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Mountain biking on footpaths

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 Keith C 11 Oct 2020

Heading to Burbage South today I was pretty surprised to see a group of mountain bikers on the path above the edge. You can see from the damage to the path how much it is used but was still surprised to see a large group using it on such a busy weekend. Same thing happened the other weekend in my local woods and I'm wondering if it is becoming more common with people getting outside who haven't got a clue what they're doing. I said something and hope others do as it's trashing footpaths. 

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 DaveHK 11 Oct 2020
In reply to Keith C:

I'm so glad I live in Scotland where we don't have these archaic and meaningless path designations. 

Post edited at 17:03
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 Sans-Plan 11 Oct 2020
In reply to Keith C:

> I said something and hope others do as it's trashing footpaths. 

It’s really not though is it? I don’t agree with riding on footpaths ( if you must do it early or late) but regular trails I ride on the CX are in better state than a lot of the paths on the fells.

6
 StockportAl 11 Oct 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

I'm in total agreement there and wish we could have the Land Reform Act across the UK and do away with the stupid laws here south of the border.

6
 Trangia 11 Oct 2020
In reply to Keith C:

Can someone explain the differences between Scottish and English path laws? Why are people saying the English laws are "stupid" and "archaic"?

 girlymonkey 11 Oct 2020
In reply to Trangia:

In Scotland we can ride anywhere. There is no definitions of footpaths, bridleways etc. 

I guess it's easier up here as lower population density means less pressure on paths etc. It's certainly nice not to need to think about it

2
 DaveHK 11 Oct 2020
In reply to Trangia:

> Can someone explain the differences between Scottish and English path laws? Why are people saying the English laws are "stupid" and "archaic"?

Have a read at this, it's a most enlightened piece of legislation: https://www.outdooraccess-scotland.scot/

2
In reply to DaveHK:

It is indeed enlightened. However, the reality  a lot of the time is that access can be difficult, even when you know you have the right,  hence the Core Path Scheme to give people some certainty about routes. The rights of way network  in England and Wales, when well managed and plentiful enough,  is great because that is what the vast majority of people want to do - walk/ride on paths but its an area savaged by cuts and under-investment. 

1
 webbo 11 Oct 2020
In reply to Keith C:

When I was mountain biking 20 years ago, we used ride on footpaths round the Yorkshire wolds. So no it’s not a new thing. You give the walkers the right of way and nobody gets upset. As for paths getting trashed, you need to look at those foot paths where they have to lay stone slabs. That erosion is not caused by tyres.

5
 Webster 11 Oct 2020
In reply to Keith C:

so its ok for you to erode the countryside but not somebody else?

11
 mrphilipoldham 11 Oct 2020
In reply to webbo:

Indeed it is not, but if cycle traffic equalled that of foot traffic then they'd be in even worse a state. Saying walkers cause x damage is no defence for mountain biking. The weight of yourself and the bike pressed through the permanent contact surface of two tyres is going to cause more erosion than that by the same human through the soles of their feet on maybe 1/6th of the route length where contact is made. 

I personally don't consider it an issue on hard surfaces and would happily share footpaths with bikers but when you see them on the soft peat atop of most Peak hills it is somewhat annoying as visual tracks are always left. 

20
 Darron 11 Oct 2020
In reply to webbo:

Those paths that have been laid with slabs have been walked on for a very, very long time. Are you seriously saying there is an equivalence between wear from footfall and bike tyres. That is, very clearly, not the case. It is an urgent issue that needs needs discussion and agreement about a way forward.

9
 Darron 11 Oct 2020
In reply to Webster:

The speed of wear is, in my view, an urgent issue.

1
 Sam Beaton 11 Oct 2020
In reply to Trangia:

In England and Wales the majority of public rights of way have a designation based on what those paths were mainly used for 50 to 300 years ago, not what they are best suited for today. So there are lots of 10ft wide forest roads and farm tracks that are just footpaths, and plenty of bridleways that are too narrow and boggy to meet the needs of modern day horse riders or preference of mountain bikers. Changing designations from FP to BW or vice versa requires a cumbersome, expensive and contentious legal process that not many local authorities or landowners have the money or patience for at this point in time.

1
 peebles boy 11 Oct 2020
In reply to Keith C:

Christ. Bikes and erosion again. This is like the new "is it in winter nick" debate. You just need to look at the popular mountains of the UK, where no estates or landowners have put money into erosion prevention or path work, to see the impact that walkers have. The scar up Carn Liath (Blair Atholl) can be seen from 20miles South on the A9. 

Here's some balance. 

https://www.mbr.co.uk/news/research-reveals-walkers-do-more-damage-to-trails-than-mountain-bikers-335785 

"Having got a clue what they're doing" - you mean in terms of the already mentioned restrictive and landowner biased access laws England has? Or that they're eroding the land? If the latter, there's hundreds of thousands of walkers and climbers who apparently don't have a clue either...

19
 Trangia 11 Oct 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

Thanks. I agree that the pressure on paths is a lot less in Scotland than in England, apart from a few honey pot areas.

Logically tires are going to be more damaging than footfall on soft and wet ground, but on stony/hard tracks shouldn't make much difference. Horses are probably the most damaging of all on bridleways, but there is, of course, a clue to their right to be there in the name!

9
 Timmd 11 Oct 2020
In reply to Webster:

> so its ok for you to erode the countryside but not somebody else?

Sometimes if enough different user groups are concentrated on the same bit of green space, there can be competing needs, or the actions of one can affect the experience of another group. Blacka Moor in the Peak district has horse riders, MTBers and walkers all liking to use the area, and things have been 'rather fraught' in the past re balancing the different needs, from what I've absorbed while conservation volunteering.

We all have as much right to nature as one another, but I personally wouldn't mind not MTBing in a certain area if a proliferation of MTBers were eroding a path to the degree that it made it less agreeable for walkers, since on the whole, I'm pretty spoilt to have the Peak on my doorstep.

Post edited at 19:31
 Lankyman 11 Oct 2020
In reply to Keith C:

> Heading to Burbage South today I was pretty surprised to see a group of mountain bikers on the path above the edge. You can see from the damage to the path how much it is used but was still surprised to see a large group using it on such a busy weekend. Same thing happened the other weekend in my local woods and I'm wondering if it is becoming more common with people getting outside who haven't got a clue what they're doing. I said something and hope others do as it's trashing footpaths. 


It's been going on for decades, Keith. So much so, that I think a lot of cyclists see it as a done deal and their right to be able to cycle wherever they choose. Using Scotland (a country with a fraction of the population and pressures) as a justification to cycle on footpaths in England is ludicrous. As is the argument about erosion on mountain paths from all those feet making it OK to further add to the pressures by them riding on them too. I'm sure a lot of mountain bikers would be delighted to share the bridleways with caravans of trail motorbikes and 4x4's exercising their 'rights' in the same way. Damn those 'archaic and meaningless path designations' stopping everyone from joining in the fun.

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 DaveHK 11 Oct 2020
In reply to Lankyman:

> I'm sure a lot of mountain bikers would be delighted to share the bridleways with caravans of trail motorbikes and 4x4's exercising their 'rights' in the same way.

