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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
so last night i did something i normally don't do i went for a group singlspeed ride after work at some local trails.

as i rolled up i noticed a group was forming (not my group) up under a tree as i watched it grew from like 30 to 70 or 80 people.

i thought holy sh!t, all those people are gonna try and ride at once???? and then off they went; a brief field sprint around some trees (i think so the fast guys can get up front), then BOOM into the woods.

into these tiny tight little trails just like the beginning of a race.

so now i was thinking wow, these guys sure are hardcore that they go ride like this once a week. i am glad i am not amongst that mass of adrenaline but i could see how it might be fun...

so my group showed up and we spent the night dodging this rolling circus and trying to ride our own trails (luckily there loop didn't include some nice stuff).

SO HERE COMES THE RANT: we are finishing up and we ride some trails the herd has been on... obviously 60-80 bikes is gonna leave a mark but this was [email protected] at one point the trail went down none too steep hill and there is just a skid mark the whole way down the hill on the center of the trail... these idiots (i guess in some drive to "race" each other) were riding like complete morons destroying the trails that i know were lovingly built by someone other than them (with his sweat and toil on the weekends for the love of biking) and these people hold a weekly impromtu race on these trials??? it's [email protected] [email protected] i tell you...

i have nothing against group rides but if your riding with a group you should tell your group member how [email protected] dumb it is to lock up the brakes on a hill.

and if you wanna "race" you better damn well clean up after yourselves when you ride like @ssholes to try and be faster than the next guy.

all in all it just really upset me that riders who never spend a lick of time doing work can really trash an area without any seeming remorse in the spirit of "racing" what a bunch of @ssholes!

if anyone here reads this and participates in the thursday "races" up in belmont plateau i'd love to hear your side... cause to me it really seems you are abusing those trails someone else has lovingly built for your love of going fast... AND IT SUCKS!!!! do you guys ever do work there or just come to race and leave your trashed trails for the other suckers to worry about???
 

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Inbred Homebrewer
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Wow

Calm down. The thursday night races have been going on @ Belmont for at least 7 years (the last time I actually raced there was in 2000, but they'd been going on for years prior to that).

Before you attack everyone and anyone involved for destroying your trails and 'never spend a lick of time doing work'. . .how exactly do you know, from one encounter, who all of those people are and what they do (or don't do) for the local MTB scene??

If they're leaving trash and crap all over the place, that's one thing. But, when I used to race there, several of the local shops used to organize the course (including cutting trail, re-routing around damaged/impassable areas, etc, do maintenance, and clean-up afterwards, AND they also donated prizes for the top 3 spots in each class. Cycles BiKyle, Bicycle Therapy, and Wiss Cyclery come to mind.

And honestly, Belmont is hardly a pristine wilderness area to begin with. Local schools run XC (track) races there, inner-city folk ride ATVs all over the place at insane speeds and do more damage in a few passes than the racers do all night.

Calm down, and ride somewhere else on thursdays if it upsets you so much. A lot of the trails there that you love so much were most likely *built* by some of those same people that 'pissed you off'.

$0.02
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
oh i'm calm; just using a public forum to voice my displeasure...

i am sure they have been doing it for a while, and i am sure they are nice people... but together in a giant racing mass they seem to be doing more harm than good out there and THEREFORE i think it sucks!!

and PS, i never see anyone there doing trail work on weekends. in fact on weekends i hardly see anyone there. except one or two good "regulars" out there riding and maintaining; making the trails better for us all.

i personally love the trails at belmont and think they are the best riding in the city and it just upsets me to see em get beat down like that!

i'll end by simply restating my point: "racing" is no reason to ride like an @sshole; and if your gonna organize a weekly race, at least cleanup after your @ssholes if you can't teach them not to skid down the damn hills...
 

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Wow! I am surprised the field was that big. I haven't raced Belmount yet this year, but the field is usually only about 20 or so racers. The Thursday night races are the only time Belmount really gets used heavily. That part of the park is kind of dangerous to ride by yourself or in a small group especailly in the evening.
 

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max-a-mill said:
oh i'm calm; just using a public forum to voice my displeasure...

i am sure they have been doing it for a while, and i am sure they are nice people... but together in a giant racing mass they seem to be doing more harm than good out there and THEREFORE i think it sucks!!

and PS, i never see anyone there doing trail work on weekends. in fact on weekends i hardly see anyone there. except one or two good "regulars" out there riding and maintaining; making the trails better for us all.

i personally love the trails at belmont and think they are the best riding in the city and it just upsets me to see em get beat down like that!

i'll end by simply restating my point: "racing" is no reason to ride like an @sshole; and if your gonna organize a weekly race, at least cleanup after your @ssholes if you can't teach them not to skid down the damn hills...
I'm not trying to defend anyone here, but I can see already that we're not going to agree on anything. You say your calm, but you're clearly upset. Otherwise, you wouldn't resort to calling people you don't even know 'ass_holes' because they happen to race one night a week in your favorite riding spot.

