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  1. #1
    Bicyclochondriac.
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    No good Dirt Rag "Last Chance For Gas" column this month.

    Anyone read this months "Last Chance For Gas" column in Dirt Rag titled "Merry Mess"?

    It was a call to embrace your inner child and ride muddy trails. It describes it as "soul cleansing".

    I think what really got me was that they actually mention tearing up the trail as a reason some people don't ride a trail when it is muddy, but then go on to offhandedly dismiss it as a "triviality" as well as an example of "negativity" that we should reject.

    With the amount of time our trailwork crew has put into fixing damage caused by folks riding the trails when they were too muddy, as well as all the armoring we've had to do due to not being able to stop people from riding when it's muddy, that article really ticked me off.

    I wrote a letter to the editor about it, curious if I get any response.
    Last edited by kapusta; 05-10-2013 at 01:47 PM.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  2. #2
    650b me
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    Let us know what they say. I saw that too. Very disappointing.

  3. #3
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    I have not seen the article, I will go find it. IMBA has a Dirt Rag subscription as a membership incentive. As an IMBA Chapter board member, I don't like that connection based on what you guys say about the article.
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  4. #4
    Bicyclochondriac.
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    Quote Originally Posted by slocaus View Post
    I have not seen the article, I will go find it. IMBA has a Dirt Rag subscription as a membership incentive. As an IMBA Chapter board member, I don't like that connection based on what you guys say about the article.
    I'm an IMBA Chapter Board member as well. I stated it at the end of the letter.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  5. #5
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    I guess our free subscription ran out. Is it online? I can't find it.

  6. #6
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    Here is the article, don't know why it is not posting like a regular picture.

    Dirt Rag "Last Chance For Gas" column this month.-merry-mess.jpg
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Dirt Rag "Last Chance For Gas" column this month.-merry-mess.jpg  

    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  7. #7
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    I rode in the rain yesterday. I haven't in a long time, and wasn't planning to, but it opened up. It is fun. I have long advocated that our trail system should have either an armored rain loop or a sacrificial loop where riding in the rain is allowed. As it is, people ride our trails in the wet anyway and we can't stop them, so we might as well have a sanctioned area for the m to do it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by epic View Post
    I rode in the rain yesterday. I haven't in a long time, and wasn't planning to, but it opened up. It is fun. I have long advocated that our trail system should have either an armored rain loop or a sacrificial loop where riding in the rain is allowed. As it is, people ride our trails in the wet anyway and we can't stop them, so we might as well have a sanctioned area for the m to do it.
    Please, please, PLEASE!

    Have at 'er. Build trails for wet riding. I've built a couple that are specifically for mud riding and they're not much fun to ride when dry. I've also got lots that can withstand wet weather riding. Some of the trails in the same system can't take riding in the rain.

    Fortunately it's a semi-private system and most of the riders know which is which. I couldn't imagine something like this working on a public trail system. Even with good signage.
    I have a device that can access the total knowledge of man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and argue with strangers.

  9. #9
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    so many people forget that riding in the mud means different things regionally. If the author is in Pittsburgh, I recall some of the trails there being durable enough to ride in the rain. They weren't the most fun trails, like TN says, but they had a very rocky base and could be ridden when wet.

    When I lived in TX, the soil was so sandy that a little rain actually did the trails a favor. Those trails could also be ridden in a certain amount of wetness.

    Where I live now, it's a different story. Heavy clay that turns into a greasy, unrideable mess if it gets too wet. Each of our trails has a wetness threshhold, of course, but it's much lower than previous places I've lived.

    For a mag author to blatantly encourage wholesale riding in the mud, however, is irresponsible.

  10. #10
    Bicyclochondriac.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    so many people forget that riding in the mud means different things regionally. If the author is in Pittsburgh, I recall some of the trails there being durable enough to ride in the rain. They weren't the most fun trails, like TN says, but they had a very rocky base and could be ridden when wet.

    When I lived in TX, the soil was so sandy that a little rain actually did the trails a favor. Those trails could also be ridden in a certain amount of wetness.

    Where I live now, it's a different story. Heavy clay that turns into a greasy, unrideable mess if it gets too wet. Each of our trails has a wetness threshhold, of course, but it's much lower than previous places I've lived.

    For a mag author to blatantly encourage wholesale riding in the mud, however, is irresponsible.
    Riding in the rain and riding in the mud are two different (albiet related) things. Most places that you can ride in the rain and wet without causing damage are because they don't really get muddy. There are plenty of trails around here you can ride in the rain if you want, but that is because they do not get muddy.

    The author of this article is specifically talking about MUD. And he is not just talking about a little mud, he is talking about mud-caked clothes, bike, and car interior amounts of mud.

