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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With all of the additional trail use and recent heavy rains, I am really starting to experience many local trails where the entire trail is just worn down to the underlying roots. Not saying that there is anything that can be done about it, but I am getting a bit tired of a constant diet of it. Slippery as hell when wet, bumpy and chattery when dry. I am running as low a tire pressure as I can get away with (11 PSI front and 14 PSI rear on 29 x 2.4 tires, I am 165 pounds...I dont care if I have to pedal harder, I just crave smoothness) and with shocks dialed in for small bump compliance as best they can be adjusted. I admit I am spoiled by not having to drive to a nice set of trails, but I dont remember them ever being this worn in 30 years of riding. I am hoping for some healing this winter.
 

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With all of the additional trail use and recent heavy rains, I am really starting to experience many local trails where the entire trail is just worn down to the underlying roots. Not saying that there is anything that can be done about it, but I am getting a bit tired of a constant diet of it. Slippery as hell when wet, bumpy and chattery when dry. I am running as low a tire pressure as I can get away with (11 PSI front and 14 PSI rear on 29 x 2.4 tires, I am 165 pounds...I dont care if I have to pedal harder, I just crave smoothness) and with shocks dialed in for small bump compliance as best they can be adjusted. I admit I am spoiled by not having to drive to a nice set of trails, but I dont remember them ever being this worn in 30 years of riding. I am hoping for some healing this winter.
How much maintenance do the trails get? Once you're down to roots, absent some human intervention, natural "healing" will take a considerable amount of time I'd have thought.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
They get cleared of fallen trees and large branches, but thats pretty much it. There is a thin layer of soil in general in the woods, but after that, its mostly sand. I am in SE MA. Almost none of it is flat and the water seeks out the path of least resistance which so happens to be the path! I am looking forward to "post covid" level of traffic.
 

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Same here. The leaves will help a bit to fill in the gaps, but ultimately, some trail maintenance is what is needed. I know on of my local trails, the roots got really bad so they put down a thin layer of gravel, the next year, with the leaf fall, it was almost like normal again.
 

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They get cleared of fallen trees and large branches
I know on of my local trails, the roots got really bad so they put down a thin layer of gravel
Are these 'mapped' trails you're riding, and are there enough that some of the more popular/worn could be roped for a season to let them recover?

I'm lucky to have a huge un-mapped network near me that gets very little traffic other than from the group that built and maintains them so they haven't really seen a COVID surge.
 

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"......I am getting a bit tired of a constant diet of it. Slippery as hell when wet, bumpy and chattery when dry."

..... maybe stop riding when wet?
Here in New England, that would exclude riding almost every single morning in the months of May-September since the humidity is so high (I suspect it is similar in the South as well).
Muddy trails after rain however most trails are no go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Some trails are mapped, but the unmapped ones go off of them so they get the traffic too. The town has closed some of the trails for runoff reasons, but those are unlikely to open again. The trails are all multi traffic. Horses (ever see a trail after a horse goes up hill on it o_O...well thats washing away on the next rain for sure), e-bikes...please stop spinning your back wheel just because you can..., dog walkers. Its all conservation land and although the town is happy to have mountain bikers help clear the trails after big storms (they only have one town employee that heads out there with a chainsaw after heavy tree falls), I think...pretty much know... that they would frown on any kind of gravel carted in. I can check with a friend on the conservation committee. Frankly, I think its just a whine and I need to cope.
 

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Late to the party here - but the #1 problem with 99% of our trails is that they were not designed and built 'properly'. Scratched into the topsoil, then ridden for a few years, topsoil erodes, roots exposed. That's why properly built trails dig down through all the organic stuff to solid mineral soils - and / or place clean 'fill' onto the trail tread area. In my area (north shore of Boston) that's most of our issue. It'd be great if the well used main single track loops got some love from DCR or trail grants at a large enough scale to rebuild the core routes into aforementioned proper trails! Think Kingdom Trails, or Green Woodlands, etc... and as others have noted - check out the local trail work folks an d see what you can do. Selectively cutting roots, gentle re-works of corners, and face-slapper branch trimming go a long way.
 

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Late to the party here - but the #1 problem with 99% of our trails is that they were not designed and built 'properly'. Scratched into the topsoil, then ridden for a few years, topsoil erodes, roots exposed. That's why properly built trails dig down through all the organic stuff to solid mineral soils - and / or place clean 'fill' onto the trail tread area. In my area (north shore of Boston) that's most of our issue. It'd be great if the well used main single track loops got some love from DCR or trail grants at a large enough scale to rebuild the core routes into aforementioned proper trails! Think Kingdom Trails, or Green Woodlands, etc... and as others have noted - check out the local trail work folks an d see what you can do. Selectively cutting roots, gentle re-works of corners, and face-slapper branch trimming go a long way.
Hah! Are you new to New England? NEMBA and their cronies have held on to their precious "power" for 3 decades now, they ain't about to give it up. The reason you won't see DCR fix anything is they don't believe in mountain biking or heck, modern sustainable trails. Our local advocacy org has done nothing in 30 years to change their minds.