Eh? I've never heard mountain bikers advocating this. Sounds like a straw man to me.

> Damn those 'archaic and meaningless path designations' stopping everyone from joining in the fun.

Those designations focus horses and cyclists on certain paths and create a them and us mindset in walkers which leads to conflict.

Post edited at 19:46
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 Keith C 11 Oct 2020
In reply to Webster:

Webster just to be clear I'm a mountain biker. No I don't think it's ok for me to mountain bike on footpaths in the peak district. I do think it's ok for me to walk on a footpath. I don't really get your point. Anyway yes it's been going on years but in a discreet way. With the people today I really do think it was ignorance. I do think it helps if people politely point out to people when they have strayed onto a footpath. And yes it really is trashing that particular path and all the marks on the rocks look awful. 

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 Fat Bumbly2 11 Oct 2020
In reply to Webster:

Except for viewers in Scotland. Especially those on fatbikes

The population thing is a red herring - Central belt is pretty densely populated, yet we play together nicely.  Having mobility issues, living in Scotland is such a blessing.

Post edited at 21:03
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 65 11 Oct 2020
In reply to Trangia:

> Logically tires are going to be more damaging than footfall on soft and wet ground, but on stony/hard tracks shouldn't make much difference. Horses are probably the most damaging of all on bridleways, but there is, of course, a clue to their right to be there in the name!

I had a discussion about this with a neighbour who rides horses. Her view was that bikes had a  significantly higher impact in areas where water gathered as the linear and repetitive/parallel pattern left by tyre treads created drainage lines thus speeding up erosion. Conversely, walkers and horses leave a series of holes which form static puddles which soak out or evaporate. Whether this is in any way accurate I do not know, and although it seems entirely plausible I suspect there is an element of angels dancing on pins. Clearly the volume of traffic, whether by foot, tyre or hoof, matters more and whether it occurs when ground conditions are soft. I'm sure there will have been studies done, but I don't know the outcomes.

Regarding bridleways, the few I have been on in the Lakes and Yorkshire Dales (mostly on a bike) have in the main been surfaced with gravel, rough stone or pavement which is much less vulnerable than the eroded grass and bog surfaces of most hill paths, especially in Scotland. 

1
In reply to Keith C:

Loads of people seem to ride over the moor from the top of Lady Cannings, ride along the top of Burbage North then ride back over to Lady Cannings. I think the popularity of the Lady C trails has probably encouraged more people to ride there.

 Jim Lancs 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Keith C:

It's very hard to get annoyed with mountainbikers on footpaths, as so much of our walking access  was gained by an earlier generation of ramblers having a similar contempt for 'the law'.

The designation of which rights of way were became paths or bridleways was completely dependent on the local politics of the Parish Councils, many of which were dominated by local major landowners. Some areas like the Isle of Wight, seemed to have been very amenable to making everything a bridleway, whereas others around here in north Lancashire would only accept a bridleway designation at gun point.

I think the whole map needs redrawing with a massive creation program of path and trails in English rural areas as a workable alternative to the more liberal Scottish model, which I fear would never be enactable in my lifetime. New 'trails' should connect up all the orphaned useless bit of the current network, all the new housing areas and schools, as well as establishing the network of long distance trails envisioned in the National Park legislation in the 40s.

The only slight fly in the future ointment is 'e' mountainbikes. Whilst it's great that these are going to allow even more people access to the open spaces, we've already began to see that their impressive 'torque' translates to a massive increase in erosion on soft surfaces, especially up hill. Like all electric vehicles, we're only beginning to see a glimmer of their potential 'capabilities'. 

 yorkshire_lad2 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Keith C:

I think under lock down and with no foreign travel this year the matter has become more concentrated.  I have been walking regularly on favourite routes in the Yorks Dales for approx 20 years.  This year, on routes that I regard as quiet, I have seen an exponential growth in people walking, in visible signs of foot traffic on grassy (footpath) routes which now appear well trodden when previously you wouldn't know there was a footpath there, and noticable numbers of moutain bikers on bridleways where few had previously been observed.  There has certainly been a steady increase over the last 20 years, but this year has been exceptional in the increase in usage of all types.  I'm not opining one way or the other on the usage types on different rights of way, I'm suggesting that in the past whatever was happening might have gone unnoticed becuase it was only a trickle, but has this year got noticed becuase it's become a flood.

 Thunderbird7 12 Oct 2020

Only this morning I was grumbling my way along my local stretch of the coast path in Cornwall. It is narrow and subject to alot of natural erosion and could quite frankly do without MTBs on it - lots of evidence of MTBs from this weekend. There are frequent styles etc and it is designated a footpath for my local sections. I'm sure it's all jolly good fun but.... find somewhere else! Or just walk!

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 Fat Bumbly2 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Thunderbird7:

Difficult and painful for some of us. That's the beauty of living in Scotland - with a limited range on foot I can use the bike to shorten days and still have a good hill life. Despite being told to stay off the hill eight years ago, I can still keep going. The effect of bike packing on my well being is incalculable.

Fat bikes make a difference - here in East Lothian they are encouraged by the council land managers due to the low tyre penetration - same principle as the quadbike use in the Southern Uplands have not led to erosion. Certainly better than walking on sandy terrain.

Post edited at 10:40
 Keith C 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Jim Lancs:

Jim I've managed to go about 25 years of walking and climbing without getting annoyed and then twice in a month. If you know the path I'm talking I don't think you would see these people as heroic trailblazers for mountain bike access rights. In the other case in the very busy ecclesall woods there was a parallel bridleway a few hundred metres away. If you were walking with your toddler on the footpath and you had bikers racing by when there is a perfectly good bridleway for them to use I think you might want to politely point out where the bridleway goes. 

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 DaveHK 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Keith C:

> If you were walking with your toddler on the footpath

​​​​​​Won't somebody please think of the children!

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In reply to DaveHK:

> ​​​​​​Won't somebody please think of the children!

A responsible cyclist should...

 Jim Lancs 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Keith C:

I'm not criticising you in any way. It's simply the whole notion of 'where and how' the act of cycling on English trails is legal or illegal is both arbitrary and perverse. 

But I accept the 'sharing' of routes by both mtbs and walkers in busy areas is not without its problems. That's why I don't believe that campaigning for a 'Scottish' solution is the best way forwards. My solution throughout the country is for a massive increase in the designated routes for both walkers, horse riders and cyclists, with much, much better connectivity. When that had been achieved, I would then want an objective reappraisal of every one of the original footpaths / bridleways / BOATS to determined if it is suitable for shared use. I accept that in the more crowded / popular areas, designated routes for specific groups could well be required.

With plenty of routes available to everyone, I'm convinced most people would be much more inclined to 'share nicely', whereas round here there's no more than 5 miles of bridleways in several hundred square miles of countryside. It's not always great to be overtaken by 'illegal mountainbikers' but their desire for a bigger slice of the pie is understandable.

