Cheat Lines

Cheat Lines

How do we stop cut-arounds and cheat lines on the trail? This has been an issue as long as we have had trails. Cut-arounds can occur for a number of reasons, people want to avoid an obstacle that they do not feel confident riding, fallen trees/debris blocking the trail, or drainage issues. These issues can be resolved; make designated alternate routes around obstacles as recommended by IMBA, report fallen trees/debris and drainage issues to the local trail care crew, take part in trail maintenance days to address issues you have seen on the trail. However, recent cheat lines seem to be more about riding fast than any of the above issues. As more riders have begun to compete against each other on Strava we seem to have more and more illegal cut-arounds appearing on our trails. This is a problem because the trails were designed to minimize negative impacts such as trail erosion and user conflict as well as highlight the unique riding features of each area. Park access is a privilege for all user groups but especially mountain bikers. We as mountain bikers have been given access to the park because we have proven ourselves as good stewards of our trails, however, there is no guarantee of continued access or even trail expansion if we do not maintain and respect what we already have. We must educate riders that continue to ride off the trail and endanger our access to the park and future plans. If you see people cutting trail, talk to them about the impact that their actions have on the trail and the relationship of mountain biking with the park system. If they think mountain bikers could never be kicked out of the park let them know that the reason BUMP was formed is because in the early days of mountain biking we were kicked out of Oak Mountain State Park! BUMP was formed to show that we could be responsible trail users, which we have proven over the last 25 years through the building of sustainable trails and the continued expansion and maintenance of our trail system. Through our actions we were able to regain access to the park for all mountain bikers and over the years we have seen our access grow in other parks as well. If you see a new cut around, take a few minutes to block it with some fallen limbs, to make it less of an attraction. A vocal majority of responsible riders is the only hope we have of correcting this issue. Mickie Powell BUMP, Vice President Mickie L. Powell, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Biology University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, AL 35294-1170 Phone 205-975-2524 Fax 205-975-6097

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