The sign in the middle is down to 5 words- TRAIL CLOSED, STOP, TURN AROUND.
The message seems simple enough, and much like a good middle school dance song (‘Gonna See You Sweat, Cha-Cha Slide, and The Cupid Shuffle) tells you what to do (TURN AROUND).
You would think.
But, it seems not all people on mountain bikes can read. Weird how that works though as they seem to post to social media.
This has been a round about way to get to an actual story.
Two weeks ago we finished work on a flow trail that took several weeks of machine work to build. That’s not cheap. So, as we waited a bit for the dirt to set we posted the 5 words signs on the trail- 2 at the beginning and one at the end.
Within 6 hours I caught the first person who rode around the sign and through the dirt. I actually tracked him down, literally, by his tread.
His explanation? “I just got curious. I only rode in a bit and then turned around. I didn’t ride the whole thing.”
Within another day a trace was found on a popular tracking app- right down the map of where the new trail is. His explanation?
“Curiosity got the best of me and I should have known better.” This case at least seemed like the person realized the mistake. They offered which seemed to be a sincere apology. Not 100% cool overall, but an OK ending and hopefully a change of ways.
Within another day- caught another poacher. No resolution on that either way.
And then, a few days later, caught one with 2 traces down the hill. Once the time was figured out it was during an absolute downpour to boot. Here’s the word for word explanation:
“I didn’t ride it rolled around everything and missed any wet wet spots im not an ass I saw it was closed and was nice about it promise”
And after being asked about the second trip down: “Same thing rolled beside the jumps cuz it started pouring and we were checking out a couple of the sweet jumps you guys have in there”
This guy should know better. He works in a major name bike shop. So 3 thoughts before I move on: 1. It’s tough for me to not go all nuclear at this point. 2. You might be saying “Big deal. What’s it hurting if people run STOP signs?” Or 3. “It’s public property so I can do what I want. You can’t stop me!”
If you are siding with 2 or 3, I would encourage you to please leave me alone. Please realize I’m Defcon 1 on this topic.
Those who run the Closed signs, whether they get caught running them or not, are damaging the reputation of all cyclists in the eyes of those who put the signs there in the first place.
As a matter of fact, a sign runner might just be what causes someone who invests a whole lot to just give up. It’s a HUGE waste of time to try to help folks follow those 5 simple words and call them out privately. Nuking and public shaming would be a less time intensive route.
Last thought- If you feel the need to tell someone “I’m not an a—.”, you might want to reconsider your species.