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  1. #1
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    What happened to the Wis???

    Rode for the first time since December yesterday. Southern part of the orange trail. Conditions were great, almost no mud. But the section of the trail that lead to the big rocky drop is closed off to be reclaimed as forest - and the rocky drainage crossing now has a wooden bridge over it. These were two of the better technical features that are now gone.

    Haven't ridden the yellow trail yet. Do the Friends of the Wis have any more surprises in store for us over there?

  2. #2
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    Wait, what are the orange and yellow trails? What side of the Valley green are these on? I know the trails well but don't know there names!
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  3. #3
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    I think the two sections he's referring to are:

    1) The end of the Rox side towards the paved biking trail parallel to Lincoln Drive. It seems they closed the section that led to the Kelpius cave.

    2) The Chestnut Hill side around Blue Bell Park where depending on how you dropped own, there was a smooth dirt on one side and a rocky section that had a little rock build up to get over the lip of the drainage section. That new bridge already got tagged up pretty good.
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    Hey, if you want a technical feature, try to hop that giant tree down across the beginning of the Monster. Haha.
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  5. #5
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    I don't know the park well but there is an orange trail across the creek from the Valley Green Inn, I think. If so, it was marked closed to bikes when I was there yesterday.

  6. #6
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    there is tree coverage at the end of the trail where the gravel road begins because that section has become terrible over the years. if you go down the gravel hill a little bit and turn in where bikers are supposed to enter you can hit that section. if you get close to the cave you can see a new line being flagged.
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  7. #7
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    Thanks for the replies. I've only been riding the park by myself for the last two years, so I don't know the real names of places - I just look at the "official" map. Wish there was a legend for things like the "monster."

  8. #8
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    Yea that section down by lincoln was closed off last summer, and they just built that bridge over the gully really recently. I just saw it for the first time on Saturday myself. Wasn't there in the fall. That bridge sucks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by guswalls View Post
    if you get close to the cave you can see a new line being flagged.
    That's interesting. I wonder if the intention is to ultimately open that section to everyone or keep it flagged as hikers/equestrians only (which makes no sense to me).

    Found this, so sounds like no:

    Wissahickon restoration could close two rogue bike trails ? NewsWorks

    Jones indicated that his organization is interested in discouraging bikers from using certain trails that are designated for use by walkers and equestrians, as cyclists can have adverse effects on both unsuspecting hikers and horses, and can contribute to erosion and siltation downstream.

    I guess it's a small price to pay for the rest of trails we have available to ride at the Wiss, but hopefully that "bikes cause erosion but horses and hikers magically do not" argument doesn't gain any traction.

    That's a little disheartening to see coming from an organization that is sanctioned to do work in the park.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by RepoMan2112 View Post
    That's interesting. I wonder if the intention is to ultimately open that section to everyone or keep it flagged as hikers/equestrians only (which makes no sense to me).

    Found this, so sounds like no:

    Wissahickon restoration could close two rogue bike trails ? NewsWorks

    Jones indicated that his organization is interested in discouraging bikers from using certain trails that are designated for use by walkers and equestrians, as cyclists can have adverse effects on both unsuspecting hikers and horses, and can contribute to erosion and siltation downstream.

    I guess it's a small price to pay for the rest of trails we have available to ride at the Wiss, but hopefully that "bikes cause erosion but horses and hikers magically do not" argument doesn't gain any traction.

    That's a little disheartening to see coming from an organization that is sanctioned to do work in the park.
    And really, they would allow horses in that area but not mountain bikes? And they expect that the horses would do less damage?
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElGreco View Post
    I don't know the real names of places - I just look at the "official" map. Wish there was a legend for things like the "monster."
    I've been toying with the idea for a while of putting together a map that would highlight all the unofficially named sections, possibly with the multiple names that different groups have for certain sections, with the most established name being the primary name. I bring it up because my girlfriend is a cartographer which makes it more likely I'd manage to actually get to this and wind up with a decent product.

