Documenting the Undocumented
Strava... causes for some; for others; for many..
I'm in the category... have been for years..
Full disclosure complete..
I've also made it a point to create segments for unmapped trails.
I'm sure that may piss a bunch of you off... sorry...
My rational is supply and demand. Specifically, the more quantitative usage data that is available to trail advocacy groups, then the sounder arguments they should be able to make to either "legalize" or expand trail networks.
Based on the forum typical rhetoric (trails are too wide, people don't yield, etc, etc) the Front range is similar to the bay area in that there are lots of people how love to ride, but have insufficient places to do so.
An issue compounded by land management groups who think "mountain biking" is best done on a fire road that has been freshly graded to 60" wide and at an incline of no more than 3%, you know, for our own safety. it's not a very good starting point for negotiations.
In other words, if a segment is ridden say 500 times in 3 months, one would have a pretty solid argument that there is significant demand for the section of trail.
Lastly... Strava is a fantastic trip planning tool.
By creating the segment I do, I can see how other people are linking trails and also to check on the popularity of other trails in a given area.
If you ever find yourself someplace new and don't know where to start, start with Strava it beats much of the advice I see given here.
anyway... thoughts, flames, negative props...?
Black Forerunner with California Plates riding a white Nomad in Winter Park this weekend... that would be me...
Don't map in the unmapped trails in Winter Park! Just messing around. I think it is a valuable tool to share good rides with people. I could care less about racing anyone!
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When you give food to the poor, they call you a saint. When you ask why the poor have no food, they call you a communist.
You're basing all this on the premise that getting lots of people to ride a trail will help get it formalized? Brilliant!
Originally Posted by WilburKookmeyer
You may want to get involved in an legit trail building effort so you can see how the process works.
Your approach does do a good job of giving hikers and equestrians more ammo to complain about to USFS though.
The converse is, of course, that groups that want to limit or remove mountain biking from trails will use the evidence that cyclists are riding on unapproved trails.
"That which has a front has a back"
Originally Posted by WilburKook
I'm a cowboy on a steel horse i ride!
a wilbur kookmeyer would ! A lot can be said about mtbr handles.
Originally Posted by PBR me!
typical mtbr fashion no one will answer his question because the moron went ahead and mentioned he's from california
I'll answer your question.
GPS files of rides really don't do much harm on the grand scheme of things.
Mapping documenting and publicly releasing trails that are not ridden much probably not a good idea. It helps keep them hidden. Why would you want to see a hundred people on an unused trail?
The same goes for backcountry skiing, you once saw no one back country skiing now everyone is a backcountry skiier. When your the first one out breaking trail you have to remember to make some sucker tracks to throw people off or persuade them that this is too technical and they should turn around now. The same goes for mtb.
Where I live it seems we loose one trail a year that was unridden, hidden, or what not. There are still a few of these trails around but they number fewer and fewer each summer. I just rode one the other day, it's always nice when you can hit some single track that is still six inches wide and barely used.
Why GPS doesn't matter
In my situation GPS is just one of the many forces that are leading people onto once unused trails. The town of Breckenridge is printing maps and selling them. They are promoting the use of trails. They are labeling trails. All which are the same as publishing a GPS of a ride.
The biggest cause of trail use is race promoters using the trails for their personal gain. Trails that are used for races are usually the most damaged and overused where I live. People download the race map and follow the course. Some of these trails only saw a handfull of people in one season years ago, they are now used by thousands over the course of a summer. Heavily used and heavily damaged.
It's always nice when you can truely get away and out there, but it's getting harder and harder to do. I used to enjoy getting lost and ending up on some goat trail for a couple hours, but now that's becoming harder and harder to do.
I'm 100% certain that no one gives a s**t about my opinion but with this many people and mountain bikers specifically the need to just STFU about unknown or lesser known trails is greater. The internet spraylord culture is something I don't think I'll ever understand so to me it's just people trying to boost their egos, once again that's just my opinion.
I don't have a problem with people taking GPS files and giving them to friends but Strava and other things make it too easy for the lowest common denominator riders to find trails. It also takes the adventure out of it but we're all out there for different reasons so to each their own. These are people who don't have the knowledge and in some cases don't care about who has come before them and what these people have done to make/maintain the trails.
I wonder if the people who post lesser known trails feel better about themselves, like their helping, or if they just don't care? How do the builders of rogue trails feel about telling people 10-15 years ago now that the real effect of that is being seen? In hindsight would they change what they did, not just Ned but the whole Front Range.
Honestly I think mtbr and this forum specifically unfortunately doesn't represent the Front Range mountain bikers as a whole. Most of the riders here are considerate and well versed on the issues that we face as a user group.
I don't think the forest circus sees undocumented trails as a reason to build more trails but I may be wrong.
OP-we have a higher than average number of trolls on the FR forum and its unlikely that you get any real helpful input for a couple of reasons. Elitism, Elitism, Elitism
Myths that we all buy into:
1. Everyone thinks its everyone else who is wrecking all the great pristine singletrack and that they have no impact on what they ride. This is a myth, all of us have an impact on what we ride.
2. Only locals and an elite few have the right to ride these trails so don't bother applying if you are the lowest common denominator, moved in from out of state, or from the wrong riding discipline because you don't deserve to ride "their" trails. The problem again is that everyone not like us is ineligible to ride. Anyone who has the initiative to find the trails that are legal has a right to ride them.
