laws of loam cover.jpg
GUEST EDITORIAL

The 14 Laws of Loam 2021*

Words The Loam Ranger
Date Oct 5, 2021
Reading time

LAW 1a:

The Loam Ranger is regularly pestered for this article to be either re-posted or updated. Why can't I just climb down from my high horse and pedal slowly into the sunset? Unfortunately, it seems mountain bikers are getting dumber, and even more entitled (a stunning accomplishment), so I decided to oblige. I first wrote this in 2014 in response to what then seemed like increasing and irresponsible traffic on unsanctioned trails near Loam Ranger estates, without adequate attention paid to the reality of the situation. Compared to what we see now, those seem like golden days. And a word of warning; I'm not sugar-coating any of this, so buckle the fuck up.

*The Loam Ranger is in this case using the term 'loam' as a generic term for any trail that wasn't approved by, as he put it, "some bed wetter sitting behind a desk."

LAW 1b:

If you decide the existence of this article is an invitation to ride any illegal, unsanctioned, or horrendously aligned and poorly built trail on private or public land, you are letting your entitlement get the better of you. Anywhere there are unsanctioned trails, there are bound to be trails that are a terrible idea; the sort of trails that erase 15 years of hard labour and kowtowing to land owners by tireless volunteers. (Oops! Sorry about destroying your groundwork, but did you see my instabanger?). You thought a 25 foot step-down over that well-used hiking trail was a good idea? You know that trail on the downstream side of that creek? The one that rages so hard when it pisses rain that the trail and creek become one? Or that super fun high speed line that everyone can ride, carefully hidden inches away from the main access trail up the mountain? Those moves as strategic as O.J. Simpson telling the parole board to go fuck themselves.

laws of loam .jpg

A trail sign found in the north south. region of British Columbia (with the name concealed)

LAW 1c:

There are absolutely places in the world where riding secret trails is the only option. There are zones where the numbskulls in charge have limited mountain bikes to crushed gravel paths, but only when ridden uphill. In fact I am quite sure there are more sound and logical reasons to build and ride unsanctioned trails than even a genius like me could dream up. The truth is, rogue trails are a reality of mountain biking, but also of dog walking, hiking, moto, horseback riding and mushroom foraging. These trails pop up everywhere there are trail users, and they have for as long as there have been trail users, but mountain bikers are likely among the most prolific, and among the most despised.

Often these trails are mind-bogglingly well-crafted masterpieces that provide a riding experience that IMBA wouldn't approve of, while scratching an itch that is going unscratched. And sometimes these trails aren't hurting anyone, aside from the odd pine needle. Regardless, many do-gooders would see mountain bikers as criminals when escorting seniors across busy intersections. As long as we're having fun, those people will hate us, so vigilance is key.

If you are in a situation where, for whatever reason, you've decided that riding unsanctioned trails is the way forward, use your head and educate yourself on local issues before you snap on your enduro goggs and rip into that needle-upholstered ribbon through the woods. Trail users are going to propel themselves on secret trails as long as there are places to build them but it's probably a good idea not to be an idiot, even an unintentional one, during that propulsion.

And most of all, for the love of Jebus, don’t be a dick. Here are some guidelines to shield you from that phallic moniker.

LAW 1: Don't be a Bro (or the female or non-binary equivalent to a bro)*

The Loam Ranger may doubt the moon landing, often fail at recycling, spew mindless vitriol like a gasbag, and come at the world with more complaints than solutions, but he's not entirely an imbecile. I'm aware that if you are tuning into this dusty corner of the web, you probably know much of this. Which means your job is to help spread the word. Don't be an asshole about it, like me, and don't be a sanctimonious mofo, also like me; make your point and act accordingly. There may be more new mountain bikers now than there ever have been, so help them understand how things work.

Don't berate your friends; lead by example. Nobody likes a lecture but most people appreciate it when you grow some balls (or the female or non-binary equivalent to balls) and stick up for something you believe in.

*The Loam Ranger realizes there may (thankfully) be no equivalent behaviour outside the macho realm

loam1.jpg

Those were the days. Simpler times, when ten laws were enough.

LAW 2: Get off your Effing Bike (FFS)

If an entrance is hidden, it's because the trail builder thinks that's a good idea. Do not lock up your Minions and skid in over the camouflage of sticks and debris just because you're too lazy to dismount. How is that even a thing FFS? Lift up the carbon or aluminum-framed bicycle and carry it, and then put it down once you are safely past the concealed entrance. If portaging your bike for 30 seconds is too much effort for you, it’s time to buy a golf cart; you don’t deserve to ride a bike.

LAW 3: Don’t Piss around near near Trail Entrances or Exits.

Putting on pads or making some adjustments to your bike? You want to sit down and munch a Clif bar? Keen to relive past glories at the top of your lungs? Do it before you get to the walk-in, or after you have walked in and are out of sight and earshot of prying eyes and ears. And for god's sake, don't play music for everyone to hear while you are riding; not everyone likes Nickelback.