Post edited at 11:20
 mondite 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Trangia:

> Logically tires are going to be more damaging than footfall on soft and wet ground

and yet the studies dont support this.  Footfall is surprisingly damaging especially when you include walking poles. Its just the way it does the damage is harder to isolate unless you check it.

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 girlymonkey 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Jim Lancs:

We have no shortage of mtb riders in the central belt, but I think they mostly understand the need to give way to pedestrians. Many of them ride at night or use areas less frequently walked so that they don't need to slow down as much (our local hill, Dumyat, is very popular with bikers. Many go down the grassy track to the north of the main one so they don't have to slow down). I have only very rarely had issues with sharing tracks with other types of users. Once, a horse rider got grumpy with my DofE kids as the horse got nervous of their rucksacks!! (I reassured the kids this was not their problem at all, they were a lovely group trying really hard!). The other time was on purpose built mtb trails. My husband and I were riding down the last section of jumps and berms (in the correct direction!) and we can across a guy who had, thankfully, fallen off his dirt bike and hurt himself badly. I say thankfully as if he hadn't, he would have met us head on while we were coming down as him and his mate were going up the descent route. 

Largely, it works. But I do think we have a lower density of population using it than the lakes etc. That will have an impact, but I think people adapt their behavior too

 Martin Wood 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Keith C:

There are a lot of blind eyes being turned on here.

I cannot believe some people are questioning that tyres cause more - and longer term - erosion than human feet. All public access to the countryside creates erosion but it is the speed of the wear associated with tyres, as someone said above, that is astonishing. It is the reason I gave up mountain biking 20-years ago.

To single out 'e' mountain bikes is also unfathomable – a ‘them and us’ false dichotomy. The difference between human powered/electric bikes is only a difference in degree not of kind. I’m pretty sure I could deliver an impressive 'torque' which would translate into a massive increase in erosion on soft surfaces.

As for equating the plight of mountain bikers with an earlier generation of ramblers having a similar contempt for 'the law', this statement is almost offensive. The first freedom to roam was an exercise in establishing public rights for all not just the moneyed few. The argument here is the selfish few facing opposition from the frustrated many.

Let the scuffles recommence!

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 mondite 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Martin Wood:

> I cannot believe some people are questioning that tyres cause more - and longer term - erosion than human feet.

Nope you need to provide some evidence. Not simply declaring you are right. The actual studies which have been done are clear the damage done by walkers vs bikes are roughly the same in overall impact.  Each does more damage in certain circumstances.

> As for equating the plight of mountain bikers with an earlier generation of ramblers having a similar contempt for 'the law', this statement is almost offensive.

awww diddums. Poor you. However lets face it its not surprising that you are both acting all offended and also want to block access. We shouldnt forget that the ramblers association and their ilk were opposed to the kinder trespass etc. So their attempts to keep the countryside locked down is completely typical of their approach.

I love how you then go on to declare that cyclists are selfish with the implications that walkers are not. Something which would surprise anyone who lives near a honeypot and has to put up with walkers abandoning their cars any which way just to make sure they only have to walk the nice bits.

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 DaveHK 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Martin Wood:

> To single out 'e' mountain bikes is also unfathomable – a ‘them and us’ false dichotomy. 

That'll sit nicely alongside the other 'them and us' false dichotomy between walkers and cyclists. The important dichotomy isn't between different modes of travel it's between responsible users and irresponsible users. 

Post edited at 13:05
 Keith C 12 Oct 2020
In reply to mondite:

Mondite do you know the footpath on Burbage South edge that I am talking about? 

In reply to DaveHK:

I was riding down Cut Gate in the northern Peak earlier this summer - a superb and at places quite technical bridleway - when a bunch of motor-cross riders came up. The police have actually been out trying to stop them this summer but that's by the by. It was noticeable just how much more soil and rock they displaced compared to mountain bikes, they are obviously just putting out so much more power than a cyclist can, plus of course the motor bikes are so much heavier. So I wouldn't be surprised if E-bikes did lead to noticeably more displacement - they're often going on 20 kgs aren't they? And they obviously put out a lot more power than an unassisted cyclist. 

Post edited at 13:11
 girlymonkey 12 Oct 2020
In reply to TobyA:

Ok, so to play devils advocate here (because I really haven't looked into e-bikes that much). My husband is more than 20kg heavier than me and (I would guess) can put a lot more torque on the pedals than me. So, if it's ok for him to ride a normal MTB there, then I would put no more wear on with an e-bike so am I ok but he isn't?! (I have no desire to get an e-bike, but just thinking that the rider has to be a large factor in the wear too)

4
 DaveHK 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Martin Wood

> The first freedom to roam was an exercise in establishing public rights for all not just the moneyed few.

Except you don't want it to be for all, just the user group you identify with.

> The argument here is the selfish few facing opposition from the frustrated many.

​​​​​​Which side of that do you think you're on? Don't be too sure it's the side of the many!

2
 Ridge 12 Oct 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

> We have no shortage of mtb riders in the central belt, but I think they mostly understand the need to give way to pedestrians.

I think that's the key aspect. I run round Whinlatter a lot, and I've occasionally met people on MTBs riding on footpaths signed as 'No bikes'. Quite why they'd bother as there are plenty of shared and bike onlt routes available. However it's always been at night and they've slowed down or stopped, so I'm not really bothered by it.

However I was nearly hit on a bridleway at Hardcastle Crags in W.Yorks on a Saturday afternoon by some dickhead with all the body armour going full tilt with no idea what was round the next bend. He would have seriously injured anyone if he'd hit them.

It's not necessarily the bikes, it's the irresponsible users and on busy routes the mixed traffic that are the issues.

 Martin Wood 12 Oct 2020
In reply to mondite:

How many walkers does it take to make the same in overall impact as a single bike? I suggest one only needs to use ones eyes. Failing that an experiment would probably suffice. Take two sections of soft surface footpaths, perhaps with a 5% gradient . Let ten people walk across the first and ten XC-shod bikes cycle across the second . I conjecture you will see a difference.

So you're right, I would vote to block the access of XC bikes on soft surface footpaths, just as I would support the closure of fragile footpaths to walkers to let the environment recover. 

Cyclists or walkers - all users - can be selfish, a point made above. Just look at the volumes of litter this summer. But citing that walkers 'abandon their cars any which way just to make sure they only have to walk the nice bits' does nothing for your argument. It could equally apply to XC bikers - don't get me started on downhillers! 

How many of the latter actually cycle from home to a honeypot - say the footpath above Burbage - versus the number who drive to Burbage Bridge or Fox House so they only have to cycle the nice bits? Again, I conjecture not many - I lost count of the number of XC bikes I saw on car roofs yesterday whilst I was out (road cycling). 

Post edited at 13:55
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 Martin Wood 12 Oct 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

I couldn't agree more. The nuance seems to be who has the right to define responsible versus irresponsible use. At the moment the law says XC-riding on (soft surface) footpaths is a bad idea. That's okeydokey with me.

 DaveHK 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Martin Wood:

>At the moment the law says XC-riding on (soft surface) footpaths is a bad idea. That's okeydokey with me.

