Are you a "park rider" or a "wilderness rider?"- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Are you a "park rider" or a "wilderness rider?"

    DISCLAIMER: This thread is started in a fun, philosophical spirit---not in some small-minded attempt to force people into categories. I fully understand that life isn't black-or-white, but a thousand shades of gray.

    ----
    One of the cool things about so many outdoor sports is that there are many different niches within each sport. In snowboarding, there is freeride, alpine carving, and jibbing. In paddling, there is kayak, C-1, open canoe...flatwater and whitewater.

    What's even more amazing (and crazy) is we often see even more sub-niches within each of these broader categories. MTBing is definitely an example of this. We have the broader categories (XC, freeride, downhill, etc)...and since I got into the sport, I've noticed another difference between riders, which might just be as simple as rider preferences.

    Some riders seem to prefer groomed, MTB park-like settings. These are the riders who live for the local, well-maintained MTB singletrack loop trail systems---where you have nice, flowy, hardpack-smooth trails winding through woods and across streams in a carefully-controlled path, complete with handy terrain features built-in.

    Other riders seem to prefer more wild settings---like fire roads and trails in the national forests and mountain ranges around the country. I'd almost call the difference between the two "artificial" versus "natural" MTB environments. (And of course there are the truly artificial indoor MTB parks too, but I'm talking outdoors.)

    In the "groomed" MTB trail systems, you go round and round on what is basically a short course, and the challenge comes (like any manmade track) from learning it well and being able to clean it with style and high speed.

    In the "wild" MTB environment, riders typically go more "epic" in the sense of long-distance, with the key being a certain amount of unpredictability---you never really know what you might find from week to week on national forest trails.

    As I said in my disclaimer, I realize everyone isn't one or the other. We're all probably a mix of the two, partly determined by our preference and also by what's available to us. Big city dwellers, for example, probably have a tough time getting to national forests...but might have an MTB park nearby.

    In my area (Harpers Ferry, WV) most of the MTBers I know seem to lean toward the "artificial" MTB setting, even though we're just as close to national forest trails. I'm a "wild" MTBer at heart---though I've had a blast at the MTB parks...I'm far happier riding for miles on grassy doubletrack in the Appalachian Mountains.

    When I try to persuade other MTBers to come with me to explore national forest trails, they typically (but politely) decline in favor of going for the "known quantity," or the local MTB trail systems.

    So I guess it might come down to what your ultimate goals in mountain biking are. Are you in it purely for the more technical challenges? (Riding manmade logpiles and planks, learning to clean a short singletrack loop at high speeds, etc.) Or do you ride a mountain bike to (as the name suggests) explore the mountains?

    Both are good. I'd be interested in hearing other riders' takes on this.

    Scott

  2. #2
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    I enjoy the "wilderness" type myself, even though it seems eventually it all becomes park-like in the end. Either way... beggars can't be choosers!

  3. #3
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    I prefer to be way out there.... weather its an new to me single track or a desert double track way way out there. I like to explore!

    That be said love going to someplace like gooseberry mesa or little creek mesa and trying different lines and drops and the such...

    So many cool places to ride, so little time and not a fat enough wallet
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    just a guy who loves bikes and exploring

  4. #4
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    I think (and this is not said critically of anyone) a lot of it comes down to personality type. In my experience, some people like predictability. They want the known quantity and aren't happy with the unknown. These are the folks that seem to frequent the local parks more.

    Other people like unpredictability, and are quickly bored by the same ol' same old. (I'm definitely in this category.) I'm happiest when all I know about a trail is that it's a line on the map...and the rest is a big question mark!

    Scott

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion
    I enjoy the "wilderness" type myself, even though it seems eventually it all becomes park-like in the end. Either way... beggars can't be choosers!
    If by "it all becomes park-like in the end" you mean that a really good place that gets discovered soon gets mobbed with people...I know what you mean.

    But that's why I love the national forests. There are (in the east, anyway) far too many miles of trails and doubletrack and fire roads to even begin to get mobbed by people. There are thousands of miles of trails in the Appalachian Mountains...most of which are devoid of any human life for most of the year...and that's not because they're boring to ride---it's because nobody has discovered them or tried to ride them yet!

    Scott

  6. #6
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    Yes. Both. And more.

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  7. #7
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    I definitely like the "wild" aspect much more than the flowy, groomed ST. However, I do like to dart around a familiar trail once in a while, but we usually build up off-trail stuff to keep things interesting. MTB is one of the most diverse sports there is as far as personalities. You just never know what kind of characters you will see out riding their bikes sometimes. I suppose that's why we have so many access issues, too. We can't seem to come together on a few common goals...., eh?

    End Rant...goin' riding with my sons!

  8. #8
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    I WOULD prefer the wilderness kinds of "epic" trails, but being in the suberbs, im confined to a park...however the park is made to mirror some of those epic trails (although a lot shorter)......
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  9. #9
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    Im all about the wilderness. I love hopping on a trail I know nothing about and riding it to where ever it takes me then trying to find a diffrent way back.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn. Biker123
    You just never know what kind of characters you will see out riding their bikes sometimes.
    My brother and I were riding on a trail with a svelte, older man was riding opposite direction, he had his jersey open revealing a bra underneath! My bro and I kinda looked at each other like, WTF?

    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    If by "it all becomes park-like in the end" you mean that a really good place that gets discovered soon gets mobbed with people...I know what you mean.

    But that's why I love the national forests. There are (in the east, anyway) far too many miles of trails and doubletrack and fire roads to even begin to get mobbed by people. There are thousands of miles of trails in the Appalachian Mountains...most of which are devoid of any human life for most of the year...and that's not because they're boring to ride---it's because nobody has discovered them or tried to ride them yet!

    Scott
    I rode moto (Honda CRF250X) in a couple of national forests, and they are truly amazing. Part of the fun/sketchiness is that if that s*** hit the fan, you may die, so we packed out bikes for emergencies.

    Nothing rocks more than to ride along and hit a water crossing, come across a spectacular animal, or anything else nature has to offer. Sometimes, the groomed trails don't provide that, but what they do provide is a more sense of safety knowing there are other riders among you. Plus, sometimes I just don't feel like having to check a map every couple of miles. Sometimes, that's cool, but sometimes I just feel like bustin' out on some groomed single track flow.

    What I mean that it all get's park-like in the end, is that eventually people ride it so often and enough that single-tracks get formed and groomed. It's not necessarily a bad thing. I know certain parts of Santa Cruz were not the way they are today before people started riding them frequently.

  11. #11
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    My property abuts a National Forest and I have to drive 15miles to go to the local pump track/town trails, so I spend most of my time in the woods, but do grab some rides elsewhere on my way home.

    I do love mastering any trail that I normally ride, mostly so that I can go as fast as possible.
    But my favorite thing is to ride a new trail with a good fast rider that knows the trail, especially when they say,"This section is a little tricky", and then proceed to watch me roll on through. Doesn't happen very often, but it did yesterday!

    So I guess I'm partial to forest trail riding, especially when you end up on a mountain top, with a stellar view and only one way to go - Down!
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  12. #12
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    What's Wilderness?

    When you are sitting on a mountain top looking into a valley for any sign of a track and you can hear an aeroplane ... is that wilderness? Three Rocks Creek, the Great Dividing Range.