LAW 4: You aren't Racing Today (turn off Strava)

Your ego can rest for a day if you are riding a trail that is best kept under wraps. If you must document how awesome you are, then make that ride private. You can still brag to your friends later. I’m sure they can't wait for a reminder about how incredible you are. And for those making Strava segments on secret trails... Seriously. What the fuck are you thinking?

LAW 5: Don’t Uncover Entrances. Like a Dick.

Maybe Joe Shredder doesn’t understand the situation, maybe he feels entitled to roll into every trail he finds. He’s a bid deal after all. Joe’s as wrong as Trump declaring he won the last election. The best way to conceal a downhill trail is with an uphill entrance. Don’t cut your own line because you are too lazy to climb.

LAW 6: Watch The Weather

If the monsoon is here, skip the fall line loamer and ride something that can take a punch. Plush natural trails become ugly trenches if you are locking it up while following Noah down the line. Often the intensity of the rain, as in how much is falling per hour, is more important than the total depth of precip. It's the deluge that destroys the trail, not two days of Scotch mist do pay attention. Unless of course you prefer every trail to be like the blown out and characterless main shuttle line that everyone rides, that is. But if that's the case, here are the directions to Ned's.

If you need to get out on a rainy day, put on some suitable apparel and go for a hike on the same trails you usually ride. Boots are helpful to scrape open drains, but a sturdy stick will work as well. Nobody likes to take a day off, but nobody likes it when loamers become creek beds either.

laws of loam 4.jpg

When the rider is ready, the trail will appear

LAW 7: Don't Build a new Entrance

There's a trail near me that's a poorly kept secret. Originally it was concealed, but it's become too popular. It's a fast and easy trail that's fun for almost every rider and it's the sort of trail that's likely to get us in trouble. Someone thought they would help the trail builder out and they dug in a loam entrance, so poor dears like themselves don't need to pick up their bikes for 30 seconds. This one is mind-boggling to me. You like the trail? Great. And you want to make sure the ranger discovers it and closes it tomorrow? That's unconventional logic.

LAW 8: Don't Fuck with the Trail

If you didn't build the trail, but you'd like to help out or make some changes, ask the builder. A tiny percentage of mountain bikers does the vast majority of the building and maintenance of the trails we ride. Without them there wouldn't be mountain bike trails, so show a little respect. Leave a note with an email address or ask around to find out who the builder is, and let them decide if what you are proposing fits in with their masterplan. And don't cut lines with your bike. If you figure out a way to double up a section, that's fair play. If you figure out that cutting in front of that tree makes the corner shorter, that's a shitty move.

LAW 9: Be Inconspicuous

This may come as a shock, but occasionally the Loam Ranger likes to ride some loam. There are also times when he aborts that plan and chooses something more official, because there is a group of people he doesn't know near the entrance of his favourite trail and he realizes bringing it to their attention may jeopardize said beloved trail. They may be the nicest people in the world, and concealing the existence of the trail may still be a wise and just course of action. The Loam Ranger knows: when the rider is ready, the trail will appear. Making a bunch of noise at entrances or exits is also discouraged.

LAW 10: Don't make your Favourite Loamer Go Viral

Not long ago, some possibly well-meaning arsehole, shot GoPro of one of the Loam Ranger's favourite trails and then uploaded it to YouTube. And then posted directions to the concealed entrance of the trail in the description. The trail is now slated for destruction. Well done you 4-stomached mouth breather. Happy now?

If you absolutely must nail down something for TikTok, Instagram, or Myspace, don't show entrances or exits and take a moment to think about how to conceal landmarks that would reveal the location. In other words, use your brain.

LAW 11: Be careful about Exits

Exits are often what gets stealth lines destroyed, overused or covered over. If you come maching out like you’ve just roped your first calf, somebody just might notice. Stop before the end of the trail and have a listen to see if anyone is around. And just like trailheads, cover up those exits if that makes sense.

laws of loam 1.jpg

Secret trails always get busted eventually - the key is to have that happen as slowly as possible.

LAW 12: Be part of the Solution

There are many ways to do this. Somebody has uncovered the entrance to your favourite secret by dragging their brakes over the coverage? Don’t high 5 buddy and roll in. Stash your bike and spend 5 minutes replacing the camouflage. If you are in the forest, grab some big branches as a first line and then spread some smaller leaf litter around to make it look natural. If someone is jawing off about a secret or posting on the web, call them out. If your riding partner suggests riding some buttery line when the weather is nasty, steer him or her in another direction.*

*See also LAW 1: Don't be a Bro

LAW 13: DON’T GIVE DIRECTIONS

This rule used to be well known in some parts. It doesn't mean you can't show worthy comrades the trail, it means you should just take them there when the time is right.

