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Discussion Starter #1
I live in a neighborhood off of the park and bike the trails of the Wissahickon 2 or 3 times a week if conditions allow. This being the Northeast, I often find myself hiking the trails because of wet conditions. On these walks I routinely see bikers out in conditions that are destructive to the trail and to the image of mountain bikers.

This past weekend, the ground was saturated from melting snow, the trails were muddy in every spot that wasn't icy, and I saw car after car unloading bikes. Today on a hike I saw the resulting deep ruts in the trail.

Like on many occasions, I was pissed and felt entirely unsurprised that many hikers don’t like us. There have been times when I've tried to give friendly advise to other bikers, but sometimes its hard to tell someone they should not be on the trail without creating a confrontation. Many of us have had the unpleasant experience of meeting the overzealous trail Nazi that frequents the area by Park Line Drive. Being a mountain biker first and foremost, I know that his shouting has an entirely negative effect. I can sympathize with folks who see nice weather out their window, drive to the trailhead and find less than ideal conditions. I believe that most folks want to do the right thing, but are sometimes tempted when faced with the choice of driving home empty handed or catching a quick ride and hoping no one will notice.

I am proposing that we keep a trail conditions report on this forum. Those of us who are local can post the conditions, especially when heading up to the weekends. Folks considering coming to the area can check the conditions report before leaving. There are some times of year when some areas are okay and others, due to shade or wind conditions are not. These conditional reports could be posted here as well.

So here goes the first report:
Many areas of the trails are soft due to melting snow and should not be ridden during the day. In theory, a night or early morning ride could be had on frozen ground. There are a number of icy sections that would, however, make this a treacherous affair.

For riders that use the park, what are your thoughts on the idea of this report here on MTBR? Would you use or contribute to it?

Cheers,
Matt
P.S. Is there any way that the moderator can make this post sticky?
 

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Good idea - it probably doesn't need to be a sticky if there are semi-regular reports.

My friend and I rode out from Center City on Sunday arvo, but were greeted with largely icy or slushy trails. We deferred to Belmont where things were not quite so slushy, but still not so great for riding (at least with my tyres).

So yes, a pre-weekend conditions report might save us braving the cold for what amounts to a ride up and down Kelly Drive (which I guess is better than nothing) :p
 

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Good thinking

Tough walking that fine line between friendly advice regarding trail conditions and being perceived as the Trail Nazi. Bottom line, riding the trails when they're sloppy is irresponsible. A couple of thoughst for you:

If you're not already affiliated with them, you may want to get in touch with Jersey Action Riders. JAR does a lot of work at Wiss and Jay could probably use another set of eyes, ears and hands. I think Jay posts on here from time to time (JARhead, perhaps?), so he may pipe in about keepin the trails in decent shape.

Beyond that Joe Transue (hackamo) is the IMBA rep for PA and if you look through the thread here, I think he's looking for an advocate tor Wiss if you're interested in getting involved. Not looking to push you past the offer of helping to maintain a thread that monitors trail conditions, just tossing out potential advocates and other ways of helping.

Bob
 

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mcurtius said:
I live in a neighborhood off of the park and bike the trails of the Wissahickon 2 or 3 times a week if conditions allow. This being the Northeast, I often find myself hiking the trails because of wet conditions. On these walks I routinely see bikers out in conditions that are destructive to the trail and to the image of mountain bikers.

This past weekend, the ground was saturated from melting snow, the trails were muddy in every spot that wasn't icy, and I saw car after car unloading bikes. Today on a hike I saw the resulting deep ruts in the trail.

Like on many occasions, I was pissed and felt entirely unsurprised that many hikers don’t like us. There have been times when I've tried to give friendly advise to other bikers, but sometimes its hard to tell someone they should not be on the trail without creating a confrontation. Many of us have had the unpleasant experience of meeting the overzealous trail Nazi that frequents the area by Park Line Drive. Being a mountain biker first and foremost, I know that his shouting has an entirely negative effect. I can sympathize with folks who see nice weather out their window, drive to the trailhead and find less than ideal conditions. I believe that most folks want to do the right thing, but are sometimes tempted when faced with the choice of driving home empty handed or catching a quick ride and hoping no one will notice.

I am proposing that we keep a trail conditions report on this forum. Those of us who are local can post the conditions, especially when heading up to the weekends. Folks considering coming to the area can check the conditions report before leaving. There are some times of year when some areas are okay and others, due to shade or wind conditions are not. These conditional reports could be posted here as well.

