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Seymour riding in the wet

Sept. 9, 2016, 11:23 a.m.
Posts: 1
Joined: Nov. 26, 2008

Do game cameras and public shaming still work?
We all enjoy a good ride, some people just have to be dickheads and ride trails that are clearly blocked for a reason.
The unfortunate truth is for ever hour spent building a trail 1/2 an hour is spent repairing damage from dickheads.

Sept. 9, 2016, 11:28 a.m.
Posts: 856
Joined: June 26, 2012

Do game cameras and public shaming still work?
We all enjoy a good ride, some people just have to be dickheads and ride trails that are clearly blocked for a reason.
The unfortunate truth is for ever hour spent building a trail 1/2 an hour is spent repairing damage from dickheads.

I don't know if we quite need to resort to that. My suspicion is that most people don't realize the extent of the damage they're doing.

I think a sign with information similar to what skip posted about the impacts of riding JD in the wet (perhaps with some photos of previous damage) would go a long way toward educating those who spend less time on the forum and trailforks.

Sept. 9, 2016, 1:19 p.m.
Posts: 1510
Joined: July 11, 2014

I don't know if we quite need to resort to that. My suspicion is that most people don't realize the extent of the damage they're doing.

I think a sign with information similar to what skip posted about the impacts of riding JD in the wet (perhaps with some photos of previous damage) would go a long way toward educating those who spend less time on the forum and trailforks.

Agree with this, a large-ish sign maybe showing examples of the damage would help. Sure, there will always be some dickheads that will ride no matter what, but hopefully education reduces the number down.

Sept. 9, 2016, 1:29 p.m.
Posts: 856
Joined: June 26, 2012

That said, JD is the most intermediate-friendly descent option on Seymour, and less experienced riders have likely come to rely on it as an option. Climbing to that point only to be turned away from the only trail they can ride doesn't leave many options. I'm not sure what the solution is, but that's definitely a challenge of keeping people off it during extended wetter weather.

I'm not sure what the politics of this are, but maybe signage should also suggest other intermediate-friendly options such as AA.

Sept. 9, 2016, 3:38 p.m.
Posts: 323
Joined: June 23, 2011

That said, JD is the most intermediate-friendly descent option on Seymour, and less experienced riders have likely come to rely on it as an option. Climbing to that point only to be turned away from the only trail they can ride doesn't leave many options. I'm not sure what the solution is, but that's definitely a challenge of keeping people off it during extended wetter weather.

I'm not sure what the politics of this are, but maybe signage should also suggest other intermediate-friendly options such as AA.

Politics has nothing to do with this.

Having a sign at the bottom of the climb letting people know that John Deer is under a wet weather closure may or may not stop people from continuing on. If they do get there and don't want to climb further, its a short hike up to Severed to ride Severed down too, which is also a good trail to ride in the wet.

Once you get to John Deer, you've done the toughest part of GSM so riding the rest of the trail shouldn't be too bad.

If its an issue for some people hopefully its the first and last time they'll do this.

Also the sign should tell people to check out the status report on Trailforks so they know to check if there is a wet weather closure on the trail so they don't waste their efforts.

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Sept. 9, 2016, 11:45 p.m.
Posts: 315
Joined: Aug. 10, 2012

This may sound naive, but why build a trail in a rain forest climate that can only be ridden in dry conditions?
Really….I am not trying to troll, but it seems that a dry-condition-only trail is the least sustainable approach to trail building in this climate. It's not like the volume of riders should be a surprise, nor should the weather.

"If you build it they will come…but only sometimes"?

Sept. 10, 2016, 1 a.m.
Posts: 364
Joined: July 8, 2005

This may sound naive, but why build a trail in a rain forest climate that can only be ridden in dry conditions?
Really….I am not trying to troll, but it seems that a dry-condition-only is the least sustainable approach to trail building in this climate. It's not like the volume of riders should be a surprise, nor should the weather.

"If you build it they will come…but only sometimes"?

JD was originally a loamer, and reasonably well off the radar. With the climb, it became much more accessible, and attempts to close it down were unsuccessful.

We've been working on it to make it sustainable for wet weather and to handle the increased traffic. This takes time, and the past couple months of dry weather aren't that great for trail work. With the return of the rain, we'll be continuing our work. Eventually it should be fine in the wet :)

Sept. 10, 2016, 1:13 a.m.
Posts: 63
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

This may sound naive, but why build a trail in a rain forest climate that can only be ridden in dry conditions?
Really….I am not trying to troll, but it seems that a dry-condition-only is the least sustainable approach to trail building in this climate. It's not like the volume of riders should be a surprise, nor should the weather.

"If you build it they will come…but only sometimes"?

not really a naive question at all.

i think the best way to answer it is to "reverse engineer" the process and consider what all weather trails look like.

