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Muddy trail? Stay off or tread lightly, mountain bikers

October 3rd, 2014 Posted in Outdoors

Story and photo by Jared Dangerfield

NORTH LOGAN — With the recent storms Cache Valley has been getting, mountain bikers are being asked to tread lightly on local trails.

Wayne Wheeler, owner of Joyride Bikes in downtown Logan, wants bikers to understand that riding in muddy conditions can cause major damage to trails.

Wayne Wheeler wants bikers to understand that riding in muddy conditions can cause major damage to trails. Photo by Jared Dangerfield.

“The big issue is when there is a lot of mud and the soil is really soft, it causes a big imprint there and then when it dries out, you’re dealt with a lot rougher terrain to ride on,” Wheeler said. “Just stay off when its really muddy, just give it a day or two to dry out.”

Wheeler knows how difficult it can be to maintain a trail that negligent riders have been using. Under his direction, Joyride bicycles adopted the Green Canyon trail in North Logan about two years ago. They work with the U.S. Forest Service to ensure the trail is always in good condition for all who use it, not just mountain bikers.

“The whole idea of adopting Green Canyon trail is there is a lot of user conflict up there, and one of the biggest user groups is mountain bikes,” he said. “We wanted to do what we can to help minimize the conflict and help improve the user experience for not only bikers but hikers and equestrians.”

One of the main reasons Joyride Bikes continues to maintain the trail is to keep it safe for those who are looking to enjoy the scenic trail, he said. They work to open sight lines, remove obstacles and make sure the trail users get the most out of their experience.

Tyson Baker, a local mountain biker, goes to Green Canyon often but also likes to do more advanced runs as well. He says the trail in Green Canyon is one that all bikers can enjoy no matter what experience level they may have. He also said the trail can get crowded at times, and bikers should be cautious and respectful to others using the trail.

“Knowing that it’s pretty crowded, I’m pretty safe on the way down,” he said. “Not going as fast as I can, and being in control.”

Wheeler said this is one of the many problems they have seen since adopting the trail. Mountain bikers are not yielding to hikers and horseback riders who have the right of way.
Joyride is hoping to team up with the Forest Service to get more signs up that can instruct riders on rules and etiquette of the trail; for example, letting bikers know that riding in the rain and mud can cause lasting damage. He also noted that bike riders going downhill need to yield not only to hikers and horses, but also need to make way for bikers who are going uphill.

Baker says one of the best times to go biking is when the rain has dried out enough to where there is no mud but the dirt is still damp, giving bike tires better grip on the trail. Knowing when the best conditions to ride may not always be easy to tell, but Wheeler says to go up there and evaluate the condition of the trail.

“Ride the trail a little bit and if you see it is too soft, turn around. It’s the right thing to do.”


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