    There is not a man-made structure within hours of where you are riding but there is a new sign at a track junction ... is that still wilderness? The Mountains of the Wild Dogs, the Great Escarpment.





    You catch sight of another rider's colourful clothing across the valley after you're been carrying your bike for several hours over trackless, fragile ground ... is that still wilderness? The Main Range, the Great Dividing Range.





    There are some good places to ride here, where I'll see no one. It can sometimes take a long time to find anything resembling a track that is suitable for riding out in the bush but I always find a sign that others have been there before me ... have I found a wilderness? The Charcoal Range, the Great Dividing Range.





    Warren.
    Last edited by Wild Wassa; 11-24-2009 at 03:54 PM.

  13. #13
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    The more buff and flowy the better. I'm not fond of drops, ledges, one babyhead after another, and many downed trees to traverse, and rutted trails. That said, any ride is better than no ride.

  14. #14
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    I was hoping you'd chime in on this!

    This about as remote as it gets here in the SW, USA.


  15. #15
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    I like to build skills and socialize at parks.
    I like meditate and get away from everything on wilderness rides.
    Gravel roads are demoralizing, but if it's got trails, I ride it.

  16. #16
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    I prefer wilderness, but the avenue to great wilderness trails is through park-riding. All the wilderness areas I ride are deviations from a main fire-road or trailhead.

    So I guess my answer is both, because one allows me to do the other.

  17. #17
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    Both

    Weekday evenings in the park that parallels the creek bottom.

    And the weekends are for wilderness.

    Just yesterday...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Are you a "park rider" or a "wilderness rider?"-glacier-015.jpg  

    Are you a "park rider" or a "wilderness rider?"-glacier-012.jpg  

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  18. #18
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    Give me a wild trail any day, I love to explore and experience new stuff. Even on my local trails I'm always trying to find a new route to mix it up a bit. Unfortunately I don't get to travel much. Fortunately when I do get outta town even trails I've ridden before feel fresh.
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  19. #19
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    I ride what's there. What's mostly available to me are park settings. I've got a couple National Forest Trails nearby, but they're not especially remote...and more similar to park-like trails than to remote settings.

    I do enjoy a good remote trail, however.

  20. #20
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    Hey fred-da-trog...where are those pics??? (I must go there. Immediately.)
    Hey Mtn. Biker123...where is that pic? (I must go there, Immediately.)

    Beautiful pics Warren. Those are all in Australia, yes?

    Of course true wilderness barely exists...anywhere. For this reason, my working definition is (alas) a moderated one, more in keeping with our times:

    Wilderness is any place where nature is the predominant characteristic, and where you are unlikely to see more than the odd person or two once in a while.

    (Well, that's it, more-or-less!)

    Scott

  21. #21
    Don't worry, be happy!
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    Hey fred-da-trog...where are those pics??? (I must go there. Immediately.)
    It's somewhere in the Sierra Nevada, I can tell by the granite.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by formica
    It's somewhere in the Sierra Nevada, I can tell by the granite.
    Looks like somewhere off Highway 4, maybe a Wilderness Area
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  23. #23
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    Both styles of riding are excellent. There's nothing like zipping through a trail I know like the back of my hand. There's nothing like meandering along a trail I've never ridden before.

    I used to live in Northern Va, and there are a number of excellent park-style mtb trails. For several years, that was mostly all I knew. A couple of trips a little further out, but not much. I loved living only 3.5 miles from a great mtb trail system that I could ride almost everyday.

    I now live a bit further west in Va, not too far from George Washington National Forest. Epic riding, for sure. Some places fairly groomed that are popular trails, but easy to wander to trails that hardly ever see a tire or even a foot and spend hours exploring. I love them both. But it's a little bit more of a drive to get to a trailhead, and I have to drive, can't just ride to the trail like when I lived in NoVa.

    But I still go back to NoVa fairly frequently to ride the trails I know so well. I love all mtb trails, or shoud I say, all trails I can ride my mtb on.
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  24. #24
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    If you call me a singletrack snob, you wouldn't be the first...... But I can't consider any sort of double track "wild."

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    Some riders seem to prefer groomed, MTB park-like settings. These are the riders who live for the local, well-maintained MTB singletrack loop trail systems---where you have nice, flowy, hardpack-smooth trails winding through woods and across streams in a carefully-controlled path, complete with handy terrain features built-in.
    A good flowing singletrack is a great goodness. It's one that's not easy to find in Northern Indiana. Most of our trails are twisty, where any decent speed is a challenge, and a reward for finding the right line.

    I've ridden some great 'park' flowing singletrack that's amazing. It's there as something different from the usual. Different is good.

    I had a chance to check out a different area for several months, and it was a completely different type of trail. Sandy, rocky, and still didn't have much flow. It was definitely a park setting, and not a wilderness (small 'w' ) setting. I didn't get a chance to acclimate to it before returning.

    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    Other riders seem to prefer more wild settings---like fire roads and trails in the national forests and mountain ranges around the country. I'd almost call the difference between the two "artificial" versus "natural" MTB environments. (And of course there are the truly artificial indoor MTB parks too, but I'm talking outdoors.)

    In the "groomed" MTB trail systems, you go round and round on what is basically a short course, and the challenge comes (like any manmade track) from learning it well and being able to clean it with style and high speed.

    In the "wild" MTB environment, riders typically go more "epic" in the sense of long-distance, with the key being a certain amount of unpredictability---you never really know what you might find from week to week on national forest trails.
    I still need to get to some of truly great trails, but... some of the worst trails I've been on, in any location, have been just fire roads. The ones I've been on, the only redeeming quality that I found was speed. They've felt far less natural than many of the park settings that have a single path over more undulating surfaces.

    Now long distance trails in the middle of no-where, do have a different flavor, and some larger parks accomplish it pretty damn good. Riding at Brown Co, IN is fun, challenging, and about speed and flow. Riding at Mohican, OH is more of a challenge. I smile after both rides, but Brown Co leaves me with a sense of a roller-coaster giddiness, and Mohican with a sense of accomplishment.

    The difference between the two trails: How the loop(s) are arranged. Brown co makes it pretty easy to not get in over your head. Riding Mohican, I felt pretty much committed after mile 8, where the return trail stops.

    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    As I said in my disclaimer, I realize everyone isn't one or the other. We're all probably a mix of the two, partly determined by our preference and also by what's available to us. Big city dwellers, for example, probably have a tough time getting to national forests...but might have an MTB park nearby.

    In my area (Harpers Ferry, WV) most of the MTBers I know seem to lean toward the "artificial" MTB setting, even though we're just as close to national forest trails. I'm a "wild" MTBer at heart---though I've had a blast at the MTB parks...I'm far happier riding for miles on grassy doubletrack in the Appalachian Mountains.

    When I try to persuade other MTBers to come with me to explore national forest trails, they typically (but politely) decline in favor of going for the "known quantity," or the local MTB trail systems.

    So I guess it might come down to what your ultimate goals in mountain biking are. Are you in it purely for the more technical challenges? (Riding manmade logpiles and planks, learning to clean a short singletrack loop at high speeds, etc.) Or do you ride a mountain bike to (as the name suggests) explore the mountains?

    Both are good. I'd be interested in hearing other riders' takes on this.

    Scott
    I'm a fan of variety. Trails that are tight and twisty, trails with obstacles, loops, out and backs, flow-y, and epics. What I don't like, is when every trail in the same region strives to give me a similar experience.

