Mountain biking isn't exactly the safest of sports out there as it is, although that in itself is possibly one of the reasons that many of us enjoy it so much. A little danger time due to taking a few chances on the trail gets your blood flowing, right? One thing that we don't need, however, is the added element of trail sabotage. Picture yourself railing down your favourite singletrack at a good clip, only to come around a corner to find a good sized log across the trail, laid out in a way that makes it very clear it wasn't a natural occurrence.
This is exactly what's been going down for awhile on a few North Shore trails, and it just recently made headlines not just on cycling websites but also the mainstream media (for better or worse
) when a few enterprising riders took it upon themselves to instal tree-mounted cameras in order to catch the perp in the act. It appears that they've been able to do just that, and a 64-year-old woman was arrested and charged for allegedly setting up logs and rocks on trails with the intention of obstructing mountain bikers. There's no word on if she'd think it's as funny if she fell into a punji pit during her golf game, but I don't expect that she'd see the humour if the tables were turned. Not that I'd ever condone the vandalizing of a golf course by digging pits and filling them with feces-coated wooden stakes, mind you.
Vandals removed rungs from this ladder bridge in Cumberland, and it was fixed shortly after by local builders. Photo forbiddenfreeriders
I'd like to say I'm surprised that someone would vandalize a trail, apparently with intentions of hurting another person, but I'm not. This sort of thing isn't new at all, here or anywhere else, and I'm sure that many riders have stories about coming across similar scenarios. I know that I do. I remember one particular ride, nearly twenty years ago, when I came bouncing down a rocky chute to find that someone had strung what must have been a three quarter inch diameter vine of thorns across the trail at neck height, literally wrapped around a tree on each side. It worked as the intended, and I was pulled from my bike and left with some pretty nasty cuts on my neck that must have made it look like I should be on suicide watch. The next few days in school were awkward, to say the least. It was likely the same people who took it a step further by stringing high-test fishing line at roughly head height between the lip and landing of a forty six foot double jump we had built (measured feet, not ''Pinkbike feet'', by the way
). We spotted it, thankfully, but talk about wakeup calls... I have plenty more examples of people being a*sholes, but I'm sure you get the picture.
So, while the topic of trail sabotage isn't exactly a pleasant one, I'm curious to know how many of you out there have experienced this sort of shady behaviour. And keep in mind that I'm not talking about officials or property owners shutting down a trail, but a person who's actively out to either injure riders or keep them off the trail. This is one poll that I'd hope to see the 'yes' answers kept to a minimum.