Tag Archives: Cycling

The Fight on Erosion

Part 2

Mountain Biking is a recreational activity that can be pursued without taking harm to the environment if one takes the right precautions when cycling. There are various actions one can make when riding to prevent erosion along the trail. I am going to display various tips that bicyclist should be aware of to prevent further erosion. Erosion can be prevented, and mountain biking can be pursued in a safe manor to benefit the environment.

Some mountain bike trails are highly wide, while other may be far too thin. These thin trails I am speaking of are known as single-track trails. It is often easier to stay on track within the wider trails, than such smaller ones. Wider trails are easier to stay on track when traveling down, considering they offer much more space to ride on Personally it is less difficult for me to ride thin trails, than wide ones. Experienced riders often ride down trails in the same region. One part of the trail begins to become very smooth, from the various cyclists traveling down from time after time. These thin trails are easy for me to travel down to the fact they are very smooth from the previous riders. Wide trails grant people the ability to choose where along the trail they want to ride. Every individual rides a trail differently. Due to this wide trails are often not smooth, and have various ruts along the trail from the various directions riders choose to travel. While on a thin trail, riders are often following each other’s tracks to avoid running off the trail.


To ensure the longevity of local mountain biking trails, it is highly important to minimize trail damage. Mountain Bikers should avoid riding their bicycles through deep mud. Riding through deep mud contributes towards the formation of large ruts, which serve as erosion trenches. When bicycling in nature, in is important to not forge new trails, or to travel across unmarked terrain. It is advised by sfmtb.com to wait 48 hours after a rainstorm to ride dirt trails. If mountain bikers avoid riding through deep mud, these deep trenches can be eliminated. I know that trails that are wet offer more traction for the cyclist, but to ensure the well being of such trails one must not ride during these conditions.


A bicyclist can prevent causing lateral erosion by carefully riding around sharp corners, rather than sliding or skidding around such corners. It may be difficult to avoid sliding at times, but it is crucial to attempt to in order to prevent erosion on the trails. If a tire is rolling on a solid surface, it does not cause significant damage. When a back tire locks up not slowing you down, and it shredding apart the trail. If a trail is too steep for you to ride down without potentially locking up your back wheel, just hop off your bicycle and walk down. This does not make you a less experienced cyclist. Instead, it makes you a more passionate cyclist towards the environment. An experienced cyclist always puts the environment before personal needs.

Part of the challenge of riding a single-track is to succeed the technical sections the trail may offer. When traveling along the trail there are many obstacles that nature may throw at you. It is very common to see fallen trees, roots, embedded along the trail, random waterbeds, and many other foreign challenges. If you are to encounter a natural obstacle along the trail that you are not capable of overcoming, it is ok to get off your bike and carry it over the obstacle!


If you built it, they will come! It is important to volunteer your time to sustainable trail construction projects. If you love riding local trails in your hometown, help create them! Trails do not build themselves, nor maintain themselves. If possible, attempt to get involved with local organizations that work to improve trails, and dissipate erosion.

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Be part of the solution, not the problem.

Part 1

The beautiful world we live in offers many rich, environmental experiences, and thousands of trails to venture. As these trails get explored day by day, they begin to deteriorate. It is important that we venture these trails wisely, to insure their longevity. I am investigating erosion in the environment regarding trail users. I am also going to examine the effects trail users have on the ecosystem. I am going to mainly focus on the effects of mountain biking on the environment. Are bicyclists solely responsible for the erosion of trails? Is it possible for bicyclist to prevent erosion?

There are various factors that contribute to the erosion of trails. The Boulder Mountain Biker Alliance claims trails that are poorly constructed are one of the main contributions of erosion throughout trails. These insufficiently designed trails to not adequately handle runoff from precipitation. Water runoff does a great amount more damage than any trail user group. Mountain bicyclists do not terminate vegetation alone. According to Foothill.net, trails that are weakly designed dissipate much faster. On poorly designed trails, trail users loosen the soil immensely solely by using the trail. Trail users who stride the same foliage produced equal harm to the vegetation.


Bicycle riders are the least likely to leave a trail than any user due to the fact that bicycles are very trail reliant. While hikers are at a much greater chance to step foot off the trail, which can harm vegetation and disturb wildlife. Individuals who hike are traveling at a much slower rate than cyclist. I believe that because hikers are traveling at a much slower rate, they have more time to appreciate the surrounding nature. Due to this, many individuals may feel invited to walk off trail and explore, and maybe even take photos. Considering cyclist have theirhands full literally, many often to not want to stop and potentially loose their rhythm to partake in such exterior activities on the trail.

Trail Erosion

There have been numerous studies conducted to demonstrate the various effects trail users have on the environment. In 2001 a study was conducted in Boyne Valley Provincial Park of Ontario, Canada. The study was conducted to display the various contributes cyclist, and hikers make towards erosion. According to imba.com the scientists measured “plant density, diversity (number of species present), and soil exposure (area of mineral soil exposed) before and after 500 one-way passes by bikers and hikers”. The results demonstrated that, “Bicycles were not significantly different for the three indicators measured.” It was concluded that that impacts from both hikers and bikers were spatially limited to the center of the trail.


There are various specific characteristics of mountain biking that I believe demonstrate that mountain biking produces less erosion than other trail users. Although, this goes the same for all trail users. According to americantrails.com, when cyclists travel, they exert a downward force through their tires onto the trail. “Mountain bikers will exert a downward force through their tires which comprises the wheel load divided by the contact area.” This is likely to create less of an impact than such heftier motorized vehicles, horse riders, and heavily loaded hikers.

All trail users leave their own mark on the environment. It all depends on the particular location, climate, landscape, and other ecological features. It is important to not forget that we all have an impact on the environment in our own way. It is often easy to criticize others, without realizing your own actions. If you love riding your local trail, make an effort to make them accessible. There are various thinks you can do, to help stop erosion. More individuals need to get involved in maintaining local bicycle trails. There are currently various mountain biking associations, and organizations that take pride in maintaining local trails.I myself plan to join the Marin County Mountain Bicycle Coalition someday in the future. Hopefully I will be able to take part in the construction of a new outdoor bicycle facility, which will be opening in my hometown Novato in the near future. It is common to find people riding trails, but never maintaining them. Most importantly, be part of the solution, not the problem.

Stafford Lake Bike Park

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