3. There's a huge difference between unmapped and illegal. Winter Park even encourages you to come and ride their huge and vastly undiscovered network of trails so we can't make a huge fuss if they are asking us to come out and ride it. Make sure what you're riding is legal and not private. Most people won't venture this far out to ride so there's very little to worry about with over usage. The myth here is that anything you do will lead to us losing the right to ride Winter Park for instance has only blossomed under what you are doing.
4. That increased usage automatically turns everything into 60" gravel highways. Look at high usage places like Moab, Fruita, GJ, Pigsah etc. More riders mean more money to service trails and doesn't automatically lead to gravel path hell. More money for advocacy and more trails open to riders, more MTB specific trails, better built more sustainable trails, better local groups educating and policing riders etc. Its not a given conclusion that this is where things are headed.
5. That things are always better in the past, its called the historical fallacy. Change is always present and its what we fight against most even though we can't stop it. The common assumption is that things were better before.... and fill in the blank, before those people moved here, before full suspension, before all these people started riding my trail etc. See number 1, the more we individually ride, the more we have an impact. Its not just everyone else that contributed to the change we all did. Change is often for the better and sometimes not. We have more bike specific riding than every before and better education and advocacy than anytime in history. In most places you aren't sharing the trail with moto riders and that in and of itself is huge. Many of the trails that these guys are thinking of weren't built well in the first place and aren't sustainable even without higher usage.
There are still many challenges to face in land management and keeping certain groups from creating illegal new trails or damaging the work of others. But if we all think the problem is outside of us and divide ourselves into micro factions we'll never survive.
Narrow is the path to life, few are those who find it.
speak for yourself
Originally Posted by wilsonblur
OK WilburKookmeyer so I have a few more minutes today.
Originally Posted by WilburKookmeyer
Here's the deal for me. Land Managers don't have the time, energy or
desire to search Strava to see how many people are riding a social trail.
They have too much other crap to deal with. Like who didn't show up for
work today, or putting out fires.
And... Unless 100% of trail users are using strava to log their rides/hikes
/runs, it really tells me nothing except a bunch of racer boiyz on MTB's are
riding where they shouldn't be. It's worthless data.
Honestly... If I'm a LM. I don't want to know if you are riding it and I
definitely don't want it on the Internet. It makes me look bad to my boss
and the public. Like I'm not doing a very good job.
There are many reasons some of those social trails you're mapping may not
1. Might be on private property.
2. No money to close it. (most likely)
3. May encroash on plant or wildlife habitat. Like elk calving areas or
wetlands/riparian habitat(also very likely).
4. Might actually be a game, or livestock trail.
5. It hasn't been found by land managers.
As a land manager, or land steward if you will, my job is to maintain/manage
land and promote responsible use of resources. I'm going to check my
property every week and when I see tire tracks going somewhere I don't
want them to, then guess who get's put on the ***** list?
There is no "oh a bunch of people use this trail, I need to open it" going
on. I'm sure there are exceptions, but generally speaking that's not how
land management works.
If something isn't official, it's probably not official for a reason. I'm going to
Here's what my (imaginary) staff tells me when I ask them if they check out
"Strava? Are those the endangered fish they found in Bear Creek?"
"We went there on vacation last year. It was hot."
"I can't take care of the trails I already have, I need a bigger budget... and
"Our GPS is broke. We don't have any money to fix it."
"Yup. Just print me a map and we'll go close it down... again."
As MTBR's we have to realize that we can be good land stewards also. I
don't care if you ride those trails. We all have poached at some point in
time to see where some trail goes. It happens.
But turning a social trail into a training route on Strava opens up a whole
new can of worms. It's just not good for MTB'ng and trail access. It sends
the message that "we don't care".
I'm not saying you shouldn't put it on Strava if you feel like it. But maybe
you shouldn't be creating segments and advertising it? That's where the
line is for me.
Just my 2 cents. Have a nice day.
Ride 'em while you got 'em!
Biker Rider/Beer Drinker
Originally Posted by UncleTrail
killin clear creek
Originally Posted by thump
Biker Rider/Beer Drinker
Originally Posted by UncleTrail
Well said Uncle trial.
Wilburkookmeyer - Can we assume either you're just visiting Colorado, or you're heading to the DMV today to purchase your Colorado plates for your 4Runner?
On-Blast, right there^
Originally Posted by Wiggs
It's a website where you can compare how fast you are against the fastest dudes. Of course the actual fastest dudes aren't actually on Strava, so it's really more a dick measuring contest for 97th place.
Originally Posted by backcountryislife
Originally Posted by thump
I don't think the NF has the $$$ or people to manage a bunch of new trails on the front range if any really, so you thinking that more riders on a specific trail will automitically make it legit is not valid. They will most likely close it down to all user groups.
Whatever happened to putting in the time and exploring on your own up in the woods looking for that sweet spot off the radar? Sometimes you may find something great, and sometimes you may have to walk your bike 3 miles out of a canyon and never go back there. Hey after all you are spending time on your bike out in nature and that's what matters. Isn't it a good feeling to just randomly find that awesome trail and just know it's there and not have to share it with the world? Most good things come with time and effort and those people that put the time in will most likely respect it more than those who just have things handed to them.
Time spent comparing dick sizes on Strava: 4 hours
Time spent volunteering for trail work: 0 hours
Strava is really cool.
Love it. I use starvation to explore new areas. I also use barminess connect as well.
Originally Posted by IndecentExposure
This reminds me... of a good idea.