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Thread: Trail Etiquette

  1. #1
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    Trail Etiquette

    the other day my wife and i were going up a long climb at Capitol Forest #8 to Wedekind when a small group (about 6 of them) of riders were decending down and did not yield to my wife as i was behind her so she got over, should down hill riders move over for uphill riders even if there are more of them or should all riders decending get over for up hill riders no matter how many there are. What do you think?
    The Jackster. you must earn your turns and ride to the top.

  2. #2
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    I personally yield to downhill riders. Most people climb up so they can rip down a trail, (I know I do) I hate dont want to mess up anyones flow.

  3. #3
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I usually yield to everyone, if they're not already yielding when I see them.

    But the IMBA line is that downhill riders should yield to uphill riders. It's a lot easier to get started again on a descent, and downhill riders are typically carrying a lot more speed - if they had the right of way, they could go around plowing into people on the way up and then saying the other person should have yielded. Obviously that would be asinine, but for most vehicles, the right of way is biased toward slower vehicles - cars yield to peds, power boats yield to sail boats, bikes yield to peds and horses (although why I only ever see people walking their horses, I don't quite get) etc for that reason.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  4. #4
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    Ahhh, the never ending question....

    I'm pretty much in the same boat as Andrew. it's just common courtesy to pull over if you can no matter what direction you are going. However, if I have my head down and I'm climbing, I expect the down hill riders to at least let me know they are coming and at least slow down as they approach. With any booming sport like mountain biking, there will always be folks that don't get it yet (or, may never) and feel like they always have the right of way no matter where they are. Tiger and the PRT are terrible for this...

    Just give them the benefit of the doubt that it's ignorance and not attitude. Quantity of riders is another issue. Especially if they are spread out. In this case, if the 6 were fairly close together and the sight lines were good, they should have stopped or at least slowed down where a safe place to past could have been negotiated.

    (The "I don't want to ruin anyone's flow" from climbing riders argument is BS IMHO.) I'll get my "flow" back soon enough once I pass the climbers when descending...

    If the DH direction riders don't want to have their flow interrupted, they should pick one directional trails or not go during peak hours...

    They should have at least slowed down for you two.

  5. #5
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    ^^^ this is the correct answer.
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  6. #6
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    I lean toward yielding to the uphill rider though it depends on the location. If I'm bombing DG I always yield to climbers. Anyone climbing Rat Pac better GTF out of the way. Seriously, common sense should prevail. Is it a shared, multi user trail? A dedicated descent? Climbing has a flow and a rhythm too, and stopping/restarting a sketchy climb can be brutal if not impossible. Restarting your roll is pretty easy.

  7. #7
    Just roll it......
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    It's always a situational decision.

    If I'm descending and the climber has already pulled over, then I'll continue to ride by (slowly) and thank them for doing so. That said, I do NOT expect someone to pull over for me if they are ascending.

    If I'm climbing AND have space to move over on the trail, I definitely slow my roll, move over and let the descenders go by while we both continue in our respective directions. If I don't have room to get over and I need to keep the power down to get up/over a section, then I keep my course and expect the downhill rider to make the move.

    If folks are descending in a group/pack, I really think the lead rider should be assessing the situation as to whether they've got room to go by without stopping. Regardless, they need to call out that there's a rider or hiker so the other folks in their group can adjust accordingly.

    The whole "I don't want to interrupt my flow" argument doesn't wash with me on trails that are bi-directional and/or multi-use.

    EB

  8. #8
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    Bottom line is I dont want to get slammed into and I see a lot of people that don't seem to care so I just try to stay out of the way.

  9. #9
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    I don't disagree with you Mr. Lynch, but sadly if you do that w/out mentioning that the folks going down should have yielded to you, they might think they were in the right (which is indeed often a decision dependent on the given situation). If it's a situation where someone should have yielded to me while I'm climbing, I'm gonna let them know (as politely as possible, relative to their behavior at the time). Not everyone sits down and reads the IMBA rules before learning to ride, so I think it's important to point this out to people, especially if there's kids or n00bs in the group.

  10. #10
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    Good point. I do always thank people who let me/us by, and I always let people know how many are behind me.

  11. #11
    Slothful dirt hippie
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    I just slow down, get out of the way, smile, and say "hi" regardless. Personally since downhillers are going to be there and gone, I'd just as soon pull over and let 'em get it over quickly if I'm climbing.

    Besides, I probably could use an excuse to stop and suck oxygen for a moment.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

  12. #12
    Just roll it......
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    Bottom line is....if you are descending a trail that are used to climb/access an area, then you've got to be prepared for folks ascending the trail. Period. End of story.

