I Was thinking of this a bit in December just before the snow came. How we mountain bikers will discuss endlessly about building a ladder bridge to cross a creek. Or whether or not the trail is being excessively groomed but we hardly ever talk about the necessity of trail grooming and how to do it right.
Trail grooming is often ignored but in reality can cause serious damage to a rider. I know of a few riders who have had chunks taken out of them by partial pruning jobs like the one shown below.
The scary part is this is at head or throat level. Add in ride speed and this could cause some significant problems for a rider. Sure you can see it now as it’s daylight but what if you decide to go for a night ride and don’t see it as it is outside your light beam?
Don’t get me wrong as I admit long ago I made the same mistake as a neophyte to mountain biking and trail building. And we all learn from those mistakes and improve our methods.
Because while we riders do accept that part of mountain biking is getting injured from crashes and pilot error like braking when we shouldn’t. Things like not leaving Punji sticks on trees is something that can be easily remedied. And by doing so make the trails a little bit safer for you to ride. And it can only take a few minutes. Which if you look at it, interrupting your ride for 10-15 minutes cutting these hazards out is far better then stitches with long down time. Or losing an eye and not being able to ride again in the worst case.
Another advantage with cutting dead branches and such flush with the trunk is that it actually gives you more line options. With no Punji sticks forcing you to take a wider line you now have the option of taking a tighter more direct line. with the only limiting factor really is now your skill level.
Sure we all have limits on our free time and for some there is not alot of time to spend hours doing trail work. And if all you can do to contribute to your trail’s is a few minutes every ride to prune out the dead branches or over growth. Well, if that is all you can do it is still better then doing nothing at all.
At a later date will have a review of a packable tool for thistype of trail work.