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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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    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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  4. #4
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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 09:32 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.

  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. It’s been that way for some time. The smooth climb to the side is a non-sanctioned cut that been slowly developing over the years. I’m 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. I’m assuming they’re 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 it’s a non-sustainable section for a multiuser trail system.

    FOW cut in a reroute around that ravine last fall. If you’re on the orange trail riding north, just before you crest the little hill that takes you to the ravine, you’ll 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. It’s 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. That’s 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. I’ve 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 “The Bowl” 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 we’re 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. I’ve 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.

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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.

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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.

  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.

    We’re 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 we’re a fractured community. They’re 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 that’s great for protecting what’s existing, but what other opportunities are we missing?

    Alright, I’m 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.

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    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.

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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

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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?

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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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    I'm not advocating being a prick; it's just an observation in Wiss. Anywhere else I've ridden it's the reverse- 8 out of 10 people on the trail are friendly or at least cordial...ah the city of brotherly love.
    Buy the ticket, take the ride. -HST

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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.
    What about that graffiti in any way indicated that it was done by mountain bikers not happy about the bridge? Granted I did not stop and study it, but it looked like garden variety graffiti to me, no different than any of the other graffiti in the Wiss. Seems like a bit of a leap to me to accuse mountain bikers of it.

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    Knock on wood.. but people have been pretty friendly to me for the most part. I'm super nice to everyone when I ride there too. At the end of the day, you're always going to get a$$holes no matter what. Kill em with kindness.

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    Re: What happened to the Wis???

    Quote Originally Posted by justriding View Post
    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.
    Older thread but for some reason I reread this and just laughed like crazy! Angry lesbians riding horses exactly described my Saturday! My God city life is weird.

    Anyway... there should be a "weird stuff at the Wiss" thread. It can get strange in there. lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    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...
    If it's enforced like the permits and the dog leash law, ban away...

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    What happened to the Wis???

    Is anybody going to ride tomorrow?

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    I'm thinking about it. Today was napping weather.

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    I'm curious how much rain the trails got over the last two days. I'm hoping to go for an afternoon ride at Belmont or Pennypack (or Wiss). Anybody go out today? Was it muddy?

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    i haven't ridden the Wiss as much as i would have liked to this season, but last wed, i did a partial loop, counter clockwise from Cresheim Trail at Allen Ln, finished the chestnut hill side and the entire Roxboro side and then went over to Belmont and did half a loop there. i realized why i haven't ridden belmont so much: apart from Cresheim trail and the south side of lincoln dr, it kinda sucks. Poison ivy is out of control there and the trails are in pretty bad shape. i've never seen erosion as bad as it is right now, between that and the fact that a lot of the corners are blown out, the decent lines erased in favor of the easiest possible route and the trail having grown to at least 8' wide or more throughout the park, the trail is barely recognizable any more.

    While i didn't quite hate it, it's really been dumbed down in a bad way and apart from the climbing, isn't all that challenging any more. I don't know what's going on with FOW, but they really seem to be sleeping on their McLeods these days. I wouldn't describe Wissahickon as Philadelphia's MTB Crown Jewel any longer, that's for sure. It's really fallen apart in the few short years that i've ridden there.

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    It wasn't so muddy as it was slippery.

    I haven't ridden the chestnut hill side in years. From valley green south seems fine though. I definitely agree though that FOW need to get it together. Send out a request for volunteers.. I would help without question! As I'm sure others would too.

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    I think anyone who rides at the Wiss would agree that more trail maintenance is needed there. But the causes of that are a lot more complicated than saying FOW is sleeping on their mcleods. They've built some awesome new trail in the past couple years -- down to Kitchen's lane, down from Bluebell, across the Meadow, and Cresheim, some of my favorite trails in the Wiss now. And they do a decent job of clearing treefall.

    So they're not sleeping. They just apparently lack the capacity for also battling park-wide trail erosion and clearing sightlines and discouraging shortcuts and the rest. And there's plenty of blame to go around for that. In my opinion, bickering about blame is more problem than solution by this point.

    I still love riding in the Wiss. And I believe better days are ahead for trail work there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stunnerable View Post
    It wasn't so muddy as it was slippery.

    I haven't ridden the chestnut hill side in years. From valley green south seems fine though. I definitely agree though that FOW need to get it together. Send out a request for volunteers.. I would help without question! As I'm sure others would too.
    Here is a list of upcoming workdays.