So here goes the first report:
Many areas of the trails are soft due to melting snow and should not be ridden during the day. In theory, a night or early morning ride could be had on frozen ground. There are a number of icy sections that would, however, make this a treacherous affair.

For riders that use the park, what are your thoughts on the idea of this report here on MTBR? Would you use or contribute to it?

Cheers,
Matt
P.S. Is there any way that the moderator can make this post sticky?
Your correct - being a local as well my friends & I have gotten to know that the trail conditions all depend on weather in winter, - this week seems like it may be ok since the ground is frozen - but with warmer weather coming again for this weekend (in the low 50's) the ground will thaw again & make it a mess - we have not ridden in weeks since the first snow fall (if thats what ya wanna call it) knowing how the ground freezes (which is fine) but then we get rain or snow - it stays frozen then wams up just enough for the ground to thaw - which absorbs all the snow & ice & it goes back & forth for a few months like this, some ppl see warm weather & forget about the other conditions - i hate winter for this reason alone
 

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i yelled here about this last year and will again tihs year.

during winter trails don't really have time to dry out: to us thoughtful bikers that means YOU HAVE TO RIDE WHEN THE TEMPS ARE BELOW FREEZING. unless we get some super dry spell (which we won't) this is the rule till it becomes warm enough to dry the trails out again.

other than that and you are doing serious damage.... go early, go late, just make sure the temp is below 32 (and trails have had a chance to harden up) and you'll be fine.

yesterday i got to ride till about 1, if it is warmer (it was COLD yesterday) you won't even get till then.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for everyone's input.
Clyde, yeah, I know about the local trail groups and appreciate their maintenance efforts. I was hoping that this could fill a gap in their approach by informing riders when the trail should not be ridden. In the past, I have considered asking if JAR would be interested in spending time in the bells mill parking lot discouraging folks on a drizzly Sunday. I never did, because I decided it would be too confrontational an approach.

Max, I thought this would be a positive and ongoing way of getting what we both want. I'm pretty sure you're a local as well, so you are one of the folks who I would really appreciate occasional info from. There are a bunch of times when its freezing here, but not in Jersey, or when sunny spots get muddy even when its a few degrees under the line. Thanks for the report you put up, hopefully it will help some folks when deciding when to ride for today and tomorrow.

One thing I've noticed while hiking the Indian trail this week is that the trails maintain ice longer than the woods. I think this is due to the traffic on the trail compacting the snow, which makes it into ice sheets that don't melt as easily as the unpacked snow. These sheets get pretty treacherous and I don't like to ride with a light while they are around. Night riding is pretty key to staying on frozen ground for a lot of folks with jobs. It'd be great if we could report on the status of the ice as well as temperature and mud.

One last note, somewhat unrelated. Someone cut a connector trail where the Indian trail meets the jeep road with the scenic bench (down from Chestnut Hill Ave.). Over the last year, there have actually been a few here, this latest one is particularly lame, as it is on a very erodable slope of soft dirt and at an angle that is going to wash out easily. I covered the trail with sticks a few days ago. Could everyone stay off that trail, and if the sticks get moved, could you take a minute to throw some back? I think a little persistence here will get the point across to whoever is cutting up this area. Thanks.
 

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Do we have a moderator?

I think the concensus is that having a sticky on a Wiss trail conditions thread is a good idea. Who do we see to request that one be put up? It could actually be a generic "Trail Conditions" thread to report on any trail. Just use the appropriate title, e.g "Wiss Trail conditions, 12/21" or "French Creek trail conditions 12/21".

So.....who's our moderator?
 

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I requested a sticky

FWIW, I requested a sticky for trail conditions in the Site Issues/Feedback forum. I looked at the moderators list, and PA doesn't appear to have a moderator and this seemed the most logical place to request it. Any input on my thoughts that the sticky be a general Trail Conditions thread to be used by all, as opposed to focusing it solely on Wiss? Seems to me it would maximise the use of the thread, and open it up to the whole PA MTB community.

Bob
 

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Respect Your Trails
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I was wondering the same thing. Tomorrow may be better than Sat. Last I saw, they were calling for some rain this weekend, and temps in the 40's. Sounds like slop to me.
Might try to get out tomorrow though, if the ground is relatively frozen. Any idea if it is?