That means don't give directions to unsanctioned lines in person, and particularly not on the web. Don’t draw a map or give GPS coordinates. Again, don’t make new segments on Strava and always keep your sensitive rides private. Those who hate mountain bikers (hi there!) read mountain bike forums and web sites to get ammo to use against us. Don’t fuel their fire. If you have a worthy riding buddy, who can keep a secret, bring them along. If you don’t want to ride with them, why would you want to let them in on your secret? Think of it as your teenager having a party at your house; if he talks to a few friends in person, the information is likely to spread organically. If it's posted on Snapchat, it could go exponential and what's left of your house will be slated for demolition.

LAW 14: Don't do it for Me, Do it for You

Remember when your Mother said, "this is for your own good!" And then she stuffed a bar of soap in your mouth because you called a girl in your class a stinky beaver? Well, this isn't like that. This really is for your own good.

Climbing Mount Everest used to be the province of the world's best mountaineers. Now everyone with 100 grand and a stair master can pave their way to the top. The place is becoming a garbage dump and sherpas steal from each other to ensure their party makes it to the summit, and therefore tips their guides accordingly. One of the most sacred places on earth has been degraded by bored granola-munching trustafarians looking for a challenge, and it will never be the same.

Trails built off the grid often can't survive a lot of traffic, both because the wear and tear is often too much for a lone builder, because they are sometimes built in steep terrain, and because traffic alerts authorities to trail locations. If you have a few unsanctioned lines that light your fire, don't light the match that could burn them down.

The Loam Ranger doesn't want your approval, he just longs for good trail etiquette, and some perfect corners.

Note – the original 10 Laws of Loam was published on June 17th, 2014.


We may not always agree with the the Ranger, and particularly his abrasive approach, but sometimes we pick up what's he's putting down.

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Comments

FlipFantasia
+7 Cam McRae Andy Eunson kcy4130 Perry Schebel Pete Roggeman Velocipedestrian grambo
Todd Hellinga  - Oct. 5, 2021, 7:25 a.m.

good to have you back, LR!

always good to rehash these very relevant guidelines, so many new people if the sport who don't get it, but unfortunately as many long time people in the sport who are selfish and don't GAF. Unfortunately it isn't like it was 10-15 years ago, and the sheer volume of riders now means that not showing a lot more respect to these types of trails absolutely destroys these types of trails. They can exist, and be relatively sustainable, if people follow these guidelines. Don't override them, don't ride them in the wet, don't post them or talk about them online, be discrete and they'll be there for a lot longer than people realize. The loam fever zombies destroyed microclimate and dark crystal, among many other examples, so fast they've never recovered and need so much maintenance to not be a total disaster. Don't contribute to a rad trails demise, pocket your ego, be a loam guardian.

Reply

kcy4130
+5 Todd Hellinga Cam McRae Mammal Pete Roggeman Carlos Matutes
kcy4130  - Oct. 5, 2021, 9:10 a.m.

It seems like some people just don't get it or won't get it until a trail they ride and love gets shut down, then they wise up. Not just for secret unsanctioned trails. Same goes for trail etiquette on official multi-use, bi-directional trails that have one too many instances of biker-runs-over-hiker, and then bikes are no longer allowed. It's always such a shame to see trails go away.

Reply

Crash_Flakenberger
+1 Sandy James Oates
Crash_Flakenberger  - Oct. 8, 2021, 3:04 p.m.

Man oh man, I could not agree more.  Maybe because I'm old and cranky, but whatever happened to people following basic mtn bike trail etiquette?  It's really easy.  If you're on a bike, yield to everything else on the trail....walkers, runners, horse riders....and if you're going downhill and a rider is coming uphill, just freakin' let the climber by.

I'm old (and cranky...did I mention that?) enough to remember when trail access was a hell of a battle.   Now we are on equal standing with all those others that love the trails in the woods on many multi-use trails.  With so many new riders, I get they wouldn't necessarily have been educated on that.  In the old days, the riding community was really small and people filled in other new riders on how to be nice on the trail (and not lose hard won access).  But a polite, "you might not have heard of this, but here's the general way to keep trail access...."

How hard is it to remember that basic niceness to others? (unless you're me and forget stuff all the time...where are my keys??)

IMBA rules of the trail

Reply

andrewbikeguide
0
AndrewR  - Oct. 12, 2021, 8:57 p.m.

Well as much as I slightly agree with your stance that sign is "Parks BC only".

If you are lucky enough to live in a region that has a lot of trails, built by mountain bikers for mountain bikers, like I am, then I am afraid that the "primary use" has some sway.

That said, unless it is DH only, then descenders give way to climbers and those people that have the space to safely pull off the trail should yield if the other person doesn't have space.

If I come across some dick trail runner coming up a DH only or primary bike trail then I am going to try my best to a. stop, b. not over react and c. educate politely, but I am not going to bin it myself to not scare this douche canoe.

And e-bikes should always give way to proper bikes, unless it is an e-bike primary trail (do they even exist).

