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  1. #1
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    Single vs. Doubletrack - Rocks level it out.

    I know, I know—we've already beaten the single- versus doubletrack thing to death...in which we discovered (amongst other things) that many MTBers think if it's not singletrack, it's not MTBing.

    I was out riding some doubletrack last night, and it was rocky and rutted and kicking my ass! And this got me thinking that ROCKS are "The Great Leveler" in the sense that nobody can say a long pile of rocks that's only 2-feet wide is better than a long pile of rocks that's 10-feet wide! (At least not without being totally irrational!)

    I can understand and even agree that smooth/buff singletrack that twists and winds around is more fun than a smooth doubletrack trail.

    But there are a lot of ROCKY doubletrack trails that are absolute hell for an MTBer...and these kinds of doubletrack completely shatter notions like "doubletrack is for pu$$ies" or "doubletrack isn't challenging."

    ---
    Part of what still puzzles me about this whole singletrack bias issue is...where does it come from?

    Do MTBers somehow take pleasure in riding narrow trails because they think only THEY can actually ride them? (e.g. they're too narrow for ATVs or horses or vehicles).

    Does knowing that you might share a trail (at different times) with ATVers or horses somehow make it "less special?"

    My point is that a preference for singletrack cannot be rooted in challenge...because (as I pointed out above) there are doubletrack trails that are easily as difficult as any singletrack on earth and will kick your ass.

    So if the challenge isn't the thing that makes people biased toward singletrack, what is it?

    Scott

    PS - I'm not trying to pick any fights, BTW. I'm just genuinely curious where the singletrack bias comes from. That's all. I'd really appreciate hearing from people who avoid doubletrack at all costs to better understand where they're coming from!
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  2. #2
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    I can understand and even agree that smooth/buff singletrack that twists and winds around is more fun than a smooth doubletrack trail.
    You answered your own question.

  3. #3
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    Where I'm at the double track (fire and oil field roads) have a lot of very difficult areas. Rocks, ruts, very long and very steep climbs, etc. So they can be every bit as challenging as singletrack. However, most are out in the open which is not a good thing in the summer when its 100+ wtih 110+ heat index. I like trees and shade! And yeah, there is something about the isolation on a singletrack. Ours trails aren't heavily traveled so its not uncommon not see see anyone. I ride both but primarily singletrack. Sorry for being long winded.
    If ya ain't bleedin'...ya ain't ridin'.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by sxotty
    You answered your own question.
    Yeah, true—but there a LOT of MTBers who live for rocks, rocks, and more rocks. For those folks, the singletrack advantage kinda disappears when you have rocky doubletrack.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisF_999
    Where I'm at the double track (fire and oil field roads) have a lot of very difficult areas. Rocks, ruts, very long and very steep climbs, etc. So they can be every bit as challenging as singletrack. However, most are out in the open which is not a good thing in the summer when its 100+ wtih 110+ heat index. I like trees and shade! And yeah, there is something about the isolation on a singletrack. Ours trails aren't heavily traveled so its not uncommon not see see anyone. I ride both but primarily singletrack. Sorry for being long winded.
    Totally makes sense about doubletrack in the open on hot days. (I'd hate that too!) Where I live (the Appalachians) we have many, many miles of rutted, rooty, rocky doubletrack that had its origins in old mining and logging trails from the early 20th (and often 19th) centuries. And most of these are under total tree canopy the whole way.

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  5. #5
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    You mean like trying to ride something like this?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zX3sK4wWh8s
    Being trying to ride this 100 yards without falling for a while.

  6. #6
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    I've said it before, and I'll say it again.

    I've ridden on doubletrack trails that were maintained well and were great on a bike (in Pisgah, as I see you are probably familiar with, as well as Utah). I've also ridden on doubletrack trails that have been absolutely wrecked by irresponsible 4-wheelers who dig deep mud pits (or sand pits) by spinning their tires intentionally (IN, OH, MI, TX). that ****'s no fun to ride.

    I am also less interested in straight grades up a mountain than flowy contour trail.

  7. #7
    The White Jeff W
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    ATV trails in the Michaux State Forest in PA. I used to love to ride these when I lived near there. Basically narrow doubletrack. There was miles of this stuff.