Linkup said:
Will Wiss be too sloppy to ride tomorrow or Sat.?

Thanks
 

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Hoopy Frood
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No sticky for me

Call_me_Clyde said:
FWIW, I requested a sticky for trail conditions in the Site Issues/Feedback forum. I looked at the moderators list, and PA doesn't appear to have a moderator and this seemed the most logical place to request it. Any input on my thoughts that the sticky be a general Trail Conditions thread to be used by all, as opposed to focusing it solely on Wiss? Seems to me it would maximise the use of the thread, and open it up to the whole PA MTB community.

Bob
I don't like the idea of a "trail conditions" sticky. It's too general to be useful. I also think it's kind of "Philly-centric" to have a sticky about Wiss. - after all, it's a PA forum not a Philly forum.

If someone wants to use mtbr.com to learn about the conditions at a particular place, I think the best idea is for that person to post a "How are the conditions at XXX?" posting. That way, the subject is specific enough to be useful and there's not some thread with 500 messages (most of which will be dated quickly).

Just my $.02
 

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Linkup said:
Will Wiss be too sloppy to ride tomorrow or Sat.?

Thanks

The temps for this xmas weekend are supposed to be in the upper 40's to lower 50's so unless all the ice, snow & moisture is absorbed (which they wont be) and the trails can dry out (which they will not) it will mosy likely be mess I would not bother
 

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Trail Conditions

I plan on stopping @ Wiss tomorow (12/23) after training, i will take my bike with me & all my gear just for the slight possibility that the trails may be rideable - if not I will try to ride the fire trail at very best (probably wont even do that if its that messy) I will report back tommorow - if they are bad than this weekend will be a wash as well - plus its supposed to rain as well which should set us riders back another month
 

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Duly noted

khill said:
I don't like the idea of a "trail conditions" sticky. It's too general to be useful. I also think it's kind of "Philly-centric" to have a sticky about Wiss. - after all, it's a PA forum not a Philly forum.

If someone wants to use mtbr.com to learn about the conditions at a particular place, I think the best idea is for that person to post a "How are the conditions at XXX?" posting. That way, the subject is specific enough to be useful and there's not some thread with 500 messages (most of which will be dated quickly).

Just my $.02
Thanks for the input. I would agree that the sticky should not focus on Philly, and should be generic enough that anyone in PA can use it. As for it's usefulness, I respectfully disagree. At least we would have one thread that contained the info, as compared to thread after thread of "how are the conditions at xxx".

In any case, it's not that big a deal either way. The mods can decide at this point if it makes sense or not.

Bob
 

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khill said:
I don't like the idea of a "trail conditions" sticky. It's too general to be useful. I also think it's kind of "Philly-centric" to have a sticky about Wiss. - after all, it's a PA forum not a Philly forum.

If someone wants to use mtbr.com to learn about the conditions at a particular place, I think the best idea is for that person to post a "How are the conditions at XXX?" posting. That way, the subject is specific enough to be useful and there's not some thread with 500 messages (most of which will be dated quickly).

Just my $.02
Couldn't agree more. You're exactly on target.
 

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OK, perhaps the idea is a bad one?

Frankly, it's not worth the debate. Didn't mean to create a mountain out of a molehill. Posting trail conditions when people ask for them works just as well.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Well, a few things to respond to, but I'll start with a trail report.

After a hike today along the trail that heads out of rittenhouse town, the trails are still a sheet of ice and the woods are full of patchy snow. When the temps go to 40's and 50's as forecasted, the trails will be as muddy as they can possibley be. This is exactly the type of scenario for which I started this thread: nice looking weather, holiday weekend, destructive trail conditions.

Here is my itinerary, feel free to steal it. Ride to Belmont, dip into 5 minutes of a trail that is the first to dry (wild mouse), if dry (unlikely), proceed, if wet, take a few laps around the gravel road and bike home. Otherwise, I suggest that you try hiking, road biking, or spending some time with a loved one.

As far as the use of this thread. It does not need to be sticky if no one wants to make it so. What I do feel it needs to be is about the wissahickon. Here is why I feel the special attention is warranted,
This park's urban setting draws more rider density than any other area that I know of. Maybe someone else has exact figures, but I'd say it is safe to say that on a sunny weekend day, we are talking at least 100 to 200 throughout the day, much more in the Summer. This is on a 16 mile loop. It's location also draws quite a few hikers and equestrians so our impact is highly visible to other trail users. This trail network is fairly vital not only to the Philadelphia bike community, but to that of Delaware, Montgomery, Bucks, Camden, and Burlington Counties, as a great many of the riders come from these areas.