  12. #12
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    That in poster format framed would make a fine gift for any Wiss mountain biker. I say go for it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    And really, they would allow horses in that area but not mountain bikes? And they expect that the horses would do less damage?
    I agree. I think it actually detracts from their cause to say that, even if they're just trying to make it sound like it's not simply an arbitrary ban on a type of trail user. Just saying they want it to be bike free, like the Wissahickon Environmental Center/Andorra trails, is better than throwing unsound science at it. The latter part of that article where they mention "unsuspecting" hikers and equestrians would appear to be the true reason. While I generally believe it's a bad idea to not be aware of your surroundings in a heavily-trafficked, multi-use urban park, I get it. And if it gives that park user who jumps out of their skin despite multiple rings of the bell and verbal announcements of your presence somewhere to do their thing and not yell at you for scaring them, I would feel a little better conceding some trail. Some.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by RepoMan2112 View Post
    I agree. I think it actually detracts from their cause to say that, even if they're just trying to make it sound like it's not simply an arbitrary ban on a type of trail user. Just saying they want it to be bike free, like the Wissahickon Environmental Center/Andorra trails, is better than throwing unsound science at it. The latter part of that article where they mention "unsuspecting" hikers and equestrians would appear to be the true reason. While I generally believe it's a bad idea to not be aware of your surroundings in a heavily-trafficked, multi-use urban park, I get it. And if it gives that park user who jumps out of their skin despite multiple rings of the bell and verbal announcements of your presence somewhere to do their thing and not yell at you for scaring them, I would feel a little better conceding some trail. Some.
    What is also crazy is that a horse on that trial would be murder. The would have to rip it wide open to allow a horse through there. Right now, the main people, beside the occasional MTBer, are homeless people and kids doing drugs. If anything, they should try to get more MTBers going through that area...
    Last edited by Vespasianus; 03-27-2014 at 10:32 AM.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by joshhan View Post
    I think the two sections he's referring to are:

    1) The end of the Rox side towards the paved biking trail parallel to Lincoln Drive. It seems they closed the section that led to the Kelpius cave.
    that's odd, that section was open Sunday.
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  16. #16
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    You guys are way to kind on Steve Jones, the guy has no idea what he is talking about and is talking out his ass. First its not a "social or rogue trail" made by mountain bikes. Those trails have been there as long as I have been in Wiss (15 years give or take) and Vesp is correct, its mostly used by some weird MFers and kids partying. Its a fun little section to go through and pretty technical near the end by Forbidden drive.

    Also, Jones or the article author's implication that mountain bikes cause more damage than hikers or horses is without support. There was a study done in Montana by John Wilson and Joseph Seney, that shows mountain bikes have no more impact than a hiker's boots in dry conditions ("Erosion Impacts of Hikers, Horses, Motorcycles and off road bicycles on Mountain trails in Montana," Mountain Research and Development 1994). There are probably more recent studies than this one if you look.
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  17. #17
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    You guys have a couple of topics floating around here. The sections ElGreco is referring to are on the Mt Airy Side of the park, sandwiched between Forbidden Drive and Blue Bell Park. You access the trail from the gravel climb behind Historic Rittenhouse or drop in from Blue Bell Park.

    If you climb the fire road behind Historic Rittenhouse, follow the orange trail north, you come to the washed out ravine with all the rocks. Itís been that way for some time. The smooth climb to the side is a non-sanctioned cut that been slowly developing over the years. Iím assuming it was randomly created for those who did not want to do the technical climb when riding south on the trail. That line has been closed many times and it keeps reappearing. Iím assuming theyíre going to close the ravine (hence the pile of dirt/gravel) like they did on the golf course climb a few years ago. I personally liked the challenge that ravine presented, but itís a non-sustainable section for a multiuser trail system.

    FOW cut in a reroute around that ravine last fall. If youíre on the orange trail riding north, just before you crest the little hill that takes you to the ravine, youíll see the new trail to the left. That trail hooks around the ridge and drops you off close to the bottom of the ravine. Or, if you ride the newer trail section up and around Blue Bell Park, cross over the baseball field and drop into the single track, it will dump you back onto the orange trail at that crest I was just describing. Look immediately to your left and you will see the new reroute. Itís nice, quick and flowy, but has potential for head on collisions once the foliage comes back. You will have some blind spots that will prevent you from seeing down the trail.

    Further north on the orange trail is the stone ravine that is water drainage from Blue Bell Park. Thatís where FOW just put the foot bridge to cross over the rocks/ravine. More than likely it was put there for the equestrians to cross. Iíve heard a few riders complain about dismounting instead of finding the line through the rocks.

    The section of trail that joshhan is referring to (The end of the Rox side towards the paved biking trail parallel to Lincoln Drive. It seems they closed the section that led to the Kelpius cave. ) is on the Roxborough side of the park, right by Henry Avenue. What use to be ďThe BowlĒ is on the other side of the ridge. That drop in, off the access road, has been closed for some time (Big ass tree). Technically weíre not supposed to ride that trail at all. I find it odd because it was a sanctioned build by the now defunct PMBA. I say sanctioned, but I think the build went a little further than planned. Iíve seen the flags down by the cave but have not seen any progress for some time. It would be nice if it was legally open to us.

