RIVER RANT: Bike trails closed, wait 24 hours per inch of rain?

The accepted rule of thumb is to wait 24 hours per every inch of rain.The James River Park trails and most Richmond area off-road trails are closed after a period of rain. Richmond has gotten at least two inches this week alone. The accepted rule of thumb is to wait 24 hours per every inch of rain. This should give most trails time to dry out, especially ones maintained as well as the Richmond trails (thanks to the JRPS staff and Richmond Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts).

However, there are a handful of trail-users that do not follow these rules and selfishly take to the trails despite the mud and rain, which can cause problems with erosion and damage the trails. If you have ever spent any time volunteering and putting in the work to build a trail, you know what I’m saying.

That said, what’s your opinion? Have you ever ridden or hiked the trails when you know you shouldn’t have? Do you think the trails are too protected?

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5 responses to “RIVER RANT: Bike trails closed, wait 24 hours per inch of rain?

  1. This is like the prisoners dilemma. Do you defect or cooperate? A: If you defect and everyone else cooperates then you get to ride and the trails aren’t significantly affected. B: But if you defect and everyone else also defects then you ride but the trails are ruined.
    C: If you, on the other had, cooperate and no one else does then you don’t get to ride and the trails are ruined anyway. D: If everyone cooperates then you don’t get to ride and the trails are saved for a future, drier, ride

    What to do, what to do? It seems like the best thing for me to do is to defect since it provides the best outcome for me in short run and because my individual defection has a negligible effect on the trails. BUT because riding anyway is the rational choice I must also assume that the other rational bikers will also arrive at this conclusion. If all the bikers decide to defect and ride anyway then we have actually precluded A as a possibility. which means that we are actually choosing between b,c, and d. If that is the case then I think its clear that the next best option is D, the only remaining outcome that spares the trails for future riding. Moral of the story is that you should stay come and play Courier Crisis on your PlayStation. when you hit the trails next week you’ll want it that much more.

  2. We all know that you shouldn’t ride the trails when they are wet. It’s common sense. All you have to do is ride poor farm and see how rutted up a trail gets when it’s abused. The problem is, it’s not the people who read jrnh and the more blog or fojrp. It’s (usually)the people (we have all ridden when we know we shouldn’t have) who have no attachment to the trails that do the damage. They don’t have to fix them so they don’t care if it’s too wet. All they know is they can go out, ride through the mud and rut things up because they know someone else will fix it. We all love the new features that go into the trails but if Nathan and the guys are spending all their time fixing the trail, then there is no time to improve the trail. If everybody who rode the trails would volunteer just one time and see just how much work goes into taking care of the trails, I think you would see a much different attitude towards riding when the trails are closed.

    • I agree with mac t wholeheartedly. I support RA-MORE and the JRPS staff and would feel too guilty to do damage to their work. I’ve volunteered before when riders were treading on unfinished trail while we work in the middle of working on it — no apologies or even a look back. Jerks!

  3. we should hang out at the trail heads when its muddy wearing leather jackets white t shirts and pompadours and harassing people who are unloading or approaching on bikes.
    “Hey buddy! Don’t you see the signs? Or cant yous guys read? It says no riding when its muddy. Hehehe, check it out Murray these clowns cant read! Hey Murray, why don’t we show ’em what we think about illiterate clowns.” *slaps frame pump against left hand while advancing*

    I think that might be effective.

  4. the problem with closing the james river trails is there are too many entrances to it. it’s not like pocahontas or freedom park where there is basically one starting point and it’s easier to mark the trails closed and chain off the entrance. we’d need a whole lot of bouncers at jrps to close the trailheads, but i like you thinking

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