Monday, May 10, 2010

When They Get Things Right

I went out for a test ride on Saturday over at Cedar Bend which was a lot of fun on Saturday. It was one of those rides where the bike just disappeared and my mind was focused on the trail, (and the possible trails out there!)  I'll tell ya, one of the things I can't help but notice now days is how poorly the land we get to ride on is being utilized.

<===The excellent Specialized Epic Marathon 29"er.

Too many times I see how an entire hillside is neglected, one trail running up the fall line, and that's it. We get so excited here in the Mid-West when a trail can go up that builders seem to take the fall line straight up, or a ravine, or another way that is a waste of useable space, not to mention almost always an erosion issue waiting to happen.

Cedar Bend isn't the only place. I see it in in The Camp, Ullrich Park, and down at Hickory Hills. All places that could easily have twice as much trail mileage as they do now with longer climbs and descents, and less erosion issues by far than we face now. The trails could be much more sustainable, and waaay more fun.

You might say, "Well, quit complaining and DO something about it." And that would be entirely fair to say to me. I will say that I have been putting this issue into everybody's ear that I meet that has anything to do with trail development. Trouble is that it takes a lot of concerted effort, and resources, and patience in dealing with the stewards of the land the trails are on now. And I will also say that by putting this here on my blog, I hope to bring more awareness to the issue not only locally, but wherever you are. People need help maintaining and developing trails to ride off road on. It isn't just a local Cedar Valley issue.

I also am quite busy doing all kinds of other stuff in the realm of cycling, and for this issue of local trails, I feel that I can only do so much. I wish I could quit all my jobs and just walk out there and "git er dun", but that isn't very realistic. So, I am doing what I can do. Twisting arms when I can. Putting bugs in peoples ears. Making observations while I am out riding.

One of these days I hope to see things get starightened out with the trails. To have stuff to ride on like I see in other parts of the Mid-West. When we get it right here, it'll be really good. I just hope that it gets there sooner than later.


Dave said...

Amen. We have that locally here in SE WI too at a smaller local trail. The state parks are starting to take CAMBA-like cues and build really great stuff.

You don't really realize how good the well-designed trails are until you see/ride them. And how different they are from other trails you once thought were "normal."

Steve Fuller said...

We've dealt with the same things here for a few years too GT. A lot of it is learning how to do things right and time/people. We're getting out of that rut now here in the central Iowa area and going back to fix some things that weren't built all that well the first time. I know there are some individuals up there that are trying to get organized and change things. Hopefully they can get the word out to riders in that area and get the assistance that they need to start taking some of these projects on.

Mike Howard said...

Same thing here in Central Illinois PAMBA is slowly getting the reroutes done the right way or atleast a better way...But you all know how it's the same few volunteers that get the work done.

Glenn said...

You should try to come up to La Crosse, WI and ride the Human Powered Trails. The builders have gone to great lengths to follow the IMBA guidelines and build trails on a sustainable grade rather than the fall lines.

Everything is bench cut, so once the trail is made, it doesn't need much maintenance besides clearing downed trees.

Guitar Ted said...

Thanks to everyone who has commented. It is refreshing to see that there is an awareness that trails could be much better than they originally were/are.

@Glenn: I've heard a lot about the LaCrosse trails. I need to get up that way to check it out sometime.