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Discussion Starter #1
If you haven't heard the term trail creep, it's not in reference to some dude perving on your wife as you ride by. It refers to a trail widening slowly. We know when a trail has "Creeped Out". We've all seen it, but the question is are you causing it?

The Idea behind trail use in general is that you stay on it. Within the trail, you have line choices (hopefully) as features come into play, but choosing to go off the trail. is not a choice...it's cowardice. That's right, I called you chicken. WTF are you afraid of? Tree roots? Small stones, rocks, walking your bike for 10 feet? Not only are you literally ruining it (the trail experience) for the next folks, you are denying yourself the true joy of becoming a Mountain Biker, as opposed to a Biker in the Mountains.

We choose to ride a bicycle off of prepared surfaces by accepting the fact that we are bored doing other things on the bicycle. We want to continue to explore the limits of what is called a " Mountain Bike", and ourselves, by accepting the unknown variables that lay ahead down the trail, not down the street. The activity known as Mountain Biking is one of the most rewarding and continually challenging activities I have discovered in my 46 years, and I have dabbled in many other activities. Every spring I come away with the same opinion which is, damn this is hard, and damn this is fun!

As a trail USER...it's your fault the ideal of MTB trail experiences, riding single track trails, is an endangered experience. Every time you choose avoidance over acceptance you are a Trail Creeper. Every time you let your fatigue or lack of confidence override your free will you are a Trail Creeper. When you let newer users make choices to ride off the edge, out of the boundaries of the difficult and sometime incongruous path that unfurls out in front of our knobby front tires without ridicule, you are cultivating a trail creeper. We are all guilty. It's up to all of us, in our times of weakness or inadequate skills to stay on the difficult path, even if that means walking a bit of it. On the tail gate, at the river, where ever you chill after your ride, you will know deep down, did I make the right choices today? Or was I a Creeper.

If it's the latter, I have some advice. Accept that you can't ride everything and you might fall over. Accept what the late, great Yoda said, "Do, or do not, there is no try." If you choose to, do so with full commitment. You might fail or succeed, but the glory is in the attempt. Apres, as a noob or a seasoned veteran, if you went for it, that session IPA will seem just a bit more fresh...a touch more floral than if you didn't. If you "Creeped Out" on that root, drop or challenging section, someone should take that beer and dump it in your dirty shoe and force you to drink it. While the Booty Beer is an accepted part of failure as a White Water Paddler, so too should it be for the MTB Creeper.

If bike riding has got into you, then it is normal for you to "See lines" every where. It used to be that I would drift out of my lane on the HWY when I saw a giant ledge perched atop the nice smooth transition of the excavated Hwy cut. If only I could find a drop with such a landing out in the woods where I play on my bike. So, I forgive you in advance for sometimes being drawn off the edge of the trail to jump or pump some feature slowly being exposed by normal on-trail wear. However, there are limits.


If you are not the trail builder at a location, or a regular part of the crew that assists in normal up-keep, you are on notice. Behave. Resist the urge. If you think there could be a feature or trail addition, try and do the right thing and get involved locally and discuss it with the locals. Often times, people who are doing the work have gained more insight over the years as to the repercussions of opening this line or that, and you, as a trail user, are not considering variable those folks are in consideration of. Even if you disagree with an ethic being put into practice at any network, or dislike the riding characteristics the trail builders are developing in their local networks, it is up to you to not be the Creeper.

Don't clear out straight lines through chicanes so you can save a second on your KOM. Do not weave wildly from side to side trying to roost loam a flick every set of linked turns. Do not move debris clearly closing these Creeped Out trail failures.

Get involved if you want control. If you ride somewhere, almost anywhere in New England, it's likely that for a long time, and for many hours, people have been out working to create and maintain the trail you ride. If you have strong feelings for, or even against a certain trail network and want to enhance...or try and change the way the trails are built or maintained...respect those individuals by getting in touch and earning the right to have some control by doing the hard work. Meetings have never built a single foot of trail. Hands-on-tools, feet-on-dirt is how someone can have the most positive impact on any trail system.

Mud. Is it wet, or is it soft? A trail can be made of stone, and have a half inch of leafy detritus on it that leaves a slight rut. A mud hole can develop less than a bike length long, and remain a rim-deep mud hole long after trail conditions on the other 5278 feet of trail in that mile are prime. Ride these right down the middle. If the ground is saturated so that sections of single track are soft and being rutted by use, turn around and go home. Don't ride around. Don't walk around. You are a trail Creeper. You messed up by being there, and you should go do some trail work to mitigate the situation, or ride elsewhere.

