Winter Mountain Biking is Fun, But Treat Trails With Care
This winter weather hasn’t deterred brave riders from getting on their bikes and hitting the trails. (Even cold weather makes for fun riding in the Mountain Bike Capital of the East Coast.)
Right now though, the trails would really appreciate you giving them a break.
Once daytime temperatures return to above freezing, all that frozen soil will liquefy into mud … and lots of it. It will coat your bike, strip soil, create ruts, and damage trails. This damage can persist for months. With short days and cool temps, the trail takes a long time to dry.
Here’s your annual reminder from Blue Ridge Off-Road Cyclists (BROC) on how to take care of the trails during the winter season:
- Ride when the ground is still frozen. Layer up and your bike and your bike mechanic will be happier, and the trails will stay in better condition for all riders. When the ground begins to thaw, stop riding.
- Check out some new trails. Unfortunately, some of our favorite local trails (Carvins Cove and Explore Park) are the most prone to freeze-thaw damage. Many of our National Forest trails hold up better and don’t get nearly as affected by the melt-freeze cycle in the winter.
- Beginner options: Mill Mountain (close by and more resistant to the freeze-thaw cycle)
- Intermediate options: Arcadia Trails; Douthat State Park
- Advanced options: North Mountain (Dragon’s Back); Arcadia Trails; Dry Run/Peter’s Ridge in Covington
- Do some trail work. Not really feeling the winter riding? Come on out and help build and maintain the trails. Volunteers are always needed.
- Try gravel riding. Pull that bike off the trainer and check out some of the amazing backcountry gravel roads in the area. Looking for gravel riding ideas or hoping to connect with the local gravel riding community? Join the Roanoke GRAVEL Facebook Group.
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