1. they're already worn down to hard pan or rock from years of traffic/erosion
2. they're purpose built from the get go to handle high levels of traffic and all weather conditions.

so to answer your question you'd have to consider trail option #2. if you look at these trails they have some distinct features that sererate them from a lot of other trails. for the most part these trails have very little to no fall line sections and have relatively mellow grades that are often bench cut with outslope to allow the water to drain off the trail quickly to avoid water pooling or running down the trail. the surfaces of these trails are also already dug down to mineral soil (gold dirt here on the NS) or have some of the organic layer stripped off and then several inches of gold deposited on top of that to form the trail bed. you may also find a combination of these two techniques as well.

trail surfaces that are already hard packed can require a huge amount of manual labour, sometimes hundreds or even thousands of person hours to cut the trail. the other option of course is buidling trail with machines which is way faster, but often costs more and has a different feel as the trail bed is typically fairly wide (4-6ft) compared to hand cuts trails which are typically much narrower (1-2ft).

the other thing to consider is that riding on the organic layer is often a lot more enjoyable than riding on endless hardpack - hence the sidewalk comments that may come up. organic layer trails often include roots and rocks to negotiate which adds to the fun experience by adding a dimension of instability to the riding. organic layer trails are also often fairly quick to build as there is usually far less ground work to be done, there is the idea that riders ride in the trail bed. most riders i know tend to perfer organic layer type trails over the groomed or sidewalk type trails but there are lots of people that prefer the groomed/smooth trails.

there seems to be a debate that the groomed trails are more ecologically sensitive, and in some respects they are. but whether the organic layer is cut out and the trail bed is dug down to solid dirt or it gets ridden down i don't see a difference between the two. in fact anyone would have a hard time convincing me that there is a difference. all trails will wear with time unless they are flat or have very large radius turns, so even the hard surface trails need maintenance which means digging pits for gold dirt.

there are things that can be done however to limit the overall level of impact while stll building a fun trail. a big part of that is being able to read the terrain your building in, knowing where the riders are going to go before they do, limiting or eliminating hard breaking zones, making sure that depression don't exist for water to pool, shedding water before steep sections to avoid creating water ruts and using bridges to get over difficult sections. doing all these things means time, and not everyone has bucketloads of time to donate to builidng nor the resources of dozens of people to assist with this work. i've learned a lot since Sharon and Lee first helped me get into trail building and part of that has come from walking some of the same trails on a consistent basis and seeing how they wear over time. i still see what i consider some of the same mistakes meing made as 20yrs but also see some thigns being done better. overall though, i think the mtb community can do better especially when it comes to trail design. the caveat though is that it is much harder to correct a trail that was built for a differnt time when the bikes, riding styles and volume or riders were very different from what they are now.

a bit of sidetrack there, but basically to answer your question it comes down to builder/rider preferance for a certain type of trail and ultimately the amount of time available to the builders to actually make the trail.

context is everything

Sept. 10, 2016, 7:37 a.m.
Posts: 813
Joined: Nov. 20, 2002

^ Great post! So much important info in there. Thanks for that.

Sept. 10, 2016, 7:51 a.m.
Posts: 17777
Joined: Oct. 28, 2003

And if Splinky didnt write enough, you can find out more

http://www.imbacanada.com/resources/trail-building

http://www.nsmba.ca/2016-north-shore-trailbuilder-academy

Sept. 10, 2016, 8:48 a.m.
Posts: 813
Joined: Nov. 20, 2002

Thanks. I've looked into the builders academy but I can't swing the time off right now, especially mid week.

Sept. 10, 2016, 11:50 a.m.
Posts: 315
Joined: Aug. 10, 2012

JD was originally a loamer, and reasonably well off the radar. With the climb, it became much more accessible, and attempts to close it down were unsuccessful.

We've been working on it to make it sustainable for wet weather and to handle the increased traffic. This takes time, and the past couple months of dry weather aren't that great for trail work. With the return of the rain, we'll be continuing our work. Eventually it should be fine in the wet :)

Thanks Muhoney…great historic perspective.

Sept. 10, 2016, 11:54 a.m.
Posts: 315
Joined: Aug. 10, 2012

not really a naive question at all.

i think the best way to answer it is to "reverse engineer" the process and consider what all weather trails look like.

1. they're already worn down to hard pan or rock from years of traffic/erosion
2. they're purpose built from the get go to handle high levels of traffic and all weather conditions.

so to answer your question you'd have to consider trail option #2. …
…the caveat though is that it is much harder to correct a trail that was built for a different time when the bikes, riding styles and volume or riders were very different from what they are now.

a bit of sidetrack there, but basically to answer your question it comes down to builder/rider preference for a certain type of trail and ultimately the amount of time available to the builders to actually make the trail.

That is some great detail, Syncro! I can appreciate the intricacies of trail building and the effects over time a whole lot more. Thanks!

Sept. 10, 2016, 12:30 p.m.
Posts: 1479
Joined: Aug. 6, 2009

Since May, I've ridden JD about once every 3-4 weeks. It's been amazing to see how much it has changed in just 4 months.

As an intermediate rider, I definitely appreciate the option it gives for getting in a fun ride on days when I'm not feeling quite dialed in enough to do something more challenging.

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