    It can start pretty benign too, someone thinks the trails are too easy (maybe because they flow, maybe because they've mastered the line between the tight and twisties, it doesn't matter...) so a terrain feature is added. A log ride, a log pile, something they saw in a video, etc. Then comes the next one, and the next one, pretty soon the trail has changed it's flavor.

    So my answer - I want it all. I have a bunch of park settings, where it's laps around the trail. But even those don't feel the same. The tight and twisty trail is a different mentality than the ones with flow, and that's different from the big loops. I want my singletrack smorgasbord.

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  26. #26
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    Wilderness. Flowy stuff is nice but best if it's part of a trail instead of a purpose built park. The forest has plenty of features that keep me interested. Yeah even a good wilderness trail will have spots that have been improved to make them rideable but I don't think that detracts from the wild aspect, it just allows me to get there more readily.

    In a distant past we had no mt bike trails or bike parks. We had some old hiking trails and some fire roads or fire lines that had been cut into a hillside. Maybe we had the pleasure of riding a power line service road to connect some of these other "trails." I think this made us better riders at the time. Now I look at some of "the kids" and wish I could ride like that but then they don't keep up on some of the old school stuff. Is one better than the other? Maybe ...

  27. #27
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    SWriverstone. G'day Mate. Yes they are.

    Your riding conditions that you've called "grassy double track," are some of the best riding conditions that I've enjoyed here in the High Country. The high plains of the Great Dividing Range and the vast back country, with inverted tree lines of Snow Gums and spagnum bogs and grassy frost hollows, are great for riding in Spring.

    Great Dividing Range.















    The Great Escarpment.


















    Warren.
    Last edited by Wild Wassa; 12-08-2009 at 10:30 AM.

  28. #28
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    wilderness all the way. my town and the area around it is covered in abandon hiking trails and what now. so i get to ride on all kinds of crazy stuff. just go for a road ride once and a wile and find new trails. but there is also the nam trails 3 miles away from my house and that's pretty well maintained by nemba. i like wilderness better, finding natural jumps is awesome and getting up on top of rocks and riding off so fun. i don't mean like trial just some rocks near me are like perfect jumps.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by formica
    It's somewhere in the Sierra Nevada, I can tell by the granite.

    You are correct.

    Near Pinecrest off Hwy 108 (Sonora Pass)
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  30. #30
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    Piecing together a huge ride using fire road, logging road, railroad bed, atv trails, power line cuts, and even a little pavement is what really got me into MTBing. When I first started MTBing, the closest "developed" trails were in Jakobsburg State Park, 20 miles away. With a lot of work and exploring, I was able to put together a route that was at least 80% dirt, to get me there. It was my favorate ride ever.
    Now I live just outside Pisgah National Forest, home to some of the best trails in the east, if not the country, but I still miss the "freedom" of eastern PA.

  31. #31
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    I enjoy both; what I ride is dictated by my time on hand. I usually ride local loops midweek after work, and enjoy longer, more remote trails on the weekend.

  32. #32
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    You must be joking

    Probably not. There is most likely at least ten times as much double track in the USA than singletrack and it exists in the most desolate and remote places possible. Places that NO bicycle rider has EVER been. Mountain bikers don't even dare ride this stuff, they can't, It's too long, too far away, too rough and too dangerous. I concede your point tho that singletrack can have a "wilder" aesthetic characteristic.

    Wild Wassa those are some truly fascinating and beautiful shots you are posting on this site. Thanks for those.

    Quote Originally Posted by hankthespacecowboy
    If you call me a singletrack snob, you wouldn't be the first...... But I can't consider any sort of double track "wild."
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Are you a "park rider" or a "wilderness rider?"-moab1.jpg  


  33. #33
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    all you wilderness riders are getting me interested in trying it out... i've only ever ridden on designated state/city park trails... i guess it's the peace of mind, knowing that i'm not too far away, or that most trails are marked so it's hard to get lost...

    i'm guessing all you wilderness riders carry some sort of gps?

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroNine3
    i'm guessing all you wilderness riders carry some sort of gps?
    All you NEED is a good map of the area, a compass, and some navigation skills. City folk often don't have a clue and need to learn these things. A GPS can help by speeding up the whole triangulation process, but if you can't tell where you've been and where you need to go...you're SOL anyway.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    All you NEED is a good map of the area, a compass, and some navigation skills. City folk often don't have a clue and need to learn these things. A GPS can help by speeding up the whole triangulation process, but if you can't tell where you've been and where you need to go...you're SOL anyway.

    haha.... a good a time as any to brush up on my land-nav skills i guess... haha.

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    David, Thank you, Mate. You're most welcome.

    It adds great value to my time spent in the bush to be able to show where I've been, especially images of places where few modern-day people may have seen, and it is a real pleasure to be showing images to like minded riders.

    I don't normally say how much I enjoy the work of others here, but I'd like say to all Forumites that I enjoy your hard work, your art and seeing your riding skills, and where you ride, a great deal.

    ZeroNine3, concerning using a GPS, I keep forgetting to turn mine on. Being able to navigate in trackless country by dead reckoning is what navigation should be all about. You know how we trust our bikes? ... trust your inner inertial navigation system too. Every now and again I'll stop and look behind me to mentally log a few return bearings and see features from different angles ... for if ever I need to bail out, I want to know where to bail out to. I've smashed screens on 2 GPS units now, it was lucky that the units weren't switched on.

    Fogs and mists come in regularly up in the high country and on the escarpments. I suppose I should turn the GPS on more often ... because no one is a bushman in a fog. Budawang Wilderness.







    Getting lost (out there) could instantly creates wilderness ... I'm still to find the wilderness, sadly.

    Warren.
    Last edited by Wild Wassa; 11-10-2009 at 02:12 AM.

  37. #37
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    never been in a bikepark.

    here in croatia, we all ride on wild trails.
    i prefer bumpy singletracks.
    (bloody forearms included, of course.)

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPark
    Piecing together a huge ride using fire road, logging road, railroad bed, atv trails, power line cuts, and even a little pavement is what really got me into MTBing.
    Yes! This is what I love too—exactly. The incredible variety of "passages" (all the kinds of trails/roads/beds/cuts you mentioned) in the Appalachian Mountains is mind-boggling.

    Unlike (I suspect) out west, where there are large areas that have seen almost no human presence...the Appalachians have two centuries of human presence. But the fascinating thing is that people aren't still there in the majority of places. So they are mountains filled with echoes (both physical and spiritual) of the past...and many of the roads/trails/beds/cuts have literally been there for centuries (in some form or another).

    I often remind myself---to my amazement---when riding through deep forest in the Appalachians that it's second growth forest. Many areas were (sadly) stripped bare in the early 20th century. Of course the aftermath (to our benefit) are vast networks of old logging trails that are now surrounded by dense forests.

    Scott

    PS - Spectacular pics Warren! May I ask what camera/lens combo you typically use? (And of course good job in post-production as well.)

  39. #39
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    [QUOTE=davidarnott]Probably not. There is most likely at least ten times as much double track in the USA than singletrack and it exists in the most desolate and remote places possible. Places that NO bicycle rider has EVER been. Mountain bikers don't even dare ride this stuff, they can't, It's too long, too far away, too rough and too dangerous. I concede your point tho that singletrack can have a "wilder" aesthetic characteristic.