I'm sure I even know which hill you're talking about 'everyone' skidding down. Used to be called Parachute Hill (don't know if anyone still calls it that). It's the first big trail going up on the left of the doubletrack leading into the woods, right? Some weeks the course went up it, some weeks down. Anyway, it's wide as hell, and prone to washing out after a heavy rain. So a few people ride with less than perfect technique...so what? Yeah, it's sad that not everyone feels the same way as you re: riding with minimal impact on the trail. But not everyone who races there rides that way (admit it).

On top of that, where would you have them go? To Wissahickon? Pennypack? These are places with far greater visibility, far more pedestrian traffic, and signifigantly greater erosion issues than the Plateau. The trails @ belmont are primarily used for track meets, and get a thorough & regular beat-down from local XC running teams.

It surprises me that you're so upset about people riding there. They're mountain bikers, just like you & me. You're worried about the damage they're doing, but not about the ATVs that tear up the trail and leave huge choking clouds of dust in their wake? Far bigger threat to the stability of that trail system, IMO (not to mention they're completely illegal in the park). The races have been taking place every spring through for nearly a decade (maybe longer) and you still love the trails there, right? Chances are, the racers are not having as big an impact there as you might think.

Just because you don't see people doing maintenance on the weekend doesn't mean that none is done. Go early on thursday, maybe 3:00 - 4:00. You'll see guys configuring the course for that night. Ask them to show you what they've been up to. If nothing else, confront them instead of ranting here and jumping to conclusions. Better still, relax, say wtf? and jump in the race. You just might like it.

And fwiw, I'm all for responsibility and accountability when it comes to keeping racing's impact to a minimum (Blue Marsh thread, anyone?). I just think that you may be jumping to conclusions.

-Stick (former "ass_hole" who'd probably still go out there and race if I still could)
 

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What?????

No offense but this is kind of a ridiculous thread? It is Mountain Bikers attacking Mountain Bikers. These races have been going on forever, and in the big picture, HELP mountain biking by getting more people involved.

Are you trying to say that no one in a "non-racing" group ride has ever skidded down a hill? I have seen slow riders skid down hills many times. I think the real issue here is trail etiquette. Maybe just a kind reminder to folks that skidding down a hill is not the best for a trail instead of generalized attack on racers. I know a lot of people that race there that have done more then there share for the MTB community.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
stick i am hearing you, and still think i am pretty calm... but i need to give my couterpoints as well.

first off, nope, not parchute hill i don't think... the specific place i speak of is a lower part of the trail that leads down from the recycling plant to the lower parts of belmont. that said i didn't ride parachute hill that night cause it was on "the course", and frankly i was lookin to stay as far from that as possible...

i am not calling anyone specfically (i believe i said i am sure they are nice people) an @sshole... i just feel that overall, the 70 person race field leaves the trails looking like a pack of @ssholes just charged through...

are there good and well meaning riders in that field? SURE!!!

and btw, i know ONE guy who puts his heart and soul into those trails... it is actually to stand up for him and all his good work over there that i started this little rant! are there others? maybe one or two.

i love people riding trails, in fact belmont could use more responsible trail riders. a once a week trail assult in race fashion is FAR from that however...

and as for riding someplace more high visibility THAT WOULD BE AWESOME!!! take your antics to wissahickon where thousands of people who have no idea how to MTB skid down all the hills each week... those trails are generally as wide as car paths and won't get destroyed nearly as bad by a few more skid happy racers.

i wouldn't wish this on pennypack, cause i heard there is actually some nice new singletrack over there.

i am sure they mean well! and am glad someone is doing organized riding in the area. but they should just re-think the racing part when they are obviously overloading pretty fragile (and so far unrutted surprisingly tight and nice singletrack) trail system with a weekly race... normally an area has to endure MAYBE 2-3 races a year.

how about if there are over 50 riders the good riders go out with the newbs and teach them to ride instead?? or break into smaller more reasonably controlled groups?

maybe this was just a freakishly big cinco de mayo race field with lots of newbies but... it made me a very sad for the person/people who work hard to keep belmont as nice as possible.
 