Finally people should stop throwing around the expression "free trails", no such thing. Chat to me about how welcome you were at drop in hockey when you told the manager you weren't going to pay for ice time!! Trails cost a lot. So put your grubby little hand in your pocket and pay for trail memberships, if you are a skidder double it. And if you don't know what the "wet weather' filter is then maybe quintuple it or buy a throttle powered e-bike and ride on the road.

Oh and don't have pot parties on trail junctions as not everyone wants to suck your passive smoke.

Reply

Vikb
+3 Cam McRae Pete Roggeman Carlos Matutes
Vik Banerjee  - Oct. 5, 2021, 7:29 a.m.

The gender generic version of a "Bro" is a "Doh". For example...Did you see GnarGnar's IG feed today? What a Doh!

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Oct. 5, 2021, 5:40 p.m.

Is that right? I hadn't heard that. Thanks for pointing it out, Vik.

Reply

rwalters
+3 Deniz Merdano Cam McRae Tim Coleman
Ryan Walters  - Oct. 5, 2021, 8:52 a.m.

Where was LR when we went to the polls last month?? #missedopportunity

Reply

jason
+6 Todd Hellinga Ethan Nishimura kcy4130 Mark Forbes IslandLife Pete Roggeman Dogl0rd wizardB thaaad trailrange7
jason  - Oct. 5, 2021, 9:38 a.m.

Rule 15 - if you get injured get yourself out.  Don't ride loamer that is above your level and be ready to self rescue if you get hurt.  Do not call in rescue for a separated shoulder (yes this happened over the summer) when riding a loamer.   Get yourself out on your own steam.    You are on your own on a loamer.  Treat it as such and make sure you can take care of yourself.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
+2 IslandLife Pete Roggeman
Cam McRae  - Oct. 5, 2021, 10:03 a.m.

That’s a good addition Jason. At least when possible. I’m remembering the lad who had the spinal cord injury on Seymour a few years back.

Reply

jason
+4 Deniz Merdano IslandLife Pete Roggeman Cam McRae
jason  - Oct. 5, 2021, 12:23 p.m.

Agree Cam.  With a spinal or sucking chest wound call for help.  broken wrist/shoulder, etc.  get yourself out.   Was on a loamer this summer with my son and a buddy.  Buddy crashed 3/4 way down and broke both wrists, also broke his helmet.  He wanted to push his bike out himself, but finally relented so that my son and I could help him.  Took about 1/2 hour to push out.  He ended up with two casts and a pin.   Trails remained discrete.

Reply

cooperquinn
+1 trailrange7
Cooper Quinn  - Oct. 5, 2021, 1:52 p.m.

FWIW, North Shore Rescue has most of them mapped already.

Reply

jason
+1 IslandLife
jason  - Oct. 5, 2021, 2:11 p.m.

No doubt.  But it never looks good to see a whole team of people going in for a rescue on a trail that is un-sanctioned.  Especially when there are local land owners against MTB trails in general.

Reply

LoamtoHome
+7 Cam McRae Todd Hellinga Cooper Quinn Deniz Merdano Pete Roggeman Tim Coleman Etacata
Jerry Willows  - Oct. 5, 2021, 9:58 a.m.

Article of the year once again....  another note is that a "wet weather trail" does not mean it should be ridden in a 100mm rain storm.  Let the trails drain and dirt firm up.

Reply

FlipFantasia
+4 Jerry Willows Deniz Merdano Pete Roggeman Tim Coleman
Todd Hellinga  - Oct. 5, 2021, 10:11 a.m.

hear hear!

"bUT iF I DIdn'T RIdE IN tHE rAIn I'D nEVeR be aBlE to RIdE!%$" does not mean you need to ride loamers or other sensitive trails when they're wet and saturated

Reply

just6979
-1 Simon Apostol Mark Forbes trailrange7 Alexander Filler thegoodghosts IslandLife BOOM69
Justin White  - Oct. 5, 2021, 10:50 a.m.

How is someone supposed to know if a trail is a secret trail? Half/most of these rules can be broken unknowingly by anyone who just happens across a trail and likes it. Sure, maybe the entrance is hidden, but maybe to the new discoverer it's just an old entrance and they're hoping they'll find the true entrance at the other end.

Also, I have seen many a sanctioned trail entrance blocked/hidden by other trail users who unilaterally decided they know better. How is a new rider supposed to know the difference between that and a secret trail?

Reply

TonyJ
+5 Todd Hellinga Simon Apostol kcy4130 Mammal Etacata
TonyJ  - Oct. 5, 2021, 10:55 a.m.

Walk in and don't uncover the Entrance or Exit. Let the builder do that if it is a sanctioned trail.

ALL sanctioned trails will have trail signs and or will appear on Trailforks.

These are pretty good simple rules to follow if you are unsure.

Reply

just6979
-4 Mark Forbes Alexander Filler thegoodghosts DanL IslandLife BOOM69
Justin White  - Oct. 5, 2021, 11:16 a.m.

"ALL sanctioned trails will have trail signs and or will appear on Trailforks."