    Very true.... It's just that I don't find grinding out miles on doubletrack to be very inspiring, no matter what the scenery is like. The pic you posted, that wouldn't happen to be the Dolores River, would it?

  40. #40
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    I guess another way to look at it is this: recognizing that there's a bit of ADHD in all of us, I think most people are motivated primarily by one thing...

    For some, it's fitness and conditioning first. The most important thing about a ride is that it get your lungs and heart pumping hard and keep them at it for mile after mile.

    For others, it's the thrill, plain and simple. A ride that doesn't get the adrenaline flowing is dull.

    For some, it's mastery of technique. The best rides are the ones with technical moves that are like a puzzle---they don't require a lot of strength or conditioning, but just have to be figured out.

    And for some (this is me) it's about the scenery. They don't need adrenaline and don't need a technical challenge...but need vast, expansive vistas and uninterrupted natural beauty.

    Like I said, everyone is a different mix of all of these. And though some folks may claim to like it all equally, I'm skeptical that this is really true. Deep down, we all have that one quality that just connects directly to our hearts---be it speed, strength, or beauty.

    Scott

  41. #41
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    We have a version of this debate in the UK where there are now many trail centres, most with excellent singletrack, but against the backdrop of a much older network of off road highways that we can use for biking.

    As the trail centres have grown, so has mountainbiking, but with a new factor in that many only ride the centres and have rarely ventured further afield into "natural" stuff. This is often simply due to lack of knowledge or mapreading skills.

    I have personally enjoyed developing skill on the trail centres but got bored with those nearest me quite quickly. However, they still serve a very useful purpose of providing a reliable place to ride in (the frequent) bad weather periods that close out the hills and are great for night riding.

    The UK natural stuff ranges from quite boring double track to edge of the seat technical gnar, from highly scenic to tedious forestry plantation so it is less easy to characterise. What is appealing is the sheer variety of experiences available, perhaps an epic day out putting in big miles in an inspiring environment to an extreme techfest of a more intense nature.

    My favourite environment, and the one that has delivered the most intense ansd sustained fun has been XC riding in the Alps, often lift assisted and usually with a heavy gravity content. Not the overused downhill courses of the main bike centres but up country stuff in ancient woods where the lesser known trails are very old hiking trails established by hunters and often looking like there has been no traffic for years.

    There are countless miles of these to be found. Not by any means wilderness but having a very natural feel and not having been derived for vehicle use - indeed most are far too steep and tight for any kind of vehicle beyond a bike. A kind of edgy wilderness type riding but on the doorstep of local communities - a nice solution.
    Growing old is mandatory - growing up is optional

  42. #42
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    I love exploring miles and miles of seldom used single-track, multi-use and fire roads in the National Forest.
    SS is like beer...its an acquired taste.

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    I actually like the closed loop "city" off road trails more for one reason alone: SPEED. As far as im concerned speed is the single most fun part of biking. Second behind that would be conditioning so it's good I have to pedal the hills to get to the top so I can haul ass again.

  44. #44
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    I prefer "wilderness" though 99% of the time I ride in MTB-specific county parks. Its not by choice, but instead a result of the area in which I live, and the family that I leave behind. I'm at least a 2-hour drive from "wilderness" trails, so those trips are few and far between.

    I much more of a scenery guy than a fitness guy. I rode the local park trail yesterday and totaled 11.5 miles. I rarely stopped to look around me because there were other riders all over the place. It turned out to be a good workout, but I got very little scenery out of the ride.

    I long for the day when I can move to a more "wild" area and ride out my door on the epics that I see in this forum so often.

  45. #45
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    I prefer wilderness and gnarly as I love challenges, however I have a lot of respect for the skill of some of the park-type riders-amazing, and some are damm good trail riders as well! BTW-great pics!

  46. #46
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    Park rider when I'm with the kids...and Wilderness Maniac when I'm alone
    Road and Dirt is my middle name!!

  47. #47
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    I just want somewhere to ride that is not trashed by ATV's.

    Went out yesterday, did 20km in 3 hours - (not bad by recent standards) of which about an hour was hike-a-bike next to / through / over rutted out 12 inches of water and mud ATV caused devastation. Every year it just gets worse - you don't think it could, but it does....
    The closest trails to me are now unrideable due to the ATV damage, the rideable sections are now small bits in-between the carnage.

    Closest riding that I know of that is not ATV accessible is about a 1.5 hour drive each way. Kinda sucks when you just want to go for a quick ride...

    Now it is about to freeze up, so the mud goes solid until the spring rains when the ATVs come back out. Ya just can't win.

    michael

  48. #48
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    Great post, Scott. I've made that observation many times here in the bike shop. We're about 20 minutes north of Boulder, CO. I can't tell you how many times I've heard that there's no good riding around Boulder. That comment usually comes from folks not ready to leave the comfort of their local city or county open space park. Trailhead, bathrooms, and lots of users equals comfort and familiarity. If that's the case, we've got about 4 or 5 parks that are good for riding. On the other hand, if they're willing to drive 20 or 30 minutes into the hills and explore USFS lands, there's more riding to be done than you can in a whole summer.

    When I first moved to Lyons, CO, I spent all my free weekends going out and getting lost in the forest. Not exactly true wilderness riding, but it was all new to me. One thing I like best about mountain biking is exploring uncharted (by me) terrain. Now that I've been here 10 years, though, it's rare that I make a new find.

    One of the most fun trips I've ever had was this summer. My wife and kids went out of town for a weekend so I headed out camping in the other direction. I spent 2 days camping in unfamiliar terrain and got a couple of 8+ hour exploratory rides in around Grand Lake and Granby. Awesome stuff. New trails, hardly saw anyone and camping. That's why I mountain bike.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Are you a "park rider" or a "wilderness rider?"-untitled.jpg  

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  49. #49
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    I must be joking

    That's the Green river in Moab UT where I am stuck for a few weeks, living in a van, down by the river. It's called "spring canyon bottom" on Hey Joe Canyon Road on the map and it is accessed by Spring Canyon Road of of 131, north of Moab. This shot is taken from the same spot but upstream the other shot is downstream.

    I Heart ATV's! They have created more buff buff mountain biking trails than all other forces combined. Everywhere I go there is more killer double track created by those kind, generous, good hearted ATVers. Whither the mountains, plains or the desert I can honestly say that ATV's have "paved" the way for me. I like the tracks they make too about twelve inches wide. Perfect! And nicely packed but not too loamy. Kind of like little steam rollers everywhere. So let's all join the Blue Ribbon Coalition where they MAKE trails instead of CLOSE them.

    [QUOTE=hankthespacecowboy]
    Quote Originally Posted by davidarnott
    Probably not. There is most likely at least ten times as much double track in the USA than singletrack and it exists in the most desolate and remote places possible. Places that NO bicycle rider has EVER been. Mountain bikers don't even dare ride this stuff, they can't, It's too long, too far away, too rough and too dangerous. I concede your point tho that singletrack can have a "wilder" aesthetic characteristic.

    Very true.... It's just that I don't find grinding out miles on doubletrack to be very inspiring, no matter what the scenery is like. The pic you posted, that wouldn't happen to be the Dolores River, would it?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Are you a "park rider" or a "wilderness rider?"-gr2.jpg  


  50. #50
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    choice B


    yeah, B

    (see the riders?)