That's not what the law says at all! For the most part the designation is historic and has nothing to do with the quality of the surface or suitability for different users. 

As someone pointed out up thread a reasonable first step might be sorting that out.

Post edited at 14:02
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 mondite 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Martin Wood:

> How many walkers does it take to make the same in overall impact as a single bike? I suggest one only needs to use ones eyes.

This is so tiresomely repetitive. People have actually done studies into it rather than just using "ones eyes" since most people arent actually capable of using their eyes properly.

> Failing that an experiment would probably suffice. Take two sections of soft surface footpaths, perhaps with a 5% gradient . Let ten people walk across the first and ten XC-shod bikes cycle across the second . I conjecture you will see a difference.

And I will conjecture you arent actually looking beyond just a simple "look at the straight line. Mountain bikers BAD".

However if you drop down and actually study the trail it will become a lot more complicated. With the cyclists if will probably be an even pressure throughout. Whereas when we look at the footprints we will see the way the damage at both the front and back of the track where they dig in deeper due to the increased pressure as the foot lands and lifts.

As such depending on the path, its angle and the direction of travel it is perfectly possible the walker will be doing a lot more damage. Or conversely the cyclist might. Hence why when people have studied it they have come out with they are much of the sameness.

> So you're right, I would vote to block the access of XC bikes on soft surface footpaths, just as I would support the closure of fragile footpaths to walkers to let the environment recover. 

This "soft surface footpath" there is no such thing. There is "soft surface" or not but it rarely has any resemblance to how the path was defined. You can have hard surfaced footpaths and mudbaths of a RUPP/BOAT (thinking of the ridgeway).

> It could equally apply to XC bikers - don't get me started on downhillers! 

Oh this should be hilarious. Go on tell me more about those downhillers. There is a rather strong hint of predujice coming through here

> How many of the latter actually cycle from home to a honeypot - say the footpath above Burbage - versus the number who drive to Burbage Bridge or Fox House so they only have to cycle the nice bits?

Most riders I know do. Its one of the advantages that you can travel further. Exceptions are for a trail centre/hard circuit.

5
 Martin Wood 12 Oct 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

My apologies. If at the moment we are recommended and encouraged not to XC-ride on soft surface footpaths, that's still okeydokey with me.  

3
 Darron 12 Oct 2020
In reply to peebles boy:

Trails in Wales are fair game, then?

Not exactly. Chiu and Kriwoken’s Tasmania research also found that when a trail was wet, very steep or riders skidded more, erosion was worse. In fact, water could be the biggest trail destroyer of all, according to the Montana research, eclipsing the impact of either wheels or feet.

Above from the research you cited.

It concludes that when the trail is wet bike erosion is worse. Pretty significant for the UK.

 Martin Wood 12 Oct 2020
In reply to mondite:

Then my eyes must be deceiving me both in terms of the damage I can see and the number of bikes on cars - not your mates obviously - and you and I live in parallel worlds.

PS - I've also fallen out of love with boulderers. How much kit do they need?

Post edited at 14:21
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In reply to mondite:

> and yet the studies dont support this.  Footfall is surprisingly damaging especially when you include walking poles. Its just the way it does the damage is harder to isolate unless you check it.

Indeed. A biker will just ride through the water or mud on a path. A walker will try to go around it making the mushy area bigger and bigger. 

3
 deepsoup 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Martin Wood:

>  At the moment the law says XC-riding on (soft surface) footpaths is a bad idea.

The law in England/Wales says nothing at all about the surface and really isn't fit for purpose as far as off-road riding is concerned. 

There are plenty of examples of footpaths in the Peak that can take riding in all conditions, and plenty of bridleways that would be best given a miss (by cyclists and walkers possibly, let alone horse riders!) when they are waterlogged.  As long as they're being nice and saying hi*, I would much prefer the mountain bikers around here to avoid the latter and ride on the former while it's gopping wet.

* - this is old news, but eg: https://www.ridesheffield.org.uk/being-nice-tread-light-meeting-9th-october/

Post edited at 14:40
 mondite 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Darron:

> Not exactly. Chiu and Kriwoken’s Tasmania research also found that when a trail was wet, very steep or riders skidded more, erosion was worse.

You missed the next line which was compared to riding on the dry, flat trails not in comparision to other groups such as walkers.

No one is saying bikes do no damage. The question is do they do more damage than walkers and that isnt supported by the research.

There are several areas I wont ride when it gets wet because they will get rapidly trashed. However I also wouldnt generally walk them either since that also wrecks them.

2
 DaveHK 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Martin Wood:

> My apologies. If at the moment we are recommended and encouraged not to XC-ride on soft surface footpaths, that's still okeydokey with me.  

If your main wish is to limit erosion then the current path designations are no more a friend to you than they are to mountain bikers.

Post edited at 15:12
 Darron 12 Oct 2020
In reply to mondite:

> You missed the next line which was compared to riding on the dry, flat trails not in comparision to other groups such as walkers.

I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you mean by that. The whole point of the article cited is comparing bikes, feet and horses.

They conclude that on wet trails tyres do more damage.

 Lankyman 12 Oct 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

> That'll sit nicely alongside the other 'them and us' false dichotomy between walkers and cyclists. The important dichotomy isn't between different modes of travel it's between responsible users and irresponsible users. 


You seem to be a fan of 'we're all in this together' rather than 'them and us'. I personally don't like walking down a quiet footpath in the woods and having to keep constantly alert for cyclists moving quicker and with much greater momentum than me. I'd rather not share the FOOTpath with them and no amount of you harping on about 'false dichotomies' or other bullsh*t makes any difference. There are miles of cycle-only single tracks in Grizedale Forest (and no doubt other forestry locations). How would your 'false dichotomy' pan out if you were faced with a long line of ramblers slowly making their way down one of these tracks? Since virtually the whole of the forest is CRoW land they'd legally have a right to be there.

Post edited at 15:23
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 girlymonkey 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Lankyman:

But it's not for the walkers to look out for bikers approaching. Bikers are the faster users, they have brakes, they won't ride into you. Don't be rude or refuse to let them past, but at the same time you don't have to be hyper alert or panic and jump out of the way. The cyclist will let you know they are approaching, you move over in a suitable place, they say thanks, and everyone gets on with having a pleasant day out!! It's no different to someone running on the trails. If we can all just be polite about it then it all works nicely!

4
 DaveHK 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Lankyman:

> How would your 'false dichotomy' pan out if you were faced with a long line of ramblers slowly making their way down one of these tracks? Since virtually the whole of the forest is CRoW land they'd legally have a right to be there.

I've encountered something very similar a few times at Glentress. I stopped and told the walkers very politely that they had every right to be there but that as it was a built MTB track mountain bikers might not be expecting them to be there so it might be dangerous for both parties. On one occasion they'd made a mistake and were happy to be redirected. On the other they seemed to be looking for confrontation so I left them to it.

Be courteous and tolerant, that's the key I think. It seems to work in Scotland and I'd be surprised if those qualities were any rarer south of the border.

Post edited at 15:40
1
 DaveHK 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Lankyman:

> You seem to be a fan of 'we're all in this together' rather than 'them and us'.

