Trail Etiquette

Trail Etiquette

Be nice to the trails and they will provide years of endless fun

by Alison Powers, ALP Cycles Coaching

It’s mid-May and we are eager to get out on our mountain bikes. As the snow melts and the singletrack starts to clear, it’s important to remember our good trail etiquette.

In addition to yielding to uphill riders, hikers, packing out our trash, etc. we must all remember to take care of and maintain the singletrack we are riding.

When we are on our road bikes, our tax dollars pay for the maintenance of our “pavement trails” and roads we ride on. When mountain biking, on the other hand, it is organizations like Nederland Trails Area Organization, Vail valley Mountain Bike Association, and Fraser Valley Partnership for Trails, and local volunteers and residents who take care of and maintain our great trails.

Winter, wind, snow, and water all wreck havoc on our trails. Trees fall, trails become rivers, mud and puddles form. In order to keep our singletrack single and our trails fun and enjoyable, it is in our best interest to be good trails users. This means if you come across a down tree, either cut it out yourself or go over it. Do your best to stay on the trail and make as little impact as possible when getting around a down tree as going around will eventually lead to our single track turning into a double track.

Ride with a hand saw and cut out the tree yourself.

Go over the fallen tree and stay on the trail. Here is an example of people riding to the right of the trail to ride over the down tree. If continued, this trail will turn into a double track.

If you must ride a wet and muddy trail, ride straight through the water and mud. Stay on the trail.

Here, riders have started to avoid the mud bog that is on the trail and, in doing this, have widened the trail and ruined the grass to the left side.

We are all in charge of taking care of the great mountain bike trails we use– no matter where we live and where we ride. Be nice to the trails and they will provide years of endless fun for us and future generations.


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Alison Powers

Alison Powers only recently retired from cycling, finishing her final season on the UnitedHealthcare Women’s Team. Her career has spanned a wide array of wins, including the 2013 USA Cycling Professional Criterium National Championship where she won in memorable fashion by soloing after an early breakaway that obliterated the pro women’s peloton. Other standout results during the 33-year-old’s 2013 season include the win at Redlands Bicycle Classic, second at the Tour of Elk Grove, third at the US National Road Championship and the US National Time Trial Championship, and stage wins at Cascade Classic, Tulsa Tough, Tour of the Gila and Redlands Bicycle Classic. Hailing from Fraser, Colorado, Powers has been racing bikes professionally for eight years and is a true athlete with her career beginning as a teenager in mountain bike racing. In her mid 20s, she added in alpine ski racing before switching over to the road. In addition to being the current Criterium National Champion, Powers has two other national championships (Time Trial, Team Pursuit) and 2 NRC titles (2009, 2013).