How to repair ruts?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Witty McWitterson
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    How to repair ruts?

    So there's a 8500 acre park just to the north of where I work, and they've recently admitted that they need more users and are encouraging more mountain bikers to visit. To that end, they've started up a trail steward program that I'm participating in. All the fun trails(read: singletrack) have previously been exclusively used by horses and a few hikers. This is both good and bad. Good in that the trails are well established, and mostly easily traversable. Bad in that there are of course sections that are pummled to hell and sections with deep ruts. I've got ideas for the pummeled sections as they are typically wet.

    Its the ruts that are giving me fits. Many sections are fine to ride with the trail bed in fine shape. Other sections, the rut from use is 4+" deep, with some spots getting to 8 or more inches. These ruts are found on both 'level' ground and inclines. When the trail traverses, its easy enough to deal with them there. Its when the trail bed is compacted into the surrounding soil that I'm at a loss for what to do.

    Before any one suggests it, I can't re-route the trail.

    Thanks for the help!
    Just a regular guy.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
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    First get yourself a copy of the IMBA Trail Solutions book:
    http://www.imba.com/resources/trail_...solutions.html

    We are not allowed to re-route some of our trails either. We've used the Appalacian Armoring technique using broken concrete sine there is no rocks around here (Long Island)
    http://www.dupontforest.com/trailproject.asp

    We also have used logs to armor sections of trail.

    But first you need to move the water off the trail with rolling grade dips about every 75 yards or so, depending on your soil type, this will slow the water down enough so it can't pick up speed and carry more dirt and stones away, creating ruts.

    Every problem needs a different cure, with out looking at the surroundings...this is just a best guess.

    Get the IMBA TrailCare Crew to come and teach your clubs (inc. hikers and equestrians) how to design and maintain trails.

  3. #3
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    rut repair

    "Its the ruts that are giving me fits. Many sections are fine to ride with the trail bed in fine shape. Other sections, the rut from use is 4+" deep, with some spots getting to 8 or more inches. These ruts are found on both 'level' ground and inclines. When the trail traverses, its easy enough to deal with them there. Its when the trail bed is compacted into the surrounding soil that I'm at a loss for what to do."

    POSSIBLE SOLUTION:
    There are probably other ways to solve this, but this may be one of the most permanent solutions. With a rut on an incline, what I do is search around in the woods off-trail and find as many really big, heavy, somewhat flat and wide rocks as I can get. I usually use a pick mattock, a shovel and a rock bar to do this work. Once you dig a rock out of the ground, be sure to fill the hole back in and cover it with leaves/sticks so that it isn't an ugly scar for other people to see.

    Then I drag/roll/push the rocks to the trail - each one needs to be at least 2-3 times as wide as the rut width, and definitely at least as thick as the rut is deep. Then - carefully - dig a hole that is just a tad smaller than each rock, yet into which each rock can fit snugly, and butt them up against each other, so that they look kinda like the railroad ties on train tracks, but touching. Depending on the thickness of each rock, you will have to set some deeper and some shallower. Just remember, you can always dig more, but you can't fix a hole if you've "blown it out" or dug too deeply. The goal is to have the rocks in the middle of the trail, covering the rut and bringing the trail surface back up "to grade" (i.e. to level of surrounding soil). Rocks should touch each other, and all be on a semi-similar plane - some variability in how level they are is actually kinda cool bcs it makes it more technical of a ride.

    Try not to use rocks that are made out of quartz (i.e. that white, sweaty stuff) bcs it is a very slippery riding surface.

    If you can't find adequate stone nearby, talk to your park ranger/mananger and see if they will be willing to pruchase some fieldstone from a local quarry or landscaper. It ain't cheap, but it'll save a lot of work, especially if they can run it in on an atv to somewhere close to the trail, and then you and some buddies can throw the stone in backpacks or carry them into the trail by hand. This stuff can take quite a bit of time to do, but if done right it will last a long time and actually extend the riding season of some trail sections - rock doesn't have a mud season.

    As the other guy said, the IMBA trail book has lots of great suggestions too.

    Have fun!

    Scharny

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