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    Philly & the IMBA

    What is the deal with (the lack of) the Philadelphia-area mtb advocacy group?
    I see groups like The Susquehanna Area MBA, the Trail Spinners & Ride Nox (among others, whether allied with the IMBA or not) being very active and doing great stuff, but SEPTR seems to exist in name only.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Z. Ryder View Post
    What is the deal with (the lack of) the Philadelphia-area mtb advocacy group?
    I see groups like The Susquehanna Area MBA, the Trail Spinners & Ride Nox (among others, whether allied with the IMBA or not) being very active and doing great stuff, but SEPTR seems to exist in name only.
    Very long story but basically, SEPTR did some things they should not have. The park commission pulled their association and the Friends of the Wiss did the same. The group has no rights to do anything in the Wiss or Belmont.
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    I'd like to hear the longer version, if you don't mind.....

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    Me too. Has there been any movement to form a new group? It's useless to have an IMBA chapter that can't work in Wiss/Belmont. Besides that I haven't seen anything from them anywhere else either.

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    Belmont has the Belmont Plateau Trails Alliance, which works very closely with the city and has the enthusiastic support of the Fairmount parks commission's land managers to develop a sustainable trail system in the park. Most of their trail building efforts take place in the spring and fall, but they are also loosely involved with the Thursday #MTBFightClub underground race series, as well as trying to keep the weeds in check as much as they can with a very small group of volunteers. The BPTA also coordinates with the Philly Pump Track folks, (who also work closely with people from FoW & FoCT) and they've been doing some really great things to connect the Pump Track to the Belmont trails, building a really fun flow trail that gets progressively more technical and "Belmont-like" as it nears the Plateau.

    Wissahickon has the Friends of the Wissahickon, and Friends of the Cresheim Trail; there are many advocates for mountain biking on the boards and volunteering as team leaders. Whereas the trails at Belmont are primarily used by mountain bikers (although nominally labeled as multi-use trails) and we have primary consideration there, the trails at the Wiss are most certainly multi-use trails, with a variety of interests clamoring for usage and input. As such, there is often a notion amongst a certain segment of mtb-ers that use the park, that we are a marginalized segment and that the FOW works against our community. This is most certainly not the case.

    Given the problems that PMBA created at the Wiss and the lack of organized advocacy on behalf of SEPTR, not to mention the current trends that are seemingly advocated by IMBA Trail Solutions to make every trail a flow trail, buffed and suitable for beginners, I'm not convinced that we need an IMBA Chapter within the city, especially not when we have established groups doing an excellent job of advocacy and trail construction already in place. IMBA requires more bureaucracy and funding from members organizations, which would, at this point, overburden our organizations with red tape and financial obligations, reduce their efficacy, limit their outreach and keep people from volunteering.

    I would encourage you to reach out to the trail groups that we already have if you'd like to get involved. They need your help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Z. Ryder View Post
    Has there been any movement to form a new group? It's useless to have an IMBA chapter that can't work in Wiss/Belmont. Besides that I haven't seen anything from them anywhere else either.
    SEPTR (formerly PMBA) is dead, just a facebook page. Why they folded depends entirely on who you ask.

    IMBA's new mid-atlantic regional director says he wants to restart a Philly chapter. But what's needed is for people -- positive people with energy -- to elbow aside the burned out feuders and make it happen.

    Maybe one day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scoon View Post
    I'd like to hear the longer version, if you don't mind.....
    Gigantic hit most of the spots really. So SEPTR rose from the ashes of the PMBA and as people have mentioned, folded pretty quickly - actually they may still be alive but they don't do anything. I think early on, they tried to take credit for some things and made many of the other clubs (like Ride-Nox) very mad.

    PMBA folded because members were building illegal trails. The main trail that causes lots of issues was called the "coil" and was, I believe, built by a PMBA board member. The FOW and park commission actually closed it only to have it re-opened illegally by many people - some of which were PMBA members.

    The death of PMBA was sad thing as they did some good things. I think the FOW now control most of the trail building within the park. I have stated on numerous occasions that personally, I am not a fan of the new trails being built in the Wiss. Although I am shocked if they built the new side trail that basically goes were the old "coil" trail went!

    On a side note, Ride-Nox is a very small group that has done an amazing job working with the park commission. Heck, the rangers now use mountain bikes to traverse the park. To me they are a great example of what can be done when people stay within the rules and work with the authorities. The philly area has come so far in the last few years. From once only really having the Wiss and Belmont, there is now Green lane and Nox which are true jewels.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    Gigantic hit most of the spots really. So SEPTR rose from the ashes of the PMBA and as people have mentioned, folded pretty quickly - actually they may still be alive but they don't do anything. I think early on, they tried to take credit for some things and made many of the other clubs (like Ride-Nox) very mad.

    PMBA folded because members were building illegal trails. The main trail that causes lots of issues was called the "coil" and was, I believe, built by a PMBA board member. The FOW and park commission actually closed it only to have it re-opened illegally by many people - some of which were PMBA members.
    Sorry, but this is mostly incorrect.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    On a side note, Ride-Nox is a very small group that has done an amazing job working with the park commission. Heck, the rangers now use mountain bikes to traverse the park. To me they are a great example of what can be done when people stay within the rules and work with the authorities. The philly area has come so far in the last few years. From once only really having the Wiss and Belmont, there is now Green lane and Nox which are true jewels.
    Yes, I agree. The Philly pump track is another good example, too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldManBike View Post
    Sorry, but this is mostly incorrect.



    Yes, I agree. The Philly pump track is another good example, too.

    I know people deny that PMBA guys did not make the coil, but they knew about it. My ride group was told about it and told about who made it from a PMBA member.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    I know people deny that PMBA guys did not make the coil, but they knew about it. My ride group was told about it and told about who made it from a PMBA member.
    "Coil" or "Coyle"?

    we also shut down another illegal trail that was made by an ex PMBA member this spring, wasting about 50 man-hours of labor that could have been better used for building trails. Sadly, the trail that we closed was and remains on FOW's long term schedule, but land ownership details remain to be sorted. If the rogue trail builder had only waited a little bit longer, the trail would ultimately have been built. Instead, his actions there created political difficulties for the MTB advocates in the park, as did the rogue trail builder's removal of chicanes in the meadows and reopening of other closed trails.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantic View Post
    Given the problems that PMBA created at the Wiss and the lack of organized advocacy on behalf of SEPTR, not to mention the current trends that are seemingly advocated by IMBA Trail Solutions to make every trail a flow trail, buffed and suitable for beginners, I'm not convinced that we need an IMBA Chapter within the city, especially not when we have established groups doing an excellent job of advocacy and trail construction already in place. IMBA requires more bureaucracy and funding from members organizations, which would, at this point, overburden our organizations with red tape and financial obligations, reduce their efficacy, limit their outreach and keep people from volunteering.
    I sort of agree with you but your view of what PMBA was and did is not entirely correct. It's probably because you were late to the game in Philly and if you weren't, then I apologize, but I am pretty sure you weren't around at that time. PMBA did a lot of good for the park and really was there when the ball got rolling to implement the FOW/IMBA trail solutions plan. Many, many 100s if not 1000s of man hours were expended by PMBA in Wiss. If you road Wiss prior to PMBA, like I did and a few other guys who post on here, the difference that they made/helped make is huge. Up until the last year or two of its existence, PMBA was significant positive resource for MTB's in Wiss.

    For many years FOW ruled the park and had a significant anti MTB slant, with some members openly hostile to MTB interests. Working with PMBA and seeing that MTBers lend significant volunteer effort to the park as a whole, kind of softened the FOW to the MTB community. MTBers joined FOW and FOW started having a number people who like MTB as members, which was a change and nobody likes change. Then, as is classic Philly style, they all went to war with each other - internally and externally - over competing interests, egos, and whatever (it was a real soap opera when everything started hitting the fan). The Wiss being Wiss, some old school guys said f^ck it and started doing their own thing again, making "rouge" trails, as they did before PMBA. Its a shame about what happened. It was bad for MTB in the park and the park in general that PMBA crashed and burned.

    As for Philly not needing IMBA, I think you are 100% correct there. There are already organized groups that work in the parks with many MTB riders as members, why add the additional bureacracy and expense of IMBA to the mix.
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    You're right, I started riding as PMBA was imploding, and I don't mean to say that they never did anything good, certainly, they did. When I began riding here however, they were definitely in decline and it was described to me as a group of "frat boys on bikes, who are more interested in drinking beer and building rogue trails than advocacy and outreach."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantic View Post
    we also shut down another illegal trail that was made by an ex PMBA member this spring, wasting about 50 man-hours of labor that could have been better used for building trails. Sadly, the trail that we closed was and remains on FOW's long term schedule, but land ownership details remain to be sorted.
    What section are you talking about here?

