Wet Weather Riding Etiquette
You may have noticed that this winter has been significantly wetter than those in recent years, as such it’s a good time to brush up on some wet-weather riding etiquette. Here are a few things that will keep you out of the mud and minimize your impact on the trails and environment.
1. If your tire is leaving an imprint on the trail, it is too wet to ride. A tire imprint on a wet trail is the first step to a rut, or mud hole. Please realize that someone, a trail builder, a volunteer, or parks staff will have to take the time to smooth out your tracks and repair winter trail damage.
2. Respect seasonal trail closures – State Parks and UCSC post trail closures when conditions are too wet for public access. Please respect these postings. UCSC Natural Reserve staff have requested that trail users respect and avoid the closures, especially those at the meadows around Marshall Fields and the Seven Springs Trail(s) through the Forest Ecology Research Plot. Soquel Demonstration State Forest is temporarily closed while CAL FIRE inventories and addresses storm damage.
3. Be strategic about where you choose to ride if it has been raining. Trails through flat areas don’t drain very well and are susceptible to becoming muddy quagmires. Trails across steeper side slopes drain much better. Steeper is better when it has been raining a lot. Soil type plays a big part in a trail’s ability to drain. A fire road armored with rock is a much better alternative to a flatish dirt trail. Sandier trails dry out the quickest. Taking a trip to Ft. Ord or riding in sandier areas is a great option.
4. Don’t ride around puddles-ride through them. If you find yourself facing a puddle on the trail, ride though it. Riding around it will lead to widening of the trail. Keep singletrack single.
5. Sometimes it is just too wet to ride trails. Dust off your road bike, rebuild your bottom bracket, read a book, be a well-rounded human…
6. Do trail work. The wet season is our trail work season here in Santa Cruz. Volunteer with MBoSC on the trails. Check out upcoming opportunities below.
Make good choices out there this winter folks!
Matt De Young
MBoSC Trail and Business Manager