Now that the rain has stopped, it’s tempting to get out there and go ride. After this weeks massive precip, our trail systems are still extremely wet. Riding in such conditions can have an adverse effect causing ruts and erosion, widening of the trails, and cause damage to your bike. There are trails that handle precip better than others such as a trail with more rock or gravel (Snake Creek Gap, White Oak), but after this week it’s best to avoid trails for 24-36 hrs to give them a chance to drain and recover.
Erosion and Ruts:
If the trail is wet and muddy, continual bike riding creates ruts making the trail worse when it dries. The more a trail is ridden on, the more susceptible it becomes to erosion, yet erosion is accelerated when the trail is muddy and bike tires are going deeper into the dirt. Ruts on trails require trail maintenance, which is done by volunteer work. There is a huge misconception that the trail will just repair itself. That is False. The trail will become worse over time. The more work volunteers have to do to correct ruts and erosion from trail abuse and weather, the less time they have to focus on other trail improvements.
Widening of the Trails:
Riders usually tend to go around the muddy areas and off-trail when the paths are wet. In doing this, it will start to create another trail, leaving behind a singletrack path and making erosion worse. If the trail is truly mud filled or gets worse as you ride further into, it’s best to turn back around and try again another day.
Damage to Your Bike:
Mud can have a severe impact on your bike. Riding wet, muddy trails will cause mud to lump up on your rear tire, which can catch your rear derailleur forcing it to bend or break. That’s not the only part that can be impacted-think about the bearings, cables, all the essential bike parts that could also be damaged.
We know the cabin fever is killing you; we’re dying to get out there and ride too. One sunny day can trick us into believing we are good to go, but after this past week that will generally not be the case. Remember the impact that wet riding has on the trails & your bike. After all, who truly enjoys being wet and muddy?
Peace & Trail Love,