hmmm I am not so sure about all this digging ... retro riding was or perhaps is VERY different

2manyoranges

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Leave no trace. I have climbed and ridden in some very sensitive places, where a locked back wheel or heavy landing can leave a lasting mark - and saw that as a A Very Bad Thing. Of course there was huge pressure on mountain biking then - we were new out there and there was, despite a careful approach, lots of trail conflict between mountain bikers, walkers and horse riders. We stuck to the rule of 'bridleway only' but were still shouted at. On the South Downs, you could easily leave a 10 metre scar in the delicate turf by braking without care, or widen the trail by avoiding all the sludgy puddles. We really strove to leave no trace.

But now.....

Mountain biking these days seems to be about digging supportive berms and jumpy jumps. I have ridden bike parks and purpose built alpine DH trails. I like them. They Are Nice. But the kind of approach advocated in this film supported by Shimano is 'community digging'. Maybe in Canada there's enough wilderness to support this kind of thing without compromising the local flora and fauna. But we've lost SO much habitat and so many wildlife populations as a result. A trail through a forest actually uses a hell of a lot of land and disrupts a lot of ecosystem. And it sure disturbs the flow of water across and through the topography. A friend of mine's profession is conservation science, and he is very concerned about the amount of trail building in local woods. A bunch of mice disturbed and moved on means a hungry owl. And accessible earthworms on a loamy trail means more badgers. A noisy trial where once there was silence means fewer deer, less browsing and less light getting to the forest floor. It changes things - sometimes perhaps for the better, sometimes for the worse, but it sure changes things.

I am still of the 'use the bridleways and leave no trace' school of retro-riding. I like flow trails, and can see that in cities and locations where there are no rights of way and landowners give their permission, and it's all done with sensitivity to the context, it may be fine....ish

 

Peachy!

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Totally agree, a bunch of local lads in our village started digging up a local wood, this wasn’t ideal for anyone. Which is why the village gave up a corner of the playing field for them to dig their own track. So far it’s working.
 

mk one

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Without meaning to be confrontational is it not all a bit contradictory? do alpine resorts not have wildlife? is flying to go ride a bike eco-friendly? why is it ok for trail centres to build in woodland/forests or on mountainsides and not anyone else?

Personally i have always ridden on paths, im not sure there is any bridleways around here, some of the trails and tracks we created and rode back in the 90's have since been remade, resurfaced and widened, losing the original natural trails that over time can and did get reclaimed by nature, now they have been turned into a trail centre there is not much chance of that now, also resulting in more use of said trails no doubt upsetting the wildlife, nothing like a deer jumping out on you in the woods :eek:

I see less harm and more community in locals building local trails than a company doing it for profit.

As for the old days, i used to love skidding, still do, though i did lose a competition the other year to my daughter to see who could do the longest :confused: :)
 

2manyoranges

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Mk1...not at all confrontational, it's important to have different views and to turn things over.

Yes, indeed Alpine resorts are prone to the same arguments. If relatively virgin forest is used then absolutely, the same arguments apply. Some trail centres use forest which regularly is turned over in commercial forest work, which feels a bit different...but of course commercial forestry carries its own concerns regarding monoculture etc.

We tend not to fly to go riding in remoter places, I like using trains when we can, and use a full car rather than fly. As I get more concerned about not meeting carbon targets, I am deliberately riding locally and flying far less. As much as I fancy riding in Are and Norway, it'll be Wales instead...

Yes, I like the community angle, and it can encourage trail building in less sensitive areas, or the creation of pump tracks rather than low grade rambling paths - just as Peachy suggests. But it's the general message of 'you like mountain biking? then go and dig...' which is making me worry a bit....a sort of 'mountain biking = digging' kind of mentality. I guess I think that it's important to remember that it also can be tiptoeing across and through the landscape....or is that now called 'gravel biking'....
 
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Carge

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There's something about mountain biking that gets you out into the countryside - seeing stunning views - head up - smell the flowers etc.
Trail centre type riding is a different ball game - it's contrived - it's fun - it requires you to focus.

I like getting out - riding miles - seeing the views. That's what got me into this in the first place.
There's a place for trails (where the owner approves) and peeps shouldn't just go digging - but they can be blast :)
 

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