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[pct-l] RE: Bikes on the PCT
>In San Diego county, on multiple use trails, I have observed the tread
>increase in width two or three time the original, particularly in the
>rough and rock sections. The bicycle tracks seem to dodge the rough
>tread, usually to the uphill side of the path. Instead of the tread
>staying level, the camber begins to slope along the contours of the
>hill. Is it just here in this county, or do you see the same damage in
>the E section?
I've seen that on bike trails here too, but on Sec E of the
PCT the traffic hasn't become high enough yet to cause that drastic
an impact. I see it mainly on switchbacks, where riders have to skid
their rear tires around the corner, scraping the loose tread
downward. The approaches to the corners get skidded also as they
brake, which ruts the trail so drainage funnels down the trail and
then drains straight downhill (parallel to the slope) when it gets to
the corner, or directly onto the next leg. Well-made switchbacks are
originally made to avoid collecting water in this way, so that each
leg drains the water straight off its lower end instead of causing it
to cascade directly down onto the next leg. The goal after all is to
deny runoff a chance to accumulate and flow down the trail.
Riders may not understand these dynamics because the real
damage is caused later on, by the next season's runoff which takes
advantage of the tread change.
FWIW these places in particular aren't so much a thing with
the motorcycle guys (NOT that you haven't seen scads of ORV trails
crisscrossing elsewhere) because their bikes are too big and high to
easily negotiate sandy, sharp switchbacks. Last month it was highly
comical to see remaining physical evidence of where one had tried,
and failed to make a corner, ending up in the nasty brush below the
corner. He no doubt had his work cut out for him trying to manhandle
his 250+-lb machine out of the chapparal and back up onto the trail.
Speaking for Sec E,