Middle of the path- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Middle of the path

    greetings fellow cold weather lovers-
    While enjoying the trails skiing last night I noticed a fat bike habit I was curious about. On the trail between Russian Jack and Goose Lake there is a seam down the middle of the trail where the fat bikes seem to follow in each others track. Is there anything we skiers can do to encourage fat bikes to spread out on the trail a little? Anything we skiers can do to make your ride more enjoyable? Best,

  2. #2
    sluice box
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    Quote Originally Posted by playhard View Post
    greetings fellow cold weather lovers-
    While enjoying the trails skiing last night I noticed a fat bike habit I was curious about. On the trail between Russian Jack and Goose Lake there is a seam down the middle of the trail where the fat bikes seem to follow in each others track. Is there anything we skiers can do to encourage fat bikes to spread out on the trail a little? Anything we skiers can do to make your ride more enjoyable? Best,
    Legalize snowmachines in the Muni.

  3. #3
    is buachail foighneach me
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    It's faster and easier to ride in someone else's tracks. You could offer cookies or beer to people to widen the fat tire packed portion, but there's really very little incentive to do so. It would be akin to asking touring skiers to fan out so they create a wide enough trail to skate ski on.

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    Easy

    "It's faster and easier to ride in someone else's tracks. "

    If we wanted it to be easy we'd all be snowboarding wouldn't we? Or staying home? I'm certain the beer suggestion has promise, however. cheers,

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by playhard View Post
    greetings fellow cold weather lovers-
    While enjoying the trails skiing last night I noticed a fat bike habit I was curious about. On the trail between Russian Jack and Goose Lake there is a seam down the middle of the trail where the fat bikes seem to follow in each others track. Is there anything we skiers can do to encourage fat bikes to spread out on the trail a little? Anything we skiers can do to make your ride more enjoyable? Best,
    Being both a skier and fatbiker, I can empathize Playhard. I would like to see fatbikers and skiers co-exist as much as possible.
    The bikers tend to follow the track that will give the fastest travel and sometimes for whatever reason that track is right down the middle. Bikes with skinnier/higher pressure tires will have an even tougher time and avoid the soft snow and they also will make the track "rut" much more quickly. A 4-5 inch tire running at sub 10 psi will have fairly minimal impact to a moderately packed trail. There are probably quite a few commuters with non-winter bikes using the section you're talking about so that area will rut up faster in general. It also doesn't help that we haven't had much snow yet this year of course....
    I don't know that skiers could do anything specifically besides open and civil discussion (like you have put forward) to try and have bikers avoid making ruts in the middle of multi-use trails and using tires/pressures appropriate for conditions.
    I know this is a new challenge that many areas are adapting to with the growing popularity of fatbiking. It would probably be a good idea to get the Anchorage biking & skiing community together for some discussion about this if its not already happening...?

  6. #6
    sluice box
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    I don't know that skiers could do anything specifically besides open and civil discussion (like you have put forward) to try and have bikers avoid making ruts in the middle of multi-use trails and using tires/pressures appropriate for conditions.
    I know this is a new challenge that many areas are adapting to with the growing popularity of fatbiking. It would probably be a good idea to get the Anchorage biking & skiing community together for some discussion about this if its not already happening...?
    I think the discussion around the emphasis added multiuse trails is just that multiuse.

    In my community the multiuse trails are musher commercial and recreational, dog walkers, skiers of both flavors, bikers, and horseback riders.

    The Nordic Ski Club has a dedicated 5k that are wonderful trails that are excluded to all other uses, I support them because Iím also a skier.

    The multiuse winter trails get beat up with warm weather and low snow, I could go on the post holes from walkers, the lilí dime bags of dog crap that some people leave (still never can figure that out).

    I guess we just need more snow.

  7. #7
    Fat!Drunk!Slow!
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    Not sure how to respond to this one...lack of snow means the muni won't even take a snow machine down the width of the MUP trails which means no air knocked out of snow which means no even packing.