Nope

Reply

mammal
0
Mammal  - Oct. 5, 2021, 1:04 p.m.

It should be emphasized that "All sanctioned trails around here will have signs and or will appear on Trailforks". I can definitely understand how in some areas, it might be a bit ambiguous.

Reply

Ivan
+1 Cam McRae
Ivan  - Oct. 13, 2021, 10:12 p.m.

Then maybe you have found a gem, now apply the rules.

Reply

Ivan
0
Ivan  - Oct. 13, 2021, 10:12 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

andy-eunson
0
Andy Eunson  - Oct. 5, 2021, 11:08 a.m.

Typically around here there is no sign or if there is it’s well down the trail where it can’t be seen from the hidden entrance. Often enough the sign will also tell you that it’s not a sanctioned trail and outline the no Strava, no wet riding, keep the trail on the down low. Other unsanctioned trails around here, if you ride from the bottom up, are a challenging uphill. That keeps a lot of squids away. That’s a good way for builders to keep the numbers of riders low.

Reply

SprSonik
+3 Cam McRae IslandLife Pete Roggeman
Mark Forbes  - Oct. 5, 2021, 11:41 a.m.

Most mapping apps try to keep the trails posted to legal stuff. Most trail areas have trail maps. Most forums are full of information about where you can legally ride for your local stuff. Do your homework BEFORE hitting the trails and it becomes much easier. But if you are in doubt on a ride, respectfully poach? And if the trail says STAY OUT, CLOSED, or anything like that...DEFINITELY DO NOT blow right into it...I see people on clearly marked CLOSED trails almost every ride. Most are cool when called out for it. Some are complete ass hats.

Reply

LoamtoHome
+7 Ryan Walters Todd Hellinga JVP IslandLife Pete Roggeman Tim Coleman kcy4130
Jerry Willows  - Oct. 5, 2021, 12:13 p.m.

common sense isn't very common unfortunately so articles like this have to exist.  Respect the trails/builders.

Reply

FlipFantasia
+5 Jerry Willows JVP IslandLife Pete Roggeman Mammal blackhat trailrange7
Todd Hellinga  - Oct. 5, 2021, 12:57 p.m.

if you don't know, just assume it is. there, was that so hard?

Reply

IslandLife
+1 Pete Roggeman
IslandLife  - Oct. 5, 2021, 4:24 p.m.

Ask around, talk to other riders... once you know the area you'll know which trails are sanctioned and not.  Generally, in most riding areas, sanctioned trails are very obvious and they'll be on some kind of map or trailforks.

If it has a hidden entrance, leave it hidden... that's a big one... basically all of the rules above apply whether you think it's unsanctioned or not.  Until you know for sure, treat it as an unsanctioned trail.

There aren't many riding areas left that have hidden, unpublished, sanctioned trails.

If the above rules are new to you... now you know... if you don't think you can follow these rules, you're not ready for the loamers.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Oct. 5, 2021, 5:43 p.m.

I don't think there are many scenarios you can't ask 'what if' about because there will always be times when the answer is unclear, but the more people that read the laws of loam and understand them, the more likely it is that they can make the right decision when the time comes.

Put another way, let's make it easy: if you don't know, and it's not on Trailforks, assume it's a secret trail.

Reply

TonyJ
+2 trailrange7 Pete Roggeman
TonyJ  - Oct. 5, 2021, 10:52 a.m.

Thanks for this. The ENTRANCE AND EXIT rules are the most important to me, the entrance is covered for a reason, so it the exit, if you can't walk 50 yards to get in and out, then don't ride the trail. I am constantly covering entrances and exits of other peoples trails, even if I am just riding past to somewhere else. This is extremely frustrating for me and spoils my mood during a ride, then my friends have to listen to me rant for the next 10 minutes, so I spoil their mood as well.

The other one is, respect the builder if they closed the trail in the winter, this is done so the trail lasts longer than a year or two. It takes a lot of work to close and re-open the trail, respect the work that goes into this.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+1 Karl Fitzpatrick
Pete Roggeman  - Oct. 5, 2021, 5:45 p.m.

Great addition. Winter closures are important. Let that loamer re-loam.

Reply

freerider-guy
0
freerider-guy  - Oct. 12, 2021, 12:09 p.m.

Lets be honest Tony, you are going to rant about it for longer than 10 minutes.

Reply

denomerdano
+1 IslandLife
Deniz Merdano  - Oct. 5, 2021, 11:02 a.m.

The tipping point for newbies finding and destroying loamers on the North Shore hills is far lower than it once used to be. 

A trail can be discovered, filmed, published and destroyed within a week. So much so that builders are now putting in "public, sacrificial" loamers. 

and hey... smile! because you are probably on a game camera on your favorite poaced loamer..

Reply

just6979
-10 chupacabro Alexander Filler Joseph Crabtree kcy4130 thaaad thegoodghosts mrbrett DanL IslandLife Timer BOOM69 Mammal
Justin White  - Oct. 5, 2021, 11:08 a.m.