    Upcoming Workdays | Friends of the Wissahickon

    If you want to help build the Cresheim Trail, there are work days every third Saturday. We are finishing up a new half mile section of trail on the September work day. Sign up for the mailing list here.
    http://cresheimtrail.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantic View Post
    . i've never seen erosion as bad as it is right now, between that and the fact that a lot of the corners are blown out, the decent lines erased in favor of the easiest possible route and the trail having grown to at least 8' wide or more throughout the park, the trail is barely recognizable any more.
    Virtually all of the newer (2006 and later) trails are erosion free. After big storms the only damage the new trails suffer is from trees falling. Most of the major gully trails have been closed and replaced with sustainable trails. Two new trails will be built this fall on the Roxy side to replace gully trails. These gullies will be filled in the spring.

    The entire trail system at the Andorra Nature Center will have been rerouted or repaired by this fall. A lot of work has been occurring on the Cresheim Trail with a half mile of trail built this summer. Nearly two miles of trail has been built on the Cresheim Trail since 2012.

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    Thank you dannmer that wat great information. I'll see when I can come out! Love to be part of this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldManBike View Post
    They've built some awesome new trail in the past couple years -- down to Kitchen's lane, down from Bluebell, across the Meadow, and Cresheim, some of my favorite trails in the Wiss now.
    Thanks for pointing out the positive. I agree with you, those newer trails are fun. Where exactly is the Cresheim section you are talking about?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rollinrox View Post
    Thanks for pointing out the positive. I agree with you, those newer trails are fun. Where exactly is the Cresheim section you are talking about?
    Do a google maps search for "intersection of Emlen St and Cresheim Rd., Philadelphia." The trails are shown on the map as the Cresheim Trail. My favorite section is the loop on the north side of Cresheim Rd, counterclockwise for the flow. Short and sweet, low hiker traffic.

    You can connect this by coming up the trail along Cresheim Creek from VGI, across the steel bridge.

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    Will this be connected to the wiss loop?

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    Thanks Oldman. I typically ride the CH side of the wiss upstream. So I come down the hill, cross cresheim creek, then proceed on the main trail up the hill then down to VG road. If I wanted to get to the loop you are describing from the Creshiem creek crossing, how would I?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rollinrox View Post
    Thanks Oldman. I typically ride the CH side of the wiss upstream. So I come down the hill, cross cresheim creek, then proceed on the main trail up the hill then down to VG road. If I wanted to get to the loop you are describing from the Creshiem creek crossing, how would I?
    If I understand you, then how you get there is that you take the last right before you cross the creek at the steel bridge ("So I come down the hill, cross cresheim creek"). That trail comes out at the intersection of Emlen and Cresheim.

    Edit: ignore all that, I think I misunderstood you. You mean you come down that rocky decent (Ton a' Bricks) , do a tight left turn, then cross Cresheim through the stream (then hard climb and down to VGI). Right after you cross the stream, take the trail up to the right instead of going straight up the hill towards VGI. Follow that all the way up to the steel bridge, then left right after the bridge and out to Emlen & Cresheim.

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    I am not sure what steel bridge you are talking about. I meant that I take the main trail starting say at the gate at livezey near the blocky looking white house. I typically take this north to creishem creek, then ride across cresheim creek and continue on to VG road. I imagine I should take another trail from the area of where I ride across cresheim creek to get to the loop you talked about. I am just not sure which one to take.

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    Just saw your edit. Gotchya. Thanks! I will check it out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dannmer View Post
    Two new trails will be built this fall on the Roxy side to replace gully trails.
    It's perverse that the Gorgas down (the legal alternative to Recoil) is the section of trail in the Wiss that's in the worst shape.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldManBike View Post
    It's perverse that the Gorgas down (the legal alternative to Recoil) is the section of trail in the Wiss that's in the worst shape.
    That is one of the Roxy sections that is being replaced. Should be happening this fall. Check the FOW web site for updates if you want to help out.

  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldManBike View Post
    I think anyone who rides at the Wiss would agree that more trail maintenance is needed there. But the causes of that are a lot more complicated than saying FOW is sleeping on their mcleods. They've built some awesome new trail in the past couple years -- down to Kitchen's lane, down from Bluebell, across the Meadow, and Cresheim, some of my favorite trails in the Wiss now. And they do a decent job of clearing treefall.