I feel like the industry does us no favors. Every new generation of rider has to go through the learning process. Erosion should not be a trail feature. Maximizing your impact by disregarding the ethic of staying on trail does not make you more Bro-y. It makes you an ignorant and entitled D Bag. Contrary to the photos and videos put out as advertising, it's those small choices you make as a rider that have the most impact on the longevity of our quality trail experiences.

I recommend parking lot shaming, belittling of someone's worth as a rider, and forced consumption of expensive IPAs out of stanky riding shoes is the cure for Trail Creeps. Eventually we will make them quit, or be more accountable for their cowardly, and/or entitled shinnanigans. It's up to all of us.

Suns out, time to ride.
 

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If the ground is saturated so that sections of single track are soft and being rutted by use, turn around and go home. Don't ride around. Don't walk around. You are a trail Creeper. You messed up by being there, and you should go do some trail work to mitigate the situation, or ride elsewhere.

Says the guy insisting yesterday that trails nowhere near him are dry and rideable despite first-hand reports to the contrary.
 

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seriously, save the gatekeeping for reddit where you at least you can get downvoted to oblivion and we don't have to look at your drivel. trails are not fixed and permanent and impossible to change, they are organic by nature. Sometimes a new route is found (around mud, say) that is better/more efficient and gives the "real" trail a chance to rest. Get over it. It's better for the trail anyway in the long run.
 

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Great article, Dave. Something to keep in mind. Something I will reiterate to kiddos while riding as they are ever driven to go around the roots. A constant battle...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You have to expect the haters. It's funny to me anyone would take that piece too seriously, but hey....just trying to empower folks to make good decisions themselves about trail use, instead of demanding obedience about closures, due to sensitive conditions. Trails are not permanent. They are like living things. Our relationship with them can be symbiotic, parental, or abusive and ultimately fatal. Informed and considerate users making good personal choices is a good ideal to shoot for.

I actually agree with some of the Mr. Sawyer said. Over time things slowly change as the trail comes to life. The line shifts slowly. I don't try and control that. At the same time, riding completely off trail to avoid things is just bad behavior as a trail user. Anyone seriously arguing the "Please Stay On the Trail" ethic needs to reconsider. I had fun writing it. I hope it was funny, and I hope the next time you're riding on trail, and watch your front tire veer off to the edge of the trail so you don't have to ride over a root, you think of me....and know you're a Creeper. Don't be a Creeper.
 

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too long didn't read

gonna go ride now


also this creep around wet trail spots is called 'lensing' in bike speak...afaik

worse offenders are hikers who try to edge them don't want to get feet wet due to inappropriate footwear

...most riders can slow ride or fast ride straight in and ride out.
 

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This reminds me of the hearty discussion about "stop braiding the trails" and "B lines" from a few years ago! Let's keep this going. Despite riding hero dirt to my heart's content yesterday (and most of April), it will undoubtedly rain for a few days at some point and we can bicker about re-routes, Strava lines, and all the things that people who are younger, didn't grow up riding the gnar like we did, and/or are from some place other than us have been doing to collectively ruin the trails!

I will say to any groms reading who are inspired to do trail work: use your time and energy to work on a draining a wet spot, building a new jump, etc. Don't rework existing trail just because it is too hard for you right now. Those of us who built it did it that way on purpose. Keep riding it and you'll get it eventually, and then you'll appreciate it!
 

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but hey....just trying to empower folks to make good decisions themselves about trail use, instead of demanding obedience about closures, due to sensitive conditions.
The good thing about a trail system being closed is that you don't have to make any decision about it; it's been made for you. Go somewhere else. One's opinion about the closure is absolutely irrelevant.

Every inch of our trail system has been built by hand, with McLeod's and Rogue hoes, by volunteers. It is maintained by volunteers working by hand on their own time to make it rideable for you every spring. Only the world's most egocentric a-hole would deliberately encourage people to ride on trails that the organization is asking you to stay off of.
 

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I sometimes find myself on seasonal wet spots and am embarrassed about it and don't go back there for weeks ...fwiw

some mud holes are constant and you can't do any damage, those you just rip through
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The good thing about a trail system being closed is that you don't have to make any decision about it; it's been made for you.
That's really what I'm looking for in my daily life....folks to make the decisions for me without dialogue, input, n understanding and what I, personally can do about it. VMBA'Merica!
I'd suggest that if your trail network in Vermont is mostly dry right now, the problem isn't use, it's "your" trails.
https://waterwatch.usgs.gov/?m=real&r=vt&w=map
 

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That's really what I'm looking for in my daily life....folks to make the decisions for me without dialogue, input, n understanding and what I, personally can do about it. VMBA'Merica!
I'm really looking for you to stay off my trail system when it's closed. I don't care what your VMBA conspiracy theories are, our chapter hasn't opened trails yet because they aren't ready. You don't get to make your own decisions about trails you don't work on, have never biked on, and know little about.