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    Philly & the IMBA

    My interest is more in the region of SE PA, rather only the Wiss or any other individual trail system. It's better to have local groups working on their own local trails, but it seems to me that having an advocacy organization for the region, too, would be good for everybody -- to support (and not meddle with) existing local groups and fill in the gaps where they don't exist; and help to organize new, trail network-specific groups. I'm thinking of places like Marsh Creek, Green Lane, French Creek and Betzwood. I would like to be involved, but I don't see how I can be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantic View Post
    Given the problems that PMBA created at the Wiss and the lack of organized advocacy on behalf of SEPTR, not to mention the current trends that are seemingly advocated by IMBA Trail Solutions to make every trail a flow trail, buffed and suitable for beginners, I'm not convinced that we need an IMBA Chapter within the city, especially not when we have established groups doing an excellent job of advocacy and trail construction already in place. IMBA requires more bureaucracy and funding from members organizations, which would, at this point, overburden our organizations with red tape and financial obligations, reduce their efficacy, limit their outreach and keep people from volunteering.
    Quote Originally Posted by justriding View Post

    As for Philly not needing IMBA, I think you are 100% correct there. There are already organized groups that work in the parks with many MTB riders as members, why add the additional bureacracy and expense of IMBA to the mix.
    I agree that, over the past couple years, FOW has built some great trails. But I disagree that we don't need an IMBA chapter here. I think we need one for a couple reasons.

    First, we need way more volunteers. The number of folks involved now is tiny compared to the good-old days. That means less building and less maintenance. Example: FOW lacks the bodies to do sightline clearing in the summer in most of the park. The bottom line is that for years now few riders have turned out to volunteer through FOW. An IMBA chapter could change that.

    Second, we need a voice for responsible riding that riders will actually listen to. We can promote a culture of responsible riding in the Wiss, especially one committed to expanding trail access within the system instead of creating rogue trails. Scolding from FOW doesn't help promote responsible riding -- an IMBA chapter could be vastly more effective.

    Third, we need to strengthen the hand of pro-MTB voices within FOW & the city. Riders working within have been able to do some good things, but they'd be able to do more if they had a big, smart, well-organized group behind them.

    One day, the burned-out feuders on both sides of this soap opera will finally be elbowed aside by riders committed to building something positive. It's long overdue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rollinrox View Post
    What section are you talking about here?
    there was a rogue trail that omitted the road section @ Summit Av on the Rox side.

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    Wow. That had been there for awhile. I did not know it was rogue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantic View Post
    there was a rogue trail that omitted the road section @ Summit Av on the Rox side.
    That is rogue? Zoinks yo. I had no idea. I ride that every weekend. As does every other rider I ever see up there. Such a tiny little strip of trail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldManBike View Post
    I agree that, over the past couple years, FOW has built some great trails. But I disagree that we don't need an IMBA chapter here. I think we need one for a couple reasons.

    First, we need way more volunteers. The number of folks involved now is tiny compared to the good-old days. That means less building and less maintenance. Example: FOW lacks the bodies to do sightline clearing in the summer in most of the park. The bottom line is that for years now few riders have turned out to volunteer through FOW. An IMBA chapter could change that.

    Second, we need a voice for responsible riding that riders will actually listen to. We can promote a culture of responsible riding in the Wiss, especially one committed to expanding trail access within the system instead of creating rogue trails. Scolding from FOW doesn't help promote responsible riding -- an IMBA chapter could be vastly more effective.

    Third, we need to strengthen the hand of pro-MTB voices within FOW & the city. Riders working within have been able to do some good things, but they'd be able to do more if they had a big, smart, well-organized group behind them.

    One day, the burned-out feuders on both sides of this soap opera will finally be elbowed aside by riders committed to building something positive. It's long overdue.
    I actively volunteer with the Belmont Plateau Trails Alliance, Friends of the Cresheim Trail and Friends of the Wissachickon; I agree, we could always use more volunteers, but I'm not convinced that an IMBA chapter would help much.

    I think that we have a hard core group of riders that use the Wiss and to a lesser extent, Belmont and aren't even remotely interested in responsible riding. They ride where they want, when they want and don't care about the trail conditions or who or what is in their way. They treat the Wissahickon like a private MTB park and ride with utter disregard to the people who build the trails and other users. Having someone from IMBA lecture them is not going to have any effect at all, whatsoever. They will continue to ride like @$$holes, bomb hikers and leave muddy ruts like they did yesterday, in the meadows.

    The pro-MTB voices are getting stronger within the city without IMBA. we have people from MTB leading teams with FOW and FotCT and FOW are becoming increasingly responsive to our needs, while trying to maintain balance between other groups. Wissahickon IS a multi-use trail system, after all.

    Over at Belmont, the pump track people are rocking just fine without IMBA and the BPTA is led exclusively by mountain bikers and the trails are created primarily for our use. Technically, they're multi-use trails for bicycles and hiking/running (equestrians are restricted to using only the fire roads, although they poach trails on occasion), but the fact of the matter is aside from fall XC running season, the trails are at least 85% used by our community. The land manager at Belmont is very enthusiastic about what we're doing there and is actually encouraging our work, as we're getting more people to use the park, which in turn, is decreasing the amount of illegal dumping and use of the park for illicit activities. My biggest fear, would be to have busybodies from IMBA trying to tell us that we have to make go-arounds & beginner friendly trails so that Belmont becomes a miniature version of white clay, buff, wide, and boring. We don't need that, we're managing just fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ash216 View Post
    That is rogue? Zoinks yo. I had no idea. I ride that every weekend. As does every other rider I ever see up there. Such a tiny little strip of trail.
    No, not that. As you climb up Summit, it was halfway up on the left. It came out where you re-enter the trail at the bottom of the road hill.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantic View Post
    Over at Belmont, the pump track people are rocking just fine without IMBA and the BPTA is led exclusively by mountain bikers and the trails are created primarily for our use. Technically, they're multi-use trails for bicycles and hiking/running (equestrians are restricted to using only the fire roads, although they poach trails on occasion), but the fact of the matter is aside from fall XC running season, the trails are at least 85% used by our community. The land manager at Belmont is very enthusiastic about what we're doing there and is actually encouraging our work, as we're getting more people to use the park, which in turn, is decreasing the amount of illegal dumping and use of the park for illicit activities. My biggest fear, would be to have busybodies from IMBA trying to tell us that we have to make go-arounds & beginner friendly trails so that Belmont becomes a miniature version of white clay, buff, wide, and boring. We don't need that, we're managing just fine.
    I agree with all that, and I wasn't talking about Belmont at all.

    Late-PMBA/SEPTR had zero interest in meddling in Belmont, and I can't imagine why a new chapter would see it any different. I think your busybody fear is unfounded.

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    Philly parks are kind of their own animal, which is why Gigantic is right. IMBA would be an additional bureaucracy, which diverts member funds and resources from existing organizations. For example, if I'm a mountain biker in Philly who rides within the city 90% of the time, do I join and work under FOW so I can give back Wiss or do I join IMBA and pay membership to them where funds go out to the greater MTB good or where ever? If you want to maximize local resources, then an IMBA chapter only dilutes the pool.

    The OP has a point though. There is no IMBA to cover Harmony Hill, French Creek, Marsh Creek, Blue Marsh, Mt. Penn, Green Lane, Betzwood etc. SEPA MTB community is a bunch of little organizations that work their one area. It would be good to unite them to maximize the work that could be done on those areas. It would seem that Philly should be carved out of a SEPA IMBA chapter for the simple reason: Philly would take the most resources, which leaves the other areas under served.
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    mostly, my concern is based on my experience of riding IMBA Trail Solutions-style trails and an impression that once those types of trails take root, they become the norm. I find them exceedingly boring.

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    Quote Originally Posted by justriding View Post
    Philly parks are kind of their own animal, which is why Gigantic is right. IMBA would be an additional bureaucracy, which diverts member funds and resources from existing organizations. For example, if I'm a mountain biker in Philly who rides within the city 90% of the time, do I join and work under FOW so I can give back Wiss or do I join IMBA and pay membership to them where funds go out to the greater MTB good or where ever? If you want to maximize local resources, then an IMBA chapter only dilutes the pool.

    The OP has a point though. There is no IMBA to cover Harmony Hill, French Creek, Marsh Creek, Blue Marsh, Mt. Penn, Green Lane, Betzwood etc. SEPA MTB community is a bunch of little organizations that work their one area. It would be good to unite them to maximize the work that could be done on those areas. It would seem that Philly should be carved out of a SEPA IMBA chapter for the simple reason: Philly would take the most resources, which leaves the other areas under served.
    Agreed. it's not useful in the city, but it would be wonderful to have a trail advocacy group with the (limited) political clout of IMBA to work with land managers at Betzwood, legitimize those trails and authorize the maintenance there, so it doesn't all happen under the cover of darkness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by justriding View Post
    Philly parks are kind of their own animal, which is why Gigantic is right. IMBA would be an additional bureaucracy, which diverts member funds and resources from existing organizations. For example, if I'm a mountain biker in Philly who rides within the city 90% of the time, do I join and work under FOW so I can give back Wiss or do I join IMBA and pay membership to them where funds go out to the greater MTB good or where ever? If you want to maximize local resources, then an IMBA chapter only dilutes the pool.
    Ok, but that's all predicated on the idea that FOW is recruiting all these MTBers as members and volunteers, isn't it? Do you think they are? How many mountain bikers come out for FOW trail-work days? Several dozen, like PMBA used to?

    I support FOW, but the idea that a Philly MTB group would be siphoning off all this amazing MTB energy from FOW is not grounded in reality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldManBike View Post
    Ok, but that's all predicated on the idea that FOW is recruiting all these MTBers as members and volunteers, isn't it? Do you think they are? How many mountain bikers come out for FOW trail-work days? Several dozen, like PMBA used to?