    So they're not sleeping. They just apparently lack the capacity for also battling park-wide trail erosion and clearing sightlines and discouraging shortcuts and the rest. And there's plenty of blame to go around for that. In my opinion, bickering about blame is more problem than solution by this point.

    I still love riding in the Wiss. And I believe better days are ahead for trail work there.
    Quote Originally Posted by dannmer View Post
    Virtually all of the newer (2006 and later) trails are erosion free. After big storms the only damage the new trails suffer is from trees falling. Most of the major gully trails have been closed and replaced with sustainable trails. Two new trails will be built this fall on the Roxy side to replace gully trails. These gullies will be filled in the spring.

    The entire trail system at the Andorra Nature Center will have been rerouted or repaired by this fall. A lot of work has been occurring on the Cresheim Trail with a half mile of trail built this summer. Nearly two miles of trail has been built on the Cresheim Trail since 2012.

    The Cresheim section has become my favorite part of going to Wissahickon, in part because it's more like Belmont than the rest of Wissahickon, but i attribute that to Friends of the Cresheim Trail rather than FoW.
    the rest of it though, is just a lot of damage done by lazy, careless riders who ride in wet conditions and make too many shortcuts that have ruined so much of the trails, particularly on the Roxboro side, where there's also still too much erosion and poison ivy overgrowth.

    it's a strange summer when i find that Belmont is better maintained and has less poison ivy than the Wiss. Fortunately, Belmont is hard enough to ride that the people who want it to be easy, stay away and ruin the wiss, instead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stunnerable View Post
    Will this be connected to the wiss loop?
    If you are referring to the Cresheim Trail, it is connected to the Wissahickon loop via the trail that runs along the Cresheim Creek. Google maps doesn't show the entire trail that runs along the Cresheim Creek between Emlen and Devils Pool.

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    Re: What happened to the Wis???

    Quote Originally Posted by dannmer View Post
    If you are referring to the Cresheim Trail, it is connected to the Wissahickon loop via the trail that runs along the Cresheim Creek. Google maps doesn't show the entire trail that runs along the Cresheim Creek between Emlen and Devils Pool.
    Thanks for the clarification. That's exactly what I was looking at.

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    I was thinking about it.. it would be awesome if someone who REALLY knows the Wiss could make a detailed trail map with the proper names of the different sections. Any map currently available is weak at best.

    Figured I'd share.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stunnerable View Post
    Thanks for the clarification. That's exactly what I was looking at.
    I just edited google maps to include the missing section of trail from the bridge across Cresheim Creek to Emlen Street. I also added the newly completed section of the Cresheim Trail. Edits take up to a week or two to show up on Google Maps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldManBike View Post
    I think anyone who rides at the Wiss would agree that more trail maintenance is needed there. But the causes of that are a lot more complicated than saying FOW is sleeping on their mcleods. They've built some awesome new trail in the past couple years -- down to Kitchen's lane, down from Bluebell, across the Meadow, and Cresheim, some of my favorite trails in the Wiss now. And they do a decent job of clearing treefall.

    So they're not sleeping. They just apparently lack the capacity for also battling park-wide trail erosion and clearing sightlines and discouraging shortcuts and the rest. And there's plenty of blame to go around for that. In my opinion, bickering about blame is more problem than solution by this point.

    I still love riding in the Wiss. And I believe better days are ahead for trail work there.
    I actually thought the opposite! I have not ridden it much since all the car break-ins (now close to 20+) but I rode last week and was reminded how fun it is! The trail erosion is obvious and lots of work needs to be done but the Wiss is still one heck of a fun ride.

    I personally hate the trail down to kitchens lane and the meadows - trails designed for only walkers...
    On MTBR, the reputation is infamous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldManBike View Post
    So they're not sleeping. They just apparently lack the capacity for also battling park-wide trail erosion and clearing sightlines and discouraging shortcuts and the rest.

    I still love riding in the Wiss. And I believe better days are ahead for trail work there.
    Perhaps i'm playing a little too fast and loose with metaphors... That said, compared to Belmont this season, the contrast is night and day. Granted, Walt & Mark at Belmont have dramatically stepped up the trail work this year, with several new sections of great trail, combined with weather conditions that inhibited the growth of poison ivy are making it super awesome this summer. The added bonus is that most riders can't stand all the logs there- they'll ride it once and go back to wissahickon, which means that it doesn't see nearly as much traffic and resulting erosion and because the B-mont regulars are very protective of the trails, there aren't any shortcuts being made or any trail modification going on there.