"There are absolutely places in the world where riding secret trails is the only option."

This statement kinda totally ruins the whole argument for me. That's like telling the cop that pulls you over for speeding that it was "the only option for me to get to work on time". Guess what, you're still getting a ticket, and they're probably writing it for the maximum because you were being a fucking idiot for thinking that excuse would ever work.

FFS, in high school my crew used to pedal 10 miles on the road each way to ride 10 miles on good trails. We also rode not-so-good backyard trails, as well as some probably illegal trails, if we were feeling lazy, but we would never claim that either of those were the only option.

Reply

andy-eunson
+5 Simon Apostol Grif Cam McRae IslandLife Pete Roggeman
Andy Eunson  - Oct. 5, 2021, 11:14 a.m.

The reference I think is to a place like Marin County where the horse lobby and miserable old hikers control how trails are built and used and have no good reason to not allow mountain bike trails. There are reasons why speed limits are what they are. Legitimate reasons. As I understand Marin, some folks just don’t like mountain bikes.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+2 Andy Eunson Mammal
Pete Roggeman  - Oct. 5, 2021, 5:48 p.m.

Exactly that. And depending how far back you want to go in time, MTB has almost always started as an 'outlaw' sport in new places and then gained acceptance over time. Mountain resorts embrace MTB easily, but parks and other shared spaces are usually harder sledding for the MTB advocates.

Reply

kcy4130
+4 Justin White trailrange7 IslandLife Timer
kcy4130  - Oct. 5, 2021, 12:28 p.m.

Lots of trails here in the US that are technically illegal, not so because the land owner cares about trails or people riding them, but because putting up a no trespassing sign is the easiest way for them to cover their ass in case some idiot hurts themselves and sues or is forced to sue by their heath insurance company. Can't blame the land owners, it's our legal and healthcare systems are so screwed up. A land owner or manager might be fine with people build/ride trails on their land but by still put up signs to reduce their liability.

Reply

just6979
0 trailrange7 mrbrett
Justin White  - Oct. 5, 2021, 12:55 p.m.

This, 100%. New Hampshire took steps to eliminate this by making it impossible to sue the property owners if you hurt yourself on their property (unless they charge a usage fee). Effectively makes "use at your own risk" an implied statement for all free-use property in the state. Owners who open their property still have a duty to warn about dangerous conditions, such as an old well that may be hidden by overgrowth, but otherwise recreational users have very little legal power to blame their own mistakes on the property owner.

It also has the side-effect of potentially keeping more property open for free use, because the land owner now has to weigh income from usage fees against recreational immunity.

Reply

mammal
+3 Jerry Willows IslandLife Pete Roggeman
Mammal  - Oct. 5, 2021, 1:09 p.m.

We basically have the same thing here in BC, with the Occupiers Liability Act. That said, I think you should probably take this article with a grain of "North Shore Mountain Bike" and realize the context is based here in North Vancouver (with some general points that probably apply elsewhere).

Reply

BOOM69
0
BOOM69  - Oct. 8, 2021, 10:45 a.m.

You are either a troll, or you just don't get it. STFU.

Reply

just6979
-5 trailrange7 Joseph Crabtree thaaad Mammal DanL IslandLife BOOM69
Justin White  - Oct. 5, 2021, 11:12 a.m.

"Leave a note with an email address or ask around to find out who the builder is"

Isn't this pretty much exactly the opposite of all the other rules? Don't tell your friends where the hidden entrance is, but do ask around to see if anyone knows who built the trail behind the hidden entrance. Don't you dare accidentally and/or unknowingly expose the hidden entrance, but do leave evidence you were there.

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denomerdano
+4 Cam McRae trailrange7 IslandLife Pete Roggeman
Deniz Merdano  - Oct. 5, 2021, 11:35 a.m.

perhaps a guest book would be a good idea.. so you would really know who is riding the trail, cause, how can you NOT sign a guest book?

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TonyJ
+7 Mammal mrbrett trailrange7 IslandLife Pete Roggeman Cam McRae Etacata
TonyJ  - Oct. 5, 2021, 12:45 p.m.

Justin,

Just use common sense. Don't post your note at the top of the trail, leave it somewhere further down the trail, put it in a zip loc bag so it doesn't get soaked. Most of us conscientious trail users/builders pick up garbage or things left behind on the trails. If you have left a note for the builder, it will be left for the builder to pick up.

It's not really as hard as your making it out to be. I always say, when you find a new trail, enjoy it and keep it to yourself. If you find a new trail that is above your head, leave it alone, it's not yours to alter so you can ride it, when you are ready for it, it will still be there for you.

If you come across a trail with no sign at the entrance and doesn't appear on Trailforks, then assume it is unsanctioned.

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fartymarty
+1 Pete Roggeman
fartymarty  - Oct. 6, 2021, 12:42 a.m.