    Freeze Thaw cycles means the snow is getting soft and hard many times during a given week. Even if 5 bikers used the same line during soft conditions, you now have a mono-rail down the center of the trail...

    Also remember there are many skinny bikes that commute on the mup trails. They will almost always ride in a fat path as well.

    To me this is an unavoidable issue due to all of the issues listed above.

  8. #8
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by playhard View Post
    greetings fellow cold weather lovers-
    While enjoying the trails skiing last night I noticed a fat bike habit I was curious about. On the trail between Russian Jack and Goose Lake there is a seam down the middle of the trail where the fat bikes seem to follow in each others track. Is there anything we skiers can do to encourage fat bikes to spread out on the trail a little? Anything we skiers can do to make your ride more enjoyable? Best,
    Pack down the "not where the fatbike went" part of the trail, that will encourage people to ride a wider and more varied path.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  9. #9
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    As a daily commuter I try as hard as I can to ride a new path on each commute trip just to help widen out and vary the packed sections and because I really hate riding the monorail. That said, I agree with most others that it is difficult to encourage someone to do something unless they can see a real and personal benefit. When I'm on the MUP I run higher pressure because I have places to be and schedules to keep, so that big rut is a hazard to me - ergo I have a personal benefit to not riding in it. Others don't have the same benefit, so they are less inclined to change behavior.

  10. #10
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    Yes, we all have to get along...blah blah blah....tolerance this and that and rainbows and puppydogs......blah blah.....seriously though....

    First, to be clear, I strongly believe there should be no animosity b/t skiers and fat bikers. I think both are compatible on the same trails and generally improve conditions for each other. That said,

    IMHO...With the vast amount of skiier only trails in the muni in the winter, there is no reason for any skier to complain about trail conditions on the multi-use trails. If a skier doesn't like the conditions of any given trail, skiers have many options to ski elsewhere. Comparatively speaking, in the winter, there are very few multi-use trails w/in Anc. Walkers, snowshoers, runners, horses, ski-jorers, dog-walkers, bikers, and pogo-stickers are all confined to the same trails - which take a beating much more severely and more rapidly than ski-only trails. I find groomers groom ski-only trails first and leave the multi-use trails untouched for weeks/months despite the heavier use. Non-skiers have the right to complain about the use multi-use trails. Skiers should complain about ski trails only, until the amount of multi-use trails equals that of skier-only trails. I think this year skiers are getting a taste of what 'the other users' go through every winter.

    I ride wherever my stone cold heart wants to on the multi-use trails. Sometimes it's in the slower untracked stuff, but most often it's on the 12" wide firmly packed strip. If I'm riding on these paths, I'm commuting and probably late and trying to go fast, with tires full of pressure and veins full of caffeine. Ergo, I'm avoiding the soft stuff on the sides failing to contribute to a uniform pack job. Blame it on me. I'm not gonna hand a horseback rider a beer and tell them to GTFO. I'm gonna suck it up, complain on the interweb, and ride somewhere else. It's their trail too.

    Really though, the firm strip in the middle isn't going to go anywhere. It'll form regardless. It's like trying to ask alpine skiers at Alyeska to turn on top of piles of snow in order to prevent moguls from forming....(I thought a machine did that...at night...??) Rejoice in the fact that you love to ski and that this city loves you and is willing to give you unfettered access to miles of exclusive trails at the exclusion of everyone else.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by smthgfshy View Post
    Yes, we all have to get along...blah blah blah....tolerance this and that and rainbows and puppydogs......blah blah.....seriously though....

    First, to be clear, I strongly believe there should be no animosity b/t skiers and fat bikers. I think both are compatible on the same trails and generally improve conditions for each other. That said,

    IMHO...With the vast amount of skiier only trails in the muni in the winter, there is no reason for any skier to complain about trail conditions on the multi-use trails. If a skier doesn't like the conditions of any given trail, skiers have many options to ski elsewhere. Comparatively speaking, in the winter, there are very few multi-use trails w/in Anc. Walkers, snowshoers, runners, horses, ski-jorers, dog-walkers, bikers, and pogo-stickers are all confined to the same trails - which take a beating much more severely and more rapidly than ski-only trails. I find groomers groom ski-only trails first and leave the multi-use trails untouched for weeks/months despite the heavier use. Non-skiers have the right to complain about the use multi-use trails. Skiers should complain about ski trails only, until the amount of multi-use trails equals that of skier-only trails. I think this year skiers are getting a taste of what 'the other users' go through every winter.

