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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a new rider to downhill flow trails—which are becoming increasingly popular. And I can see why—they're a blast to ride! :) (Most of my riding for years tends to be long-distance XC rides on multi-use trails in national forests.)

I recently checked out a downhill flow trail system in Oregon (Alsea Falls–really excellent!). Being new to these kinds of trails generally and never having ridden this particular trail system, I made it a point to ride for the first time during weekday work hours so nobody else would be around (which was the case).

I rode the trails pretty slowly and was on the brakes a lot. And I definitely was NOT getting any air over whoops obviously designed for that purpose. (They were definitely the kinds of trails you could easily kill yourself on if you *didn't* ride slowly the first several times.)

As I rode, I kept thinking there must be an extremely high probability of some downhill expert (who has memorized every bump and turn in this trail) blasting down the same trail literally going 2-3 times faster than I was (and getting big air)—and swooping around a corner only to rear-end me at high speed.

What are the rules for this sort of thing on downhill flow trails? (Are there any?) On crowded weekends, how do people of dramatically varying speeds keep from either colliding with one another...or how do you prevent the slow riders from ruining the fast riders' day?

Still figuring this out, LOL.

Thx,
Scott
 

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Everybody just tries their best to not be a dick. It's really that simple. If you know you are gonna blast through the trail and get pissy if someone is in front of you then you sit and wait a bit longer after someone goes to allow some space... But regardless you just have to accept that you aren't Brandon Semenuk on a closed course and that others have just as much right to be there as you.
 

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You'll generally be fine as long as you don't stop on the trail. If someone catches up to you just find a safe place to let them pass. If there is lift access and you know you'll be slow then try to start at the back of the pack.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thx. Those answers mostly make sense; I guess what I kept noticing on this particular trail were the number of seemingly blind corners and places where you just wouldn't see someone slower in front of you and risk endoing from getting on your brakes so hard.

But it's entirely possible that had there been other riders ahead of me I would have noticed them in places that seemed low-visibility.
 

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You'll generally be fine as long as you don't stop on the trail. If someone catches up to you just find a safe place to let them pass. If there is lift access and you know you'll be slow then try to start at the back of the pack.
This, do not stop on the trail. Nothing is more irritating or dangerous than a couple of guys stopped on the trail.

I am assuming this flow trail is directional right? You are not having to worry about climbing riders right?

If someone catches up to you it is on them to wait until you have a safe place to pull over and let them by.
 

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Pretty much what everyone else is saying: Don't stop on the trails, but absent that, it's very unlikely that you'd get rear-ended. I suspect that the trails might not be quite as blind as you think. In most places I've ridden, I'm pretty aware if there is someone above or below me. There might be points where I can't see them, but it's very rare that I catch someone without realizing they're there on a trail where I can carry any real speed. I've had people come up on me without me realizing on occasion, but they never seemed close to rear ending me (I'm pretty sure that they knew I was there).
 

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I'm a new rider to downhill flow trails-which are becoming increasingly popular. And I can see why-they're a blast to ride! :) (Most of my riding for years tends to be long-distance XC rides on multi-use trails in national forests.)

I recently checked out a downhill flow trail system in Oregon (Alsea Falls-really excellent!). Being new to these kinds of trails generally and never having ridden this particular trail system, I made it a point to ride for the first time during weekday work hours so nobody else would be around (which was the case).

I rode the trails pretty slowly and was on the brakes a lot. And I definitely was NOT getting any air over whoops obviously designed for that purpose. (They were definitely the kinds of trails you could easily kill yourself on if you *didn't* ride slowly the first several times.)

As I rode, I kept thinking there must be an extremely high probability of some downhill expert (who has memorized every bump and turn in this trail) blasting down the same trail literally going 2-3 times faster than I was (and getting big air)-and swooping around a corner only to rear-end me at high speed.

What are the rules for this sort of thing on downhill flow trails? (Are there any?) On crowded weekends, how do people of dramatically varying speeds keep from either colliding with one another...or how do you prevent the slow riders from ruining the fast riders' day?

Still figuring this out, LOL.