Or ask at your LBS.  Most good LBSs will have an idea who built the trail.

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SprSonik
+4 Cam McRae Pete Roggeman Etacata kcy4130
Mark Forbes  - Oct. 5, 2021, 11:38 a.m.

EVERYONE needs to read and heed this! I am so sick of the entitled Bros who think etiquette is a mere suggestion, and don't realize every stupid thing they do comes back on the entire community. Just got word of a crew that forced a female rider off trail and into the scrub on a Sunday at @ 0800 on one of the most crowded trail areas in San Diego. And they didn't even stop to see if she was OK. I am sure in their minds (like all the poachers, segment racers, ass hats rude riders), they figure it isn't their problem.

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SprSonik
+2 Simon Apostol Timer
Mark Forbes  - Oct. 5, 2021, 11:42 a.m.

Are we sure that simply marking a ride PRIVATE is enough? While it won't show on other people's feeds/leaderboards, I am pretty sure it still shows up on the heat maps that land managers can view.

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trailrange7
0
trailrange7  - Oct. 5, 2021, 3:17 p.m.

As far as I know it does still show up on heat maps.

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Ddean
+4 Todd Hellinga Pete Roggeman JVP BOOM69
Ddean  - Oct. 5, 2021, 3:28 p.m.

If people must use Strava, please review this page to make sure that you are Private and heatmaps are turned off.

See here: https://wild-grit.com/blogs/news/how-to-turn-off-the-strava-heatmap-to-protect-secret-trails

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bux-bux
+1 BOOM69
Bux Bux  - Oct. 6, 2021, 5:21 p.m.

Or the solution is just don't use strava on loamer days.

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cam@nsmb.com
+1 BOOM69
Cam McRae  - Oct. 6, 2021, 10:04 p.m.

This is likely a response to LR not being intimately acquainted with Strava - and not realizing heat maps continue to be recorded.

Thanks for the tip about toggling. heatmaps off Ddean.

https://wild-grit.com/blogs/news/how-to-turn-off-the-strava-heatmap-to-protect-secret-trails

LAW 4: You aren't Racing Today (turn off Strava)

Your ego can rest for a day if you are riding a trail that is best kept under wraps. If you must document how awesome you are, then make that ride private. You can still brag to your friends later. I’m sure they can't wait for a reminder about how incredible you are. And for those making Strava segments on secret trails... Seriously. What the fuck are you thinking?

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trailrange7
+2 Etacata BOOM69
trailrange7  - Oct. 5, 2021, 3:17 p.m.

As far as I know it does still show up on heat maps.

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earleb
+5 Deniz Merdano Timer Cam McRae grambo BOOM69
earle.b  - Oct. 5, 2021, 5:43 p.m.

Trailforks auto hides rides that have sensitive / unsanctioned trails. With that said there are ways to "find" these with some of the tools on the site. So uh if you REALLY want it secret don't log it with ANY app.

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cbamos
-1 Mammal
cbamos  - Oct. 5, 2021, 11:44 a.m.

There is but one law of loam (equally applicable to all disciplines and other forms of cycling):

1. You're doing it wrong.

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mammal
0
Mammal  - Oct. 6, 2021, 6:55 a.m.

Can you elaborate on this? Are you saying all forms of Loam trails are wrong (then the other forms of cycling part is confusing)?

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cbamos
0
cbamos  - Oct. 6, 2021, 12:38 p.m.

Simply making the point that these lists of "rules" come up time and again among cyclists and on cycling media (social or otherwise), and while they are often funny and occasionally entertaining, the main takeaway seems to be that everyone "else" is doing things wrong. Personally, I think cycling needs fewer rules, fewer gates, and less shame. The flipside of the idiot entitled bro is the a-hole entitled gatekeeper screaming from the front lawn.

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cam@nsmb.com
+4 Mark cbamos BOOM69 Mammal
Cam McRae  - Oct. 6, 2021, 10:08 p.m.

Personally, I appreciate your ability to distinguish between less and fewer.

Also personally, I believe gatekeeping only works if the community begins to embrace the idea en masse. Unfotunately, ours seems to be a fractured community, no matter where you are.

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Ddean
+4 Deniz Merdano IslandLife Pete Roggeman BOOM69
Ddean  - Oct. 5, 2021, 11:46 a.m.

I think that lack of awareness is part of the issue here, but the thing that gets me is that in many cases people are FULLY aware but so entitled and so they do much of the above anyways. They don’t care. 

All you people reopening the braids I keep closing - you’re going to be out of moves soon. And it’s your own damn fault.

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LoamtoHome
+6 Ryan Walters Deniz Merdano Andy Eunson Greg Bly Pete Roggeman BOOM69
Jerry Willows  - Oct. 5, 2021, 12:19 p.m.

have to nail logs together to permanently close braids...

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Ivan
0
Ivan  - Oct. 13, 2021, 10:20 p.m.

The unfortunate truth is so much time in trail work is spent on fixing BS from braiders and joeys.