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    Belmont could be more fun if it wasn't for the overdone log overs. I mean.. I like log overs but it can get ridiculous out there. Just my opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantic View Post
    Perhaps i'm playing a little too fast and loose with metaphors... That said, compared to Belmont this season, the contrast is night and day. Granted, Walt & Mark at Belmont have dramatically stepped up the trail work this year, with several new sections of great trail, combined with weather conditions that inhibited the growth of poison ivy are making it super awesome this summer. The added bonus is that most riders can't stand all the logs there- they'll ride it once and go back to wissahickon, which means that it doesn't see nearly as much traffic and resulting erosion and because the B-mont regulars are very protective of the trails, there aren't any shortcuts being made or any trail modification going on there.


    All very true. The Belmont guys do an amazing job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stunnerable View Post
    I was thinking about it.. it would be awesome if someone who REALLY knows the Wiss could make a detailed trail map with the proper names of the different sections. Any map currently available is weak at best.
    Yeah, that's been a crying need for a long time. Getting lost isn't much of an issue, but it's hard for people to talk about specific places without knowing the names.

    This doesn't solve the problem -- signage and maps are the solution -- but I actually think the advent of Strava helps. The Wiss is broken up into dozens of Strava segments, and those segment names usually are the accepted names. A thought.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stunnerable View Post
    Belmont could be more fun if it wasn't for the overdone log overs. I mean.. I like log overs but it can get ridiculous out there. Just my opinion.
    For the first 2 years that i rode there, i felt the same way. between the logs and the poison ivy, i hated Belmont and b¡tched EVERY time i rode there. This spring, however, something clicked. it's now my favorite place to ride. once you find the rhythm, it's awesome and always challenging.


    Quote Originally Posted by OldManBike View Post
    All very true. The Belmont guys do an amazing job.
    i've come to the conclusion that Belmont is a special place. in this day and age, where IMBA Trail Solutions guidelines mean that most public trails are like Big Macs, i.e. the same, bland, buffed out flow, with predominately beginner trails, go-arounds for technical features and nothing that you could possibly get hurt on unless you were a complete dumbass, Belmont is both a throwback and a breath of fresh air. it has few compromises and rewards patience, persistence and skill. if you lack those qualities, maybe Belmont isn't for you. if you at least possess patience and persistence, Belmont will reward you with skill, but it won't coddle you with buffed out flow. instead, it will keep you on your toes and slap you in the face or throw you OTB if you're not paying attention.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stunnerable View Post
    Belmont could be more fun if it wasn't for the overdone log overs. I mean.. I like log overs but it can get ridiculous out there. Just my opinion.
    No way, I say more, more, more!
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    I haven't been to Belmont in years. Maybe headed to the Wiss on Sunday. How is Belmont RE: navigating?
    Gigantic's post makes me want to check it out again.
    I liked it before...skills have picked up and looking for what he's described.

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    I gave up on learning trail names in wiss as well. I use mapmyride app which helps you figure out where you have been, and how to make it back again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reformed roadie View Post
    I haven't been to Belmont in years. Maybe headed to the Wiss on Sunday. How is Belmont RE: navigating?
    Gigantic's post makes me want to check it out again.
    I liked it before...skills have picked up and looking for what he's described.
    I somehow stumbled across this map that shows trails with names at Belmont...

    Philadelphia Super Address Map | PDQ

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    That's a few years old, Belmont has changed quite a bit since that was made. There are a ton of new trails and a number of trails have been abandoned or rerouted because they weren't sustainable. It's not a bad start, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantic View Post
    That's a few years old, Belmont has changed quite a bit since that was made. There are a ton of new trails and a number of trails have been abandoned or rerouted because they weren't sustainable. It's not a bad start, though.
    someone is doing a pretty good job w belmont on openstreetmap (haven't studied these for current-ness but a few of the newer trails are on here for sure):
    OpenStreetMap

    back to the original topic wiss seems about as blown out as it does at the end of every summer. soon the leaves will fall, temps will cool, the summer time bro's will go into hibernation, and the trails will start to narrow a little again... only to be blown out again next summer.

