Mountain Biking in the Thaw Season - Choose Your Trails Wisely
It’s been a cold wet spring in much of British Columbia, and Canada for that matter, and it seems like mountain bike season may never arrive. If you live on the coast your trail options are much greater than in the interior so any trails that may be free of snow are tempting to ride. At this time of year though no matter where you live it’s good idea to take a moment to think about the effects of riding on wet trails and what we can do as riders to minimize our impacts so trails remain sustainable in the long term.
- Choose the trails you are going to ride wisely: pick ones that are built to withstand use in the wet. Most mountain bike associations are building new trails with sustainability in mind so most built in the last few years should be wet weather friendly. If in doubt check Trailforks to see if a trail has been designated as wet friendly. Chances are your favorite old school, steep, fall line loamer is not wet weather friendly.
- Don’t be tempted to drop into or ride up flowing creeks of water. There’s nothing worse than spending an hour grinding up a climb to get to your favorite descent and see it’s a raging river. It’s tempting to just roll in and ride but either move on to another trail if possible or turn around and save it for another day. Same goes for climbing up trails, if you see running water at the bottom, try another climb or ride somewhere else if possible.
- If you come across deep mud or puddles on trails don’t try and ride around it. This will widen the trail and cause damage to surrounding vegetation. Also, if you come across wet, slick sections of trail you aren’t comfortable riding don’t create a new line to go around it. There’s nothing wrong with walking down wet greasy sections if you have to.
- This should go without saying wet or dry but ride don't slide. Ease off on the rear brakes!
- Join your local mountain bike association and volunteer on trail days. We have all ridden in the wet before and there’s no better way to give back to the trails than to help work on them.