Without trail builders, there would have been no trails to ride but wide and sometimes boring gravel roads. How should we behave on trails to keep them nice for more future rides? What the trail builders do not like about riding on the trails they made? We put down the most annoying actions they are often complaining about.

Riding in the mud

If the trail is built from clay, it becomes fragile after heavy rain as bike tyres are able to dig deep furrows in the mud. Once the clay dries out, these grooves become rock solid as if fired in an oven. It takes a lot of time to correct them to make the trail nice to ride again.

Building a MTB trail
Experienced trails builders use elements like rocks, bumps, walls, drops, fallen trunks and place these onto the route as if they were jewellers, stringing pearls into a necklace. © Profimedia

Skidding

Drifts, flicks, rear brake skids – there are plenty of ways to damage the surface of the trail. As long as you keep your brake levers tight while rolling down, your blocked wheels grate a lot of dirt off the trails. The tread of the tyres works like a rough file, destroying everything it meets on the way. Too many riders skidding result in removing a lot of dirt and creating annoying spurs. Advice? Learn to corner at a slow speed and slowly add momentum. This way, you might learn cornering properly without the need to use your brakes excessively.

Altering features

You might come across a trail containing features that are either too easy or too difficult for your skills. Even if you were a respected rider on your local trail, don’t change anything on someone’s else trail just because it doesn’t meet your likings. Any adaptations must be only carried out with the approval of the original builder. Moreover, any unauthorised changes might be dangerous for local riders who will not expect them when rolling down. If some feature looks too big for you today, improve your riding and come back to hit it later.

Trail builders
Anytime you have the idea to build a trail, do your best to find the owners of the property to make an agreement in favour of mountain biking. © Profimedia

Littering

If you bring food or drinks to the trail, always make sure to keep the packaging in your pockets or a backpack when you return home. The litter doesn’t always happen to end up on the ground deliberately – tissues, wrappings, lift cards or face masks can slip out, for example, when you’re fish out a mobile phone from your pocket. Keep this in mind whenever you start taking out the content of your pockets.

Not respecting the rules

One of the basic rules is not to ride a trail that is under maintenance. A sign telling you that the trail is closed should be enough to stay away from it. You may well find an argument why you could ride the trail down without destroying it but if the trail builder doesn’t want riders on it, he or she has a reason to do so. As long as the trail is marked as closed, there might be some major parts missing or maybe heavy machinery working somewhere. Dropping down the trail like this could be extremely dangerous for the trail builders and the intruder as well.