Spouting off on MTBR that everyone should go bike on VMBA trails because you are super-duper sure they are dry and rideable even though the chapters haven't opened them yet just creates more work for volunteers. That level of ignorance and disrespect is astonishing.

Work on your own trails, ride your own trails, and shut your ignorant pie-hole about everything else. You're not the ****ing mayor of Vermont mountain biking.
 

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How do you not get how disrespectful and irresponsible it is to everyone who works on a trail system when you disregard the simple request from a chapter to stay off its trails until they are ready?

How do you not understand that sitting in Northfield looking at streamflow data doesn't tell you the tread conditions on every trail system? Or the condition of bridges, or the status of private land within the system?

What could possibly motivate a group of avid mountain bikers who have been working on their trails for six weeks to deliberately keep them closed to...what? Keep themselves from biking?

How hard is it to just keep your mouth shut about other trails? You don't seem to care much for other trail networks, so why the motivation to cause them damage and cause more work for the people who work on them?

JFC.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
How do you not get how disrespectful and irresponsible it is to everyone who works on a trail system when you disregard the simple request from a chapter to stay off its trails until they are ready?

How do you not understand that sitting in Northfield looking at streamflow data doesn't tell you the tread conditions on every trail system? Or the condition of bridges, or the status of private land within the system?

What could possibly motivate a group of avid mountain bikers who have been working on their trails for six weeks to deliberately keep them closed to...what? Keep themselves from biking?

How hard is it to just keep your mouth shut about other trails? You don't seem to care much for other trail networks, so why the motivation to cause them damage and cause more work for the people who work on them?

JFC.
PM me if you want to continue this conversation. I'm happy to have it. You're off topic and sound a little off kilter. I don't think you are being accurate in your representation of the issues I have spoken about. My information of conditions is from first hand reports like the one above about Blueberry Lake. The river gauges are a nice visual aid. We'll be in drought, maybe by the end of this week of fantastic looking riding weather. Some flakes maybe Friday night.

In support of our frustrated whom-ever-it-is from some random and particularly wet VMBA network, always use your judgement and try to do no damage based on your trail use ethics, not what other folks tell you. If a place is Open, but wet, leaving is the right call. No one should be riding officially closed trails. The number one reason to not have your local trails be Official anything. VMBA Chapters need to communicate better, as has been noted many times in the last couple threads, if they want users to be attentive to their dispatches.

I'm curious what is the trail network you live near?
 

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PM me if you want to continue this conversation. I'm happy to have it. You're off topic and sound a little off kilter. I don't think you are being accurate in your representation of the issues I have spoken about. My information of conditions is from first hand reports like the one above about Blueberry Lake. The river gauges are a nice visual aid. We'll be in drought, maybe by the end of this week of fantastic looking riding weather. Some flakes maybe Friday night.

In support of our frustrated whom-ever-it-is from some random and particularly wet VMBA network, always use your judgement and try to do no damage based on your trail use ethics, not what other folks tell you. If a place is Open, but wet, leaving is the right call. No one should be riding officially closed trails. Chapters need to communicate better as has been noted many times in the last couple threads.

I'm curious what is the trail network you live near?
No, I won't PM you; you were publicly telling people to "make their own decisions" about riding in places where chapters have posted clear information regarding trail status. That needs to be called out publicly.

As usual, you've just walked back what you've been saying here and in other threads in response to criticism ("oh, definitely, let's not ride closed trails" after a spate of posts ranting about how The Man can't tell you what to do). Moving the goalposts seems to be your MO ("Oh, you didn't like my post about trail creepers? You guys, I was kidding")

I get that you're impervious to criticism and confident in your own righteousness, but you don't have a right to spout damaging advice without pushback. The people potentially impacted by your rhetoric have a right to respond.
 

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Next time it gets personal and descends into petty name calling offenders get two weeks off.

Posts deleted from this thread already.
 

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I really have to wonder what else is in the well water in Vermont. The constant pedantic whining that goes on on this forum is truly amazing.

Our trail system on the sane-side-of-the-river never closes, why because they are TRAILS for God's sake, not Broadway performances. OK, maybe we build or trails better than you because they are always rideable, and they don't get damaged because someone rode through a mud puddle.
Of any group that I know of, mountain bikers should exercise the least amount of gatekeeping, since we are more maligned than about any other public land user.
 
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