As the weather is warming up, it’s nice to get outdoors and get some riding back in.
The biggest drawback of the spring is that there are a number of Mountain bike trails that are too wet to ride. In some cases this may be certain sections of the trails, or the entire trail. Some trails handle moisture better than others.
While it is extremely tempting to get out there and go ride even if the trail is wet, in doing so it can have an adverse effect on the trail all summer. Riding on wet biking trails can cause ruts and erosion, widening of the trail, and even damage to your bike.
Erosion and Ruts:
If the trail is wet and muddy, continual bike riding creates ruts making the trail worse when it dries. The more a trail is ridden on, the more susceptible it becomes to erosion, yet erosion is accelerated when the trail is muddy and bike tires are going deeper into the dirt. Ruts on trails require additional trail maintenance, which is done by volunteer work. There is a huge misconception that the trail will just repair itself. That is False. The trail will become worse over time. The more work volunteers have to do to correct ruts and erosion from trail abuse and weather, the less time they have to focus on other trail improvements.
Widening of the Trails:
Riders usually tend to go around the muddy areas and off-trail when the paths are wet. In doing this, it will start to create another trail, leaving behind the vison of a singletrack path and making erosion worse. Riding the wet trails also hurts the natural environment leading to additional damage. At the end of the day, riders will have to make the decision to get off their bike to walk through puddles if the path is deeply saturated in parts instead of riding around it. Although, if the trail is truly mud filled or gets worse as you ride further into it and it’s probably best to turn back around and find another trail to ride.
Damage to Your Bike:
We have seen the commercials and ads of how awesome it looks when the mud is flinging back from the tires, leading us to believe our bikes can handle it all! Well, that image is not completely true. Mud can have a severe impact on your bike. Riding wet, muddy trails will cause mud to lump up on your rear tire, which can catch your rear derailleur forcing it to bend or break.
We know this time of year can be a real pain for bike riders. Most of us are dying to get out there to ride our favorite trails. The warm weather and sunny skies can trick us into believing we are good to get out there. Various circumstances such as afternoon rain storms and water runoff play a major part in trail conditions.
If the trails or a section of the trails are wet, please do not ride the trail for the reasons provided. For more information about trail rules and responsible riding click (Here).