel dead, and sent me over the bars. It was low speed, and other than some scrapes and a big 'ol bump on my shin I'm fine.

    Here's my question: Why would there be a hole in the middle of the trail? It didn't appear to be a natural feature. It was about a foot deep and wide, looked like it had been dug out (maybe by an animal?---would hate to think a person did this on purpose). What do you guys think?

  2. #2
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    Is it a trail that somebody might not like bikes riding on?
    It is unlikely that some prankster would dig a random hole in the trail and then cover it up, surely?

    The local farmer once deposited manure along one of the trails round here after it was opened to bikes.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by lotusdriver View Post
    The local farmer once deposited manure along one of the trails round here after it was opened to bikes.

    See, that is just damn funny.......

  4. #4
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    No bad feelings toward cyclists in this area, as far as I know.

    Guess I'll just have to scan the ground better, and avoid lines that take me over piles of leaves that mask what's beneath.

  5. #5
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
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    NOTE TO SELF: Avoid leaves, sticks and any other debris on the trail OTHER than dirt itself. You'd be surprised how many things can END your ride!

    Your lucky there wasn't a wreath of barbed wire under those leaves. Trust nothing...
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by lyra View Post
    Guess I'll just have to scan the ground better, and avoid lines that take me over piles of leaves that mask what's beneath.
    Puddles can do a pretty good job of hiding things too. I've seen a number of unplanned dunkings happen that way.

  7. #7
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Bad braking technique can make "bomb holes" in trails. Add the changing season, and no human interference is necessary.

    The other thing that you can run into, other than someone actively trying to sabotage trails, along those lines is a borrow pit - sometimes trail builders dig a hole to make a mogul. If you were trying to sneak around the mogul, you could have plowed right into it.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  8. #8
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    no doubt a speed-dump...similar to a speed-bump, but only found on a bike trail
    2014 Nail Trail 29er

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Puddles can do a pretty good job of hiding things too. I've seen a number of unplanned dunkings happen that way.
    That is what caused my first OTB experience (that I remember)

  10. #10
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    how dare...

    Quote Originally Posted by Zachariah View Post
    NOTE TO SELF: Avoid leaves, sticks and any other debris on the trail OTHER than dirt itself. You'd be surprised how many things can END your ride!

    Your lucky there wasn't a wreath of barbed wire under those leaves. Trust nothing...
    those bastards!!!
    2014 Nail Trail 29er

  11. #11
    local trails rider
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    There's a hole on the edge of trail near my home. That one is obviously done by a dog or fox chasing some tasty rodent.
    ... 8 days ago, I sprained my ankle there while walking with my dog.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  12. #12
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    I rode a trail last week that I hadn't ridden in a few months. Recent rain had eroded a pretty big hole in the trail (10" deep, 12" wide, 2' long), and recent wind had blown leaves all around it, filling the hole. Luckily I saw what I thought was a hole and bunny hopped over it. I did go back to see what it was...just an erosion hole with a bunch of leaves blown around it, filling it most of the way up. If I didn't jump over it I'd be in rough shape, as it was on a low wide turn that you ride pretty fast. I didn't have any tools with me to fill it, but did clean it out so at least it's visible to the next guy. Unfortunately if you live in a very hilly area, you have to worry about running water and leaves (or even snow) that build up in the low spots that mask trail defects.
    Mountain bikers who don't road ride have no legs...
    Road riders who don't mountain bike have no soul...

  13. #13
    My little friends
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    You should always ride with your front wheel as light as possible while still giving enough traction for control. Doing this will eliminate most "surprises" that you encounter. Relying upon the front suspension alone to soak up the trail for you is asking for trouble!

  14. #14
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    Fall riding can be tricky - leaves fill up holes, ruts, gaps between rocks. And they can be slippery, especially Oak leaves.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  15. #15
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    Thanks for the responses, guys and gals. I guess these things aren't so uncommon. Lesson learned the hard way.

  16. #16
    long time listener
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    You didn't rake the trail before riding it? Poor etiquette...


  17. #17
    Never Forget 9-11
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    The joys of riding in the fall.
    It's such a fine line between idiocy and genius.