    I support FOW, but the idea that a Philly MTB group would be siphoning off all this amazing MTB energy from FOW is not grounded in reality.
    That is not really what my point was predicated on, nor am i saying IMBA would siphon off "amazing MTB energy." What I am saying is that if you already have a small group of people who will donate and/or volunteer and you add another group that they can join, the reality is there is a smaller number of volunteers that will go to any one group. It is simply the principal of diminishability in competitive markets applied where the volunteers/benefactors are the "goods". As each one joins an organization, there are less potential members available. The number of people doesn't matter, the group will be diminished regardless of which organization the person chooses. So more organizations pulling from the pool of available members, means less members per organization.

    The other issue (and maybe more realistic) is would a SEPA IMBA be able to cover Philly and the surrounding suburbs? I think it would be difficult to effectively cover the entire area because Philly alone would require more resources. Try doing business with the City or any community organization; it is exhausting on many levels.
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    Philly & the IMBA

    I don't see why an umbrella regional group would pull resources away from local groups. Imo it would add support and make it able for disparate groups to pool resources.... Local groups could be like chapters of the regional one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by justriding View Post
    The OP has a point though. There is no IMBA to cover Harmony Hill, French Creek, Marsh Creek, Blue Marsh, Mt. Penn, Green Lane, Betzwood etc. SEPA MTB community is a bunch of little organizations that work their one area. It would be good to unite them to maximize the work that could be done on those areas. It would seem that Philly should be carved out of a SEPA IMBA chapter for the simple reason: Philly would take the most resources, which leaves the other areas under served.
    I believe BAMBA works at French Creek, Blue Marsh and Mt Penn. Definitely Mt Penn.

    Trail Spinners might do some work at Marsh Creek / Harmony Hill but I'm not positive. I know Marsh Creek does have organized trail days but not sure if theres an official affiliation.

    Green Lane is very much a grassroots effort but it seems to be doing fine. Maybe because it gets less traffic?

    Betzwood could use some help, and probably is the only one that really stands to benefit from an IMBA type organization's help, I imagine its Federal status greatly increases the bureaucracy involved. Betzwood is a pretty frequent ride for me as its very close to my house, but I would rather lose it completely than have IMBA come in and make the other places "sustainable".
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexCuse View Post

    Betzwood could use some help, and probably is the only one that really stands to benefit from an IMBA type organization's help, I imagine its Federal status greatly increases the bureaucracy involved. Betzwood is a pretty frequent ride for me as its very close to my house, but I would rather lose it completely than have IMBA come in and make the other places "sustainable".
    IMBA's help? The first thing IMBA could do would be to make it legal to ride there...it is not, and only the non-inforcement of the rules, not to mention under staffing allows riding.
    To include in the same group as French Creek, Marsh Creek, Nox, etc. is an error.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reformed roadie View Post
    IMBA's help? The first thing IMBA could do would be to make it legal to ride there...it is not, and only the non-inforcement of the rules, not to mention under staffing allows riding.
    To include in the same group as French Creek, Marsh Creek, Nox, etc. is an error.
    I was attempting to single Betzwood out, not group it with anything. I just think the other places are doing fine without a Philly IMBA chapter and don't see how it would help. Riding there is more legal than you think though, they have a bike trail map linked from their NPS site http://www.nps.gov/vafo/planyourvisi...rails_2010.pdf - most of the trails I ride are on that map, or aren't on any map. Here is another map (I believe this is the one they still give out at the visitors center) that identifies 9.5 miles of trail as open to bikes http://www.nps.gov/vafo/planyourvisi...all%202010.pdf.

    Their "Trails" page (Trails and Bike Paths - Valley Forge National Historical Park (U.S. National Park Service)) also reads

    There are 21 miles of authorized biking trails in the park. The paved, 6.6 mile Joseph Plumb Martin Trail on the south side of the park connects the key historic and interpretive sites. On the north side, two miles of the paved, regional Schuylkill River Trail run through the park, with connections to sites in Montgomery County and Philadelphia. There also are 12 miles of flat, unpaved biking trails.
    It is bad enough that no one is allowed to do maintenance there, spreading misinformation and discouraging people from riding is only going to make things worse.
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    yeah, pretty much none of the trails we ride are on that map, at least none of the singletrack is- if that were added, there would be another 12 miles or more of trails. It would be nice to have some authorized maintenance there, a lot of the trails are in dire need of a reroute, as they aren't particularly sustainable. I was amazed at the amount of erosion that I saw there this spring and the equestrians post-holing everything doesn't help, either.

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    Most of the singletrack is flat, so I'll operate under the assumption that its the "12 miles of flat, unpaved biking trails" mentioned. It does amaze me just how much of the trail there is not on any of the park's maps. I've had rangers see me coming out of just about everywhere, and the only place I ever got a talking to was coming out of the trail through wetlands between the two levees but that is pretty clearly marked so I deserved that. I know people get a lot of crap for riding on the mt joy / mt misery trails but they deserve it, those are pretty clearly marked as well.

    I would guess that no one is really allowed on any of the trails that aren't on the map, but its too much work to enforce. The no biking sign on the one swamp trail (that looks like it predates the 2010 printing of the maps) does throw me for a loop though, and creates the impression that its OK to ride anywhere there isn't a no bikes sign. I figure as long as conflict between users is avoided the rangers will at least continue to look the other way, but it would be nice if there was an official word on the matter (even if it was "no don't bike there"). Until that word comes I'll keep riding in an effort to smooth out the horse cobbles so hikers don't twist their ankles
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    Philly & the IMBA

    Those maps show none of the singletrack at issue. The 9.5 miles or 12 or whatever are basically the VF river trail, the Valley Stream trail & the Chapel trail.

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    I think we are in violent agreement here. The situation at Valley Forge is indeed terrible, but to say it is not legal to ride there without qualification is not correct and only discourages legitimate use of the park. Getting a voice for mountain bikers in Valley Forge might be the only reason for a new IMBA chapter to exist, but my hunch is that nobody cares enough about it to do this and the encroachment of other chapters into what should have been phillymtba/septr/whatever territory will ensure that no one ever will.

    Hopefully the new bridge they are building will help increase bike and equestrian traffic to the point that the park has to take notice, but I imagine all those trails will remain undocumented for the foreseeable future.
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    Yeah, pretty much all of the singletrack is off limits to us, but it is poorly and irregularly enforced.

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    Its a damn shame, from the looks of things back there a handful of rogue bikers are the only people maintaining the trails too... Sorry for derailing the thread everyone.
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    I don't think Betzwood is off topic at all; it's absolutely right that it needs the most help right now.
    Still, I don't see how a regional group -- call it a coalition if you like, rather than an IMBA chapter -- wouldn't be an improvement over what we have now.
    Take a look at the Susquehanna Area Mtb Assoc. Web site (sambabiker.com); wouldn't it great to have that level of organization here?

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    Definitely! Valley Mountain Bikers, Trail Spinners and BAMBA are all great too, and have picked up a ton of slack in the suburbs. I guess Valley Forge's location isn't really a natural fit for any of those chapters though. I wonder if the fact that these chapters are doing such a good job will make it more difficult for the next incarnation of Philly / SEPA IMBA to get started? If a historically good place like French Creek was deteriorating rapidly I could see it being a good cause to rally behind and get the ball rolling but luckily that is not the case
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    i will add this as my view into the history of PMBA in the wiss.

    I have been around the mtb scene in philly since the beginning of PMBA (which was organized and formed by IMBA). For a while things worked really well and they seemed to bring out lots of new folks for trailwork and get lots of good stuff done (like RALLY in the VALLEY for example; a great event for a few years). Then things got territorial and it just seemed to divide into those with certain agendas and everyone else... Meetings turned into arguments, most of the organized trailwork stopped and some people did there own thing (including unauthorized trails/work)

    During this time a lot of the dedicated trail workers from PMBA jumped ship over to FOW to avoid all the growing BS and actually help the park like they had originally signed on with PMBA to do. So one benefit of the PMBA explosion was that FOW now has lots of very passionate mountain bikers working within it that have a big say in what goes on and help with all the projects that are currently being working on.

    If you want to help in the wiss your best bet is to get involved with them!

    FOW is on a roll these last couple years in helping bikes in the park (Legal biking in the meadows? The whole cresheim trail expansion? Who do you think we can thank for all that?). I know we can argue about the fun of the new "flow" style trails now being created vs. the older gnarlier sh!t it is replacing but realistically they are the only trails that will have a shot at standing up to the abuse the wiss riders regularly throw at them. Be happy us mountainbikers are even considered; be happy a few very responsible mountainbikers have our backs and have gotten to be very respected members of FOW and are willing to take our story to the hikers and horse folks who would happily throw us out of the park altogether.

    If PMBA proved anything it is that having many cooks in the kitchen isn't always a good thing. Let's not talk about creating more new groups; lets work to make the existing groups better and stronger. For the wiss that group is FOW.

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    'We don't need an MTB group because MTB riders should start volunteering at FOW trail days' -- great theory, but what about the reality?