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TonyJ
+1 Pete Roggeman
TonyJ  - Oct. 5, 2021, 1:03 p.m.

Let me know when you need a hand with moving the massive fallen trees. I have access to a bunch of comealongs to move stuff like that.

I have nailed stuff together in the past, this lasts longer than just blocking with smaller trees, but the end result is always the same with these people.

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denomerdano
+5 TonyJ IslandLife Pete Roggeman ChocolateThunder Etacata
Deniz Merdano  - Oct. 5, 2021, 1:11 p.m.

When I constantly have to close braids and enterance/ exits, the actual trail work gets neglected... 

Its a tough battle

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TonyJ
+1 Deniz Merdano
TonyJ  - Oct. 5, 2021, 4:13 p.m.

Deniz, I agree 100%. 

The second issue becomes, if the trail entrance and exit are just going to get blown out and people are braiding the trail that you built, when do you give up on maintaining the trail at all. 

I don't think I could abandon a trail that I built, but I sure as hell would permenantly close them.

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mammal
+2 Cam McRae Pete Roggeman
Mammal  - Oct. 5, 2021, 1:16 p.m.

Great update, on a great original article. Must read material for many of the (seemingly hundreds of) new riders here on the Shore.

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trailrange7
+1 Cam McRae Velocipedestrian Mammal
trailrange7  - Oct. 5, 2021, 3:16 p.m.

I’ll start with something we agree with (hell, beyond the deeper thesis of the article). You seem to bash the enduro-bro attitude that many mountain bikers have. I completely agree that a rude, brisk, and unwelcoming attitude is errr, well, unwelcome. However, I feel that your writing comes across as just that and more: elitist, all knowing, and condescending. Truth be told, you probably do know better than me, and many of us in the comments, but one thing I particularly like about NSMB is that the community is much more welcoming and open than that of another certain mountain bike website (Rhymes with stinkbike). In this article, that doesn’t seem to come across quite as well. I know this is just one article, but nonetheless, it’s something which I don’t really enjoy. Furthermore, I think the statement “"some bed wetter sitting behind a desk” is pretty stupid. I don’t work in public administration (am a student), but when you use inflammatory statements like that, being fully aware that people scour forums to fuel anti MTB sentiments, it damages your credibility given that you’re feeding into that to begin with.

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cam@nsmb.com
+6 TonyJ Deniz Merdano Todd Hellinga Pete Roggeman Mammal Greg Bly
Cam McRae  - Oct. 5, 2021, 4:11 p.m.

You aren't wrong. 

The Loam Ranger is an asshole. Or at least he plays one on the internet. He hates authority and bureaucracy, among other things. There's a reason he doesn't use his real name and there's a reason why I added this proviso at the bottom, "We may not always agree with the Ranger, and particularly his abrasive approach, but sometimes we pick up what's he's putting down."

This isn't the editorial tone we normally use, because it's not us. At the same time, it often takes an outsider who dispenses with pleasantries to smash through the noise to get an important point across.

He doesn't participate in comment threads, and that's probably for the best, so you are unlikely to hear from him directly.

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trailrange7
+3 Deniz Merdano Cam McRae Pete Roggeman
trailrange7  - Oct. 5, 2021, 6:44 p.m.

Haha, thanks for the reply. Probably best that he doesn't read these. I always think you catch more flies with honey.

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mammal
+2 DanL Cam McRae
Mammal  - Oct. 6, 2021, 7:01 a.m.

The proverbial "woosh".

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IslandLife
+1 trailrange7
IslandLife  - Oct. 5, 2021, 4:40 p.m.

Best thing about loamers that the "The Man" finds and shuts down... is that the "The Man" generally tends to think it's been shut down for good.  When in reality, all it takes is the builder and and good dig day crew to get it back up and running.. usually better than it originally was.

We have so many great loamers where I ride we've started an a fund to help pay for trail building and maintenance.  We've had "trail-days" specifically for loamer maintenance or to open up a recently closed loamer.  We even have an unsanctioned loamer climb trail!

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chupacabro
+2 thaaad Deniz Merdano
chupacabro  - Oct. 5, 2021, 5:09 p.m.

For a PDF map of all the secret trails in  the S2S region paypal $20 CDN to elleohelle@pinkbike.com

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denomerdano
0
Deniz Merdano  - Oct. 5, 2021, 8:30 p.m.

Can I opt for a Darkforks membership instead?

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TonyJ
+1 Deniz Merdano
TonyJ  - Oct. 6, 2021, 12:32 a.m.

Does that PDF Map or the Darkforks membership get me directions straight to your cornholio, or are there more hoops (hahaha) that i will need to jump through, to get me to finish....

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mammal
+2 Todd Hellinga DanL
Mammal  - Oct. 6, 2021, 7:02 a.m.

Just subscribe to Lee Lau's fax list.

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bux-bux
0
Bux Bux  - Oct. 6, 2021, 5:17 p.m.

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