Thx,
Scott
Don't worry. Everyone knows all rippers have loud hubs, so you'll hear them coming from a long way away and be able to get off the trail before they catch you. :)
 

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I ride directional downhills with my wife, who isn't that fast. At the top, we let others go ahead of us and on the trail, I keep a close eye on anyone who may be catching us. If someone is approaching, we get well off the trail to let them go by so as to not hinder their ride or slow them down. That has worked well.

When I'm riding alone and come upon a slower rider, I usually just stop, off the trail, and let them get well ahead before I start up again - checking uphill before I start up again. It really is just common sense and a little consideration.

If you're on a directional non-bike park downhill trail, other bikers are pretty good about following the rules, but I've seen hikers on these types of trails before, so just be ready. This has happened twice to me. In both cases, once I informed them of the trail designation and dangers, they got off the trail.
 

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I almost ran into somebody one day. Well not really but potential was there.
They were stopped right before a 180 turn -I yelled out to "stay there" and they panicked and picked up their bike and scurried away. Fortunately in the direction I didn't already start adjusting for.

I think they had a crash as one of the 2 was looking at his arm. So yeah, STOPPING isn't good, in the middle. If/when you stop, just pull over. Also best if you can find a place to stop that is in line if site to the approaching riders. No need to be hiding then have the rider get started when they suddenly see somebody stopped.

Don't be nervous and get flustered and make a mistake. Ride your line at your pace. Move aside when you are able. If new rider is on your tail -yell out that you are about to pull over.

If you catch somebody just ask if you can get around them when they have room to allow a pass. Usually they will move aside.
 

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What everybody else is saying pretty much covers it.

I would definitely say that I wish that the trails I've ridden which are obviously designed to be most fun for bicycles going downhill and are bermed, flowy, and full of rollable whoops/jumps would be managed better by the land manager. There's a number of places I've ridden where the land manager is not managing the trail appropriately for how the trail was designed. One in particular is local to me and is a popular trail for horse riders to climb so they can burn off their horse's extra energy to calm them down for the rest of their ride. Plenty of hikers. But the trail was clearly built to ride downhill fast, and there are very emphatic signs at either end specifying that this trail has the exact same right-of-way as all of the others in the place.

Gah! If that was going to be the right-of-way situation, why did the land manager allow for a trail to be such a fast downhill trail? It was rebuilt a few years ago, and it's faster now, so this is a recent thing.

Stuff like this is part of why I use bigger brakes than are really necessary for my bike and how I usually ride. It allows me to control my speed more safely with a greater margin for error.
 

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Even if a faster rider is coming from behind, as long as you’re riding downhill you’re both going in the same direction so his or her overtaking speed is still likely a lot less than two people going opposite directions. They’ll probably have plenty of time to see you as long as you’re not at a dead stop.

I don’t know if saying, “I’m about to pull over“ is of any use. When I’m booking down the trail in my full face helmet I can’t hear much other than my breathing and the wind. Just pull over safely when you can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Good stuff everyone! I definitely would never stop on a flow trail-aside from being obnoxious, I'd be scared sh*tless of getting run over, LOL. The trails I was riding are mostly directional (I think). I don't know them well, but I don't recall seeing many places where it would be easy to pull over for someone (like a narrow trail bench-cut along a steep slope or places where you'd have to climb up and over a berm). But like others said, it's like when you get pulled over for speeding and have to roll along for a while, the cop on your tail with lights flashing, before finding a good spot to pull over, LOL.

As an aside, I was thinking I'd LOVE to take my kids out on the lower section of this trail sometime. But there's no way I'd get them out there unless I knew nobody else was on the trail-which makes me think it would be great to have "Newbie Kids Day on the Flow Trails" where riding is off-limits to experienced folks so the kids can safely dawdle their way down and stop at the whoops and walk over them if they have to, etc. <thumbs up>
 

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I'm going to have to down-vote that one.
Yeah, whoa, yuck.

SW, are you trying to raise a bed of pansies or young tough human beings prepared to adventure out into the world and tackle it?

Anyone is free to walk at anytime, they just also need awareness of their environment while doing so and react accordingly. Best to learn to get out of the way right out of the gate than learn in an environment with no reason to build said awareness. At that pace you'll just start riding the fun stuff at a snail's pace holding everyone up when your in your fourt.... uhh heh heh... well this is awkward, carry on...
 
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