    I ride wherever my stone cold heart wants to on the multi-use trails. Sometimes it's in the slower untracked stuff, but most often it's on the 12" wide firmly packed strip. If I'm riding on these paths, I'm commuting and probably late and trying to go fast, with tires full of pressure and veins full of caffeine. Ergo, I'm avoiding the soft stuff on the sides failing to contribute to a uniform pack job. Blame it on me. I'm not gonna hand a horseback rider a beer and tell them to GTFO. I'm gonna suck it up, complain on the interweb, and ride somewhere else. It's their trail too.

    Really though, the firm strip in the middle isn't going to go anywhere. It'll form regardless. It's like trying to ask alpine skiers at Alyeska to turn on top of piles of snow in order to prevent moguls from forming....(I thought a machine did that...at night...??) Rejoice in the fact that you love to ski and that this city loves you and is willing to give you unfettered access to miles of exclusive trails at the exclusion of everyone else.
    I don't think the OP was complaining. Just asking the question. And I read it not as an issue with the nor!all 12 inch wide path, but with the deeper and narrower rut that has formed this year due to the bad snow conditions. The rut with abrupt edge as that is maybe 6 inches wide.

  12. #12
    Bikes are good
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    "Is there anything we skiers can do to encourage fat bikes to spread out on the trail a little? Anything we skiers can do to make your ride more enjoyable? Best,"

    1) Pick up the dog poop bags
    2) Pick a trail to ski that is specifically maintained for how you want to use it.
    3) Pick your battles

    This is the funniest post I've seen any skier throw on here. Hilarious.
    "Having lack of self-preservation makes biking more fun."

  13. #13
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    There is nothing I can add to all points made above regarding getting along on the multiuser trails.

    However, I want to make sure everyone has seen and is aware of the engineering analysis performed by the muni on the bridges along the Coastal Trail & the Chester Creek Greenbelt. It was in the ADN earlier this week and was really depressing. Big money is needed to repair/replace many bridges along these trails. See a link to the story below.

    Reports shed light on state of Anchorage's greenbelt bridges | Alaska Dispatch

    This is the real reason all the user groups need to get along. This will be a huge battle to get the required funding to fix the aging infrastructure to simply maintain what we have.

  14. #14
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    playhard - One thing I can assure you is that the statements by a couple in this thread do not represent the biking community as a whole. They probably stopped reading your post as soon as you mentioned skiing and automatically go into their anti-skier rants. They are probably already there reading mine just because I have the work "ski" in my username.

    Most of us understand the need to cooperate with all user groups when we can. It is always a trick and things like the thin coating of snow this year isn't helping anything. With so little snow, there isn't enough depth for the trail groomers to re-work the surface and get rid of ruts/bumps/holes that develop over time. In a normal winter, a shallow rut may form, but it is usually regroomed before long and you are back to a mostly flat surface. Not the case this year.

    Like others have mentioned, that section of trail tends to have a higher number of commuters on it, so you are dealing with more skinny tire bikes and more people who are looking for the quickest way to get from point A to point B. Neither of those lend themselves to spreading out the wear across the entire trail. Bikers tend to avoid the shoulders of the trail for a couple of reasons. One is that it is usually softer and you are more likely to slip out or auger in. Another is that skier-made classic tracks tend to follow the side of the trail and those aren't any fun to ride in even if we wanted to (which we don't) so we give them some room.

    Unfortunately I don't know a good way to change this pattern. Mostly, we can just hope for some more snow that will allow for a regular trail grooming routine to flatting things out.

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