    Yes, there are situations that you can ride a muddy trail and yet cause very little damage but they are the exception (in the US at least) not the rule. Further, there are places that you pretty much have to ride in the mud if you ever want to ride, but again, particularly in the US, that is the exception.

    But even if there are some places that you can ride in the mud/wet/whatever, the fact that he encourages us to view a consideration of trail damage to be "negative" thinking and "trivial" really makes any attempt to defend this on a regional basis rather hard. And moot, because in this article, the author indicated the thought that the trail might be damaged.

    Look, I'm sure we have all ridden some muddy trails. It's not like it never happens, and sometimes it's just what has to happen if you ever want to ride. For many of the trails around here, you won't even know if there are muddy sections til you get there, and I don't expect someone to turn around in the middle of a ride for a few muddy spots. I get that. But the possibility of mud and the damage it will do should still be considerations. If you are at home and it is raining and you know the trail is muddy, in most places you should stay off.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  11. #11
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    I wasn't defending the guy. He's a royal jerk for writing what he did.

    My point in my earlier post that I maybe didn't specify well enough was that because of regional differences in the way different soils and topography result in trails that handle moisture differently, that some folks' threshold of "muddy" might be different than others. But clearly, when specifying muddy clothes and getting his car interior covered in mud, he's talking about riding a trail when people should stay off of it and let it dry out.

    Riding a trail in that condition in some spots around here would land him a ticket for doing so, as there's a gate to the entrance of some of the parks that gets closed by the manager when said park gets very wet.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    I wasn't defending the guy. He's a royal jerk for writing what he did.

    My point in my earlier post that I maybe didn't specify well enough was that because of regional differences in the way different soils and topography result in trails that handle moisture differently, that some folks' threshold of "muddy" might be different than others. But clearly, when specifying muddy clothes and getting his car interior covered in mud, he's talking about riding a trail when people should stay off of it and let it dry out.

    Riding a trail in that condition in some spots around here would land him a ticket for doing so, as there's a gate to the entrance of some of the parks that gets closed by the manager when said park gets very wet.
    That's true, some people's idea of muddy is 1/4" muddy layer that gets things really dirty.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  13. #13
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    Want to ride in the mud? Sign up for a NUE event. Rain hit a fools gold race I was in. It showered halfway through the day. Nothing to do but finish the last 1/3 of the ride in the mud. It sucked. It was downhill and slick, the cassette got caked up. the derailleur got caked up and wouldn't back pedal. the chain kept falling off. I would pray for puddles so that it would wash the bike a little and I could keep pedaling. I was down to 3 or 4 gears on a 3x9. I think race fees allow promoters to go back and repair that stuff later. (I hope)


    But yeah. mud bad
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  14. #14
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    Here is one of Seattle's driest summers...

    Other than Aug/Sept it is wet.

    Dirt Rag "Last Chance For Gas" column this month.-seattle_rainfall_2012.png
    - Be Someone

  15. #15
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    Just because and article is in Dirt Rag, does not mean they support irresponsible riding. My mud rides usually involve just some pine needles.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maday View Post
    Here is one of Seattle's driest summers...

    Other than Aug/Sept it is wet.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Seattle does not have a monopoly on rainfall. It has similar mean annual rainfall as Indianapolis, IN. Outside Seattle in the mountains there's a lot more, but the city itself is not as unique as Seattle residents like to proclaim.

    Dirt Rag "Last Chance For Gas" column this month.-us_precip.gif

  17. #17
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    Just wondering the author's name? I think this very column also ran a few months back in another magazine. It pissed me off so much that I canceled my subscription to that mag, which was fine because it seemed like amateur hour anyway.

    Dirt Rag is usually pretty smart about this stuff, so I guess I'm surprised to hear about it appearing there. We haven't gotten our last two issues of DR because I believe the postman or the neighbor boy is diverting it. Maybe just as well now that I learn about this.

  18. #18
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    I'd tell you what the author's name was, but I've already sent my issue of DR on to the waiting room collection at the office where my wife works. Rest assured reading that article spawned a letter to the editor from me.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    I'd tell you what the author's name was, but I've already sent my issue of DR on to the waiting room collection at the office where my wife works. Rest assured reading that article spawned a letter to the editor from me.
    Words by James Spiller.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    Seattle does not have a monopoly on rainfall. It has similar mean annual rainfall as Indianapolis, IN. Outside Seattle in the mountains there's a lot more, but the city itself is not as unique as Seattle residents like to proclaim.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    That's fine still proves your point... Rain/Wet/ Mud and the acceptance of such is a regional phenom.

    Although, Seattle doesn't get massive amounts of rain, it does rain from Labor Day until July 5th. Not much snow in the lowlands to speak of. So, winter riding consists of riding wet trails. A lot of work is done to help the trails drain. Interestingly enough, the air is usually too dry for snow when it is below freezing.
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