    No moss...

  8. #8
    local trails rider
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    Many of the better trails here are remains of some forestry machine tracks that people started using for walking and riding. Sometimes one side is obviously a preferable line and the other side gets overgrown.

  9. #9
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    All good posts. I think the point (at least that I'm making) is that BOTH single- and doubletrack trails can be...

    a) GREAT! or
    b) CRAPPY.

    In my experience just because a trail is singletrack is NOT a guarantee it'll be good. Likewise, just because a trail is doubletrack is NOT a guarantee that it'll suck.

    Anyone who rides those Michaux State Forest trails (see photo above) can rightfully say "Singletrack is for pu$$ies."

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  10. #10
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    Narrow the rocky double track to rocky single track and you end up with less line choices = MORE challenge.

  11. #11
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    what about when you add rocks to singletrack? doesn't that just increase the difficulty and enjoyment of singletrack? nobody is saying that doubletrack is horrible, but anyone who rides a lot knows that singletrack is what it is all about...

  12. #12
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    In my opinion single track will always be more challenging because there is less room. Fewer lines, less room to make mistakes regardless of trail conditions. I also feel that the way single track trails are built are different from double track. Single track can simply go where some double track cannot.
    I addition I think some mountain bikers like singletrack better because its more pure, for a lack of better words. An animal trail can be riden as single track. It just follows more in line with nature I guess.

    This is just my opinion and please note I never knocked double track. Ultimately ride what makes you happy.


    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    I know, I know—we've already beaten the single- versus doubletrack thing to death...in which we discovered (amongst other things) that many MTBers think if it's not singletrack, it's not MTBing.

    I was out riding some doubletrack last night, and it was rocky and rutted and kicking my ass! And this got me thinking that ROCKS are "The Great Leveler" in the sense that nobody can say a long pile of rocks that's only 2-feet wide is better than a long pile of rocks that's 10-feet wide! (At least not without being totally irrational!)

    I can understand and even agree that smooth/buff singletrack that twists and winds around is more fun than a smooth doubletrack trail.

    But there are a lot of ROCKY doubletrack trails that are absolute hell for an MTBer...and these kinds of doubletrack completely shatter notions like "doubletrack is for pu$$ies" or "doubletrack isn't challenging."

    ---
    Part of what still puzzles me about this whole singletrack bias issue is...where does it come from?

    Do MTBers somehow take pleasure in riding narrow trails because they think only THEY can actually ride them? (e.g. they're too narrow for ATVs or horses or vehicles).

    Does knowing that you might share a trail (at different times) with ATVers or horses somehow make it "less special?"

    My point is that a preference for singletrack cannot be rooted in challenge...because (as I pointed out above) there are doubletrack trails that are easily as difficult as any singletrack on earth and will kick your ass.

    So if the challenge isn't the thing that makes people biased toward singletrack, what is it?

    Scott

    PS - I'm not trying to pick any fights, BTW. I'm just genuinely curious where the singletrack bias comes from. That's all. I'd really appreciate hearing from people who avoid doubletrack at all costs to better understand where they're coming from!
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Douger-1
    In my opinion single track will always be more challenging because there is less room. Fewer lines,
    On the other hand...

    Having two or more possible lines may even add to the challenge. When you have one line, you only have one line to follow. When there's more, you need to keep making decisions between the various options and their consequences. Take the smooth line on the outside and accept the tight turn 10 feet on, or take the inside which goes over one of the rocks that forces the tight turn on the outside....

    ... nevermind, Without the rain, I'd have gone to ride some singletrack and doubletrack today ...

  14. #14
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    I don't care as long as it's fun. I hate trails that are a mess and have no flow.

  15. #15
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    Well...(no sarcasm intended)...if singletrack is more "isolated" and "pure" than doubletrack...then why stick to singletrack?

    Wouldn't it be the ultimate expression of "purity in mountain biking" to just say "screw trails completely" and simply ride through the woods?

    I sometimes think people forget why they're riding in the first place. If singletrack is your primary motivation, I think you need to reexamine your motivation!