  18. #18
    'Tis but a scratch
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    Look on the bright side: You had your first MTB crash and you rode away. You had to get that first one out of the way sooner or later.

    I've crashed so many times, I can't even remember my first crash. I'm sure it was caused by rider error though.

    Fall can definitely be trickier with sticks and stones and holes and such lurking below those dreaded slippery leaves. But, it happens to be my favorite time to ride. Cooler temps, no bugs, pretty scenery and typically less in terms of the thick mud related to the spring thaw.

    I also love hiking in winter the best. Its very serene!

  19. #19
    I build my own.
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    Quote Originally Posted by huffster View Post
    Look on the bright side: You had your first MTB crash and you rode away. You had to get that first one out of the way sooner or later.

    I've crashed so many times, I can't even remember my first crash. I'm sure it was caused by rider error though.

    Fall can definitely be trickier with sticks and stones and holes and such lurking below those dreaded slippery leaves. But, it happens to be my favorite time to ride. Cooler temps, no bugs, pretty scenery and typically less in terms of the thick mud related to the spring thaw.

    I also love hiking in winter the best. Its very serene!
    None of my crashes were ever my fault. Stupid bike, tree, rock, car, other rider, sun in my eyes, gravity...
    I have a device that can access the total knowledge of man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and argue with strangers.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Puddles can do a pretty good job of hiding things too. I've seen a number of unplanned dunkings happen that way.

  21. #21
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    Another thing to watch out for along with hidden holes, are hidden tree stumps.

    Recently had a pretty good flying lesson due to one. Riding along going pretty fast, all of a sudden BAM!! I feel my front tire hit something and then Im flying. Foot caught my handlebars so I flew a good 5 feet while dragging my bike(wasnt wearing clipless so not fault of that). Luckily when I landed my nose took quite a bit of the impact. Oh and my phone screen broke. No big deal. I do know that even with my fat self and that hard hit, my Stans Arch EX's are some tough sons of... Not a single bit of bend in the rims. So now I take a really wide path around that stump every time.
    Slightly faster than a speeding snail.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by lyra View Post
    Guess I'll just have to scan the ground better, and avoid lines that take me over piles of leaves that mask what's beneath.
    Good luck with that!

    Covered hole on trail sent me OTB.  Common trail feature or  dumb prank?-ft-yargo-monster-mile-covered-leaves.jpg

    Glad you weren't hurt seriously.

    Another possibility -- I was working on a trail repair crew, and found a hole in the middle of the trail. The boss, who has been to IMBA trail building school etc etc, said that a stump was buried under the trail, decayed and collapsed, and left the hole.

  23. #23
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    You must ride on rear tire only in the fall, come on everyone knows that lol.
    We had hikers once drag logs out as we went by to block the trail on our way back. As we got closer we yelled thanks for the techy stuff and bunny hopped the logs, they stood eyes wide mouths open. Perhaps they thought we would have to dismount LOL silly hikers trails are for bikes.
    Giant XTC 2 29er
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisF View Post
    Good luck with that!

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Ft Yargo monster mile covered with leaves.jpg 
Views:	184 
Size:	311.7 KB 
ID:	851174

    Glad you weren't hurt seriously.

    Another possibility -- I was working on a trail repair crew, and found a hole in the middle of the trail. The boss, who has been to IMBA trail building school etc etc, said that a stump was buried under the trail, decayed and collapsed, and left the hole.
    That picture looks similar to the area where I took my spill. :-)

    The hole was about the right size for a tree stump, so perhaps that's it. I've come up with a new avoidance strategy: ride benhind someone else!

  25. #25
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    Glad you are okay. My first OTB left me with a concussion for 6-7 weeks. Helmet saved my life. My son said it was the coolest thing he'd ever seen me do. "Mom, you got air time! That was AWESOME!"

    I'd hate to think someone did that on purpose. The last hole I encountered was on a Rails to Trails and narrowly missed it. I think it was erosion but it was in the middle of the trail. Scary part was that it was pretty much hollow underneath the trail when I took a look. Made me wonder how safe these paths are. I emailed the organization that cares for the trail and let them know about it. The next time I was out, it was taken care of.

    Stay safe. Leaves cover everything up. I love riding this time of year but pick my way through the trail knowing anything could be under there.

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