Alot of mountain bike trails stink

I was reading an article recently about a former landfill in New Zealand that was being developed into a park with mountain bike trails and I realized something: alot of mountain bike trails are in crappy locations (sometimes literally). Essentially it seems like mountain bike trails are often allowed on land that no one really wants to use for anything else.

Some of these trails even have appealing names like Tour de Dump in Spartanburg, SC. Others, like Angler’s Ridge in Danville, VA sound unassuming but in reality, much of the “ridge” overlooks the city landfill (some of the trail even traverses former dumping sites). In many flat areas of the country landfills provide some of the best terrain for downhill riding so I guess alot of us can’t complain.

Not only are mountain bikers relegated to shredding landfill trails but we also have sewer lines to ride as well. Yep, sewer lines are generally located at low points and flood zones where no development can take place so mountain bikers can often be found mucking it up in a haze of sewer gases. A large portion of the Chapel Hill High School trails here in NC are in the sewer easement and the Big Creek trails in Alpharetta, GA criss cross sewer lines as they wrap around a large swamp. Lovely, eh?

Don’t get me wrong – remediation is great and it’s awesome that we can turn former piles of garbage into recreation areas. But are mountain bikers the only ones who are desperate enough for places to play that we’ll ride just about anywhere? How come it seems like hikers keep some of the most beautiful places for themselves?