    It has been over four years now since FOW banned PMBA from doing trail work in the Wiss. So:

    1. In those four years, how much success has FOW had in getting MTB volunteers out for trail days?
    2. On average, how many volunteers show up at FOW trail days?
    3. What reason is there to be confident that number will go way up in the near future?


    All this is not FOW's fault, there's plenty of blame to go around. But if you're afraid to answer those questions, how can keep saying that FOW makes an MTB group unnecessary for the Wiss?

    In my opinion, people who are posting here that we don't need an MTB group because MTB riders should all just go volunteer through FOW are ignoring the facts.

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    Quite a few, actually. The last trail day that I volunteered, it was roughly 50% mountain bikers, 50% hikers, about 8 people. The one before that, was 95% mountain bikers about a dozen total, although that day was not organized by FOW, but was an effort organized by mountain bikers, with the tacit approval of FOW. I've been recruited as a team leader by FOW and I know several other mtbers who are currently FOW team leaders. I have every reason to be confident that our numbers will go up in the future. In general, we are a respected community by the FOW, although rogue trail builders and the Dirty Juice-bags give us a black eye with their bad behavior.

    If I had the choice between donating time and money to a local group and having my $ stay local, or joining IMBA, have my money spread out nationwide and have a local group beset by politics and infighting like we had before, I'll stay local every time.

    What we have currently, are a bunch of people saying "Somebody ought to make a group to do..." meanwhile, we have groups that do just that, who would love to have people from the mountain biking community join them and lend a hand. I'd rather make shit happen than sit around and b¡tch about how somebody else oughh rrfgt to do things.

    FOW are having a number of trail days coming up, get involved and see what they're about: Upcoming Workdays | Friends of the Wissahickon

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantic View Post
    mostly, my concern is based on my experience of riding IMBA Trail Solutions-style trails and an impression that once those types of trails take root, they become the norm. I find them exceedingly boring.

    I thought IMBA was responsible for the DEMO I trail in the Wiss? Granted, Demo I is not Salisbury, but it is not bad.

    But I agree with you. There are very few intermediate trails available. Place like Middle Run and Nox are almost too easy and places like Salisbury and Bear Creek are too hard to take some beginners trying to make the leap. The Wiss used to be the middle ground - hard spots but all easily ridable. Places like that are getting hard to find...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantic View Post
    The last trail day that I volunteered, it was roughly 50% mountain bikers, 50% hikers, about 8 people.
    That's my point. For an FOW workday, the number of MTB volunteers who come out is 4. For PMBA, it was more like 4 dozen.

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    So what should FOW do in your opinion? Do they need the word mountainbike in their title to work with mountainbikers? Because other than that they have done everything else...

    What would get mountainbikers to help FOW more is if we would all spread the good word about what they are doing instead of this continual suspicion that seems to be perpetuated in our community that they somehow have a grand plan to ruin it for bikes in the park.

    I'll be honest i have 3 young kids so i don't get out to many organized trail days anymore but i'd bet a solid chunk of the people who show up on FOW trail work days are mountainbikers. How many? i dunno. never enough i'd guess...

    In my opinion those who say we need an specific MTB group in the wiss are overlooking the fact that there is a great group here already who looks out for our interests whether we choose to help them or not. You can either spread the word of their good deeds to try to get more bikers involved or you can continue to b!tch here that mountainbikers get no respect in the wiss "because we don't have our own group" I feel the latter is a huge waste of time. We got/tried our own thing, it failed miserably; now lets help those who are helping the park and have been all along.

    the whole hiker/biker/horse division is stupid especially at a place with as much traffic as wiss... we all need to get along or there is no hope for the future because it is just going to keep getting more and more crowded.

    finally i don't mean this to insult or be critical of anyone here but some of these arguments just seem a little circular to me. To me seems very easy to do your part in the wiss but some people just don't seem to want to help FOW; i don't get that???

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    Quote Originally Posted by max-a-mill View Post
    What would get mountainbikers to help FOW more is if we would all spread the good word about what they are doing instead of this continual suspicion that seems to be perpetuated in our community that they somehow have a grand plan to ruin it for bikes in the park.
    Cool, but if that was going to work now, why hasn't it worked over the past 4 years?

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    Was it working for PMBA beyond the first year or two? Cause I witnessed the end of that sh!tshow and it certainly didn't seem like it was working from where i was standing. As i said it was good (REALLY GOOD) for a little in the beginning...

    Also i don't see what you think isn't working for FOW? As i mentioned, in my opinion they are doing more good than ever! they have gotten bikes legal in the meadows; they added miles of trail up in cresheim... they help fund the private crew that is fixing lots of trail in the park; they have trail work days...

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    Quote Originally Posted by max-a-mill View Post
    i don't see what you think isn't working for FOW?
    See #15 above.

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    I guess we will agree to disagree that adding IMBA is some magic bullet.

    See the rise and fall of PMBA for a good example of how that can all go wrong and end up setting us back instead of helping us as a group long term.

    IMHO We need to work with others not set ourselves apart with our own organization. To me PMBA's failure was a good lesson in that. Had that worked out better I may have had a completely different opinion right now.

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    Here's the root of the problem as I see it.

    In my opinion, the thing that doomed PMBA/SEPTR was that their image was poisoned by their past. They worked hard to move past it -- kicked out members, signed pledges, spoke out for responsible riding, reported rogue trailbuilding and offered to help close, etc etc -- but, right or wrong, none of that was enough to regain trust from FOW or the city.

    Now FOW has the same problem: their image with a large segment of Wiss riders is poisoned by their past. They have done some big pro-MTB things recently, as many have pointed out in this thread. But, right or wrong, none of that has been enough to regain trust from many (I suspect most) riders.

    That's why, even years later, FOW's MTB volunteers are more or less limited to feuders, people whose main goal seems to be battling with the feuders on the other side, forever. (And then that negativity, in turn, repels a whole new generation potential volunteers.)

    At the core, that's why I'm skeptical that FOW is the answer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by max-a-mill View Post
    I guess we will agree to disagree that adding IMBA is some magic bullet.

    See the rise and fall of PMBA for a good example of how that can all go wrong and end up setting us back instead of helping us as a group long term.

    IMHO We need to work with others not set ourselves apart with our own organization. To me PMBA's failure was a good lesson in that. Had that worked out better I may have had a completely different opinion right now.
    I was wondering when you were going to chime in, as you are the one with most knowledge of the history of MTB in the Wiss. You hit it on the head with the too many cooks in the kitchen analogy and the need to stop setting ourselves apart.

    Another issue a Philly IMBA chapter would have is the difficulty they would have getting City approval to work in the park and building cred with the other organized groups. I suspect neither of those things would happen if at all.

    OldManBike seems to believe that IMBA would roll in waive its magic wand and an army of trail ninjas appear with Mcleods and start trail work in the Wiss. That is simply not reality and OldManBike, you are the one ignoring the facts. IMBA in Philly is not going to be effective for the parks in Philly. IMBA outside of Philly may be perfectly fine for suburbs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by justriding View Post
    Another issue a Philly IMBA chapter would have is the difficulty they would have getting City approval to work in the park and building cred with the other organized groups. I suspect neither of those things would happen if at all.

    OldManBike seems to believe that IMBA would roll in waive its magic wand and an army of trail ninjas appear with Mcleods and start trail work in the Wiss. That is simply not reality and OldManBike, you are the one ignoring the facts.
    Maybe so. Up to FOW. I'd think it's in their interest, but if they see it otherwise then you're probably right.

    We'll see. Anyway, think this is a healthy conversation to be having even if we don't see it the same.

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    OldManBike; i do see what your saying...

    but in your opinion isn't the PMBA/IMBA thing equally as poisoned now to everyone other than the bike crowd?

    I know people who built trails in the wiss 20 years back only to have them closed to bikes as soon as they were done. That poisoned lots of attitudes WAY back. But fortunately it also prompted a few folks to say f- the wiss for a time being; lets go do our own thing at belmont and another great trail system was born...

    The thing is this isn't the wild west anymore like it was 10, hell even 5, years back.... the general public and those in charge are slowly waking up to the great trail networks in their backyard more and more. To preserve what we have and make it even better we need a strong unified voice to protect these assets that we have helped grow into the awesome trails we have today. To me the answer isn't to fracture into all the separate user groups that use the parks but to come together.

    Think about the name for a sec; friends of the wissahickon... Who doesn't want to be the parks friend? It has certainly been a great friend to me over the years. The only reason i am typing all this crap is because i love it so damn much... ;-P

    We need to stop feuding and come together; that is the only way forward. As to how exactly we do that? I wish i had a magic wand for sure!

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    Quote Originally Posted by max-a-mill View Post
    We need to stop feuding and come together; that is the only way forward. As to how exactly we do that? I wish i had a magic wand for sure!
    I agree, obviously.

    Talk is cheap. Prove me wrong, I hope you do. I hope Gigantic and the rest of FOW get serious about getting past the negativity, renouncing their own role in the feuding, and building a community. Because just announcing workdays and then feeling self-righteous when nobody shows up isn't the way forward.

    You say FOW can get out real numbers of riders to do trail work? Prove it.

    You say FOW can win (or win back) the trust of real numbers of riders? Prove it.