Them and us thinking is rarely the answer to conflict in shared space. And the outdoors is shared space whether you like it or not.

Post edited at 15:47
2
 mondite 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Darron:

> They conclude that on wet trails tyres do more damage.

Than what? Read on and you will see that specific comparison was against bikes on dry flat trails.

Compared to walkers the damage was equivilent.

1
 Tyler 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Webster:

> so its ok for you to erode the countryside but not somebody else?

That's the same argument the motor-X bikes and 4x4ers use around where I live, I have no answer to it because all user groups are the same aren't they? 

Also works when considering RSPBCpuntryside Alliance conflicts or barbecuers vs fire brigade.

 Denning76 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Keith C:

Spoken with my mountain biker hat, rather than fellrunner hat on.

I think it's a rather complex issue. The top path along Burbage is a sensitive one as the Eastern Moors lot are friends of the mountain biking advocacy groups and have done a lot for access. Riding along the top there when they have explicitly asked that people do not risks undermining that relationship. It really doesn't help that I've seen a fair bit of reckless riding up there and on Derwent Edge - a friend was knocked into a bog by one there yesterday.

With regards to the erosion issue, I sadly fear that the masses descending on honeypot areas on foot are a far greater risk. Some of the worst spots in the peak for erosion never see a bike. The Bog of Doom on cut gate has been eroded by bikers, but at least they often try to go through it, whereas you can see the footprints around it widening the bog.

It's a tricky balancing act. I feel that, particularly in the Peak, there should be more access for mountain bikers in order to spread the load, and that the current access rules are often ridiculous. Is the right way to deal with those silly rules to simply ignore them and lose any goodwill we have as a user group? I really doubt it.

Effectively, we are more likely to change the rules we don't like if we follow the ones currently in place and generate goodwill, rather than losing it.

Post edited at 16:09
 peppermill 12 Oct 2020
In reply to webbo:

Any chance the brilliance of modern mountain bikes has made things worse?

Meaning that on a bike from 20+ years ago you'd probably be getting off and pushing on a lot of footpaths unless you're Sam Pilgrim or whatever.

Nowadays Fat Tam fae Clydebank can just roll and bounce over terrain unimaginable to many of us weekend warriors from the 90s/00s.

Just to clarify I'm a filthy roadie these days and well out of the mountain biking world, just musing!

 Timmd 12 Oct 2020
In reply to TobyA:

> Loads of people seem to ride over the moor from the top of Lady Cannings, ride along the top of Burbage North then ride back over to Lady Cannings. I think the popularity of the Lady C trails has probably encouraged more people to ride there.

Yes indeed.

In reply to girlymonkey:

> .... think they mostly understand the need to give way to pedestrians.

Also, generally to expect the (sometimes not too) unexpected 😉! Last month I was going down a black route through trees only to see an elderly man walking his Greyhound off lead up the black I was on! 

Not the first time I’ve met walkers on mtb routes, so am careful as often it’s just a case I think of walkers sometimes are not fully aware where and what they are walking on and particularly to the dangers involved. Some will see a path and follow it, not knowing it’s a mtb used route, and in restricted areas like woods it’s not easy to get off the trail once started onto safer ground so they carry on.

Glentress trail centre, for example, however, with all the signage about including the warning signs, I do find it strange that walkers including with children, actually risk walking on the trails when they have their own network of paths over the hillside. Last time was a family of five with the children appearing to be all under 5 yrs old walking down a blue run. 

 Darron 12 Oct 2020
In reply to mondite:

Could you copy and paste the line please? I cannot see it. Thanks.

 Fat Bumbly2 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Climbing Pieman:

I “know” someone who skied up Spooky Woods long ago. Kens better now

 Eric9Points 12 Oct 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

> I'm so glad I live in Scotland where we don't have these archaic and meaningless path designations. 

I'm glad I live in Scotland where our population density is a fraction of what it is in England.

In reply to Fat Bumbly2:

Wow, scary. Hope they didn’t actually met a mt biker heading down as that is one route that gives me concern of meeting someone most times I ride it. As they will know, it’s a fast and twisty route with little by way of advance sight lines so have to be extra careful.

 Timmd 12 Oct 2020
In reply to peppermill:

> Any chance the brilliance of modern mountain bikes has made things worse?

> Meaning that on a bike from 20+ years ago you'd probably be getting off and pushing on a lot of footpaths unless you're Sam Pilgrim or whatever.

> Nowadays Fat Tam fae Clydebank can just roll and bounce over terrain unimaginable to many of us weekend warriors from the 90s/00s.

> Just to clarify I'm a filthy roadie these days and well out of the mountain biking world, just musing!

With 27.5 and 29 size wheels, and conventional or plus size tires, and more laid back geometry, and full sus bikes of a given capability being cheaper generally, too, one can pootle along more easily than in the 90's for sure. Which is all to the good in the scheme of things, I remember seeing a lady in her late 70's (it seemed to me) at an MTB event near Sheffield, who'd rocked up with her full sus bike to watch the proceedings, and chatted with women she knew there in their 20's. I almost felt like her spirit was 'more hardcore' than mine.

Post edited at 18:04
 Fat Bumbly2 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Climbing Pieman:

Not in deep fresh snow

 Fat Bumbly2 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Eric9Points:

Not this bit - and getting denser all the time. Scotland is like an atom - all the mass is in the middle surrounded by empty space.

 dovebiker 12 Oct 2020

I was once riding near Bicknoller on the Quantocks on a very foggy November day where the footpath and bridleway are indistinguishable apart from 2 different lines on a map - to be firmly told by a walker to "get off the footpath"

Living in the South of England for many years, I'd lost count of the number of times I was told not to ride or was obstructed on the Southdowns Way, sections of the Northdowns Way or one of a multitude of bridleways - I just used to point at a marker post and ask "what does that blue arrow mean?" It was very apparent some had poor knowledge / just seeking confrontation. You also have the bizarre situation where a bridleway will change to a footpath and back to a bridleway purely down to some archaic designation. 

For anyone saying that bikes cause worse erosion than horses has never tried to negotiate one of the many bridleways around the North Downs in winter after a wet spell - bottomless mud. Fortunately, fat bikes are ideal for the job.

I've recently moved back to Scotland and delighted by the lack of confrontation whether I'm walking, running or biking on shared trails. 

 girlymonkey 12 Oct 2020
In reply to dovebiker:

And I think part of that lack of confrontation is that no one has the trail "allocated" to them. They are not footpaths, or bridleways etc. It's a hill and we all use it. 

As far as I am concerned, be polite to everyone and generally there should be no problems!

 DaveHK 12 Oct 2020
In reply to dovebiker:

> You also have the bizarre situation where a bridleway will change to a footpath and back to a bridleway purely down to some archaic designation. 

There's one in Kentmere where the footpath is a wide, well surfaced land rover track and the bridleway is an overgrown bit of single-track that threads around it. I got a row from a farmer for riding along the land rover track. Totally ridiculous state of affairs! 