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i knew it was something

i was in belmont for a quicky on wednsday and notice how nice the trails where and obviously recently groomed.

personally we (mountain bikers ) should work towards taking that area over and having more events there. i would rather see i few rutted trails than FeeFee the hoe and john the pimp. and all the other people with nothing good to do making an eye soar of the area.

i usually spend more time at belmont but have been riding the wiss on the wekdays when i hav time. so if some one is going to do belmont on thursday or whenever drop a PM.

the ATV are definately a problem but like i said and this is not direted to anyone or picking sides my preference is toward cycling and positive activities in that area.
 

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max-a-mill said:
stick i am hearing you, and still think i am pretty calm... but i need to give my couterpoints as well....snip...i am sure they mean well! and am glad someone is doing organized riding in the area. but they should just re-think the racing part when they are obviously overloading pretty fragile (and so far unrutted surprisingly tight and nice singletrack) trail system with a weekly race... normally an area has to endure MAYBE 2-3 races a year.
I think maybe you're missing my point though...the Thursday night races have been going on, almost every week from spring through fall (basically any time there's enough daylight from 6:00 to 7:30 or so to race without lights, and usually a couple weeks worth of races in the dark on either end) for several YEARS. This is not a new thing. It happens weekly, every year.

Now, if in all that time, with all of those racers, the trails really have remained "unrutted, surprisingly tight and nice singletrack" (as you say)...then how much damage are they really doing??

It's cool that you're looking out for this 'lone trailbuilder' (whoever he is), but how can you be so sure he's the only one (or one of 2 or 3?). Like I said before, many of the trails there would not exist without the group of people who first organized the weekly races. That's a fact, because I watched the trails there evolve over the course of 3 years when I used to race there (1997 - 2000).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
stick - i get your point, but how many people showed up on any given thursday??? ten people racing each other is good fun... 70 people bashing through the trails???

i know what i've seen in my couple years of riding there (infrequently till pretty recently i admit) one regular who is out there day in and day out splitting his time between riding and maintaining. last time i rode with him he was showing me all the sh!t he recently had to do to combat the latest ATV outbreak. apparently someone is also trying to booby trap some of the trails with glass, so if you go out there watch for that...

MY POINT IN UNCORKING THIS WHOLE MESS IS: i just want some of these people who might stumble through here to read my babble and think about it a little. anyone who was there last night would at least kind of understand the point i am trying to make; i think...

furthermore: my first post may be a little out of line but hey i'm live in philly... it comes with the territory.

and as for that place being unsafe to ride alone??? seriously??? there are no more threatening things there than you'd encounter rolling through center city.... i wouldn't think twice about rolling belmont alone anytime. now if it were my girlfirend riding alone, maybe i'd be a little nervous....

kieth you wanna ride with lots of people? thursdays at 6:30 right at the big field, look for the guys who are ready to race.... :D
 

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For what it's worth

I can see both sides here. Max, I understand your point regarding the trail maintenance issue. I wouldn't dispute the fact that there are far more people out there using (and at times abusing) the trails than there are out there grooming, building or otherwise maintaining them. Admittedly, I fall into that category. Your point is made, and hopefully more folks will step up their efforts to help keep the trails in decent shape.

On the other hand, I read through all the posts here, and have to admit your posts sounded a bit selfish. I sensed a bit of "how dare (x) amount of people ride my favorite trail that (y) happened to build/maintain. Again, I do understand your frustration that someone (more than likely many someones) built this trail and maintains it, while others use it without giving back. But it's there to be used. It's there to be used by people riding solo, by a couple of friends getting together and riding, and by hordes of racers on a Thursday night.

That's what we do. We ride our bikes on dirt paths. Sometimes alone. Sometimes in small groups. Sometimes in herds, like buffalo.

Again, Max, I feel the passion in the post and it's commendable. Maybe I misunderstood the parts that I felt were somewhat "selfish" by my definition. Hopefully others that read this thread will understand your point, and the posts not sit here in frustration and vein, but have an impact on peoples desire to put back something into the sport. For what it's worth, it's made me think about my own lack of involvement, and the need for that to change.

Just my thoughts.

Clyde
 

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max-a-mill said:
stick - i get your point, but how many people showed up on any given thursday??? ten people racing each other is good fun... 70 people bashing through the trails???
70 is about right. More some weeks. There were probably an average of 20 guys per class (beginner, sport, expert), plus however many women showed up (maybe a dozen or so, average). The turnout was huge. Cars lined both sides of the driveway down by the trailhead, and filled the lots.

