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  1. #1
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    Mud in the East, Mud in the West

    I grew up in mountain biking in VA, WV, MD and PA. We used to ride in the mud all the time and loved it. Now I live in CO and riding in the mud is taboo. I got to thinking...

    Is this a regional difference? Is this just a different era? Is it still okay to ride muddy trails in the east? Back then, nobody cared or nobody knew any better. If it rained, you just made sure you had knobbie tires. Was it ever okay to ride in the mud in CO?

    I'm a responsible rider. I don't ride when trails are muddy, but I sure do miss it.
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  2. #2
    Oh, So Interesting!
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    I think the "no riding in the mud" rule is WAY overblown and has very little factual basis. That said, it does depend which trail you're talking about and how you ride. The surfaces in CO vary from clay to gravel. Trails through clay based soil aren't rideable at all when wet, and some gravelly trails you can't even see your own tracks on when wet.

    The biggest issue is that people ride around the mud, off the trail, and widen the trail considerably, leading to greater erosion.
    .




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  3. #3
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    go for the 'decomposed granite' trails during wet weather.

  4. #4
    post-ride specialist
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    Maybe you have grown as a rider and world steward since you've been out here and have just become more aware and sensitive to the issue.
    Since when did Need have anything to do with this?

  5. #5
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    that makes way

    too much sense Dave!

    Quote Originally Posted by davec113
    I think the "no riding in the mud" rule is WAY overblown and has very little factual basis. That said, it does depend which trail you're talking about and how you ride. The surfaces in CO vary from clay to gravel. Trails through clay based soil aren't rideable at all when wet, and some gravelly trails you can't even see your own tracks on when wet.

    The biggest issue is that people ride around the mud, off the trail, and widen the trail considerably, leading to greater erosion.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by suprcivic
    I grew up in mountain biking in VA, WV, MD and PA. We used to ride in the mud all the time and loved it. Now I live in CO and riding in the mud is taboo. I got to thinking...

    Is this a regional difference? Is this just a different era? Is it still okay to ride muddy trails in the east? Back then, nobody cared or nobody knew any better. If it rained, you just made sure you had knobbie tires. Was it ever okay to ride in the mud in CO?

    I'm a responsible rider. I don't ride when trails are muddy, but I sure do miss it.
    I'm from Maryland and avoided most local trails when they were muddy. That changed if I hit some of the rockier areas like Gambrill and the shed since they deal with water well. Patapsco and Loch Raven, my closest trails, tended to hold the water and turned into boggy messes in the wet and I could tell I was doing serious trail damage if I rode them. It all depends on the trail surface.

    I think it was a matter of not knowing any better for ya. I was in the same boat before I started volunteering for trail work and hanging out on the online forums.
    -jon

  7. #7
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    when did you ride those trails? I was on those same trails in the early to mid 90's and was active with NORBA and read as much as I could about riding and don't recall ever seeing anything about not riding mud. I remember other trail access issues and always having the sierra club trying to ban us from trails.

    not trying to be contrary. just curious.
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  8. #8
    simple
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    It amazes me that people don't even understand the trails that they ride on. Ride, ride, and ride more and you'll figure out what trails suck when they are wet. Always stay on the trail, unless you are passing riders that take too many photos especially of themselves.

  9. #9
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    lets be clear. i'm talking about a time period from 1989-1994 when i was 12-17 years old. this is not an adult participating in a fully matured sport. this is back when forks were rigid (not by choice) andwhen you told people you mountain bike, they said "what's that?"

    i'm just wondering how things have changed vs how the different regions view their responsibility as trail users.
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  10. #10
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    Back then nobody really knew what mountain biking was and there was barely anyone riding the trails, less trail use, way less impact. Mountain biking is probably the most popular recreational sport in Denver other than skiing/snowboarding now.

    I am always amazed how many bike shops we have in the area and how they are able to stay in business too. Tells me there must be thousands and thousands of avid mountain bikers who are using the trails and obviously eroding them as well. (Not saying that is a bad thing.) Now take all the brand new never ever riders which has to be thousands each year who ride around muddy spots, technical spots, skid to a stop every where and you start to understand the impact on the trails.