    'at's a B, Bob


    unanimous B








    choice B wins

    This is me tossing a jalapeno and spraying beer in the area where the ashes of an old mountain biking buddy were scattered about 25 years ago. I go there several times a year and do this. The ride is great and the memories powerful.
    "The physician heals, Nature makes well" - real fortune cookie

    CCCMB trail work for trail access - SLO, CA

  51. #51
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    About a year ago, I was in the market for a new bike. I searched Craigslist and found an '06 Rocky Mountain Slayer 90. I thought that's what I needed (more suspension) so I bought it.

    And then, I found out about 29ers (I'm 6'4"). I realized that this is what I really needed and so I bought a Fisher HiFi 29er with the intention of selling the Slayer (after yanking the sweet components to put on the Fisher).

    The Slayer frame/fork/wheels sat around and I tried (half-heartedly) to sell them. Finally, I said screw it and re-built it. As it turns out, I love it. I'm riding it more and more. It is a wilderness bike and I am a wilderness rider.

    I love the speed of my 29er on park trails, but I ride the Slayer a lot more these days. I guess I just love the challenge.

    -Brian in Austin

    ps- awesome pics Warren and slocaus!
    central texas, y'all!

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Wassa
    David, Thank you, Mate. You're most welcome.

    It adds great value to my time spent in the bush to be able to show where I've been, especially images of places where few modern-day people may have seen, and it is a real pleasure to be showing images to like minded riders.

    Warren.
    W- your photos are ridiculous. Where's your portfolio so I can order some prints!? Hobby or profession?

  53. #53
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    So many great pictures!!! I am still looking at what I prefer more. It really depends on the day for me. I would lean toward Park however, I am still pretty new to just going all out... I look forward to more next summer

  54. #54
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    The very same "divide" has emerged and grown over the past couple of decades in whitewater paddling.

    Once upon a time, whitewater paddling was all about river running---it was a wilderness sport. Even whitewater slalom racing (which I used to do at a high level) was "in the woods" and races all the way up to world championships took place on natural, wild rivers.

    No more. While there are a few paddlers who still actually run rivers, the triumph of (what I call) "clorox bottle boats" in the market has driven a corresponding change in paddling. Now it's all about playboating...which focuses exclusively on water "features" like a hole or hole/wave.

    Where paddlers used to set a shuttle, now people park right next to their favorite play hole, go out and throw ends in the hole for an hour without going anywhere, then put their jugboat back in the trunk and go home. LOL

    I say the jugboats have driven this because modern playboats have NO hullspeed. (If you think they do, you clearly haven't ever paddled a slalom boat or an "old school" kayak, which could kick the snot out of any whitewater boat made today, with the possible exception of Dagger's Green Boat.)

    And now of course there are artificial whitewater courses all over the country (and the world)...I actually built one myself in Dickerson, Maryland.

    I see a lot of this same transformation in mountain biking. It's not necessarily bad (since the play holes and artificial courses and uber-forgiving jugboats have gotten far more people into the sport, just like suburban MTB trail parks)...but it's sad, because a whole generation of paddlers has completely lost touch with the sport's roots.

    Scott

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn. Biker123
    I was hoping you'd chime in on this!

    This about as remote as it gets here in the SW, USA.

    Did anyone post where this is?
    Scott

  56. #56
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    It's the Chama River Tr. located at the headwaters of the Chama River basin. You can access a 6mile long dirt road to the TH about 5 miles north of Chama, NM. It's primitive and you should be prepared. Except for hunting season this place teams with wildlife.

  57. #57
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    I'm almost 50-50 with my choice. Many times I want to explore and sometimes I want to ride the tried and true we all ride. Either way it's fun....
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Are you a "park rider" or a "wilderness rider?"-moreau2.jpg  


  58. #58
    livin' the dream......
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    I find myself riding park trails due to proximity, but I do have one area pretty close by that has a backcountry feel to it. Some days I go out there and explore and have a mellow ride, other times I go to the marked trails, ride the loops and try to hammer for as long as I can.

    It just depends on my mood, I enjoy both and any time spent on my bike is a good time!
    Less f*cks to give every passing day, use them well. - geraldooka

  59. #59
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    Scott, I use both film and digital cameras. I've a 35mm Canon F-1 with a 24, 50 Macro, 135 and a 300mm. The digital camera is a Canon 40D and I have a 17-85 zoom, a 50mm and a 100-400mm zoom.

    I use the F-1 in rainforests or in bad weather because the 40D isn't waterproof.

    Capsaicinoid. Thank you Mate.

    drexlerkm, photography is just a hobby. The images are not for sale, you are welcome to them. On my dA site you will notice that below some images it says 'Buy this Print'. Don't worry about that, click the download tab on the left .... https://wildwassa.deviantart.com/ If you do a download from dA, the images are designed as smaller prints to a maximum of 8" wide. Who ever does the prints will have to adjust the DPI to the print size wanted, otherwise they'll just end up as postcards.


    Towards the Blue Breaks. The Great Escarpment.





    I ride more single track, than I do in wild country, although riding in the wild will always be my my favourite place to be. I live close to Mount Stromlo. Stromlo holds a leg of the World Cup in DH,XCO and 4X. On the western and southern slopes of Stromlo, the tracks are most enjoyable.

    Warren.
    Last edited by Wild Wassa; 11-16-2009 at 04:12 PM.

  60. #60
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    A bit of new work from below and on top of the Great Escarpment with remnants of warm temperate rainforest.

    The first image is a Gallery Rainforest, and very willowy looking because flash floods wash away the tree ferns and vines. The trees are Kanookas and Black Oliveberry. The tannin in the creek doesn't taste too bad, it just looks bad ... it looks great in the shot. The Errunundra River.





    The Yadboro River, Budawang Wilderness.





    The Western Blue Mountains, east of Magic Mountain, looking into the Colo Wilderness. When the Eucalyptus oil is steaming the forests and the colour temperature of the day is cold in the shadows ... the Blue Mountains become the Ultra-Blue Mountains. The over-whelming smell of the Eucalyptus oil is ... very nice.





    Warren.
    Last edited by Wild Wassa; 11-17-2009 at 06:22 PM.

  61. #61
    the mountian is within
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    Roots rides i call them. Back in the day,all there was. Pack a lunch,exra derail./tools-and go all day. Now i have to tell people that there are trails right in town-they dont explore. Some "locals" even tell people to drive between 1 and 3hrs away to "singletrack".
    On the way they pass literally 100s of miles of trail/singletrack and dirt doubletrack.
    They all ride 5in travel allmtn bikes-and go to flatter and much easier trails.
    If not for my business-i wouldnt care-i would call them names and throw tampons at them. I and a few others have hardcore eastcoast gnarly singletrack right here! And we ride hardtails and SS 29ers-WV=Heaven for hardcore!
    Bz
    i own a bikeshop in WV thetruewheelwv.com

  62. #62
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    There is some AWESOME photography in this thread.

    Great subject, OP. I would have classified myself as "wilderness", but I'm also pretty concervative. I like to get out there and explore new trails, and get into the National Forest, but usually won't do it without a detailed map and established routes, or a knowledgeable ridign buddy. Some of our trails are "out there", but I like to always know where I am, and how far I am from civilization. Reading this thread gave me some differenct perspective.