 DaveHK 12 Oct 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

> And I think part of that lack of confrontation is that no one has the trail "allocated" to them. They are not footpaths, or bridleways etc. It's a hill and we all use it. 

This.

We're a' Jock Tamson's bairns.

 mondite 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Darron:

> Could you copy and paste the line please? I cannot see it. Thanks.

A physical impact study, which measured changes in track surface elevation under different conditions, revealed no significant difference between the level of impacts caused by mountain bikers and walkers under the conditions tested. Riding on wet sites and up steep hills and skidding were shown to have significantly greater levels of impacts than riding on flat, dry sites

 Darron 12 Oct 2020
In reply to mondite:

Nope. That paragraph does not seem to appear in the article cited.

2
 mondite 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Darron:

> Nope. That paragraph does not seem to appear in the article cited.


Then I suggest you read the actual paper.

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/11745398.2003.10600931

 GPN 12 Oct 2020
In reply to mondite:

I’m pretty sure that the reason mountain bike tracks are seen as being more damaging is aesthetic. The long straight line is more obvious to the eye than discrete footprints. In my experience mountain bike tracks across wet ground tend to be less damaging than walkers paths. A good example of this is the (boggy) bridleways around Kentmere. Despite a huge increase in the amount of bike use they’ve had over the last 20 years, they don’t seem to have become more eroded. 
 

 mondite 12 Oct 2020
In reply to GPN:

> I’m pretty sure that the reason mountain bike tracks are seen as being more damaging is aesthetic. The long straight line is more obvious to the eye than discrete footprints.

Yup its a lot easier for people to see and even if you have a bunch they will still stay visible. Whereas the more footprints you have the more it just turns into a mess which you really need to look at carefully to see. Same with hoofprints. if you get just a couple its obvious how deep they can be but once its been used by a bunch it just turns into a bog.

 Martin Wood 12 Oct 2020
In reply to mondite:

Thanks for providing the link to a scholarly article. Having read the paper two things strike me.

First it does not contain a strong case for your claim that there is no significant difference in erosion rates between walkers and cyclists. In fact the authors support the plausibility of the opposite argument.

They suggest that riding on "sensitive areas", including wet and boggy areas and fragile soil types (p. 343), is "irresponsible" and "to be avoided" (p. 342).  Given what I know about the particulars and specifics of the path above Burbage South it was likely wet last weekend and also (always?) fragile (it's peat). 

Second, in a broader domain, whilst it is no surprise that the damage caused by cycling increases on steep slopes of 30%+ I was surprised to find the impacts of walkers and cyclists recorded on slopes of ca. 9% (i.e. difficult) were not significantly different. 

A key element of the damage caused by cyclists (and walkers) is clearly moisture. The impact of cycling on wet paths, of the kind we find more often than not in Derbyshire, is significantly greater than walking. Greater still is the damage caused by bikes on wet and steep paths (i.e. fragile areas). Thus I stand by my earlier premise that riding on what I called "soft surface" (i.e. wet and fragile) paths is irresponsible.  

Of course, this is only one paper. Are there other, relevant articles related to what this thread  addresses?

2
 Keith C 13 Oct 2020
In reply to mondite:

Mondite you do realise that I'd you have a trail with say 1000 walkers using every week and then it became 1000 walkers and 1000 bikers as well, the latter would cause more damage to the trail. 

5
 SteveX 13 Oct 2020
In reply to webbo:

> When I was mountain biking 20 years ago, we used ride on footpaths round the Yorkshire wolds. So no it’s not a new thing. You give the walkers the right of way and nobody gets upset. As for paths getting trashed, you need to look at those foot paths where they have to lay stone slabs. That erosion is not caused by tyres.

I think an issue here is that many MTBers expect the right of way.
If they are descending many are just not in control and the walkers, have to get out of the way, or they will get run over, and lets face it if a person is barreling down a hill towards you, besides the physical danger, your being a bit flipping awkward if you make them stop and give you the right of way. Then you get the ones coming up hill towards you, again if some one is toiling up a hill towards you, it seems a bit churlish to expect them to stop, so yet again the walker steps to one side to allow the cyclist past.

Possible issue is that walking is a relaxing and calm recreation whereas often, but not always MTBing is more and adventure and adrenaline activity and they do not mix well.

I find it interesting to observe my attitudes to this when I am walking or MTBing, it truly is like I am two different people and "see" the situation in two very different ways.

Sharing the paths has been mentioned and personally I do not think people generally are very good at sharing, because by nature people always seem to seek an advantage, and here comes a grenade I think that in walking the gender split is much more equal than in MTBing, which is often, though not always, a little bit macho, so maybe its male riders who cause most issues, pin out, 54321, kaboom.

5
 Toccata 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Keith C:

In 31 years as a MTBer I've found that walkers don't like me on paths, horse riders don't like me on bridleways and motorists don't like me on byways. I have always remained courteous and generally avoid peak times.

Legally (local bylaws excepted) I believe it is not an offence for me to ride on footpaths (in England and Wales) although I do tend to avoid them if possible.

https://www.cyclinguk.org/article/campaigns-guide/cycling-on-footpath-trespass

The erosion stick has been used to beat MTBers for years; I remain unconvinced an extra 1000 walkers or riders are any better or worse than each other.

1
 girlymonkey 13 Oct 2020
In reply to SteveX:

But all the comments from the "enlightened north" are suggesting it's not really an issue! Yes, everyone has met the odd eejit, but we have all met the odd eejit in all areas of life! The vast majority of our days in the hills go without conflict and people just accommodate each other. 

If you make it the norm, it becomes the norm. No one has more right than anyone else to a bit of hill or path so, given that people are generally reasonable, there really aren't many issues. 

 SteveX 13 Oct 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

I have not a huge amount of experience of Scotland, but my stereotype of Scottish people is that they are often more courteous, possibly I am wrong, but that could help.

Also are the paths as busy in Scotland, obviously near major conurbations it maybe like what I experience, but is it possibly easier for people in Scotland to find quieter places to ride. 

Have you ever been to Burbage as in the OP, its a pretty busy old place.

1
 Keith C 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Toccata:

It's generally a civil offence of trespass and not a criminal offence. It's still an offence - in England. In 27 years of mountain biking I've found people pretty happy to share the use of trails but then I don't ride on footpaths. 

 girlymonkey 13 Oct 2020
In reply to SteveX:

Its been a LONG time since I was last at Burbage, so can't comment on that really. 

I was more referring to your idea that it's because mtb is a macho sport and that people aren't good at sharing. 

My point was more that you set the tone for trails being for everyone and people become good at sharing.

Yes, much of Scotland does have a lot less pressure on it, as I have already acknowledged, but there are still honeypot hills close to towns. On our local one, much of the mtb happens at night or they take a parallel "path" (grassy, not surfaced) often at busy times. People can share nicely!

1
 Keith C 13 Oct 2020
In reply to SteveX:

Yes Steve - I suspect no one who is advocating that bikers should be able to ride the path I am talking about has walked along it recently. I welcome the general argument that paths should be opened up to bikes, as has happened to the path at the bottom, but not that path at the top. 

