Kids love to skid. They hurtle along the path then slam the brakes on. Great fun. Now as we all know, Men are just big kids. So it’s understandable that as these boys graduate to mountain bikes and go riding around mountain bike trails they want, and indeed do, slide and skid along the track.

So, boys, what do you think you are doing to that well-made track? Yep, ruining it. So please, stop skidding. Aside from the fact that you are destroying my track, you are going to go through more tyres.

Lazy braking is a common cause of a skid, and so is bad braking. Stop it. When you skid, you have in fact lost control of your bike, which isn’t a clever thing to do. Cyclists that skid are the same ones that brake late in a car – yes, shock, some cyclists do drive – how do you think we get to these far-off trails? So rather than slamming on the brakes, squeeze the brake levers gently, try dabbing them at one second intervals to slow the bike gradually – just like a car’s ABS system. Better for the brake pads, better for you and better for the track.

Trail Protection

Here are a couple of helpful tips to help keep the trail protected.

  • Stick to the actual trail, don’t go off-piste
  • Keep trail scarring to a minimum
  • Go through puddles not round them. Going round puddles makes them wider.
  • Soil and grass are more likely to get damaged in the wet, so environmentally-sensitive areas should be avoided if they are water-logged.
  • Stick to hard packed trails & paths when it’s been raining.
  • Repair trail damage

Trail Repair

We’ve made reference in this article to protecting the trail. There are however, times when this has not happened and it needs repairing. So who should do this, trail owners, the Forestry Commission, the Government? Stop to think for a moment. When was the last time you paid to ride on one of these trails? Even if you have paid something, whether direct to ride the trail or via car parking fees, it wasn’t much was it?

Perhaps we should all take some time out to volunteer to help repair these trails. The British Trust for Conservation Volunteers has 90 offices around the country and supports over 1,300 groups at a local level who carry out practical improvements on a regular basis. The BTCV even have training courses and organise some very popular weekend breaks as well as conservation holidays. In many forests around the UK there are a growing number of trail building volunteers, sometimes called trail fairies.