    I ride to be outdoors—away from people—getting my heartrate up—and to enjoy the scenery.

    None of those things has anything to do with singletrack or doubletrack!

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by thefriar
    Narrow the rocky double track to rocky single track and you end up with less line choices = MORE challenge.
    I dunno—I agree with perttime—I think singletrack is EASIER because you DON'T have much choice. If it gets rocky, you pretty much just bash through it!

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  17. #17
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    Just for some photographic perspective:

    Is there a big qualitative difference between this...



    ...and this?



    I don't see any difference. They're both smooth dirt, both in beautiful places. One is single, the other double.

    -----
    Or is there a big difference between this...



    ...and this?



    I don't see any difference. Both are rocky as hell, both in beautiful places. One is single, the other double.

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  18. #18
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    SWriverstone, got it right!

    DSCF1797

    DSCF1546

    DSCF1958

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  19. #19
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    a wide, very technical section is a lot of fun. with narrow single track, you pretty much have one way to ride it and thats it. ive ridden some wide sections 100 times and can still find a different way to hit it, or progress to the harder line over time.

    a good trail is single track that mixes it up with features. railing narrow single track through the trees until it opens up to a 10 foot wide downhill rock garden is pretty fun.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone

    I ride to be outdoors—away from people—getting my heartrate up—and to enjoy the scenery.

    Scott
    To be honest you can do all of that on a road bike. I prefer to do all of that on singletrack. I dont think I need to re-evaluate why I ride because I prefer singletrack. I think that notion is ridiculous.
    Last edited by Douger-1; 08-24-2010 at 01:26 PM.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    I dunno—I agree with perttime—I think singletrack is EASIER because you DON'T have much choice. If it gets rocky, you pretty much just bash through it!

    Scott
    I disagree. I think the lack of a choice of lines makes you commit to the line the trail presents to you whether you like it or not. With a wider trail there is a better chance of an alternate line around a tough feature. When there is only one line you either commit or HAB.

    I dont know where you ride but in AZ the majority of the trails if not all are rocky, single track with many having fair to severe exposure. The trails would hands down be easier if they were twice as wide.

    Keep in mind the point I am disagreeing with you on is "singletrack is EASIER". We are not discussing that both can be fun which they are.
    Last edited by Douger-1; 08-24-2010 at 01:53 PM.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    I can understand and even agree that smooth/buff singletrack that twists and winds around is more fun than a smooth doubletrack trail.



    ---
    Not necessarily true.
    I used to ride some extended 30-40% grades with blazing fast 50-60 mph downhills, then back up again. It was mostly buffed fire-roads.
    It had it's own appeal that I still miss sometimes, even though I ride at one of the more famous riding spots now.
    I was blown away one day when I found out the speeds we were riding downhill, approached the old Mammoth Kamikaze records.

    Eric.
    Last edited by Ericmopar; 08-26-2010 at 11:43 AM.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    Part of what still puzzles me about this whole singletrack bias issue is...where does it come from?!
    Back in the '70s (I think it was) Gary Fisher coined the term, "single track nirvana." In the cult of celebrity, we are all pseudo old school Gary Fisher wantabes?

    Fisher also wrote "It will be a sad day when riding a mountain bike is only reduced to being competition".

    If Fisher had coined the tern "double-track nirvana" ... I guess I'd be happy snidely smiling at all the tunnel vision single track weenies who think nirvana is only 12" wide.

    I do like the term many tracks nirvana.





    Warren.
    Last edited by Wild Wassa; 08-24-2010 at 02:16 PM.

  24. #24
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    I say again: to those who think singletrack is the ultimate, why ride a "track" at all? Why not just take off through the wilderness on your bike?



    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    I say again: to those who think singletrack is the ultimate, why ride a "track" at all? Why not just take off through the wilderness on your bike?



    Scott
    Do we really need to go here? A good debate or disagreement on opinions is healthy but we need to keep things rooted in reality. Since I PREFER singletrack I guess I should take up bushwacking through the Sonoran desert to take my riding to the next level huh? Maybe singlespeeders should take it to the next level and go zero-speed. I mean who needs any gears at all right? Nonsense.