1
 DaveHK 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Keith C:

> Yes Steve - I suspect no one who is advocating that bikers should be able to ride the path I am talking about has walked along it recently. I welcome the general argument that paths should be opened up to bikes, as has happened to the path at the bottom, but not that path at the top. 

Is anyone advocating bikers ride that particular path? All of the arguments I've seen have been generic access ones.

I know plenty of places riders will mostly voluntarily avoid either because of busyness or erosion issues so it all comes back to the idea of responsible access.

In reply to Martin Wood:

> Given what I know about the particulars and specifics of the path above Burbage South

> The impact of cycling on wet paths, of the kind we find more often than not in Derbyshire, 

If you know the path above Burbage North so well, presumably you know it's in South Yorks, not Derbyshire. ;)

3
 SteveX 13 Oct 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

> Is anyone advocating bikers ride that particular path? All of the arguments I've seen have been generic access ones.

> I know plenty of places riders will mostly voluntarily avoid either because of busyness or erosion issues so it all comes back to the idea of responsible access.

I think the OP was about that path, which as this is a Climbing forum many people will be familiar with, and you promptly tried to hijack the thread and make it an access issue.

3
 DaveHK 13 Oct 2020
In reply to SteveX:

> I think the OP was about that path, which as this is a Climbing forum many people will be familiar with, and you promptly tried to hijack the thread and make it an access issue.

If you reread the op you'll see that it mentions 2 different paths / areas and also makes general comments about mtb use on footpaths. So hardly a hijack.

Post edited at 10:46
 Martin Wood 13 Oct 2020
In reply to TobyA:

Touche! Although I doubt the path concerned knows or cares which jurisdiction it lies in. 

 Jon Greengrass 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Keith C:

ridiculous isn't it.

 Darron 13 Oct 2020
In reply to mondite:

Just out of interest if you were referring to the actual paper why did you say it was the next line in the mbr article cited. Any reason?

1
 mondite 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Darron:

> Just out of interest if you were referring to the actual paper why did you say it was the next line in the mbr article cited. Any reason?

Yes because I was responding to you. Who specifically stated "Chiu and Kriwoken’s Tasmania research". Note no reference to as reported in MBR. 

 Lankyman 13 Oct 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

> Them and us thinking is rarely the answer to conflict in shared space. And the outdoors is shared space whether you like it or not.

Actually, you already know otherwise. We've recently had the NERC Act passed, one of the aims of which was to clarify where trail bikes and 4wd vehicles could drive. You'll be disappointed to hear that they can't churn up those green lanes and bridleways you seem to want to share with everyone.

To the Scots contributers: I can understand your generous, sharing messages but you must realise that England has a much greater density of users and pressure on the fabric of the land. You've just had a glimpse of the problems that arise in the wake of much greater numbers when you were allowed out of lockdown. The sudden arrival of people who all have rights and don't seem to care or understand what their impacts are. In England, a lot of footpaths get a lot of use from legitimate walking. The last thing required is a whole lot of extra users adding their pressures. Oh, and if cycling is Ok then of course we mustn't discriminate against horses either. I walk a lot in the Arnside Silverdale area. It's an AONB with a network of paths, much of it nature reserve owned by the National Trust, RSPB or the local councils. Many of the popular public footpaths have official 'no cycling' signs. To those of you advocating for the right to ride on them (even though some of you appear to have already assumed it) just ask why this would be so? Is the Trust so benighted that it cannot see that cycling on paths has no effect on erosion or the enjoyment of other (legitimate) users? Please do contact them to set them straight. I'm sure they'll be delighted.

7
 mondite 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Martin Wood:

> Thanks for providing the link to a scholarly article.

Well I had thought someone so keen to judge would have bothered looking for yourself first.

> First it does not contain a strong case for your claim that there is no significant difference in erosion rates between walkers and cyclists. In fact the authors support the plausibility of the opposite argument.

You are the one making extremely strong claims which arent supported. What they find is there is no real difference. Again no one is saying cyclists dont have an impact. That would be clearly be bollocks. What they are arguing against is the holier than thou lot who happily trample everywhere trashing the ground whilst wanting to ban others.

> They suggest that riding on "sensitive areas", including wet and boggy areas and fragile soil types (p. 343), is "irresponsible" and "to be avoided" (p. 342).  Given what I know about the particulars and specifics of the path above Burbage South it was likely wet last weekend and also (always?) fragile (it's peat). 

Well yes but then so should walking. That is the point. If you want to claim to give a f*ck about damage do what I do and dont do either on those fragile areas once things get crap.

> Second, in a broader domain, whilst it is no surprise that the damage caused by cycling increases on steep slopes of 30%+ I was surprised to find the impacts of walkers and cyclists recorded on slopes of ca. 9% (i.e. difficult) were not significantly different. 

It really isnt for anyone who isnt clearly extremely anti mountain biking.  Go and walk on sand and study your footprints. Look at your footprint closely and you will see the clear pressure points within your step. You get the kick at both the front and back where all your weight is put through just the heal or toe. Its not an even weight but very specific pressure points on a relatively small portion of each foot.

Downhill if you arent braking or especially skidding a bike is liable to have less impact. Again walk down hill and think about how you are digging you feet in.

Going up once you hit a certain angle on wet ground you are liable to start spinning and yes this does damage hence why the general solution in this case is to get off and walk (at which point I would hypothesis we do less damage than someone without a bike since we have it to take some of the weight).

> A key element of the damage caused by cyclists (and walkers) is clearly moisture. The impact of cycling on wet paths, of the kind we find more often than not in Derbyshire, is significantly greater than walking.

Nope they dont find that and you might want to check the key detail about how walking has the specific problem of broadening paths and damage wheres bikes generally keep it a lot more centralised.

> Thus I stand by my earlier premise that riding on what I called "soft surface" (i.e. wet and fragile) paths is irresponsible.  

So utterly irrelevant to footpaths then and as above I hope you take the same approach when walking and dont?

> Of course, this is only one paper. Are there other, relevant articles related to what this thread  addresses?

Yes.

2
 DaveHK 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Lankyman:

> Actually, you already know otherwise. We've recently had the NERC Act passed, one of the aims of which was to clarify where trail bikes and 4wd vehicles could drive. You'll be disappointed to hear that they can't churn up those green lanes and bridleways you seem to want to share with everyone.

You're very keen to tell me what I think.

I live in Scotland and Scottish law draws a line at motorised access. I agree entirely with that. 


 

1
 Fat Bumbly2 13 Oct 2020
In reply to mondite:

Then look at the fatbike tracks in the sand

 DaveHK 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Lankyman:

>  Is the Trust so benighted that it cannot see that cycling on paths has no effect on erosion or the enjoyment of other (legitimate) users? Please do contact them to set them straight. I'm sure they'll be delighted.

​​​​​​Your language is very confrontational. I wouldn't say the organisations putting up no cycling signs are benighted. I would say they have an agenda other than open access.

2
 Lankyman 13 Oct 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

> ​​​​​​Your language is very confrontational. I wouldn't say the organisations putting up no cycling signs are benighted. I would say they have an agenda other than open access.