    Trails that easily come to mind: Devil's Gulch, Ridge Trail (Galby), Preston (to some degree)

    Directional trails where this isn't an issue: FT3K, Evolution, U Line, etc.

  13. #13
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    Wow, good response and tips.
    Thanks
    The Jackster. you must earn your turns and ride to the top.

  14. #14
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    ( Anyone climbing Rat Pac better GTF out of the way. Seriously, common sense should prevail. )

    People actually climb Rat Pac?

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    The only hard and fast rule I follow is dismounting for horses and talking with the riders....

    Most other times, if up and down are movin, just keep it going and you can generally pass eachother. When trails are tight, I will yeild to an up hill guy cause that is "proper" but usually slowing down enough so you can simply move around them is fine.

    Frankly the opposing directions passes are usually no biggie, I have a harder time when you come up on a slower rider and would like to get by but feel like a fool trying to get there attention without being a rude jerk...."um hello, would you mind please....." I had someone I followed for too long and then let me by actually tell me he felt I should slow down....mmmmmkay.....BRAAAAPP see ya

  16. #16
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    I find it best to yell "CHICKEN!!!" and pedal at the oncoming rider as quickly and menacingly as possible.



    In general I do expect the uphill rider to have right of way on any non DH oriented trail. That being said I don't really have a problem stepping aside while climbing and have done so often.

  17. #17
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    Amazing responses to the question ....who should yeild to an uphill rider

    I have always gotten off to the side of the trail when downhill riders were approaching....maybe I'm in the wrong. Recently though I was riding in Bend, OR. there the local riding authority has posted a set of "rules of the road" for trail users. I was not aware of this and was actually kind of amazed as riders from above got off the trail to let me pass going uphill. After this happened 3 or 4 times I had to ask, "what gives, it seems as though you're stopping to let the uphill rider have the trail" to which they replied "yeah the local bike authority (cant remember the name just now....old age) has taught us to observe these rules' and added - it avoids trail user conflicts" .... hmmm do you think that'd do the same thing here in washington? I thought it weird but it worked. Just a thought, I guess its like the skiers code of conduct, Avoid the downhill skier/boarder.....just a thought.

  18. #18
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    Amazing responses to the question ....who should yeild to an uphill rider

    I have always gotten off to the side of the trail when downhill riders were approaching....maybe I'm in the wrong. Recently though I was riding in Bend, OR. there the local riding authority has posted a set of "rules of the road" for trail users. I was not aware of this and was actually kind of amazed as riders from above got off the trail to let me pass going uphill. After this happened 3 or 4 times I had to ask, "what gives, it seems as though you're stopping to let the uphill rider have the trail" to which they replied "yeah the local bike authority (cant remember the name just now....old age) has taught us to observe these rules' and added - it avoids trail user conflicts" .... hmmm do you think that'd do the same thing here in washington? I thought it weird but it worked. Just a thought, I guess its like the skiers code of conduct, Avoid the downhill skier/boarder.....just a thought.

  19. #19
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    OGH, that would be the local club, "COTA" which is our version of Evergreen/BBTC. I too just came back from several days there and the trail etiquitte there is way betetr than here. Could also be that there are more folks who are trail educated there too. We have way more "casual riders" up here.

  20. #20
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    I yield to people bigger than me.

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    Solid feedback, something unmentioned is that communication is key. It seems to me i've just been in more situations where both riders can continue by riding by each other. But you have to have 2 relatively skilled riders.

    Etiquette should be default, but in the real world there is always room to fudge.
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  22. #22
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    It doesn't happen often (though a friend did it just last week). Most memorable was 10 yrs ago, on a different iteration of the trail, two dudes with hairdo's on dayglo early nineties hardtails, cleaning everything on the way up, with authority. I was impressed.

  23. #23
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    In the 15yrs I've been mountain-biking, I was schooled to always yield to uphill traffic - at least on multi-directional trails. If it's DH specific, get the hell out of my way when I'm coming down...please? At the same time, it's my responsibility to let the people I'm going by if there are more riders behind me and how many there are. It makes for less surprises and way less animosity amongst other riders/hikers/horsers.

    The only exception for the uphill rider to yield is if I'm filming w/my Contour.
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  24. #24
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    Etiquette aside, this is why I wear a bear bell. If I'm bombing down a trail in reasonable control, I want to give notice to anybody (hiker, climbing biker, etc) notice that I'm coming. Sometimes there's just blind spots where a controlled stop is really freaking hard so I wear the bells to give the other person a chance when it happens that I have a lot less control than I thought...

  25. #25
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    Trail etiquette is to yeild to the uphill riders, but . . .

    I have recently had someone stop climbing and thank me for the excuse to take a break.

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