Trailgrams

BEARS DON’T CARE ABOUT BELLS

I agree with your short article about bells on bikes. I use a bell I have to ring. We don’t have grizzlies in central Oregon—yet. When I ring the bell for hikers, I get a thank you from them more often than not. Mountain bikers come upon hikers quickly and often silently. It scares the hikers. I have experienced a silent mountain biker whizzing by me with no warning and, frankly, I want to punch the guy or gal that does that. It is rude and inconsiderate. Use a bell. It gives us mountain bikers a better image with the hikers and equestrians. I know some bikers consider the bell a sissy accoutrement that degrades the coolness factor of them and their bike; but, in reality, it makes bikers cool with other trail users, and that is good for all of us. On that note, I don’t recall ever seeing a bell on a bike in your bike tests or articles featuring trail rides. I’m gonna keep a closer eye out for them now.

Paul Weid
Bend, Oregon

TIPS EXTENDED

Love the magazine but needed to share a couple of “Wild Smart” tips that you guys brought up.

1) Rather than burning TP when nature calls, best practice is to bury it. A small plastic trowel does a great job if you’re in uncharted territory.

2) While bells may “promote positive trail interaction” for other users, the article talks about their use for bears. Best practice says bears take little to no notice of so-called “bear bells,” and it’s much better for riders to make loud noises with their voices (“Whoa bear!” is common here) when in bear country!

Otherwise, keep up the great work!

Rick Harcourt
From bear-rich Canmore, Alberta, Canada

COUNTRY-BOY TRAILS

I really want to enjoy sharing my passion for mountain biking, but I swear this sport is going to implode from its own users. I recently posted about a trail I worked on for three years. One review read, “Great country-boy trail.” I’m totally puzzled. What is a country-boy trail?

Does it mean that any sophisticated rider, with any sense of great trails, couldn’t possibly enjoy riding such remote terrain? Does it mean that because this trail is out of bounds, with all-natural features, it’s a country-boy trail?

How can the term “country boy” even be used to des cribe a trail? Obviously, he meant it in a negative way. He gave it a three-star rating.

Maybe this guy only rides the 10 miles of groomed trails at the city park. Perhaps, the best trails are only located next to craft breweries that serve caviar in the bier-garten while Dave Matthews plays “#41.” Either way, according to this guy, the folks riding remote singletrack in waist-high ferns through endless rock gardens don’t know the fun their missing.

I guess I’m doing it wrong, because I thought the best part about riding a mountain bike was exploring remote places and sharing it with your friends. I guess I’ve been missing out the last 25 years, surrounding myself in lush foliage, getting off the beaten path.

Cheers to country-boy trails—if there is such a thing.

Adam Angelona (gangster old-school mountain biker since 1992)

West Virginia


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