    You say FOW can promote legitimate trailbuilding and discourage rogue trailwork by making the rogue builders the isolated minority, instead of you being the isolated minority? Prove it.

    I don't think you can, not through FOW. Please, prove me wrong.

    But in the meantime, I'm still where I started, hoping for for people -- positive people with energy -- to elbow aside the burned out feuders and make it happen.

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    talk is cheap fo sho...

    and that is all we can do here. you have as much power to take action as i do. as i say i have 3 young kids so i have about zero time on weekends these days but i still try to do my part.

    i got to speak on this though: FOW needs to renounce their role in the feuding???

    you act as if FOW has done anything other than try to do their best to work with mountainbikers in the past (well recent past in the bad ol days it was different but again that was 10+ years back at least)... You'd need to show me ANY negativity toward bikes expressed by FOW recently. If by feuding you mean FOW telling people to stop building stupid f#cking illegal trails what exactly do they have to apologize about???

    There are a cyclists in our community that owe apologies to us all and to FOW for being so dumb and thickheaded... It certainly isn't FOW that ever did anything to hurt PMBA or the mtb scene in the wiss; certain former members of PMBA did that all by themselves by repeatedly ignoring the rules and behaving like they had some special permission to do illegal sh!t in the park. Without all that this conversation would be different but please don't try to frame FOW as an equal bad party in that situation. They were just protecting the park from people who did not respect the rules of it just as they always have; and should continue to do.

    Finally i know discussion this has taken a bit of a negative slant (as all good internet arguments seem to) but calling Gigantic or anyone in FOW self-righteous is a little low. I know Gigantic personally, he is a great dude and I can tell you he has probably put in more trail work at the wiss and belmont than the rest of us posting on this thread combined. He is definitely not who you need to pick a fight with...

    You seem to want to build a relationship with IMBA? FOW already has one! Why don't you try to work to get the good word out through IMBA that FOW needs help. I am sure they would be happy to have yours (or anyone else's) help in that matter. FOW is not certainly anti-IMBA; hell they hired IMBA for thesustainable trails initiative that is the guideline by which all the new trails are being built. In fact all the new trails some of us bikers love to complain about were ALL designed by IMBA; ain't that a b!tch?

    We gotta get over this stuck in the past BS. I am not looking for any apologies; who cares anymore??? We should be over that bullsh!t by now. Lets get together and make great trails we can all be happy with. IMBA would be happy to help I am sure!

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    Quote Originally Posted by max-a-mill View Post
    i got to speak on this though: FOW needs to renounce their role in the feuding???

    you act as if FOW has done anything other than try to do their best to work with mountainbikers in the past (well recent past in the bad ol days it was different but again that was 10+ years back at least)... You'd need to show me ANY negativity toward bikes expressed by FOW recently. If by feuding you mean FOW telling people to stop building stupid f#cking illegal trails what exactly do they have to apologize about???
    I respect where you're coming from here, but I think it's more complicated than that.

    But I think it would be stupid to get into all that online. I don't think FOW are the bad guys and I don't want to add any fuel to that fire. So I'll concede you the point.

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    Ride Nox is part of VMB, and as such is now part of an IMBA chapter, VMB ended up moving to this recently:

    IMBA meeting minutes | VMB - Lehigh Valley, PA Mountain Bike Club

    ...the members are still waiting to see exactly how this benefits us. I have no input to add as to if it was a good idea or not.

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    My on the ground observation. I was riding Wiss about 3 weeks ago and saw a couple of guys with tools heading into a trail under construction. One guy was I think a former board member of FOW who was just getting into mountain biking the other is a paid pro builder who seemed to have a strong background in MTB trail building. They seem to be building multi use trails that favor MTB. Reality is you can only build multi use trails in that park with the number of various users served. They are very good trails for MTB in the city limits of Philly. I think FOW is doing an outstanding job navigating a gargantuan possibly corrupt bureaucracy that probably dosen't give a shit about sustainable trails.

    If a bike club is what you want find a different patch to build and I don't think Belmont is interested in meddling. However your most effective effort right now is volunteering at Wiss via FOW (or Belmont) they seem to have an ambitious trail improvement plan (it is on there website).

    I am a builder at Trexler if you have heard of it and we struggle with navigating the politics to improve a neglected park similar in size of Wiss. And we would kill for a pro builder, it's a ***** to get volunteers out of the hundreds of people that ride the place.

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    Yo Jared whats up thanks for bushwhacking, no good deed goes unpunished!

    Yes we do have a small group of volunteers that carry the water.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ABud View Post
    Yo Jared whats up thanks for bushwhacking, no good deed goes unpunished!

    Yes we do have a small group of volunteers that carry the water.
    No worries, I wish I could get out for the organized days but I'm always working. Will try to get back again on Sunday and do some more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldManBike View Post

    That's why, even years later, FOW's MTB volunteers are more or less limited to feuders, people whose main goal seems to be battling with the feuders on the other side, forever. (And then that negativity, in turn, repels a whole new generation potential volunteers.)
    I've gotta call bullsh¡t on this statement. The people that I know from the mountain biking community who do the lion's share of volunteering with FOW, guys like Ed Bush, Lance Honer, Nick & Chuck Uniatowski, & Tim Woods, as well as board members Dave Dannenberg & Heidi Grunwald, work harder to support the philly mtb community, not only at the Wiss, but Belmont & the pump track, too, than just about everyone else combined. They're not feuding with anyone, they don't have the [email protected]¢king time or energy.

    I'm relatively new here, so I don't have all the baggage that some people are clinging too. The only negativity I'm seeing if from people who are holding a grudge from 10 years ago and are not willing to accept the situation at hand. Negativity from people who build illegal trails, then cry about the meanies at FOW who shut them down because they were unsafe, unsustainable & built without clearance from Wissahickon's land managers. Negativity from people who refuse to accept that the Wissahickon trails are for everyone to use: hikers, equestrians and bikers alike, and instead treat the Wiss as their personal free-ride zone, riding with their hair on fire and bombing anyone who gets in their way, instead of behaving like responsible, courteous trail users. Negativity from people who don't show up to trail days and complain that it's not like it used to be and that their voices aren't being heard.

    do you want more mtb representation at the Wiss? Show up. Do you want input on trail decisions? show up. do you want to make a difference for the MTB community? Show up. do you want more mountain bikers at FOW trail days? Show up. It is that easy, just show up. I guarantee you that the FOW would be happy to have you, they'd even be happy to have the rogue trail people there; that doesn't mean that we'll always get our way, but by showing up, our input and activity will be respected and ultimately, our segment will have a stronger voice within the FOW. You just have to show up. That is all.

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    Yeah. You sincerely believe the whole 'we're good, they're bad' bit. Fine. As I said above, my view is that it's more complicated but that airing the sins of the past here is not constructive.

    The thing you're ducking is why the 'Join Team FOW' plan will work now when it has failed for over four years. Why it's failed might be fun to argue about, but in the end why is beside the point.

    ​Your goal in this thread is to talk people out of starting a new MTB group. You think everyone should join FOW instead. But my view is, whether they should join FOW or not, the fact that they haven't for years makes me think they probably won't now. That's why I don't find your argument against a new group convincing.

    Gigantic (and max-a-mill and justriding), I bet that, our internet-weenie-waving aside, we agree on 99.9% of our vision of how the Wiss ought to be. One of these days, people like us are going to work together again, and mountain-biking in the Wiss will be better for it.

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    BitterOldBikerMan I think starting a new Philly bike club is a great idea but how does it make sense to do so to somehow build trails in Wiss.? Are you going to push FOW out of the park? Carve a section of the park for MTB only trails? Have a competing master trail plan adopted by the city? Yes we may agree the trails in the park could be better for mountain biking if they were our exclusive design and use. That just does not seem like a practical scenario.

    Sometimes the greater "Bike Club" (leadership) has a way of disrupting effective local trail efforts, ask Kenny trail boss at Nox. He hasn't always felt that warm fuzzy from VMB. That may have something to do with the name Belmont Plateau Trail Alliance, the word Bike clearly absent. Sometimes mountain bikers are their own worst enemy. I like the Trail Alliance concept and FOW, when land is scarce and population dense we cannot always claim it exclusively MTB. In this situation we must be inclusive of other users including those pesky Equine. When we win them over and benefit their cause they will support ours and maybe we convince them about that one oneway downhill we would like. I suggest stop looking from the outside in and volunteer with FOW that may be an education for everyone all the way around and the trail gets built. In time you may have an influence on things but don't get pushy be a good soldier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ABud View Post
    BitterOldBikerMan I think starting a new Philly bike club is a great idea but how does it make sense to do so to somehow build trails in Wiss.? Are you going to push FOW out of the park? Carve a section of the park for MTB only trails? Have a competing master trail plan adopted by the city? Yes we may agree the trails in the park could be better for mountain biking if they were our exclusive design and use. That just does not seem like a practical scenario.
    Um, no. FOW and the City call the shots. I'm talking about an MTB group doing trail work with FOW's blessing, like PMBA used to.

    And I ain't bitter. I'm the can't-we-all-just-get-along one here.

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    Apologies OldManBiker I was trying to be funny but it was a cheap shot.

