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Hey guys I'm a beginner trail builder and was wondering if there are ways to speed up drying on mountain bike trails. Could I use a lawn aerator to air out the trail and make it dry out faster. Thanks
 

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In theory I suppose there are a lot of things or pieces of machinery you could do/use to make trail dry faster but the question is are they feasible? To "dry out" even a a few hundred meters of trail would be very time consuming and energy intensive let alone miles of trail. Practically I think we're at the mercy of the weather.
 

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Builder of Trails
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Hey guys I'm a beginner trail builder and was wondering if there are ways to speed up drying on mountain bike trails. Could I use a lawn aerator to air out the trail and make it dry out faster. Thanks
The best things are: a well designed trail, a well built trail w/ proper drainage, wind, and sun.

Other factors include: tree coverage, ground cover, soil type, rock content, soil compaction, humidity, and rainfall amounts.

As far as I know, there are no implements for lessening the drying time of a trail,......but I could be wrong.

D
 

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Terrain Sculptor
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Aerator is a bad idea. Your idea trail tread is hard packed so the water sheets off the top and never sits on it. That's why a side slope is desired. An aerator will loosen up your tread and cause ruts or cupping giving the water a good place to sit and not drain off.
 

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A properly built trail with at least 5% outslope and grade reversals will aid in drying out. But like others have stated, soil composition and exposure to sun and wind are very helpful. Let mother nature do most of the work for you.
 

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The White Jeff W
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There's really nothing you can do to speed up the spring thaw except hope for a stretch of warm, sunny days with some wind.

We have a few spots that dry slower than others. People ride through on bikes & horses & tear it up then the ruts catch more water and make it worse. Ill take a hard rake & scrape off the really wet stuff then scramble the ground to even it out then the traffic smooths it out.
 

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Dirt Monkey
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Aerating is probably not a good idea. I think the main reason this is done is to reduce soil compaction which is the opposite of what is useful for a trail.

The springtime thaw and drying is going to take the longest on Northern facing slopes which don't get much sunlight. These are usually the best areas to check to gauge when the trails are ready for use. I would also think they would be the ideal areas to concentrate any drying efforts on.

Also, remove any leaf mats or other organic debris that have built up over the winter in drainages to expose the dirt to the sun and speed drying. Organics tend to trap moisture in the soil and slow drying considerably.

Trees and other larger plants can also help remove soil moisture, but this doesn't have much of an effect until they start making or have foliage.
 

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We usually turn up the heat and add some sun. The thermostat is broken this year though so it will be a while in the upper midwest. Although the roads are rough and covered with sand / dirt so that's almost like mountain biking on quadruple track.
 

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To boot, if you are in a sandy area, you NEVER want to remove the top layer of material. This layer is made of organic material and can collect some of the clay/top soild layer that allows for quick singletrack. Once you remove this with a machine (please don't bring an airrater into the trails) or by hand, you open the sandy layer below, creating better conditions for erosion.

Let the trails dry, ride the road, hit the skatepark...etc.
 

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Unpredictable
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We have some sections of trail where water flows under the soil following roots on rock layers. In prolonged wet periods this can cause sodden trail from underneath or where water spouts onto the trail from the upslope edge. One solution we have had to use is to dig a trench parallel to the upslope of the trail, deep enough to intercept the subsoil channels and drain water away from the area (which is usually, but not always on gently sloped land). I don't know if that applies to your issue, but otherwise I agree there is not much you can do other than modify the trail construction with armouring, different drainages or a turnpike/raised tread.
 
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