“Summertime and the living is easy, bikes are jumping and the stoke is high, your riding’s pinned and the trail’s good looking, hush now dude, don’t you sigh….”
Ahhh, caught me, indulging in a winter reverie, dreaming of summer days and dry trails, dust and sunburn, dehydration and hallucination. In the depths of a wet British winter, it’s just about all that keeps me going, the thought that one day soon, I’ll be able to head to a trail that’s been out of bounds all winter because it’s been too wet, too fragile, too precious.
Trouble is, you’ll get there one spring day and find hordes of riders have been riding it all winter, it’s ten foot wide, all the corners have been straightened and it looks like Glastonbury on a bad year.
Which is, to put it mildly, something of a wind-up and, I’ll be the first to put my hand up, I’m guilty too. Hitting what you think is going to be a sustainable route, finding yourself in the middle of nowhere faced with a muddy horror show and carrying on in spite of best intentions. We’ve all done it and we’ve all cursed ourselves.
But how good would it be if we saved the best for summer? I know a lot of riders are already making every effort to ride responsibly, choosing their routes carefully, checking Keeper of the Peak, seeking suggestions through social media for hard pack, rocky routes that’ll take the winter hammer, proving that mountain bikers care about where they ride. But there are still plenty of riders riding slop.
So how about we all spread the word so that those who are a bit less discriminating get the message too? Use #saveitforsummer every chance you get, on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, wherever. If you think of a route that’ll stand winter riding, let the community know through the usual channels. If you discover a favourite route is getting hammered, shout it from the rooftops.
I know it makes winter a slog and it’s downright boring riding the same trails over and over again. But think how good it’ll be when you hit that favourite trail next summer and it’s in prime condition. Worth the sacrifice eh?