Spring is finally here, both on the calendar and in real, on the ground weather across most of Canada. There’s still some holdout snow, but it’s looking like riding season has arrived for Canadian mountain bikers. The late spring and long winter has riders chomping at the bit to get back on their favourite trails, so here’s a few basic guidelines to make the most of your spring riding
Early season trail conditions
Spring is hear, but it’s not quite open season on trails just yet. Riding trails while they’re still wet can widen and degrade trails or, at worst, basically ruin a trail. This is different depending where you live – some west coast trails are designated as OK to ride in the rain all year, some trails are total no-go zones that turn into deep peanut butter mud when there’s been recent rain. Check with your local trail association if you’re not sure, and generally err on the side of caution if you’re not sure. There’s a long summer ahead, waiting a week – or riding somewhere else – will ensure everyone can enjoy trails all year.
Mud and puddles
Even when trails are mostly dry, and ok to ride, there can still be lingering puddles and muddy sections. If it’s not a bad enough puddle that it will cause lasting trail damage and you are going to ride through, make sure you ride through the middle of the puddle. Going around puddles widens trails, and will only make puddles worse. Besides, a little mud won’t hurt your new shoes, right?
If it’s too early to ride your favorite trail, or even if it’s open for the season, early spring is a great time to get in some trail karma. It’s a great way to get out in the woods, build the stoke for riding, and get active if you’re trying to stay off the trail on your bike. Most trail organizations organize trail days, which are a great way to hang out and meet other cyclists like yourself.
Maintain as you ride
When winter recedes, it usually leaves behind a nice covering of small branches to mid-logs and other debris across the trails. If it’s small enough to clear, take the time to stop your ride and pull debris off the trail so the next person doesn’t have to run into it too. Downed trees or branches too large to move can be reported to your local trail organization, or whoever is responsible for maintaining the trail network.
This one isn’t really about the trails, but get out there and have fun! Don’t be the one person who spends the whole time talking about how unfit you are after winter and how little time you’ve spent riding, especially as you’re attacking up all the hills. It’s been a long winter, and everyone’s in roughly the same position. Let’s all just get out there and enjoy the ride!
this one doesn’t really do much for the sake of the trails, but just ride – don’t be the guy who spends the whole ride talking about how unfit you are and how little time you’ve spent riding, especially as you’re attacking up every hill. It’s been a long winter, lets all just get out there and enjoy the ride.