    I am guilty as the next guy but when you see someone who is obviously new/or not new to the sport and does something stupid (might be because he does not know any better) stop him and talk to him about it. He might tell you to shut up or he might appreciate the advice.

    I lived and rode in crested butte in the late 90's and I never heard of the yielding rule, never saw anyone else on the trails other than dirt bikes so it was never an issue. My first ride in denver was a rude awakening to my trail stupidity. (I was that guy)
    One guy yelled at me as he went by (I was the idiot descending and I did not yield) I had no clue what he was yelling about but the next time i did it some guy stopped me, was totally cool and explained the rules. I felt like a total idiot and I always yield now. End of story.

    Education is key, especially because more and more people are moving to denver and are taking up mountain biking for the first time and don't know what they are doing.
    I know we would rather strangle them sometimes but talking to them is a much more productive way to solve these problems




    Quote Originally Posted by suprcivic
    lets be clear. i'm talking about a time period from 1989-1994 when i was 12-17 years old. this is not an adult participating in a fully matured sport. this is back when forks were rigid (not by choice) andwhen you told people you mountain bike, they said "what's that?"

    i'm just wondering how things have changed vs how the different regions view their responsibility as trail users.

  11. #11
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    It could be an old school, mentality and/or regional difference, I was also once 'that guy' errr kid, riding in the mud both on my mountain bike & moto back in Indiana. Since then, a few years have passed and my respect for the trails and knowledge has grown quite a bit. These days I certainly respect the trail conditions and help mentor fellow riders when I can.

    That said, I do love to ride in the rain on occasion and do wonder if a lot of 'western' riders are scared of the rain/mud a little too much. Case in point, I did a mountain bike patrol last night at Marshall Mesa after the first round of showers went through and there wasn't a soul out there except for a few hikers. The trails were tacky perfection, so the cyclists missed out!

    There certainly is a balance to be struck between just tacky and muddy trails. That said, I wish a lot more mountain bikers would pony up and stop riding AROUND mud puddles. I can't believe that amount of riders who don't want to get dirty! Sissies.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbrock450
    Back then nobody really knew what mountain biking was and there was barely anyone riding the trails, less trail use, way less impact. Mountain biking is probably the most popular recreational sport in Denver other than skiing/snowboarding now.

    I am always amazed how many bike shops we have in the area and how they are able to stay in business too. Tells me there must be thousands and thousands of avid mountain bikers who are using the trails and obviously eroding them as well. (Not saying that is a bad thing.) Now take all the brand new never ever riders which has to be thousands each year who ride around muddy spots, technical spots, skid to a stop every where and you start to understand the impact on the trails.

    I am guilty as the next guy but when you see someone who is obviously new/or not new to the sport and does something stupid (might be because he does not know any better) stop him and talk to him about it. He might tell you to shut up or he might appreciate the advice.

    I lived and rode in crested butte in the late 90's and I never heard of the yielding rule, never saw anyone else on the trails other than dirt bikes so it was never an issue. My first ride in denver was a rude awakening to my trail stupidity. (I was that guy)
    One guy yelled at me as he went by (I was the idiot descending and I did not yield) I had no clue what he was yelling about but the next time i did it some guy stopped me, was totally cool and explained the rules. I felt like a total idiot and I always yield now. End of story.

    Education is key, especially because more and more people are moving to denver and are taking up mountain biking for the first time and don't know what they are doing.
    I know we would rather strangle them sometimes but talking to them is a much more productive way to solve these problems
    DUDE!
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  13. #13
    not actually bad :)
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    Quote Originally Posted by bike21
    I can't believe that amount of riders who don't want to get dirty! Sissies.
    I think a lot of that may go to ignorance too.
    I remember when it used to be an unwritten rule (written maybe?) to go around the mud, not through it!
    I really think a lot of it is people not knowing what to do when there's mud.
    If anyone reading this is confused - GO THROUGH THE MUD - NOT AROUND. Or, stay off the trails when muddy (better answer).
    Old Codger

  14. #14
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    Yeah, I am with you probably ignorance. Which is part of the reason why us patrollers are out there trying to educate folks and put on a good face for our beloved sport

  15. #15
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    last week was the most fun i've had on front range trails in 7 years.

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