    That article about the WRV group is the type of media coverage that gives ammunition to the idiots who want us off the trails. Misinformation that is misinterpreted by the journalist!

    Damn that was a long reply!!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtrostle View Post
    Damn that was a long reply!!
    Very helpful. Been riding there over 20 years and I still have no idea whats called what. All I know is where I always park.

  19. #19
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    That re-route you mention in paragraph 3 above is actually pretty good I thought. No issues from me on that on. Don't like that Bridge over the drainage gully though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    And really, they would allow horses in that area but not mountain bikes? And they expect that the horses would do less damage?
    Because the guy is a complete fraud.

    Coming from the cave, where the trail ends at the paved path - no way a horse can safely climb up or down those rocks. Unless all those rocks are removed. What is this guy's end game ? Does he want to make nice smooth path so all the druggies can get to the cave easier ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 92gli View Post
    Because the guy is a complete fraud.

    Coming from the cave, where the trail ends at the paved path - no way a horse can safely climb up or down those rocks. Unless all those rocks are removed. What is this guy's end game ? Does he want to make nice smooth path so all the druggies can get to the cave easier ?
    I think the flagged reroute has something to do with the horses having access. If you ride down to the cave, that section is accesable from the access road. From there they can go back up to what use to be the bowl. The problem is with the trail at the cave. It holds water and is eroding. Hence the flagged line that's higher up and uses the terrain to navigate around that hallow.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by RepoMan2112 View Post
    I've been toying with the idea for a while of putting together a map that would highlight all the unofficially named sections, possibly with the multiple names that different groups have for certain sections, with the most established name being the primary name. I bring it up because my girlfriend is a cartographer which makes it more likely I'd manage to actually get to this and wind up with a decent product.
    You HAVE to do this! Make it an app. I'd pay a couple bucks to download it.

  23. #23
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    First, equestrians get preference because they're usually loaded. Lot of old Philly money in the FOW.

    Second, what happened to PMBA? I thought they changed their name but I can't find a website now.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by glorth2 View Post

    Second, what happened to PMBA? I thought they changed their name but I can't find a website now.
    They became "Southeastern Pennsylvania Trail Riders" with: www.septrmtb.org but the website seems gone, so I think they are kaput.
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  25. #25
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    Well that was quick.

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  26. #26
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    They have a facebook page.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by rollinrox View Post
    They have a facebook page.
    That is pretty useless for what the SE MTB community needs.

  28. #28
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    Agreed.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtrostle View Post
    That is pretty useless for what the SE MTB community needs.
    funny. accurate.
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  30. #30
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    This is the Facebook page that serves the purpose of trail status and conditions for our area: Mid-Atlantic Trail Conditions

    Something useful on FB for once..........

  31. #31
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    PMBA and SEPTR were never the same thing. PMBA has folded, for various reasons. Some members of PMBA have joined/helped start SEPTR, but it definitely was not just a name change. SEPTR, as far as I can tell, has a much broader focus, including areas like pennypack, belmont and nox for work days, whereas PMBA's primary focus always seemed to be wiss.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by justriding View Post
    They became "Southeastern Pennsylvania Trail Riders" with: SEPTR but the website seems gone, so I think they are kaput.
    the website is back up.
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  33. #33
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    Thanks for the website/FB updates.

  34. #34
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    If you Know the History of the Wiss..

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    Funny, a bit extreme, but funny. Amazing how often that movie, let alone that scene, is reworded for different purposes.

    The issues at hand is not directly with IMBA and the conditions of the Wiss. IMBA came in behind the 8 ball and actually help to solidify our position, at the request of FOW. You all know the Wiss has had a long established land manager and the city looks to them for direction. The Wiss was been used by different user groups long before we came along. Every one of those previous user groups has had issues with each other. Ours is just the newest one at the table. IMBA was able to say that we can all play nicely in the sandbox and not seen as the "destroyers" of the trail system.

