When is it too wet to ride?

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREInspired by Vertebrate Graphics excellent idea to publish a weather proof route, in order to encourage riders to think a little more about where they are riding when the conditions are poor. But it also raised the question “when is a trail too wet to ride?”

Here is VG’s take on things….

Like the rest of the country, the Peak has taken a pounding thanks to this wet and mild weather, and unfortunately many of the area’s bridleways and byways are suffering more than they usually would in a typical winter.

The excellent twitter account Keeper of the Peak, which retweets riders’ trail conditions reports, recently asked for ideas for all-weather, sustainable rides for this time of year and Tom tweeted back a variation on the classic Kinder circuit which avoids the stuff up to Hollins Cross and around Mam Tor and the perma-bog on Rushup Edge. In fact, the resultant route is about as all-weather as you can get on a mountain bike in the Peak, unless you want to time trial back and forth along the High Peak Trail looking really cool.

So, here it is, our suggestion for an all-weather ride in the Peak. Ride it in either direction and – hey presto! – it’s two rides! Damn shame the Chapel Gate descent has had ‘the treatment’ from our local authority chums…

Hammered trails does potentially open up another debate too about whether the Peak would benefit from having a trail centre at times like this to ease the load on natural riding… (Can of worms!).

Download the loop here

We are pretty lucky that round here we have quite a lot of rockier options to ride, not to mention the wet weather favourite of Parkwood Springs. But there are trails out there that should be avoided when the ground is heavily saturated and ultimately the responsibility to do that lies with you.

Some trails will happily spring back to life once things dry out, but some will be irrevocably damaged from heavy usage in the wet. Once the ground becomes wet, the ground will erode far more easily, that also means that those excursions you make to avoid the puddles will become permanent features, it also means that those cut lines that you take will have a far greater impact too (more on that here)

For those who prefer to include less waymarked trails and footpaths, your impact is also far more noticeable than in summer (in some places around here its pretty offensive too!)

So what’s the best way forward? We can all do our bit by avoiding the worse trails, we can also lean a little more about the areas we ride in and share it with others too.

No one is saying don’t go and enjoy the best of the winter conditions, just maybe choose your route wisely on the worse days, go through the puddles, avoid the cut lines and if you have the time come and give a little back on a trail maintenance day.

If you want to keep up to date on trail conditions, you can follow Keeper Of the Peak  at www.twitter.com/kothep or if you don’t use twitter you can still find them here .

Love the ride – Love the trail.