    Here is a question. Why does it bother you so much that people prefer singletrack? Im sure most of us ride both single and double. Hell I even ride the road to the TH sometimes and enjoy doing it all. But I still enjoy the singletrack the most.
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

  26. #26
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    [QUOTE=SWriverstone]I say again: to those who think singletrack is the ultimate, why ride a "track" at all? Why not just take off through the wilderness on your bike?

    Because there's not much fun or flow riding thru cacti, shrub, & trees?

    If all you ride is "to be outdoors—away from people—getting my heartrate up—and to enjoy the scenery", why not just ride rail trails & paved bike paths?

  27. #27
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    People really debate this ****? Wow.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by metaljim
    People really debate this ****? Wow.
    Its a shame that the Passion forum has become a place to hang out and share their musings about bikes and offer opinions on other people's riding, where as it once was a place to come see photos and read ride reports from those who actually ride. I say ride more and post less. Now, this is not what most people would call single track, but Doll Ridge is still fun...


  29. #29
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    In my mind, all things being equal, doubletrack is clearly superior.

    I am out there to have fun with friends. I would much rather ride side by side (doubletrack)and actually talk with my friends as I ride, than stare and their sweaty buttcrack(singletrack).

    All things beeing equal that is. I'll take sweaty backside if it is a better trail...or if I am following a hot chick
    Regional Race Manager, Knolly Bikes
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  30. #30
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    I was just gonna let this lie, but feel the need to address one important point...

    When I started this thread, I was in no way attacking people who ride singletrack. I was simply observing that some mountain bikers believe if it's not singletrack, it isn't mountain biking...and I was genuinely curious about why those people believe this?

    I was also pointing out (and others agreed) that doubletrack can be every bit as challenging, beautiful, and fun as singletrack.

    None of this was an attack on any individuals.

    Alas...in the true spirit of the "Intardnet," certain people immediately assumed the worst and took everything I said as a personal attack.

    There's no reason to take anything I ever said in this thread as a personal attack. If I were going to attack someone personally, I'd have no qualms about addressing them by name and calling them a jackass—but I didn't do that, because I have no reason to attack anyone.

    It's a dying concept these days...but I actually learn a lot from those who disagree with me. When someone with a different opinion can actually articulate that differing opinion in an intelligent way (instead of just acting defensive or launching a counterattack against some perceived slight)...it often helps me see things in a different light...and sometimes even changes my own opinion (imagine that!)

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  31. #31
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    Kumbaya my trails, kumbaya...
    ...reconciliation starts here.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by washedup
    Its a shame that the Passion forum has become a place to hang out and share their musings about bikes and offer opinions on other people's riding, where as it once was a place to come see photos and read ride reports from those who actually ride. I say ride more and post less.

    Amen brother..

  33. #33
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    single vs double? whats the difference as long as its fun?

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Gager
    single vs double? whats the difference as long as its fun?
    Yep.

    As for the Passion forum being for ride reports and photos...most other forums I know call that "Ride Reports."

    (So maybe we need another forum...or to rename this one!)

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    I was just gonna let this lie, but feel the need to address one important point...

    When I started this thread, I was in no way attacking people who ride singletrack. I was simply observing that some mountain bikers believe if it's not singletrack, it isn't mountain biking...and I was genuinely curious about why those people believe this?

    I was also pointing out (and others agreed) that doubletrack can be every bit as challenging, beautiful, and fun as singletrack.

    None of this was an attack on any individuals.

    Alas...in the true spirit of the "Intardnet," certain people immediately assumed the worst and took everything I said as a personal attack.

    There's no reason to take anything I ever said in this thread as a personal attack. If I were going to attack someone personally, I'd have no qualms about addressing them by name and calling them a jackass—but I didn't do that, because I have no reason to attack anyone.

    It's a dying concept these days...but I actually learn a lot from those who disagree with me. When someone with a different opinion can actually articulate that differing opinion in an intelligent way (instead of just acting defensive or launching a counterattack against some perceived slight)...it often helps me see things in a different light...and sometimes even changes my own opinion (imagine that!)

