This time of year the terrain gets very soggy where I live. Established trails are off limits due to the damage that can be caused by water and riders. Instead of known trails in rainy times, look for some promising horse/cow pastures or orchards, get permission from the owners, which is usually easy, and go try some mud riding. I realize it is similar to a pig wallowing but, if you want a good time and are willing to get wet and covered in mud, it will be loads of fun. Test your skills and limits, the ground is soft and you will laugh a lot. Just be prepared for some big time clean up when you get home. Does anyone else do this or I am just a reincarnated pig as per my wife’s suggestion?
I typically don’t ride muddy trails, not because I don’t want to – or enjoy the challenge – but I’ve seen the damage it can inflict. I’ve even driven to trails only to find that it was too muddy to be ridden so I left. Now with that said, we’ve probably all found ourselves in situations where the area near the trail head may be fine only to find that a few miles in other sections are very muddy. Or there was a downpour while I was riding. Or I’ve started out in the morning when the ground was frozen but parts of the trail exposed to more sunlight have thawed and it’s a complete mudfest. The worst is when the trails take on the consistency of peanut butter where I’ll try to walk around it. But mud puddles I’ll typically ride through. It winds up being a complete slopfest and the bike – and its rider – are a filthy mess but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a big sh!t-eating grin on face when I finished.
Here in Central New York, you have to like mud or you’ll never get to ride (July is about the only true “dry” month). So yeah, I often ride in mud….and I love it! Yes, from April-July and Sept-Nov I need to hose down my bike and then myself after nearly every ride.
I have also tried to ride in fields for the fun of it, but between the old furrows and woodchuck holes, the fields are deceptively treacherous. In the “off season” I tend to ride old logging trails or fire-access roads, as long as they aren’t covered with sheets of ice.
Currently, the singletrack where I live is unridable—mud, frozen mud, slush, snow, and ice. However, the local gravel roads get plowed. So, I mounted a set of 700×50 gravel tires on my hardtail and it doesn’t s–k. In fact, it’s way better than I though it would be. The gravel tires are very fast on both pavement and gravel. So now my hardtail is fast on pavement and hooks up on dirt. My bike has i35 rims with the 50mm tires and performs well. Therefore, I believe that i30 rims with 45mm tires and i25 rims with 40mm tires would also work well. Turn your hardtail into a gravel bike and keep riding all winter!
For us here in North Texas, ridding in mud just isn’t something we normally have the option for. For one, like many places, our trails close when they’re muddy. Secondly, well, it just doesn’t rain that much, and with our heat, sun and wind, things dry out quickly. Usually, anyway. Normal rainfall for us is in the low 30″ range. This year, some parts of North Texas reached over 60″. Most of that rolled in around the end of July/1st of August. Of the close to 40 trails we have, most have been closed since August/September until this week (finally!). Of those that have been opening, there’s been mud, mainly in dips, to deal with. So to the OP’s question (Does anyone else do this or I am just a reincarnated pig as per my wife’s suggestion?), I think there’s a little pig in all of us, and we secretly like playing in mud too. 🙂