Yes, it's meant to be. What 'agenda' do you ascribe to the Trust? When the CRoW Act was passed they immediately declared all their open land as Access land and had pretty much done this anyway decades earlier. Enjoy your share-all attitude up there while you can. Sorry you're not getting the cheery wave and greetings you must get from your fellow (Scottish) path users.

Post edited at 17:30
3
 Bob Aitken 13 Oct 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

> In Scotland we can ride anywhere. There is no definitions of footpaths, bridleways etc. 

> I guess it's easier up here as lower population density means less pressure on paths etc. It's certainly nice not to need to think about it

To use a hackneyed metaphor, I hesitate to tread this well-worn path one more time and add my tuppenceworth, but

(a) sorry girlymonkey, but you do need to think about it.  The Scottish 'right' of access has some localised limitations on where you can take access, but also requires you to take 'responsible' access.  If you don't you may forfeit the right.  The Outdoor Code guidance on cycling https://www.outdooraccess-scotland.scot/practical-guide-all/cycling is helpful.  A reasonable reading of that would suggest that we shouldn't always assume the right to cycle or ride a horse - or heaven help us, even walk - depending on ground conditions and our likely impact.  Judgement is required.

(b) I worked in the field of recreation impact and path management for about 30 years and still do to some degree.  I've read the literature on the compartive impact of walking and cycling and carried out some small localised trials of my own, but quickly came to the conclusion that no very meaningful conclusions of general practical application were possible.  As some contributors to this thread have pointed out, impacts depend very largely on a lot of local environmental factors like slope, soil type, vegetation cover and resilience, and climatic conditions.  Some of which also vary with weather from day to day.  Because of that, studies from the US or even Tasmania (often on forest or bush trails) are of limited applicability in the UK; famously one of the standard American texts on recreation ecology doesn't even include the term 'peat'. 

For what it's worth, and I'd be the first to admit it's not worth much, trampling and bike impacts are generally more severe on steeper slopes (especially over about 15 degrees) and on soft wet ground, especially with a peat substrate.  As a general rule I'd assert that in those conditions bike impacts do tend to be more acute because of torque and braking effects, especially linear ones that tend to concentrate water flow.

But dogmatism is not appropriate ...

 Lankyman 13 Oct 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

> You're very keen to tell me what I think.

> I live in Scotland and Scottish law draws a line at motorised access. I agree entirely with that. 


Oh great! A Scot telling us how to run the show in England. Isn't there a UKC user (Tim-in-Dundee or something?) who'll show up soon and blame the English for it all?

5
 DaveHK 13 Oct 2020
In reply to angryman:

> Oh great! A Scot telling us how to run the show in England. Isn't there a UKC user (Tim-in-Dundee or something?) who'll show up soon and blame the English for it all?

Have a nice day.

1
 Lankyman 13 Oct 2020
In reply to DickHK:

> Have a nice day.

Yes, thanks.

4
 Martin Wood 13 Oct 2020
In reply to mondite:

Then our readings are clearly different:

"The ... hypothesis that impacts [of mountain biking] would increase on wet tracks, held true in this study, with a significantly greater impact detected at the wet sites as opposed to the dry sites" (353)

"Impacts [of mountain biking] were shown to increase under a number of different conditions, including: skidding; steep slopes; and wet tracks" (356)

" ... track damage [caused by mountain biking] is likely to increase in wet conditions, on steep slopes, when skidding, and possibly at sharp corners" (356)

Can you offer a clear, logical argument explaining why the above should not lead me to my conclusion?

As an aside, I note the study is based on bush trails (Fig 2) rather than Dark Peak wet and boggy paths. A post above suggests forest or bush trails are quite unlike paths with a peat substrate, but I wonder if they might actually be similar.

From memory, the Organ Pipes above Hobart are sandstone. Thus it may be that sandstone and gritstone bedrock produces the same path features (i.e. fragile when wet)? If so then the advice the paper offers for manging those impacts (i.e. for mountain bikers to avoid sensitive areas) may also be similar. 

For the record, I'm not against XC-biking at all - I did lots of it in the early 90s. But, to go back to the OP, having seen what damage we caused 25 years ago and knowing what sensitivities (informed or otherwise) there are these days, I don't understand riding on top of Burbage South on a busy Sunday after wet weather when there is a fabulous hardened track running up the valley below.

I'm sorry you find my viewpoint so utterly irrelevant. 

Post edited at 18:51
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In reply to Martin Wood:

> From memory, the Organ Pipes above Hobart are sandstone. Thus it may be that sandstone and gritstone bedrock produces the same path features (i.e. fragile when wet)? If so then the advice the paper offers for manging those impacts (i.e. for mountain bikers to avoid sensitive areas) may also be similar. 

I live pretty much at the edge of Wellington Park and mtb there 2-3 times a week on average (as well as climbing on the Pipes). The soil is mostly dark, wet, loamy (not unlike most UK uplands) with some sandier spots. The climate is a bit drier than the UK but the mountain is damp for 6 months of the year; the findings regarding erosion from that UTAS study (Ciu and Kriwoken) are broadly applicable to the UK.

The management issues are not though. Firstly, as with @girlymonkey's comments about Scotland, there's a lot less population pressure, although pre-COVID that was increasing due to a growth in Tourism. 

Secondly, there's a huge boom in mountain biking in Tasmania generally, in part pushed by the state government who sees at as drawcard for inter-state/international tourism. That would of course be expected to increase negative rider/walker interactions, but the government has combined with volunteer trail groups to fund and build bike-specific tracks. This is most clear in big regional bike park projects like Derby, Maydena and more, but it has also funded local tracks (including Mt Wellington) as a community sport/recreation resource. 

(It also helps that a large local landowner - a brewery with large open space to secure water rights -  has been pretty indulgent of local riders building bike-specific tracks on their land with a DADT policy (don't sue us, and we won't pursue you for trespass).

The upshot is that there are enough bike-only and hike-only tracks that there's no real need for the kind of entrenched attitude on both sides that's evident in this thread - I don't know how long that will last for, but since bikers are bringing money to economically-depressed towns we should be good. There are some 'eejits' who poach at obvious times and then post it on strava, but as girlymonkey states that's a sad inevitability where humans are concerned.

The lesson for the UK (in my opinion) is that this only changes when mtb'ing is recognised as a legitimate activity in open space, that both erosion and negative rider/hiker impacts are best managed by having bike specific tracks, and that most major population centres will need a local network (people can't drive from Sheffield to Merthyr for an after-work ride). You also need a biking community with clear ethics that self-polices to a certain extent and shames poor behaviour - that last bit is what we really need in Tassie

Post edited at 00:22
 Timmd 14 Oct 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

> And I think part of that lack of confrontation is that no one has the trail "allocated" to them. They are not footpaths, or bridleways etc. It's a hill and we all use it. 

> As far as I am concerned, be polite to everyone and generally there should be no problems!

That's my approach in parts of the Peak, and have occasionally been told that I shouldn't be on the footpath - simply because I'm there on a bike essentially, rather than because I'm hooning along.

Post edited at 09:17
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