Generally speaking, we should yield the trail to other users. Hikers and horses both have the right of way, and we’ll hear motorcycles before they see us. When you see another mountain biker, remember that uphill traffic has priority!
Hikers – If you come across a hiker on the trail, it’s best to pull over and let them pass. If you’re both going in the same direction, be sure to say hello, let them know you’re coming, and slow down to a walking pace to cruise past. You're already moving quite a bit faster, so 5 mph may seem excessively slow to you, but it's not from their perspective
Horses – Horses are large prey animals with poor eyesight. They can be forgiven for getting nervous from time to time. The best thing you can do when you see an equestrian user on the trail is to speak up and let them know you’re human (and not a mountain lion). Ask them what they’d like you to do, they’ll probably have a preference and it may not be the same from horse to horse. Of course it’s hard to go wrong with hopping off your bike on the low side of the trail and letting them by.
If you’re passing a horse from behind, make sure the horse and rider know you’re there. It’s best for you to hold off on passing until the rider can get the horse off the trail and looking at you. Again, the rider will know what works for his or her horse.
Remember that riding a horse in bike country is a lot like riding a bike in traffic. A little courtesy, patience, and mutual respect goes a long way to keeping everyone safe.
Smile, Say Hi – For every rule there’s an exception, and so the best thing you can do when you’re out enjoying the trails is just be nice. Smile, say hi!
There are a few platforms out there that let you compare riding times with your buddies, even when you’re not right next to each other. These programs can be great for sharing routes, staying motivated, and seeing who was training while you were catching up on Veep.
They can also be a huge issue for safety on public trails. Remember that these records are public, and that you probably don’t want to be known as the person who got a trail closed to bikes with a KOM. We suggest TrailForks as a great app for sharing trail and ride information without endangering access.
What's the best place to let 'er rip? Check out a
bike race! Also,
Bjorn Again is a bike-only, downhill-only trail.
We get it, music is amazing. But try just one earbud so you can hear if someone’s behind you. A surpising number of conflicts happen this way- there's just too many people out on the trails to ignore it.
Riding on Private Property
In the next couple of years, we’re looking at doubling the miles of trail that you can ride right from your house. Needless to say, we’re really, really excited to be a part of these new trail developments, and you can bet that we’ll let you know as soon as they’re ready. But these things take time, and hopping fences can derail access talks that have been years in the making.
Please respect private property, even when it’s got sweet trails on it.
Questions on what’s open? Don’t hesitate to reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We've put a years of work into finding a place where we can legally build jumps, berms, and drops, along with more singletrack connections, of course. If you've got the itch to dig, please join one of our work parties and do it in a sanctioned way.
Riding a trail that you put your blood, sweat, and tears into is one of the most satisfying feelings out there. And we get that a connecting trail here or there could really improve trail flow and even decrease user conflicts. It’s on our radar, and we’re doing our best to develop and improve the riding landscape in Missoula. But DIY trail building doesn’t help, iit puts us in an awkward position when it comes time to advocate for the next legal trail project.
Muddy Conditions in Missoula
We're blessed with a little of everything here in Missoula. Trails that get muddy during spring runoff are one them. But we've also got a lot of trails that shed water really well: Marshall Mt and MoZ are the best examples.
While a small puddle is generally not something to worry about, extended soft or wet segments mean you shouldn't be on the trail. Fenceline is a good example: the non-rerouted meadow about 2/3rds the way down holds water much longer than the bench-cut, rerouted sections. The Rattlesnake may be most sensitive because of the number of trails that run through meadows. If you can stay on the sidehilling, bench-cut trails in wet conditions, you'll be doing the right thing.
If you find yourself stuck on a muddy trail, remember that it's better to stay in the tread and risk some dirt on your butt than to avoid the section and widen the trail. Especially in these soft conditions, it doesn't take too many tire tracks to kill grass and end up with a second, parallel trail.