Dumbing down trails

There has been an ongoing trend of dumbing down Mountain bike trails.
Some sections of trails need to be maintained in order to keep the water run-off going properly. Side-Note: I understand that this is the USFS main concern for National Forestry property.

Some trail systems seem to be going in the direction of a smooth roller-coaster ride. Yes, they do great and Fun re-working of trails, but they make most trail systems (that I have ridden around Atlanta) so basic that anyone on most any bike shop bike could ride all of it.

Where is the challenge in that? Where is are the latest trails to challenge your skills? Don’t tell, because seemingly they are coming for those trails also – and they are bringing a big Zamboni to plow through any technical sections that maybe left.

Recently on trails that have been previously re-worked I have noticed that work-groups have gone so far as take out parts of a trail that have been a small obstacle for years. This is what we call ‘dumbing down’ trails so that anyone can ride everything. This happens when people take out parts of a trail because it is too challenging. Never-mind that there is no real danger in these obstacles – or that you could make an ‘easy path’ around an obstacle – they just take it out. Flatten and smooth out the trail so that a good Mountain biker could easily tow a child in a trailer through.

At what point are Mountain bikers going to notice how far they have gotten away from their roots.

Is it a goal to stop Bicycling magazine’s articles about how to bunny-hop, do a wheelie & how to do a track stand – due to the fact that no Mountain biker on an SORBA trail will ever need to know this information?

I have found myself going far away from some of these trails, in fact I would often literally pass 1 trail system to go ride trails that haven’t been bulldozed.

While on a camping trip over the 4th of July, I was shocked to hear that a trail system we were riding has had a sectioned that had been re-worked with a motorized shovel.
It suddenly hit me that the places that we are driving hours to get too are slowly being over-taken by the giant well oiled machinery of SORBA.

Most of the trail work they do is Great! But it seems that they are like a dictator who is getting drunk with power, and now wants to take on other countries – snapping roots, popping rocks, and leaving a dirt mound strategically placed in it’s wake.

I’m hoping that in the near future IMBA/SORBA will realize that in order to grow the likes of Pro Mountain Bikers, they will have to leave some technical sections on the trail.

Please focus more efforts on keeping trails open, and maybe opening more trails. But for the sake of the true Mountain bike passion, stop the insane pursuit of “sterilizing all trail systems”.

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One thought on “Dumbing down trails”

  1. I’m not a mountain biker but I love watching the races. I’m with you 100% on this topic. I’ve just watched the Olympic’s so called womens’ mountain bike race. It was just a smooth ride through a lovely and tranquil English park. What a travesty of a usually rugged and challenging sport.

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