    1000 shades of grey!
    I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. -- Confucius

  63. #63
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    I love to explore but, even more than that, I love riding my bike. I just want to pedal whether it be five days in on a bikepacking trip or quick spin around the old stand by loop. Good times are always had.

  64. #64
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    wilderness rider here/.//but i do enjoythe purpose built terrains ones in a while

  65. #65
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    I like the trails through wilderness areas...although it seems like I end up pushing the bike more and lifting it up over trees that way...

    I like to haul ass too when I ride, and as rough as the wilderness areas are, maybe I should wear more protective gear...not sure.

    Unfortunately, in Missouri the "Wilderness Areas" do not allow bikes...but once in a while I find a good one I can't pass up.

    But, I like how fast you can constantly go on a park trail......but the number of bikers can be annoying...when you have to jump off the trail 5 times an hour to dodge some inconsiderate douche bag haulin' ass down the trail.
    experience life

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  66. #66
    mm9
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    I prefer the National Forests. My photo's don't come close to some of the ones already submitted here (awesome by the way). But, to give you a feel of the Southern Appalachians - The Chattahoochee National Forest is about 1.5 hours north of Atlanta. Here are a few Fall pics near my home:








  67. #67
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    Last weekend I went into gorge country south west of the Wanganderry Tableland in New South Wales, on the south western edge of the Kanangra-Boyd Wilderness.

    This is the area that the first explorers of the continent of Australia attempted to find a route over (what's now called) the Great Escarpment and across the Great Dividing Range. Along the Wingecarribee and Nattai Rivers. Dudes like Wallis and then Barralier and their parties found this country not passable. Both were thwarted and forced to turn back.

    There are many places here still to be explored by anyone. I doubt whether even the first people went into this country often. Why would anyone, if they didn't have a bike?

    If both of the first expeditions were equipped with light mountain bikes not just horses ... the explorers could still be laughing (or not crying as much) at how far they travelled, if they rode on the rock slabs here. These shots look like bush, but they are really about rock slabs and my thoughts of the explorers. The only tracks I saw were made by Wombats.


    On The Slab ... Black Bob's Creek.





    This really is kick-arse country. I didn't go far from the vehicle maybe 3 ks at the most because of the extreme fire warnings around the State. Luckily, there was no hint of smoke, early in the morning. I took 12 litres of water with me last Saturday morning and returned home at 6pm with 2 lts left. There were 140 fires burning over the State last weekend and the temperature here was 40C+. I don't ever expect the untracked wilderness here to be anything but brutal approaching summer. Even the rocks were too hot for the snakes.


    Headwater Shelves ... The Wingecarribee.





    Warren.
    Last edited by Wild Wassa; 11-25-2009 at 11:24 AM.

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    I think (and this is not said critically of anyone) a lot of it comes down to personality type. In my experience, some people like predictability. They want the known quantity and aren't happy with the unknown. These are the folks that seem to frequent the local parks more.

    Other people like unpredictability, and are quickly bored by the same ol' same old. (I'm definitely in this category.) I'm happiest when all I know about a trail is that it's a line on the map...and the rest is a big question mark!

    Scott
    Well said!
    For me, mountainbiking is about exploring the outdoors. I would be just as happy hiking around if it weren't so slow

    So I would put myself in box b, wilderness rider.

  69. #69
    mm9
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    Absolutely awesome pics Warren!

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    mm9, thank you Mate.

    Last Saturday, later in the day, the smoke from fires west of the ranges was building with the prevailing north easterlies. The visibility was dropping quickly. I imagine what Wallis and Barrallier must have encountered. Reports from the early days of the Colony always mentioned explorers seeing fires on the horizons ... but not the people who lit them. Nothing much has changed then. Smoky days "я"(emain) us.

    From Mount Pindari across Mount Barralier to Mount Colong. Kanangra-Boyd Wilderness.





    I like to ride in the wilderness regions of NSW because I'm fascinated by the history of the first explorers, and the intrepid surveyors of SE Australia. Before I go into a wilderness region, I study the region's environment and natural history and historic weather data and the early European history and I do several reccys and I pore over topos and satelite images (Google Earth is cool), to many hours.

    Warren.
    Last edited by Wild Wassa; 11-29-2009 at 12:47 AM.

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Wassa
    mm9, thank you Mate.

    Last Saturday, later in the day, the smoke from fires west of the ranges was building with the prevailing north easterlies. The visibility was dropping quickly. I imagine what Wallis and Barralier must have encountered. Reports from the early days of the Colony always mentioned explorers seeing fires on the horizons ... but not the people who lit them. Nothing much has changed then. Smoky days r'(emain) us.

    From Mount Pindari across Mount Barralier to Mount Colong. Kanangra-Boyd Wilderness.





    I like to ride in the wilderness regions of NSW because I'm fascinated by the history of the first explorers, and the intrepid surveyors of SE Australia. Before I go into a wilderness region, I study the region's environment and natural history and historical weather data and the early European history and I do several reccys and I pore over topos and satelite images (Google Earth is cool), to many hours.

    Warren.
    Not quite adventurous as you are WW, but I'm the same way. Haven't found a need for a GPS yet (can't afford one), but I have found some interesting ways to navigate. I often think back on early explorers and trading vessels, land and sea. Sometimes the not knowing if your homework is correct upon being in the "thick-of-it" is the best part of the ride

    Cheers, WW.

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidarnott
    ...I Heart ATV's! They have created more buff buff mountain biking trails than all other forces combined. Everywhere I go there is more killer double track created by those kind, generous, good hearted ATVers. Whither the mountains, plains or the desert I can honestly say that ATV's have "paved" the way for me. I like the tracks they make too about twelve inches wide. Perfect! And nicely packed but not too loamy. Kind of like little steam rollers everywhere. So let's all join the Blue Ribbon Coalition where they MAKE trails instead of CLOSE them.
    ATVs and singletrack are mutually exclusive, no way around it. You can have them.

  73. #73
    CrgCrkRyder
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    Wilderness

    My first 6 months of riding was exclusively on CCC era trails and old logging roads on the Jefferson National Forest. I like both types of riding, but backcountry rides where you are more likely to see a bear than another rider are my favorite.

    A sense of adventure and the willingness to hike a bike as needed come with the territory.

  74. #74
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    i have neither near me so i guess i'm an adventure rider. city streets and potholes.

  75. #75
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    For me there is nothing like being in the Mountains enjoying nature
    Respect the Aina....Aloha

  76. #76
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    I'm more of a wilderness rider myself, but I do enjoy the occasional park ride as well.

  77. #77
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    I like towpaths too.
    roccowt.
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    Both have their merits. Parks trails built by mountain bikers for mountain bikers often have great flow, obstacles and can be generally ridden safely alone. Remote trails in National Parks have scenery (as shown by the pics in this thread, wow!) and can provide that "out there in it" experience. Some trails, I'm thinking of those in Sedona, Moab, Berryman, MO and Raystown, PA, have a mix of both of those qualities; those tend to be my favorites.

    I've also ridden double track in Georgia, Arizona and Texas that allowed access to some very remote areas which I couldn't have seen without them. Of course, they all connected to great singletrack, but getting to it wasn't half bad, either.

  79. #79
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    This was our prelude to Thanksgiving dinner, 15 miles, just over 4000 climbed.
    It is not wilderness, since it is about 10 miles from home, but not a park either.