    The STI that was developed has turned into a "guide" for what's going to happen over the years in Wissahickon. Keep in mind that it's not directed towards just us, but everyone who uses the park. I believe STI was created with IMBA's help and was a valuable tool to help paint the big picture at the time. Yes, IMBA's Trail Solutions Team contributed to some redevelopment of the system, but so have many other user groups and trail builders. It's going to evolve. At the end of the day, the land manager has to make sure that the system is still in place for the next generation. That's not to say that the trail builders shouldn't be challenged and simplify everything. Considering the resources, time, money and labor, they're doing a pretty decent job.

    At the end of the day, the Wiss is a "Multi User" trail system. Always has and always will be. Is it completely ideal, no, but think of the big picture. We have how many miles of single track, in how many parks, all housed in the 5th largest city in the country? A sh#t ton! The 3 main systems have how many miles in each of them? Again, they don't appeal to everyone, but they do have variety. Could we have more, sure, but therein lies the bigger issue at hand.

    Weíre always arguing about what to cram into an area that is already developed. Why, so we can argue more with other user groups or each other? Why are we not looking to develop new areas?

    I'm not a massive supporter of IMBA because I have my own issues with them, but they have done many good things for our community. IMBA has failed in SE Pa because we as a local user group have failed. IMBA can only help organize and support. That's their best contribution to the local scene anywhere. To a degree they packed up and took their ball somewhere else because weíre a fractured community. Theyíre going to sit this out till we get a clue, or someone wakes up and decides they want to take on the insane uphill battle.

    Look at what the locals doing in Belmont and attempting to do in Pennypack. Local riders organizing, solidifying a voice, establishing relationships with the land managers/owners and working with other user groups. This is all being done in a post IMBA world and may very well be the future model. I think thatís great for protecting whatís existing, but what other opportunities are we missing?

    Alright, Iím stepping off my soap box. Sorry for the digression, again!

  36. #36
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    Wow, have you been repressing these feelings for a while? It's satirical man, chill....I thought it was funnier viewing it as the two mindsets in the wiss: the purists/let it alone vs the flow trail/make it easier group- I mean more sustainable group, than just imba bashing.
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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by justriding View Post
    Wow, have you been repressing these feelings for a while? It's satirical man, chill....I thought it was funnier viewing it as the two mindsets in the wiss: the purists/let it alone vs the flow trail/make it easier group- I mean more sustainable group, than just imba bashing.
    LMAO!! I actually think the Wiss guys do a pretty good job of walking the line there. Left to it's own devices, the Wiss would turn into nothing but ruts, washouts and downed trees. You wouldn't be able to ride 20 feet without having to walk your bike. When they take out that rocky descent opposite the Valley Green, northbound then we can talk.

    Speaking of, does anyone know if there are plans to rebuild the bridge the used to exist northbound, opposite the Inn, south of Valley Green Drive?

  38. #38
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    I agree, overall the trail re-work/design has made it much better and that hitler rant video cracks me up every time- I've seen it used for everything from Usian Bolt breaking the record in the 100m to Starbucks.

    I hope they rebuild that bridge, trying to get down/up that rocky section and across the creek is way more interesting than flying across a bridge.
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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by justriding View Post
    I agree, overall the trail re-work/design has made it much better and that hitler rant video cracks me up every time- I've seen it used for everything from Usian Bolt breaking the record in the 100m to Starbucks.

    I hope they rebuild that bridge, trying to get down/up that rocky section and across the creek is way more interesting than flying across a bridge.
    I just walk across the creek. It's not the end of the world but I did like that bridge. Nice break before starting to climb again. That's frequently where I end my ride so I feel I deserve a break by then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by glorth2 View Post
    I just walk across the creek. It's not the end of the world but I did like that bridge. Nice break before starting to climb again. That's frequently where I end my ride so I feel I deserve a break by then.

    I don't think there are any immediate plans to replace the bridge. One problem with replacing the bridge is that it is likely to be washed away again in near future if placed in the same location.

    You can always email the Friends of the Wissahickon and ask them about future plans.

    Contact Us | Friends of the Wissahickon

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    Quote Originally Posted by ash216 View Post
    they just built that bridge over the gully really recently. I just saw it for the first time on Saturday myself. Wasn't there in the fall. That bridge sucks.
    I'm not accusing you or anybody else here that is anti-bridge, however I noticed some obvious anti-bridge graffiti on said bridge during my ride this week. Bridges I can live with, there are still A LOT of technical features in the Wiss, but it's a real bummer to see (and I'm assuming here) riders voicing their derision in the form of vandalism. That kind of response is not going to win us any favors in the future when it comes to the topic of re-routes, ride-arounds and conserving technical features.