    Now that I understand what you want I still think you as an individual willing to give your service to someone else's idea would go so much farther to your desired goal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldManBike View Post
    Yeah. You sincerely believe the whole 'we're good, they're bad' bit. Fine. As I said above, my view is that it's more complicated but that airing the sins of the past here is not constructive.

    The thing you're ducking is why the 'Join Team FOW' plan will work now when it has failed for over four years. Why it's failed might be fun to argue about, but in the end why is beside the point.

    ​Your goal in this thread is to talk people out of starting a new MTB group. You think everyone should join FOW instead. But my view is, whether they should join FOW or not, the fact that they haven't for years makes me think they probably won't now. That's why I don't find your argument against a new group convincing.

    Gigantic (and max-a-mill and justriding), I bet that, our internet-weenie-waving aside, we agree on 99.9% of our vision of how the Wiss ought to be. One of these days, people like us are going to work together again, and mountain-biking in the Wiss will be better for it.
    i think you're misinterpreting my statements. i've never made an 'us vs them' dialectic beyond making a case that rogue trail builders are counterproductive. As to why the FOW hasn't succeeded in bringing more of the mountain biking community not the fold, i'm not qualified to say anything with certainty. in my opinion, it seems that A. They haven't tried particularly hard. B. We don't have a cohesive Mountain biking community- what we have is highly fragmented and diverse. i'm mostly familiar with the xc racer community, particularly the 25-50 guys and a few women who show up to the weekly Belmont underground series and go racing on the weekends. These people are serious about riding and training, but are mostly entering middle phases of their lives, starting families and investing in their careers. Given the choice between riding or digging in their limited spare time, many choose to ride. - we also have a larger, more casual riding population, who aren't into trail activism, who ride a few times a month and don't really consider the things that we're bickering about. i think this group is probably 65-75% of the riding population and they're simply not being reached by anyone. i'm also not advocating that people shouldn't start an MTB group, merely that, particularly in the city, one would be very redundant, particularly at this point, an imba chapter.

    what i do know is this: i love riding and riding has made enough of an impact on my life that i want to give back and build trails. i have a strong background not only in construction, but in organizing groups in the non-profit sector. From my considerable experience with npo cat-herding, i believe that, for the time being, the path of least resistance, is working with the existing trail organizations and that we, as mountain bikers, can exert more influence by working with FOW and BPTA (which is primarily a mountain bike-centric group) until we reach enough critical mass that it makes sense to form an imba chapter to better lobby our cause. i don't think that we're even remotely close to that, as SEPTR has demonstrated. Forming such a group from the ground up, without a significant swell of energy from the community at large to propel it forward, will almost certainly doom it to failure.

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    So, what about the suburban trails? They're languishing. The Wiss at least has FOW. There is NOTHING out here.
    And what about advocacy for NEW trail systems?
    The paved bike trails are a big for the local governments; I'd imagine there could be support for singletrack networks too... (I think Harmony Hill is managed by the township.)
    Again, I see IMBA chapters doing great stuff on trails around the outskirts Harrisburg, Allentown, Wilmington and Scranton ... But nothing here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Z. Ryder View Post
    So, what about the suburban trails? They're languishing. The Wiss at least has FOW. There is NOTHING out here.
    And what about advocacy for NEW trail systems?
    The paved bike trails are a big for the local governments; I'd imagine there could be support for singletrack networks too... (I think Harmony Hill is managed by the township.)
    Again, I see IMBA chapters doing great stuff on trails around the outskirts Harrisburg, Allentown, Wilmington and Scranton ... But nothing here.
    What suburban trails are you talking about?
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    Betzwood, Green Lane, Harmony Hill, Marsh Creek, Smedley, Evansburg, Neshaminy. Pennypack? White Clay and Brandywine/Woodlawn extend into Pa. Ridley Creek sp doesn't have mtbing but could.

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    Just a few bike loving FOW Team leaders out clearing trails at the Wiss yesterday.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Z. Ryder View Post
    Betzwood, Green Lane, Harmony Hill, Marsh Creek, Smedley, Evansburg, Neshaminy. Pennypack? White Clay and Brandywine/Woodlawn extend into Pa. Ridley Creek sp doesn't have mtbing but could.
    Oh. I have not ridden many of those but Green lane is in great shape thanks to some hard work (by a dedicated few). White clay and brandywine are great as well. It would be great to see more suburban trails but personally, I am very happy to have Green lane, nox and Stover to ride on a daily basis. But more would be better.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Z. Ryder View Post
    Betzwood, Green Lane, Harmony Hill, Marsh Creek, Smedley, Evansburg, Neshaminy. Pennypack? White Clay and Brandywine/Woodlawn extend into Pa. Ridley Creek sp doesn't have mtbing but could.
    If interested in helping at Green Lane, keep and eye on the thread in here on the trail conditions. TeamGLP has a relationship with the park trail manager, and occasionally work days pop up if it's too wet to ride. But as Alexcuse said, it's very much grassroots, with no real "organization" backing it. Though I've heard an area shop claims to be doing trailwork there, I've never seen it. There is work to be done, but riding conditions have been good and it's been getting overgrown. I did a bunch last year, but work has been eating my free time this year. The picker bushes are getting overgrown really bad and need weedwhacked back. I know there are trees down that need addressed too, and I'm not afraid to go handle it, I just need to find the time. Hell, there's even a new upper blue section marked and ok'd but it needs a lot of chainsaw work to rideable, winter was hard on it.
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    my impression the FOW is that they are all horse people and do not care about mountain bikers. I ride with a lot of different people and they feel the same way. I think if you want FOW to be seen as a mountain bike friendly group and has a mountain bikers interest they need to do some public out reach.Why not have beginner mountain biker days or organized group rides like IMBA used to do?

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    In re Green Lane: this is a place that could benefit immensely from IMBA support. I'm aware of the grassroots work being done (if only through these forums; I've only been there a couple times) and it's awesome, but it sure seems like they could use some help -- especially considering the fact that the land managers support what they're doing.
    There is a lot of potential for that trail network to grow; I'm sure more locals would pitch in if there were a group to co-ordinate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Z. Ryder View Post
    In re Green Lane: this is a place that could benefit immensely from IMBA support. I'm aware of the grassroots work being done (if only through these forums; I've only been there a couple times) and it's awesome, but it sure seems like they could use some help -- especially considering the fact that the land managers support what they're doing.
    There is a lot of potential for that trail network to grow; I'm sure more locals would pitch in if there were a group to co-ordinate.
    Yes, but I don't want the blue or Orange trail ruined. Those trails have a nice balance of rock and roots that makes it fun.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug S View Post
    my impression the FOW is that they are all horse people and do not care about mountain bikers. I ride with a lot of different people and they feel the same way. I think if you want FOW to be seen as a mountain bike friendly group and has a mountain bikers interest they need to do some public out reach.Why not have beginner mountain biker days or organized group rides like IMBA used to do?
    My problem is that for the most part, all the new trails being built in the Wiss are walking trails -not even hiking trails. From the Meadows, to the new trails around kitchens lane. Just smooth walking trails.
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    Why would the Orange and Blue trails get ruined? The only reason that would happen if the land managers or local riders wanted that, and apparently they don't.

    Quote Originally Posted by pointerDixie214 View Post
    This is true on all counts. As a SAMBA board member I am proud to say that we can claim some of the rockiest trails around as fallng under our current care. Rattling Creek, Gov Dick, and Camp Mack are ALL very rocky and I can assure you that no one in our organization has ANY desire to pave paradise at any of them.

    To my knowledge, IMBA has made no attempts thusfar to tell us what we can and cannot do. It is my understanding that the red tape exists primarily in the hands of the land managers/owners and insurance companies. And most of that exists around the prohibition or at least regulation of building man-made obstacles, etc...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Z. Ryder View Post
    In re Green Lane: this is a place that could benefit immensely from IMBA support. I'm aware of the grassroots work being done (if only through these forums; I've only been there a couple times) and it's awesome, but it sure seems like they could use some help -- especially considering the fact that the land managers support what they're doing.
    There is a lot of potential for that trail network to grow; I'm sure more locals would pitch in if there were a group to co-ordinate.
    I would also disagree with that. There's not a lot that can be done due to the horse traffic on the trails. No bridges or man made stuff. The park isn't looking to expand the trail system. Just maintain what it has. More attention brings more people and that brings rogue building, there's already some of that going on in the guerrilla cross area. I think we're getting by ok as is. Also seems like IMBA is a lot of politics, we don't need that. I prefer just silently going in and doing what needs done.

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    "I prefer just silently going in and doing what needs done"

    isn't this rogue trail building?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug S View Post
    "I prefer just silently going in and doing what needs done"

    isn't this rogue trail building?
    Absolutely not. I only maintain existing trails. Remove fallen trees, prune back overgrowth. No building at all. Just the park frowns on chainsaw use for liability issues. Even if they know trees are down they don't address it. Hell, we finally reopened a stretch of upper blue last fall that had blowdown from Sandy still.
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    Philly & the IMBA

    I get the desire to do your own thing, but it takes 3 years for a trail to get cleared and everything is fine as is?
    I'm not complaining or criticizing, just sayin'.
    Also, I think some organization to counteract the influence of the horse people around here would be a real good thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    My problem is that for the most part, all the new trails being built in the Wiss are walking trails -not even hiking trails. From the Meadows, to the new trails around kitchens lane. Just smooth walking trails.
    I completely agree with this and it really bums me out. Just look at the trails being built on the Roxborough side in the last few months. I understand the areas that are being rerouted and redone have generally suffered from washout and poor drainage, but a lot of challenging sections in recent years are being replaced with completely smooth trail with not a rock or root in sight.