    Vespasianus you hate the new down to kitchens? you are honestly one of the only folks i have ever heard that from. with enough speed that thing is a downhill pumptrack on steriods. my only problem is keeping the tires on the ground long enough to make the turns. As for the meadows; what about the upper section of the downhill from houston playground down toward cathedral??? the non blown out top part is one of the funnest sections in the wiss right now IMHO... Do you remember what those two sections replaced??? The new sh!t is definitely more better.

    having seen the wiss destroyed and come back many years in a row now, i don't get as upset when people f#ck sh!t up there anymore (it just isn't worth the spike in my blood pressure). like a phoenix out of the ashes; next spring new and fun lines will emerge only to get blown out again by the fall. If the blown out trails upset you, make sure to seek out the cresheim trails and the singletrack over on the other side of lincoln. real singletrack does exist in the wiss but it is just in small little sections off of the main trail. you need to know where to look to find it; but finding it isn't hard.

    i know we all know this but; we can't take these philly trails for granted. go ride the trails in pittsburgh sometime @ frick park. while no doubt a fine trail system it's puny size should give you the appreciation that we have 3 parks larger than that; all within philly. one of them is WAY overused but whatever; we should still be really thankful to have all that we do and make sure we speak out to protect them for future generations whenever possible.

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    Amen (and I mean that sincerely).
    Buy the ticket, take the ride. -HST

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    Quote Originally Posted by max-a-mill View Post
    someone is doing a pretty good job w belmont on openstreetmap (haven't studied these for current-ness but a few of the newer trails are on here for sure):
    OpenStreetMap
    Awesome. Thank you

  93. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by max-a-mill View Post
    Vespasianus you hate the new down to kitchens? you are honestly one of the only folks i have ever heard that from. with enough speed that thing is a downhill pumptrack on steriods. my only problem is keeping the tires on the ground long enough to make the turns. As for the meadows; what about the upper section of the downhill from houston playground down toward cathedral??? the non blown out top part is one of the funnest sections in the wiss right now IMHO... Do you remember what those two sections replaced??? The new sh!t is definitely more better.

    having seen the wiss destroyed and come back many years in a row now, i don't get as upset when people f#ck sh!t up there anymore (it just isn't worth the spike in my blood pressure). like a phoenix out of the ashes; next spring new and fun lines will emerge only to get blown out again by the fall. If the blown out trails upset you, make sure to seek out the cresheim trails and the singletrack over on the other side of lincoln. real singletrack does exist in the wiss but it is just in small little sections off of the main trail. you need to know where to look to find it; but finding it isn't hard.

    i know we all know this but; we can't take these philly trails for granted.
    My issue with the section down to kitchens lane is that it has too many blind spots. It is not designed to prevent trail conflicts. Same is true of the meadows section, especially now with the tall grass.

    Also, after climbing the monster, I actually like going straight and taking the old trail, just as fun, if not more! I also like it the other way as well (that sounded wrong but you know what I mean!).

    And your last point is the most important thing. The Wiss, and Belmont, are jewels. Absolute jewels that we should never take for granted. I remember a time when the entire park was open to biking. I don't want to lose any more.
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  94. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by max-a-mill View Post
    someone is doing a pretty good job w belmont on openstreetmap (haven't studied these for current-ness but a few of the newer trails are on here for sure):
    OpenStreetMap
    That's pretty well complete! EXCELLENT!

    Quote Originally Posted by max-a-mill View Post
    <major snippage> If the blown out trails upset you, make sure to seek out the cresheim trails and the singletrack over on the other side of lincoln. real singletrack does exist in the wiss but it is just in small little sections off of the main trail. you need to know where to look to find it; but finding it isn't hard.

    i know we all know this but; we can't take these philly trails for granted. go ride the trails in pittsburgh sometime @ frick park. while no doubt a fine trail system it's puny size should give you the appreciation that we have 3 parks larger than that; all within philly. one of them is WAY overused but whatever; we should still be really thankful to have all that we do and make sure we speak out to protect them for future generations whenever possible.
    Agreed. Our trails are pretty special- i've not been to any other city parks that have anything like what we have, most city trails are pretty tame.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    My issue with the section down to kitchens lane is that it has too many blind spots. It is not designed to prevent trail conflicts. Same is true of the meadows section, especially now with the tall grass.
    i certainly see your point but how do you do a more twisty trail without occasional blindspots? i used to find trail bells one of the most annoying things ever... but now especially in the wiss i find myself dinging (or just giving a shout when i have no bell) around certain corners for saftey when i ride during busier times of day. i forget the name of the crossing intersection, but if you head down the roxy side, close to the bottom of the park, you get a little fast down that crosses a wider dirt trial in/out of the park then blasts down a little rutted out steep part and finally goes around a highspeed blind turn. after almost creaming a hiker there one time (totally would have been my fault) i now give a warning when dropping that section all the time to make sure people anyone out of sight around that turn knows i am coming. it surely isn't a perfect solution but it re-assures me at least to let off the brakes and get as close to drifting that turn as my nerve will allow...