    There is a rider there, look close.
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  80. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by slocaus
    This was our prelude to Thanksgiving dinner, 15 miles, just over 4000 climbed.
    It is not wilderness, since it is about 10 miles from home, but not a park either.


    There is a rider there, look close.
    That's an awesome photo! Where was this at?
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  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by hesston
    That's an awesome photo! Where was this at?
    Off West Cuesta ridge in San Luis Obispo county, central coastal California. From right to left in the picture is Morro Rock, Black Hill, Cerro Cabrillo, Hollister Peak, all part of the Nine Sister chain from downtown San Luis Obispo to Morro Bay.

    Here is another older shot from farther back looking out to the Pacific.
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  82. #82
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    Wilderness rider, I've never had the luxury of riding a groomed trail. I live in an isolated small town, Kingman, Arizona.








  83. #83
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    Nice photos guys! Makes me want to go out of state and do some riding...Missouri riding is all I have done in the year I have been biking...some nice views but pretty similar overall.
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  84. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by slocaus
    This was our prelude to Thanksgiving dinner, 15 miles, just over 4000 climbed.
    It is not wilderness, since it is about 10 miles from home, but not a park either.



    There is a rider there, look close.
    I miss home. Haven't been back in about five years. I know exactly where you rode here.

  85. #85
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    Wilderness for me. Big back country riding. Stomping over the top of Alpine massif's then spending all day heading down.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Are you a "park rider" or a "wilderness rider?"-land.jpg  

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  86. #86
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    A bit of new work from two wilderness regions close to home.

    Above the tree line, the Bimberi Wilderness, the Great Dividing Range. It is hard to call the Bimberi Wilderness a wilderness when the views come with several jet trails.





    The logging roads into the Budawang Wilderness are beautiful except that the pockets of rainforest now are very small. The Budawangs are also known as the Misty Mountains.





    Old growth forests are what wilderness is really about. How do you handle pathetic regrowth like in the image below? ... and the Castle. The Budawang Wilderness. The Great Escarpment.





    It is getting harder to find wilderness in the wilderness around here.

    Warren.
    Last edited by Wild Wassa; 12-04-2009 at 03:22 AM.

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    It is getting harder to find wilderness in the wilderness around here.

    Warren.
    This is a bummer. It's everywhere, though.

    I don't know how you can continue to outdo yourself?

  88. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Wassa


    It is getting harder to find wilderness in the wilderness around here.

    Warren.
    I agree with Mt Biker123...it's all getting harder to find. Some nice photos you have there too! I have not ever rode out west, but here in Missouri and Arkansas, the forest service and DNR, etc will not let you on a wilderness trail with a bike ...they are hike only...and only a handful of those are left! Rumor says some of the bike trails are going to turn into "wilderness"...which will suck when it happens...
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  89. #89
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    Wilderness all the way...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56kJ99AvfoI
    "He was a wise man who invented beer."
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  90. #90
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    azultoyou, "Wilderness all the way" ... absolutely Digger. The wildlife is Animal Commencal? Dan Atherton acting as the rabbit and Gee Atherton trying to catch him? Google. Catch up with 'The Athertons and Farmer Jack' on MPORA TV ... one of the funniest MTB vids of all time.

    Mtn. Biker123 and hesston, thank you for your appreciation of my images.

    Mtn.Biker123, how do I "outdo" myself? ... by being 'out-there', as often as I can Mate. It is a numbers game to get out there as often as possible before the National Parks turn more of the wilderness into Wally World ... and then complains that to protect the wilderness from the Wallies that they've encouraged, that they have to shut the wilderness down. That is how it is here in Oz .

    There is always some unknown location out there in the wilderness that I can play in ... and not ever be ever truly lost. Wilderness regions within a few hours driving from home are Kanangra, Ettrema, Budawang, Bimberi, Bogong, Jagungal, Indi, Byadbo, Brogo, Genoa, and Nadgee on the coast.


    The high country of the Main Range during the thaw. The Great Dividing Range. Kosciusko's main range is only given a wilderness status during winter.







    The Great Escarpment. Budawang Wilderness.















    A narrow slit canyon ... I dump the bike often. There is no drama leaving the bike on the track here to go exploring.







    Australia isn't all desert ... although government agencies here appear to be turning the wilderness regions into dumbed-down cultural deserts ... with their tacky interpretive signs.

    Warren.
    Last edited by Wild Wassa; 12-09-2009 at 02:43 AM.

  91. #91
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    I like to cruise around the 'jects every now and then too. Gives Chibrobro a chance to showcase his new whip. ...Fig-a-deal me?
    roccowt.
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  92. #92
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    I can't even begin to compete with some of the great photos in here, so will abandon the attempt.

    Park or wilds? Both. Used to be more of one vs. the other, now it's more of the other, less of the one. Purely based on my location. Doesn't make it any less fun to ride, at least for me.
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  93. #93
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    There is always some unknown location out there in the wilderness that I can play in ... and not ever be ever truly lost.
    I know the feeling.

  94. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrublover
    Park or wilds? Both.
    It is more like neither, for me:

    A purpose built MTB trail is a real rarity in my country. Actually, a trail that is "built" is a rarity. A trail is an almost natural phenomenon: a sign that there's people who want to pass through an area where there are no roads.

    On the other hand, I cannot really call the woods in my area "wilderness". I've spooked a few moose during trail rides and occasionally there's bear sightings. But I am still always close to civilization. Most of the time, I can hear traffic on a road, or the railway tracks. I try to pick routes where I don't see houses. Most of the time I could reach a house in 10 minutes, or some sort of a road in 5 minutes.

  95. #95
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    Wilderness for sure















    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

  96. #96
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    wilderness....

  97. #97
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    Although I don't mind park riding it always feels a little less fulfilling when I'm done. I really need to get out into the middle of nowhere.

  98. #98
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    Where I live we have a wide variety of kinds of trails. The trails closer to town on Open Space tend to be more "groomed" with big berms and more buff, more "flow" They are lots of fun and have their own challenges. Further out on the National Forest, the trails tend to be more "natural" with more rocks, roots, steeper grades and all that. They are a lot of fun and have their own challenges.

    The only style of trails/riding that I have no interest in is lift served stuff or urban/DJ.

  99. #99
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    Great old thread revival. My view hasn't changed since 2009. I still ride urban trails during the week, but live for the national forest rides on the weekend.

    Any thread featuring Wild Wassa pics and a visit by DavidArnett is worth another view.

  100. #100
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    I do both. We have several mountain bike parks around S.W. MO and N.W. AR, some groomed, some not so much. Then we have the horse trail places that go on for miles through the woods, are pretty rugged, and what you would call "wild" I guess.
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  101. #101
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    Wilderness exploration ....get lost ...get home.

  102. #102
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    During the week I hit the wilderness because there are trails/fire roads near my work. On the weekends I hit the popular trails with a lot of flow (and people) because they are fun to ride.

  103. #103
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    Wilderness only. Even when I go to Whistler, I never go to the park. There are too many good trails.