    Funny how I started riding a much rocker wiss with a 26" full rigid Rockhopper and now I'm sporting a 5" travel wonder bike to ride smooth trail. No wonder my skills keep getting worse

    And for the record, I haven't participated in much trail maintenance so I don't have a leg to stand on, but I give a good chunk of change to the FOW every year which entitles me to complain on the internet occasionally .

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    most of the new trails seem smooth because they are brand new and need to be made sustainably and accommodate all user groups (for example; horse people generally are not fans of rocky trails; from what i hear).

    more mountain bikers out helping on trail days would probably lead to more mountain bike friendly features on the trails.

    that said give the new trails a few years; they are plenty smooth on top but are built with plenty of rock. i bet all the old technical trails you were used to riding started life as wide boring trails then erosion happened. this will happen to a certain extent on new trails as well.

    finally; not to pick on you JD but why do you need a 5" travel bike for the wiss? I ride the wiss exclusively on a rigid singlespeed (it is just what i have and i can only afford one bike). without any gears or suspension you get TONS of extra challenge. if your trails are getting less technical maybe your bikes should follow suit?

    that said i don't think the wiss is any less tech than it has been; there are just lots of new trails; these trails will develop "character" over time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by max-a-mill View Post

    that said give the new trails a few years; they are plenty smooth on top but are built with plenty of rock. i bet all the old technical trails you were used to riding started life as wide boring trails then erosion happened. this will happen to a certain extent on new trails as well.

    finally; not to pick on you JD but why do you need a 5" travel bike for the wiss? I ride the wiss exclusively on a rigid singlespeed (it is just what i have and i can only afford one bike). without any gears or suspension you get TONS of extra challenge. if your trails are getting less technical maybe your bikes should follow suit?
    Hope you're right, perhaps the new trails will get more technical over time...we'll see.

    As for the 5" travel bike, I knew that was gonna draw some comments; it was said partly tongue and cheek...it's a 4" travel bike

    Also, up until recently I was exclusively onboard with the full rigid, single speed thing and still use that bike for belmont. But for wiss, I'm afraid my knees, wrists and back need a break. Plus I find full suspension playful in a way that rigid bikes aren't, just need to find more rocks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by max-a-mill View Post
    most of the new trails seem smooth because they are brand new and need to be made sustainably and accommodate all user groups (for example; horse people generally are not fans of rocky trails; from what i hear).

    more mountain bikers out helping on trail days would probably lead to more mountain bike friendly features on the trails.

    that said give the new trails a few years; they are plenty smooth on top but are built with plenty of rock. i bet all the old technical trails you were used to riding started life as wide boring trails then erosion happened. this will happen to a certain extent on new trails as well.

    finally; not to pick on you JD but why do you need a 5" travel bike for the wiss? I ride the wiss exclusively on a rigid singlespeed (it is just what i have and i can only afford one bike). without any gears or suspension you get TONS of extra challenge. if your trails are getting less technical maybe your bikes should follow suit?

    that said i don't think the wiss is any less tech than it has been; there are just lots of new trails; these trails will develop "character" over time.
    I get shouted down for this every time I post it but the Wiss is a shadow of itself. I have ridden the Wiss since 1991. Every single trail is dramatically easier (with one major exception) - what became the monster, the ride to the chief, the ride up from valley green, all of it. The only thing that might be more difficult is the back side of the Chief.

    The wiss is now made for SS 29ers. It was not always the case.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Z. Ryder View Post
    Why would the Orange and Blue trails get ruined? The only reason that would happen if the land managers or local riders wanted that, and apparently they don't.

    When organized groups start "Trail improvements" - it generally leads to crap trails for mountain bikers. The Blue and Orange trails are really nice trails that should be left alone. If that goes, all we will have is Salisbury and south mountain, the last of the area's jewels.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    I get shouted down for this every time I post it but the Wiss is a shadow of itself. I have ridden the Wiss since 1991. Every single trail is dramatically easier (with one major exception) - what became the monster, the ride to the chief, the ride up from valley green, all of it. The only thing that might be more difficult is the back side of the Chief.

    The wiss is now made for SS 29ers. It was not always the case.
    Me and my group of buddies have been riding wiss since about 99 so not quite as long, but all say pretty much the same thing. Wiss used to be way more technical. Even if the newer trails get more difficult over time (I have my doubts), I don't see it going back to the way it was. I also wonder if there will be increased conflict between users going forward. Bikers can go way faster in some sections now, to the point where I don't even like hiking some parts for fear of getting creamed.

    The good news is Belmont has come into its own in the last few years as a good substitute for some challenge (though certainly not the same rocky terrain) so that's encouraging!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    When organized groups start "Trail improvements" - it generally leads to crap trails for mountain bikers. The Blue and Orange trails are really nice trails that should be left alone. If that goes, all we will have is Salisbury and south mountain, the last of the area's jewels.
    Interesting. Salisbury and south mountain are under the purview, or whatever you wanna call it, of the (Lehigh) Valley Mountain Bikers, which is a chapter of the IMBA.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Z. Ryder View Post
    Interesting. Salisbury and south mountain are under the purview, or whatever you wanna call it, of the (Lehigh) Valley Mountain Bikers, which is a chapter of the IMBA.
    Yes, but for the most part VMB has done everything themselves. If VMB was involved, it could be a good thing.
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    That's how it works: the IMBA has resources available, and the chapters use what they want but are independent.

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    well what we are seeing at the wiss is the IMBA trail model being put into place. regardless of whether you like that new style of trail or not it is the new normal and was created mostly by; you guessed it, your fellow mountain bikers at IMBA.

    we should not forget how spoiled we are in philly; thank JEEBUS for belmont, there are lots of good folks working to keep that place tight, twisty, and littered with rocks and logs! and thank goodness we have french creek and mt penn where you can rattle your brain in rock gardens all day long...

    Sure the wiss is changing but change doesn't have to be bad. I certainly had a blast riding there last night and hauling ass through those new trails was super fun! I feel we can complain about the changes or embrace them and try to shape them to make the best possible outcome for the mtb community. Go read the sustainable trails initiative it will tell you all you need to know; the main trial is going to be completely different eventually.

    On my ride last night I was riding with a guy who has also been riding there since pretty much the dawn of the mtb in philly. While we were talking and he mentioned an old friend who had moved away 10-15 years back and how he wouldn't recognize the park these days. Thing is, I don't think he meant it in a bad way...

    I think if you want extreme trails anymore you gotta pay to ride a lift or go out to the sticks where you don't have the zillions of users a place like the wiss does...

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    Quote Originally Posted by max-a-mill View Post
    well what we are seeing at the wiss is the IMBA trail model being put into place. regardless of whether you like that new style of trail or not it is the new normal and was created mostly by; you guessed it, your fellow mountain bikers at IMBA.

    we should not forget how spoiled we are in philly; thank JEEBUS for belmont, there are lots of good folks working to keep that place tight, twisty, and littered with rocks and logs! and thank goodness we have french creek and mt penn where you can rattle your brain in rock gardens all day long...

    Sure the wiss is changing but change doesn't have to be bad. I certainly had a blast riding there last night and hauling ass through those new trails was super fun! I feel we can complain about the changes or embrace them and try to shape them to make the best possible outcome for the mtb community. Go read the sustainable trails initiative it will tell you all you need to know; the main trial is going to be completely different eventually.

    On my ride last night I was riding with a guy who has also been riding there since pretty much the dawn of the mtb in philly. While we were talking and he mentioned an old friend who had moved away 10-15 years back and how he wouldn't recognize the park these days. Thing is, I don't think he meant it in a bad way...

    I think if you want extreme trails anymore you gotta pay to ride a lift or go out to the sticks where you don't have the zillions of users a place like the wiss does...
    I will agree that these are good times for MTBer's in the Philly area. 10 years ago, we had the Wiss, Belmont (which was less maintained), Green lane (but poorly maintained and no official blue or orange), a bad shape stover, a poorly maintained Pennypack and that was about it. Now, Belmont is a hidden jewel, different but still fun, Green lane has become really nice, and Nox is nice to have. Stover is still there and I love it but it needs work.

    And you are right, places like Salisbury and French Creek are still there and fun. But the Wiss was once so good, there was no need to leave. But you are right, times change and that park has. All things must pass.

    For those that don't know about the FOW Sustainable trails initiative here are some important points:

    • closing 22 miles of existing trails and refilling and replanting the trail beds,
    • replacing these closed trail segments with newly designed re-routes,
    • substantially rebuilding and improving an additional 22 miles of existing trails,

    Max is right, the FOW is going to change the trail system in the Wiss, and in my mind, not for the better. But again, all things must pass.
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    Philly & the IMBA

    So Salisbury is under the VMB; and Mt Penn and French Creek are under Berks Area MBA. Camp Mack, Gretna and Rattling Creek (as mentioned recently in another similar thread) is Susquehanna Area MBA. All are IMBA chapters, and all the trails are fairly rocky and technical.
    I don't buy the argument that IMBA is out to dumb everything down. All the spots "in the sticks" are in IMBA chapter areas. It's nice, because they all have good Web sites with trail info, closure and maintenance updates, maps, directions...