New England riders are largely focused on one thing, making sure what they perceive of as special and "theirs" doesn't change. If you want better trails we need better orgs. Which means we need to get rid of the egos and gatekeepers who have resisted change and new ideas.

The trail and mountain bike community across the country is doing some wicked cool things. Up here? We boast about having a bazillion miles of the same crappy rake and ride.
 

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Late to the party here - but the #1 problem with 99% of our trails is that they were not designed and built 'properly'. Scratched into the topsoil, then ridden for a few years, topsoil erodes, roots exposed. That's why properly built trails dig down through all the organic stuff to solid mineral soils - and / or place clean 'fill' onto the trail tread area. In my area (north shore of Boston) that's most of our issue. It'd be great if the well used main single track loops got some love from DCR or trail grants at a large enough scale to rebuild the core routes into aforementioned proper trails! Think Kingdom Trails, or Green Woodlands, etc... and as others have noted - check out the local trail work folks an d see what you can do. Selectively cutting roots, gentle re-works of corners, and face-slapper branch trimming go a long way.
I love riding at Green Woodlands and the machine cut trails in North Conway, but I also love riding my local primitive 'scratched' trails with horrible little technical sections all over the place. I think riding would get boring if it was all perfectly engineered berms linked by smooth, graded trails.
 

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I love riding at Green Woodlands and the machine cut trails in North Conway, but I also love riding my local primitive 'scratched' trails with horrible little technical sections all over the place. I think riding would get boring if it was all perfectly engineered berms linked by smooth, graded trails.
100% certain no one will ever "engineer berms" and "smooth" out all the trails in Massachusetts. A very unfounded worry.
 

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Crappy rake and ride... ha. Rake and ride IS mountain biking. Those artificially sculpted flow trails with perfectly manicured berms are just soul-less amusement park rides.

As for DCR and NEMBA, they work together all the time down here in Southern Mass. They've even cooperated on multiple new trail builds in places like Blue Hills that used to be pretty hostile to MTB.
 

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Crappy rake and ride... ha. Rake and ride IS mountain biking. Those artificially sculpted flow trails with perfectly manicured berms are just soul-less amusement park rides.
I think there is a balance. I was just out on a trail that with a little bit of work could be amazing, but right now it has no ‘flow’ at all, tight hairpin, off camber turns, random rocks on the line etc… It doesn’t need much, just a little bit here and there, for the relatively small group of people that even know it exists.

When you go to more purpose built trail networks that are trying to attract riders I think there does need to be more engineering to make the trail sustainable and beginner friendly.
 

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Another NEM
Crappy rake and ride... ha. Rake and ride IS mountain biking. Those artificially sculpted flow trails with perfectly manicured berms are just soul-less amusement park rides.

As for DCR and NEMBA, they work together all the time down here in Southern Mass. They've even cooperated on multiple new trail builds in places like Blue Hills that used to be pretty hostile to MTB.
Another NEMBA guy telling you what MTB is. Is anyone surprised? The old boys club has been gatekeeping for 30+ years, yet in other parts of the country we see huge growth in ridership, more diverse riders, more volunteer hours, more funding, more support, etc. etc.

But yeah, telling people how they should recreate in the woods is certainly the right thing to do. Sure was nice for hikers to tell us that in the 90s?

Trails are now complex, sorry dude. Takes a lot more than a rake and handshake to make truly sustainable trails AND trail communities.
 

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Another NEM


Another NEMBA guy telling you what MTB is. Is anyone surprised? The old boys club has been gatekeeping for 30+ years, yet in other parts of the country we see huge growth in ridership, more diverse riders, more volunteer hours, more funding, more support, etc. etc.

But yeah, telling people how they should recreate in the woods is certainly the right thing to do. Sure was nice for hikers to tell us that in the 90s?

Trails are now complex, sorry dude. Takes a lot more than a rake and handshake to make truly sustainable trails AND trail communities.
Whoa, easy with the attitude, dude. I don't particularly care about growth or more people in the sport, but I think perhaps you didn't really understand my point about NEMBA. Under their leadership, more trails have been built, there are more volunteers than ever, there's more support, more funding, and more riders than ever. At blue hills alone they've built something like 8 miles of new trail in the last five years or so.

By the way, I'm not a NEMBA guy, not part of their leadership nor do I go to their meetings. I do give them money because I recognize the contribution they've made. You probably ride and enjoy many trails they've built, but just don't realize it.

Sure rake and ride trails can be built poorly - any trail can. But they can certainly be (and usually are if NEMBA is involved) built sustainably. Some of the best things I've ever ridden have been rake and ride.

And by the way, what makes you think you should be able to tell us what mountain biking should be?
 
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