  104. #104
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    100% wilderness. There are very few things I enjoy more than taking a bike where it was not designed to go. I would like to try park riding sometime though, looks interesting.
    "...when I stand to climb I'm like the Hulk rowing the USS Badass up the Kickass River."
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  105. #105
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    everyone is different but the idea of going to a 'trail centre' (as they are called in the uk) is a total turn off - never been to one. and i live not far from a few of the 'best' ones in the country.

    why do i want to go somewhere were hundreds of other bikers are? and following a constructed route?

    i fully accept that its perfect for some folk but for me, biking allows me to access remote places. im lucky if i see a deer or a buzzard on my ride, never mind another soul on a bike. off course im after more than just the thought of sublime trails, the peace and quiet when you take a break - the zzzz of silence in your ears.

    ive had days were ive had to carry the bike for hours to discover a few miles of sweet singletrack and others that have led to nowhere in particular. whatever happens, i'll come back home grinning.

    another factor in scotland is that access to land is pretty flexable, nothing is off limits really, the most hassle you get is from walkers that will be shocked that 'someones on a bloody bike UP HERE!'.

    having said all that, i do think think that trail centres are great for giving folk an introduction to biking for families etc and if you have less time to ride.

    being married to an understanding wife and with no kids allows me to block off huge chunks of my free time to disappearing on my bike and its wilderness im heading everytime.

  106. #106
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    We have many county or state parks near me with anywhere from 3 to 30 miles of trail within the park. There is really only one place that gets crowded and we certainly don't have any bike parks anywhere close so I don't have an idea of what that is like.

    That said, there is also not really anything that I would consider wilderness riding within a few hours of my door. While I love our local trails, I really look forward to annual trips to ride some of the awesome back country rides we have here in the states.

  107. #107
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    Wilderness! Being raised in interior Alaska, I personally view wilderness differently than the typical lower-48 wilderness, which is political and focused on development/use restrictions (not always a bad thing in my mind). My definition is simple: If you get excited to see evidence of other people, then you are in wilderness because you know that its so remote that you're happy to see any sign that someone else is there or has been there. If you are disappointed (i.e. still trying to get away), then you still aren't far enough away. Remote Alaska, Yukon, BC, etc will teach this quickly. There is no sweeter sound than an airplane coming for the pickup and no sweeter sight than a cabin with someone who might welcome you in for some hot food/drink when you are way out there.

    I have plenty of fun on developed trails, but my best memories are the true off the grid wild places.

  108. #108
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    definitely not a park guy. I mostly ride solo and prefer it and I don't have a need to ride stunts or sanitized "flow" trails either. Give me an nice remote trail with hike a bikes and stream crossings any day.
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  109. #109
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    Wilderness. I like the mountains and the desert. I like to see new places.

    I don't blaze trails. I ride fire roads and service roads and trails that have developed over the years. These are always changing and always a challenge.

    I've ridden groomed flowy trails in a park twice while away from home. It was a blast. I'd love to do it again. I can see enjoyment coming from building skill and speed on such trails. But, give me my wilderness trails.

    I've done two days at a lift served park. It, too, was a blast. However, I rode the fire road down, not the groomed trails.

    BTW mountain biking doesn't require mountains, just dirt.

  110. #110
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    I'm a mountain biker. Trails in the woods. That's what we have here in the Boston MA area. Nice to have 15 miles of trails at the end of my street. More within a 20 minute ride or 20 - 30 minutes of car travel. Not wilderness per se. Trails in the woods. Too many houses and streets around. Does not mean that you can't get lost or away from it all.

  111. #111
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    Why either or? I will ride what ever I can when ever I can. Local trails are built specifically for mountainbikes but it is not a bike park. I have been to quite a few bike parks, loved it, and plan to go again. Today I just explored looking for different routes in the local forest. I love riding in the backcountry exploring and hopefully not getting too lost. I would never restrict myself from riding DH at Whistler or epic single-track.
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  112. #112
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    To me, local park trails and wilderness trails are becoming an excuse for more bikes. Wilderness trails are about covering distance, seeing nature, and overcoming challenges. Local park trails are about getting to know a place and learning how to most quickly negotiate a trail. On a wilderness trail, I pride myself on how far or steep I can go, or what I can haul through, without getting stuck and dismounting. On a local trail, it's how fast I can go, how well I can anticipate features, how far I can manage not to shift while still keeping cadence, etc.

  113. #113
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    Re: Are you a "park rider" or a "wilderness rider?"

    Shit.

    Park?

    Wilderness?

    Does this mean I need two more bikes?

  114. #114
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    Huge fan of both. I ride park to get my adrenaline fix, wilderness to get my adventure on.

  115. #115
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    I really like a little bit of both. My most preferred places are bike parks but I like bike parks that offer everything, that way I can change it up and smile all day. Ultimately, it boils down to how I feel when I wake up in the morning. Do I feel like flying through the air or shredding boulders?

  116. #116
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    I like both - however our 'parks' are within 'wilderness' areas so its hard not to do both.
    If I am going to make a whole day of it - definitely out into the national parks following some vague line on a map and hoping it ends up somewhere cool

  117. #117
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    *shrug*

    I'm a mountain biker.

  118. #118
    CrgCrkRyder
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    Quote Originally Posted by iscariot View Post
    ****.

    Park?

    Wilderness?

    Does this mean I need two more bikes?
    Haha I like the way you think. "I want new Enduro Park and Enduro Wilderness bicycles. Take my money please."

  119. #119
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    I ride where I can when I can

  120. #120
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    I'm a mountain biker.
    Yep.

    We don't have a bike park where I live, but I'll happily ride them if I travel. Groomed trails, bush-bashing gnarly overgrown wilderness, long xc trail rides, whatever. As long as it isn't tarmac road I'll be happy riding it!

  121. #121
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    I only ride park
    "WHO WANTS TO SEE ME DO A BIG-ASS STUNT?!?!?"

  122. #122
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    tongue in cheek reply, no bikes are allowed in wilderness, but I do love the backcountry.

  123. #123
    This place needs an enema
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    Too much of one or the other makes you an unbalanced rider.

    Not enough of both makes you an unbalanced person.

  124. #124
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    is there pavement? no? see you there.

  125. #125
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    I park then I ride!!

    Or Ride thru the park to get to the wilderness!!

    Oh heck JUST RIDE!!!!!!!!
    Ride MORE = Live Longer
    Love Dirt / Hate Pavement

  126. #126
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    And not Or

  127. #127
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    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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  128. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by shwinn8 View Post
    Pretty damn funny!

  129. #129
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    I have access to both out my back door, but I generally slant toward wilderness type riding...

    Are you a "park rider" or a "wilderness rider?"-dsc_0246.jpg

    Are you a "park rider" or a "wilderness rider?"-dsc_0980.jpg

  130. #130
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    Re: Are you a "park rider" or a "wilderness rider?"

    I like to take a lot of pictures so it's wilderness for me.

    The leg bone's connected to the Cash Bone!

  131. #131
    Yeah!
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    I like both, and am fortunate to have both, even with parks owned by the county. No crazy DH stuff, but in a single park (of a few hindred acres) you can find both flowy trails and steep, rooty trails with crazy hard turns that have me riding with my chest against the seat. I might ride with the wife on a trail that is nearly flat, the next day on black diamond. All can be enjoyable if one wants.

  132. #132
    9 lives
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    Both

    I pay for lift access because I love DH
    There are a few places I ride DH without lift access so it's a push back to the top. can't do as many runs in the day but it's fun as well.

    We have found plenty of trails in wilderness areas.
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  133. #133
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    if i don't mix it up a bit i tend to get bored need a change ever so often.

  134. #134
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    Prefer park.....but will fill the down time with wilderness

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