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    Relatively new to the mtb scene and I'm assuming "technical refers to rocks and roots", but I personally like the smooth sections you can fly down with small bumps to catch some air.

    Perhaps that's my personal riding style, but I'd like to see more drops and jumps to make those downhill sections more fun and "technical".

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    The wiss trails are multi-user trails. as such, it is highly unlikely that you will ever see purpose-built drops, jumps and gaps- it's just not that kind of trail and the speeds that those sorts of features require creates a significant hazard to other trail users. Remember that technically, our speeds at the Wiss are limited to 7 mph, which, in and of itself, is ridiculous, but the spirit of the rule requires that we ride in a manner that is safe and respectful of other trail users. If you want jumps, go to a bike park where bikes are the only user group.

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    Fair points. I'm not talking about 15 foot booters, just moderate table tops or something that's safe for everyone. No gaps necessary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonezed7 View Post
    Relatively new to the mtb scene and I'm assuming "technical refers to rocks and roots", but I personally like the smooth sections you can fly down with small bumps to catch some air.

    Perhaps that's my personal riding style, but I'd like to see more drops and jumps to make those downhill sections more fun and "technical".
    See, in a multi use setting, I think trails like that cause problems (actually what Gigantic said below).
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    So many people post on the internet complaining about how the Wiss is dumbed down. But, the funny thing is, when you're actually out there, what you usually see is everyone riding around all the great challenging features that are there.

    I humbly submit that, before you complain, you might ask yourself if you're really taking advantage of all the fun injury opportunities the Wiss has to offer.

  99. #99
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    This has been an interesting thread. In the 20+ years I have been riding the Wiss, I really never thought about donating time. I think it is time!

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    OldManBike I have totally noticed that trend lately!

    Lately I seem to have to stop and close at least one reroute everytime i ride. Apparently some people definitely still think the wiss is too hard. I don't get the self entitlement that says "since i can't ride this i should be able to dumb it down to where i can..."

    As you learn to love the wiss over the course of years and watch it grow get destroyed and reborn many times over you will learn to grow a thick skin. the place gets used HARD by all kinds of people in all kinds of weather. You just have to learn to enjoy it as it is and do your best to keep it as nice as you can. Thinking about it; i can't really think of any "real" multi-use trail system in the whole US that sees the traffic the wiss does. I am sure most of you have noticed more and more folks in the park over the years so the park will keep needing to change and improve handle the ever increasing loads. To me this isn't good or bad; but it is important to see the bigger picture and realize that mountain bikes are really just a small part of a much larger puzzle that is this park.

  101. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldManBike View Post
    So many people post on the internet complaining about how the Wiss is dumbed down. But, the funny thing is, when you're actually out there, what you usually see is everyone riding around all the great challenging features that are there.

    I humbly submit that, before you complain, you might ask yourself if you're really taking advantage of all the fun injury opportunities the Wiss has to offer.
    Quote Originally Posted by max-a-mill View Post
    OldManBike I have totally noticed that trend lately!

    Lately I seem to have to stop and close at least one reroute everytime i ride. Apparently some people definitely still think the wiss is too hard. I don't get the self entitlement that says "since i can't ride this i should be able to dumb it down to where i can..."

    As you learn to love the wiss over the course of years and watch it grow get destroyed and reborn many times over you will learn to grow a thick skin. the place gets used HARD by all kinds of people in all kinds of weather. You just have to learn to enjoy it as it is and do your best to keep it as nice as you can. Thinking about it; i can't really think of any "real" multi-use trail system in the whole US that sees the traffic the wiss does. I am sure most of you have noticed more and more folks in the park over the years so the park will keep needing to change and improve handle the ever increasing loads. To me this isn't good or bad; but it is important to see the bigger picture and realize that mountain bikes are really just a small part of a much larger puzzle that is this park.
    Name:  stupid.gif
Views: 345
Size:  628 Bytes100% I haven't been riding as long as many of y'all, but in a relatively short span of time, the Wiss has changed considerably, some for good, some bad; between the effects of weather and attempts to counteract that, it is in a constant state of flux.

    My first time there, the Rox side was completely rutted out and full of really bad washouts and gullies; this is less and less the case. It's true that some of the new trails and reroutes are a lot easier than what they've replaced, but like Max mentioned, beginner and intermediate riders making their own go-arounds are as responsible for dumbing down the trails as the FOW. There are also some great gems that have been built by FOW volunteers, particularly the Cresheim trails. At the same time, there are plenty of wicked technical climbs that I struggle to clean and I have fun every time I ride there. Like Oldman said, here remain plenty of fun opportunities for injury there.

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    Liking or not liking the trails FOW and FoCT have built in the past couple years is just a matter of opinion. Here's mine: I think they're great. The new trails at Kitchens, the meadows, Bluebell, Cresheim, Gorgas -- every one puts a smile on my face. They're not as rocky as the indian or rockvegas, but that style variety is part of what I love most about the place.

    And I don't share the view that, because the new trails are less rocky, that means they're boring or dumbed-down. Example: the old legal down to Gorgas, where you went through that big cut out tree and then bounced down the rocks at the bottom. Yeah, that was rocky, but it wasn't very hard and it wasn't any fun. The new trail that just replaced is smoother, but it's got a log ride and a rock wall with a drop and some nice corners. Less rocks, but more challenging and IMO waaay more fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    The wiss is now made for SS 29ers.
    Well, you must be one bad MFer to be yawning your way down widowmaker, down from the meadow, and down from bluebell. I know some skilled DH guys who don't share your superior boredom.

    I love rocky tech in the wiss, and the last thing I'd want is to see the whole Wiss turned into raystown or tsali. But I don't see that. Like I've said, if the Wiss is too easy for you you're doing it wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldManBike View Post
    Example: the old legal down to Gorgas, where you went through that big cut out tree and then bounced down the rocks at the bottom. Yeah, that was rocky, but it wasn't very hard and it wasn't any fun. The new trail that just replaced is smoother, but it's got a log ride and a rock wall with a drop and some nice corners. Less rocks, but more challenging and IMO waaay more fun.



    Well, you must be one bad MFer to be yawning your way down widowmaker, down from the meadow, and down from bluebell. I know some skilled DH guys who don't share your superior boredom.

    I love rocky tech in the wiss, and the last thing I'd want is to see the whole Wiss turned into raystown or tsali. But I don't see that. Like I've said, if the Wiss is too easy for you you're doing it wrong.
    Actually, the new trail down to Gorges is fun but the old section was also fun going both up and down as well.

    Never said it was too easy but no point discussing this anymore. Lets just ride.
    It is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantic View Post
    Wissahickon has the Friends of the Wissahickon, and Friends of the Cresheim Trail; there are many advocates for mountain biking on the boards and volunteering as team leaders. Whereas the trails at Belmont are primarily used by mountain bikers (although nominally labeled as multi-use trails) and we have primary consideration there, the trails at the Wiss are most certainly multi-use trails, with a variety of interests clamoring for usage and input. As such, there is often a notion amongst a certain segment of mtb-ers that use the park, that we are a marginalized segment and that the FOW works against our community. This is most certainly not the case.
    Okay, Gigantic. You said FOW is the only advocacy group we need in the Wiss. Now we have this new dumb 6 p.m. curfew.

    Prove me wrong.

  105. #105
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    the 6 pm date is when the parking lots close, same as it ever was. During the winter deer cull, the park will close at 8, same as it ever was. There's nothing new going on that hasn't been in effect for the past several years.

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    I don't recall ever not being able to park at livezy pavilion for a quick post-work ride after 6pm. Obviously I could be wrong, but I seem to remember an 8pm gate closure.


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    the night time trail closures used to be later. and only for a few weeks not all winter... someone is definitely not making things any better in that regard.

    the lot closures in a total non-issue to me. there are SO MANY spots to park right outside every gate. if you might be in the park after dark just park in the street. probably safer than the lots anyhow... if you need a good spot to park for night rides; the houston playground is super well lit and usually has basketball and hockey games every night so there are usually plenty of people around.

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    Another good spot to park is where Roxborough Ave dead ends by the golf coarse or down by Janette Street trail head. I never park there since I live close by, but it's a safe location and where I usually jump on the trails.

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    Yeah for sure, I have no issue with parking, plenty of reasonably safe spots with easy access, just thought it strange how early the gates get locked now. I would, however, love to have better info about specifics of the deer cull. They were a lot more clear about that in the past; maybe there's just no concrete info yet?


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    justo - from what i can tell; it only happens a few nights a year... i believe they have always been purposely ambiguous about it so the pro-bambi crowd can't go out and sabotage their efforts.

    as i said they used to close the park nightly for a month or so for this. now i think they just use it as an opportunity to try to keep people out of the park at night all winter??? btw i was told this is for all city parks so belmont and pennypack also are under the same curfew. Never seen a sign at belmont though... anyone ever notice curfew signs at pennypack?

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    There were signs at belmont, on the fire road from the plateau to the recycling center, last winter.

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    Nicely said!

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