Other popular areas in PA, like Thorpe, are mostly destination areas and do not have the constant density for two reasons, less overall riders, and much more trail to thin them out on. Fair Hill (mentioned) has the same benefits, but if someone would like to start a thread for it, go ahead and do it in the MD forum as that is where it is located.

Last, and thank you if you have stuck with me this far, I don't think a post by post conditions thing would be as effective as what i have outlined here. Posting and waiting for a reply is a pain, and the easier it is to use, the more benefit it will be.

However you spend your holiday weekend, I hope you enjoy it,
Best,
Matt
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Replying to my own post, I know, what a geek.
Anyway, if you are from some other part of the state, and are feeling left out, I'd encourage you to start your own post. Wouldn't it be great if the first 5 threads in the PA forum were regularly updated trail reports for the 5 most used trail systems in the state? Just a thought.
 

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Nice post

Not geeky at all. It's obvious you're passionate about the sport and Wiss. Nothing wrong with that at all. Keep 'em coming.

Bob.

BTW-Sticky request has been removed.
 

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mcurtius said:
Well, a few things to respond to, but I'll start with a trail report.

After a hike today along the trail that heads out of rittenhouse town, the trails are still a sheet of ice and the woods are full of patchy snow. When the temps go to 40's and 50's as forecasted, the trails will be as muddy as they can possibley be. This is exactly the type of scenario for which I started this thread: nice looking weather, holiday weekend, destructive trail conditions.

Here is my itinerary, feel free to steal it. Ride to Belmont, dip into 5 minutes of a trail that is the first to dry (wild mouse), if dry (unlikely), proceed, if wet, take a few laps around the gravel road and bike home. Otherwise, I suggest that you try hiking, road biking, or spending some time with a loved one.

As far as the use of this thread. It does not need to be sticky if no one wants to make it so. What I do feel it needs to be is about the wissahickon. Here is why I feel the special attention is warranted,
This park's urban setting draws more rider density than any other area that I know of. Maybe someone else has exact figures, but I'd say it is safe to say that on a sunny weekend day, we are talking at least 100 to 200 throughout the day, much more in the Summer. This is on a 16 mile loop. It's location also draws quite a few hikers and equestrians so our impact is highly visible to other trail users. This trail network is fairly vital not only to the Philadelphia bike community, but to that of Delaware, Montgomery, Bucks, Camden, and Burlington Counties, as a great many of the riders come from these areas.

Other popular areas in PA, like Thorpe, are mostly destination areas and do not have the constant density for two reasons, less overall riders, and much more trail to thin them out on. Fair Hill (mentioned) has the same benefits, but if someone would like to start a thread for it, go ahead and do it in the MD forum as that is where it is located.

Last, and thank you if you have stuck with me this far, I don't think a post by post conditions thing would be as effective as what i have outlined here. Posting and waiting for a reply is a pain, and the easier it is to use, the more benefit it will be.

However you spend your holiday weekend, I hope you enjoy it,
Best,
Matt
Trail conditions for today 12/23. I got to Wiss about 9:00am just to see what it may be like & possibly go for a short ride on the fire trail - well... the fire trail was a sheet of ice not good at all, I managed to ride it a bit (very slowly & going to either side were it was a little more clear) the ground was frozen solid. I was about to turn around & go back to the car but decided to see what one of the trail heads looked like ( had to walk it over there ) to my surprise it was clear as day! so I rode up & the trails were actually rideable a few icy patchs hear & there & ya still need to be very carefull but it was good enough to get a few miles in - there was absolutly no mud anywhere ( my bike at the end of the ride was just about as clean as when I went in ) because it was still frozen.... but like MCurtis said once the temp starts to rise & it will this weekend along with some rain it will be a disaster if people try to ride it - I guess I got lucky today with my timing - its only gonna go down to the mid 30's at night so it may be a little messy again. I can assure everyone that I and my friends are not the type of riders who ride when its wet & muddy no matter where it is & I would DEFNINITLY NOT have ridden there today if the trail conditions were remotely bad... overall it was a suprisingly decent ride
 
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