    If anyone here knows who is responsible, lean on them to make it right with FOW.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by kai_ski View Post
    I'm not accusing you or anybody else here that is anti-bridge, however I noticed some obvious anti-bridge graffiti on said bridge during my ride this week. Bridges I can live with, there are still A LOT of technical features in the Wiss, but it's a real bummer to see (and I'm assuming here) riders voicing their derision in the form of vandalism. That kind of response is not going to win us any favors in the future when it comes to the topic of re-routes, ride-arounds and conserving technical features.

    If anyone here knows who is responsible, lean on them to make it right with FOW.
    I agree. The bridge is a bridge. Putting graffiti on it makes it just look bad.

    With that said, a lot of the changes made recently by the FOW are bad. Just bad. They are nice flowey trails but they have way too many blind spots and curves. They are designed to encourage conflicts between bikes and people. Just wait, once it happens, they will move to ban bikes in the wiss. It is coming, just a matter of time...
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  43. #43
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    Ban bikes? That might be a little fatalistic. There are already plenty of conflicts back there between cyclists and people, dogs, a cat on leash in a tree at eye level (really), d-bags, role playing COS guys, angry lesbians riding horses, angry hiker guy, angry geese,the group ride from Guy's, space aliens, punk rock squirrels, almost any resident of Chestnut Hill walking in the park with that look on their face like someone next to them farted, etc., and there hasn't been a ban.

    As a practical matter there are too many of us to ban; the city doesn't have the resources to enforce a ban; at this point mountain biking in that park has a +20 year history. Its as legit as any other activity and a ban never going to happen. Also, the FOW has been infiltrated by mountain bikers - very Machiavellian thinking by those mountain bikers.
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    Do you really think MTB riders carry spray paint cans around to deface structures they deem to be inappropriate?

    Although, it might fit neatly in a bottle cage. Although, again, the rattling might drive the rider crazy.

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    I just say hello and thank you to all the hikers I pass in the hope that my gesture might negate the bad impressions left by Stravatards trying to get a KOM by bombing dh run in the middle of the day on a Saturday.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantic View Post
    I just say hello and thank you to all the hikers I pass in the hope that my gesture might negate the bad impressions left by Stravatards trying to get a KOM by bombing dh run in the middle of the day on a Saturday.
    If that's a yellow 9:zero:7 I think I saw you coming down cresheim creek yesterday with a couple other guys. I was throwing a stick for the dog in the creek.

    ha! stravatard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joshhan View Post
    Do you really think MTB riders carry spray paint cans around to deface structures they deem to be inappropriate?

    Although, it might fit neatly in a bottle cage. Although, again, the rattling might drive the rider crazy.

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk
    I don't understand why anybody carries around spray paint cans to deface structures, but it happens all the time. People are capable of anything. I hope I'm wrong about it.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantic View Post
    I just say hello and thank you to all the hikers I pass in the hope that my gesture might negate the bad impressions left by Stravatards trying to get a KOM by bombing dh run in the middle of the day on a Saturday.
    They hate you anyway, doesn't matter if you stop and give them flowers; just the way it is. Ever notice when you give trail, stop or say hi, 9 out of 10 look at you like your from outer space.
    Buy the ticket, take the ride. -HST

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by justriding View Post
    They hate you anyway, doesn't matter if you stop and give them flowers; just the way it is. Ever notice when you give trail, stop or say hi, 9 out of 10 look at you like your from outer space.
    Last Saturday, our group of two came up behind a family of hikers. We stopped and announced ourselves but they abruptly reversed their direction and headed back towards a trail junction and one said "let's get off the mountain bike trail." We replied, "you don't have to do that, it's a multi-use trail, you have just as much right to be here."

    Reply: "It's no use fighting city hall."

    Um, OK?

  50. #50
    bigger than you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kai_ski View Post
    If that's a yellow 9:zero:7 I think I saw you coming down cresheim creek yesterday with a couple other guys. I was throwing a stick for the dog in the creek.

    ha! stravatard.
    that was me. I'd thrown a set of 29er wheels on; it makes for a much different experience riding the Wiss on a rigid.

    Quote Originally Posted by justriding View Post
    They hate you anyway, doesn't matter if you stop and give them flowers; just the way it is. Ever notice when you give trail, stop or say hi, 9 out of 10 look at you like your from outer space.
    I'm 6'8" and built like a linebacker, I'm used to people looking at me like I'm from outer space; I'd rather be friendly and polite, it usually gets good results and if it doesn't, I've wasted nothing.
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