    if i lived as close to blemont or pennypak as i do to wiss i'd probably hardly ride there but since i live right on the edge of the park i ride it a lot. It does not suit my ideal style of mountainbiking as well as the other two but there are times when it is really nice to have a more well travelled park. for example i plan to put in A LOT of riding in the dark there this winter; probably a good bit of it solo. having a little saftey in numbers once it gets dark and cold is AWESOME!!!!

    speaking of... anyone in need of a wiss nightride buddy, PM me... I lost my bike commute for this school year so I need to make up for it with lots of after-work riding.

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    Here is some background on the Kitchens Lane down trail. It was designed by an equestrian trail designer and the line is fairly close to an earlier IMBA Trails Solutions proposal. It was built with input from various user groups and they all seemed to be very happy with the new trail since it was a huge improvement over the old trail in reducing user conflict.

    It can be very challenging to build trails in a narrow gorge. At Kitchens Lane you have to lose a lot of elevation in a very small piece of land. Two switchback had to be built, the lower one has a lot of low-growing bushes on the inside of the turn and there are issues with visibility during the summer. There used to be chokes above the lower switchback but users removed them. Other parts of the trail appear to be blind but when you walk the trail with someone 60 feet away from you it is quite easy to see the other person.
    Last edited by dannmer; 09-09-2014 at 05:01 AM.

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    Rode Belmont yesterday. I hit almost everything on that map. It was kind of weird, being the only rider there on a gloomy day. Saw lots of used condoms on the ground at the lot I parked at (on chamounix), but no one broke into my car ! Woot.

    The trails were interesting, not a lot of opportunity for speed. But some of the tech features and turn sequences were cool. I need a bash guard for the logovers - I broke a roller on my chain on one of them.

    Lots of broken glass. Chances of running over sleeping homeless person - 30%? A few of those trails lead to pretty tight quarters, and with the absence of other people, I was a little worried that my 3" knife wouldn't be sufficient if I needed help.

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    Yeah, I wouldn't recommend parking there. I've never heard of anyone getting attacked there in recent years, it's not even something that ever crosses my mind.

  99. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by dannmer View Post
    Here is some background on the Kitchens Lane down trail. It was designed by an equestrian trail designer and the line is fairly close to an earlier IMBA Trails Solutions proposal. It was built with input from various user groups and they all seemed to be very happy with the new trail since it was a huge improvement over the old trail in reducing user conflict.

    It can be very challenging to build trails in a narrow gorge. At Kitchens Lane you have to lose a lot of elevation in a very small piece of land. Two switchback had to be built, the lower one has a lot of low-growing bushes on the inside of the turn and there are issues with visibility during the summer. There used to be chokes above the lower switchback but users removed them. Other parts of the trail appear to be blind but when you walk the trail with someone 60 feet away from you it is quite easy to see the other person.
    Thanks for the information Dan but I still don't like the trail. Not as someone who rides his bike on the trail and definitely not as someone who walks with his kid on the trail.
    Also, the previous trail was a straight down rock strewn double-track trail that no walkers ever went on. I can't believe that had many user conflicts as I doubt it had many users…

    But it is OK to disagree. We all want the same thing and that is good! (:
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92gli View Post
    Rode Belmont yesterday. I hit almost everything on that map. It was kind of weird, being the only rider there on a gloomy day. Saw lots of used condoms on the ground at the lot I parked at (on chamounix), but no one broke into my car ! Woot.

    The trails were interesting, not a lot of opportunity for speed. But some of the tech features and turn sequences were cool. I need a bash guard for the logovers - I broke a roller on my chain on one of them.

    Lots of broken glass. Chances of running over sleeping homeless person - 30%? A few of those trails lead to pretty tight quarters, and with the absence of other people, I was a little worried that my 3" knife wouldn't be sufficient if I needed help.
    Yes, those are the downsides of Belmont. It is not the sleeping homeless person you have to worry about. It is the shting homeless person that gets really mad that you interrupted his morning poop. You will never ride those trails faster than when you are being chased by a naked homeless man throwing his poop at you...
    On MTBR, the reputation is infamous.

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