    Scott
    I just skimmed the entire thread and I dont see anywhere where someone made a personal attack or where someone preceived something as a personal attack. Im not sure where you are getting that from. I actually find the discussion in this thread to be quite respectful and calm and is simply people stating their personal opinions. That is what you were asking for via your original post correct? It appears to me that maybe you like to bait a little. Regardless if you think this thread is aggressive and contains "counterattacks" in anyway, I dont think you have spent much time on the internet.
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

  36. #36
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    Debating about trail preference is, well, stupid.

    De gustibus non est disputandum. There is no accounting for taste.

    When I worked as a Chef I was no fan of vegetarians. My PETA is PEOPLE for the EATING of TASTY ANIMALS.

    There is literally a world of comestibles that should be tried once. Once I saw that there were different reasons for being a vegetarian my view changed. They aren't all adolescent minded tw@ts rebelling against an imagined evil. Some vegetarians have valid reasons for limiting meat. Valid ones that aren't always about the animal itself. I'm still pissed off at people that call themselves vegetarians but eat chicken or fish. Is it just about the number of legs?

    I digress.

    Some cyclists want miles of pristine pavement (roadies are the equivalent of vegans). Some want a nice meandering dirt trail with no hills. Some want to climb until their lungs explode. Some buy a lift ticket. Some hate rock gardens, others love them. Some riders don't need dirt or pavement, they ride around the financial district with the skateboarders

    Some us will taste everything at the buffet.

    Single track versus double track? I can't even be bothered to have an opinion between the two.
    Life is too short to race through it. When life is a blur, you'll miss the magic.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Douger-1
    I just skimmed the entire thread and I dont see anywhere where someone made a personal attack or where someone preceived something as a personal attack. Im not sure where you are getting that from. I actually find the discussion in this thread to be quite respectful and calm and is simply people stating their personal opinions. That is what you were asking for via your original post correct? It appears to me that maybe you like to bait a little. Regardless if you think this thread is aggressive and contains "counterattacks" in anyway, I dont think you have spent much time on the internet.
    You're right Douger, and fair point—I just looked through the thread and almost every post was calm and polite, including yours. I honestly never try to bait people...but I should add that there is a difference between asking pointed questions to try to draw people out and get them to express their opinions for the sake of conversation...and baiting people just to be a jerk. (I try to avoid the latter!)

    The only comment I saw of yours that I was surprised by was...

    Why does it bother you so much that people prefer singletrack?
    It doesn't "bother" me at all—I like singletrack too! I was just asking why people like singletrack better...and why some people (not you) think doubletrack is lame.

    That's all.


    Scott
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    You're right Douger, and fair point—I just looked through the thread and almost every post was calm and polite, including yours. I honestly never try to bait people...but I should add that there is a difference between asking pointed questions to try to draw people out and get them to express their opinions for the sake of conversation...and baiting people just to be a jerk. (I try to avoid the latter!)

    The only comment I saw of yours that I was surprised by was...



    It doesn't "bother" me at all—I like singletrack too! I was just asking why people like singletrack better...and why some people (not you) think doubletrack is lame.

    That's all.


    Scott


    I just wish I wasnt stuck at work and out riding anything. Doubletrack included.
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    I dunno—I agree with perttime—I think singletrack is EASIER because you DON'T have much choice. If it gets rocky, you pretty much just bash through it!

    Scott
    True, but if you are on rocky singletrack and your front wheel gets deflected off of a baby head, you're not going to have any space to recover. With double track, you might have that option.

    Not that it matters to me. I live in Western PA where there are lots of both, so I've learned to enjoy each. In fact, I grew up riding on double track atv trails and such. It wasn't until much later in my mountain biking "career" that I graduated to singletrack.

    Bottom line, if you're on the bike, rolling across some dirt; you're in good shape.
    Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live. ~Mark Twain

  40. #40
    another bozo on the bus
    Reputation: washedup's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,243
    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    Yep.

    As for the Passion forum being for ride reports and photos...most other forums I know call that "Ride Reports."

    (So maybe we need another forum...or to rename this one!)

    Scott
    Well, there does happen to be a forum called "general discussion" which I find to be pretty self explanatory

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