By Jim Stanford on October 8, 2013
Anyone who has ventured onto shaded or north-facing slopes in recent days has discovered muddy trails, so wet with melting snow in places that even careful foot passage is nearly impossible.
It’s frustrating when mountain bike season comes abruptly to an end, even more so when pathways are closed by a government shutdown. But there still are several good options (South Park Loop, anyone?) for getting a wheeled workout, especially on a road bike.
From Friends of Pathways:
Riding in mud can wreck the tread on the trail by leaving ruts that dry into hard bumps. This in turn contributes to erosion and further damage, while creating unrideable and hard-to-fix trail surfaces. If you are leaving a visible rut, the trail is too muddy to ride!
Varying weather conditions during the spring and fall can be especially critical for trails. You can still get out and ride and walk the trails, but please be aware of wet trail and very muddy spots. If you see that it is too wet, dismount your bike, push your bike through the mud, and walk on the edge of the trail.
Please don’t ride around the mud spots either; this creates an unsustainably wide trail and can even create two trails in one spot.
Perhaps it’s best to save the mountain bike for Moab or other points south.