That's all I'm trying to say...that it's *always* been a popular thing for local racers, and most of them don't want to see the trails destroyed any more than you do. 'Bashing through the trails' is a bit of an exageration. Nobody takes it very seriously; just a fun, free, local training event w/ the chance to score some free stuff if you happen to do well. Even in the expert class, it was really only for bragging rights and a good workout.

FWIW, not every race there is a mass le mans style start either. They do time trials some weeks, so only one rider heads out every 45 seconds or so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
hey thanks for the education stick... i had no idea it had been so big for so long.

i guess the trails have endured and will continue. but i also hope that people could maybe see it as less of a race and focus on their riding technique a little more.

rant off - weekend on!

i hope you guys all enjoy it!
 

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max-a-mill said:
hey thanks for the education stick... i had no idea it had been so big for so long.

i guess the trails have endured and will continue. but i also hope that people could maybe see it as less of a race and focus on their riding technique a little more.

rant off - weekend on!

i hope you guys all enjoy it!
No sweat. Like Clyde wrote, I see where you're coming from and can appreciate your point of view, but asking people to see a race as 'less of a race' is kind of impractical. They're there *because* it's a race. Technique can be developed on more casual rides.

Newbies are the one's you really need to be concerned about when it comes to trail damage at the races. Unfortunately, they're also the ones most drawn to the Belmont races because they're local & they're free. What can ya do?

Regardless, have a good weekend. Ride lots.
 

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I think Stick and Max-A-Mill should race and the loser gets to clean up afterwards :D No seriously, this is a good discussion. I've done the Thursday night race once and was suprised by how much effort was taken to take "good' routes. The place is notorious for holding water many days after it rains. So if it's been happening for years, to me it's not so bad. Both points are well taken. Let's take care of what we've got so we can go really really fast on it if we want!
 

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This thread makes me nostalgic, I came over to Penn from the UK from 2000-2002 and learned to ride mountain bikes at Belmont and the Wissahickon. Great times! Its good to hear that the Thursday night rides are going strong, Belmont was a relatively flat trail system as I recall ('cept for parachute hill), but there were some seriously strong riders who turned out each week - an excellent introduction to racing.

The thread seems to be resolved re the trail damage, but 'kinell max, talk about polishing the brass on the titanic. Belmont is a wasteland right? I honestly remember racing round a hairpin marked by a burned-out car!
 

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too40sx said:
i really wanna try riding at belmont. i'd like to go tomorrow. how do you get there from Ridge Ave? (bottom of Wiss)
From the point of Ridge Ave by the bus stop go east on Ridge, turn right onto Kelley Drive, Go to the first light, turn right across the Falls Bridge, turn left at the other side of the bridge onto MLK Drive (West River Drive) take that approximately 2 miles to Montgomery Drive (you'll be at a light) turn right onto Montgomery Drive( you'll be going uphill). After you pass under 76 take the first driveway on the right and follow that back to a metal gate. You are now at the entrance to Belmont. The main gravel road bisects the two sides of singletrack. Lots of fund offshoots of singletrack. Hope this helps, have fun :D, maybe I'll see you out there!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
actually most of the bigger trails right now are routed pretty well so they hardly hold any water anymore.

there are a couple down in the lower parts that still have some spots that stay muddy but all in all it seems to drain as well as wissy these days (which is pretty fast in my mind).

t040sx - the trails are pretty hard to figure out on your own since they are unmarked and seem to go in every general direction (i STILL get turned around on the fire roads sometimes) so if you want to figure out the trails you should go with someone who knows them sometime. i'd be a decent tour guide! however, my time is severly limited on weekends these days but maybe we could meet up NEXT monday or tuesday (16th - 17th) afternoon for a ride? i remember your off one of those days right??? i would be able to get there by 5 which should give us plenty of time before dark.

finally: as for being crappy sure thay are trails on land that was set aside for a recyling plant bordered on one side by I-76... this ain't no pristine wilderness area, but this is nice singletrack for being WITHIN philadelphia city limits. in fact, i'd challenge you to find singletrack this good in any other major U.S. city... it may not be pristine, but it is pretty special, and we need to look out for it!
 

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So not to get off topic here but I was wondering where to go just to ride here? Last fall I parked near the ball fields on Montgomery and dropped in just down the road on the right past the stables...but that section might have been 2 miles at best before it dropped me back at on the road. Where are majority of the good trails located at? The Wiss just gets old after a while and I am looking for a place to mix it up a bit. Thanks in advance for any advice :D
 
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