What do you think — does skidding destroy the trail?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum What do you think — does skidding destroy the trail?

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of TimJFowler TimJFowler 1 year, 8 months ago.

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  • #226996

    I spotted this sign on the Little Scraggy trail the other day. The really interesting thing is that the extremely loose nature of the decomposing granite soil coupled with a trail design that encourages riders to go fast is going to lead to skidding.

    What do you think about this sign? Does skidding destroy the trail? Is it pointless to try to stop riders? What does posting signs like this accomplish?

    Interested to hear your thoughts…

  • #226998

    My bet is a sign like this helps, insomuch as it at least raises awareness. Sure, it won’t stop everyone, but for those who skid sometimes on some trails, they might restrain themselves on this trail after seeing this sign. Add a game camera on the back side and it could become even more effective. 🙂

    Based on a couple of recent podcast interviews (Ross talking about the environmental impact of riding, and Walt talking about trail building), it sounds like water is generally the biggest culprit when it comes to erosion. Skidding doesn’t help, but if slopes and drainages aren’t built correctly, there’s going to be potentially serious erosion even if no one ever taps a brake.

  • #227004

    With skidding I think it really depends on the trail itself. On soft and muddy or loose/dry/dusty trails it’s a no-no, imho. When I build trails with my local chapter we armor the trails with a rock base and place a clay tread on top. The tread can get damaged but it’s far less vulnerable to water issues and can be easily repaired. I imagine it can help resist skidding damage. I can’t say for sure that this would work and I’m not saying it’s okay to go skid shred the bloody hell out of the trails. It seems to me that the answer depends on the design, construction, and type of trail one might skid on.

    I think signs are pointless and a waste of money. Trying to force someone to do something will seldom work. Take the ‘Don’t Ride When Wet’ signs as an example. I have those at my local trails but I see rutted out mud pits and tracks way too often. Shit, I’ve seen folks out riding wet trails during monthly community trail work days. In an ideal world signs would be perfect. People are gonna do whatever they want and employ the entire lot of excuses and justifications for why the rules of responsible riding don’t apply to them, just everyone else. The best we can do is inform people but they ultimately have to make the call themselves.

  • #227016

    I’m with Jeff in that I agree that the signs will at least re-enforce the concept that skidding isn’t good for the trails and maybe you can make an effort to avoid doing so if possible.

    Nobody is going to be able to argue to me that skidding isn’t bad for the trail. If you leave in a densely populated area where a multitude of people are riding the same trails, you see what all the skidding does to the trails. We have one area near me that people have been riding for 20 years but ever since Strava and Enduro took off a few years ago, everyone seems they need to tho as fast as they can all the time. Consequently, the overwhelmingly majority of the corners on every trails are pretty much blown out from all the enduro-bro’s skidding around every corner. It wasn’t like this as little as 5-6 years ago. This is S0Cal where we get 7-10″ of rain a year so water has very little to do with the damage.

     

  • #227040

    Although I don’t unnecessarily skid on my trails, there are definitely times when it happens from carrying excess speed into a corner. I think thats pretty different than using skidding as a technique to corner. As far as the signage is concerned , I don’t think its necessarily a bad thing, but I doubt it will impact riders normal riding style much. I would like to hear feedback on this from someone at the Angel Fire Bike Park trail crew. Although at a bike park, where trail crews continually are up keeping trails it’s probably the most acceptable place to skid, I am guessing it has everything to do with trail design and composition of the trail. My question is, does skidding on trails contribute to braking bumps?

  • #227086

    Its a good reminder. Though we know its not good, we just keep doing it, like riding on wet trails. Brings awareness as most said.

  • #227092

    While I don’t promote skidding and avoid it as much as possible, sometimes it happens. Jump on YouTube or any bike company promotional vids and it has these dudes blowing out berms, throwing roost and usually in super slow-mo to make it that more obvious……..just sayin.

     

  • #227210

    It certainly accelerates erosion since you’re displacing soil. But it’s hard to get high and mighty about it when roosting berms is what basically every bike company uses to sell their products. The difference being the riders in those videos aren’t grabbing a fistful of brake like all the goobers out there imitating them.

    Also, I’d be lying if I didn’t say skidding is fun. It’s not good for the trail and it’s not usually the fastest way through a turn.

  • #227222

    The worst case of trails partly destroyed by skidding that I’ve ridden were the Whitefish downhill trails which I rode in August. They were severely cut up with braking bumps on braking bumps…

    Braking bumps are ubiquitous on poorly designed downhill trails and when they’re the dominating feature they start to shake your bones and rattle your eyeballs. Poorly designed trails force skidding by things like putting a switchback immediately after a fast feature such as a big down-swooping berm.

  • #227858

    Skidding definitely does damage. The worst part is that the braking bumps you make skidding into a corner cause more/worse braking bumps, sometimes in the corner itself. Screws everything up. As for the sign, people that otherwise would have no idea might think about it or look up why the sign was placed. Only kids and a-holes purposely ignore signs.

  • #227915

    What do you think about this sign?

    It might help to educate newer riders.
     

    Does skidding destroy the trail?

    Unless the trail is well armored with stone, then yes skidding does damage trails.
     

    Is it pointless to try to stop riders?

    Not completely, but it does feel pointless at times.
     

    What does posting signs like this accomplish?

    Inform the beginners and possibly annoy those who are going to skid anyway.
     

    The really interesting thing is that the extremely loose nature of the decomposing granite soil coupled with a trail design that encourages riders to go fast is going to lead to skidding.

    So, the real issue is the trail design. If the trail encourages fast riding on a loose over hard surface then the fix is more technical features / turns / chicanes and visual cues to slow the rider before tight turns.

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