Artist Feature

Tue, Aug 18, 2020

Using Art to Create Harmonious Trails

Let's give a warm virtual welcome to local trail stewards and Trailblazers collaborators, Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBOSC).

Below they share their creative solution to educate new riders and create harmonious trail experiences for both new and veteran users.

MBOSC and their trail building initiatives are currently featured in our exhibition, Trailblazers: The Creative Story Behind Mountain Biking in Santa Cruz, now available to explore via a 3D virtual walkthrough.


#TrailTips by MBOSC

With many indoor businesses closed and social events canceled for the foreseeable future, our outdoor spaces have seen a recent surge in visitors. We rely on our public trails for exercise, meditation, and healing, but when these areas are packed with unaware users, sometimes a trip to the local park can feel more stressful than relaxing.

To minimize trail degradation and encourage positive trail interactions on the many multi-use trails throughout Santa Cruz we teamed up with artist Sketchy Trails to create a fun comic strip that’s jam-packed with helpful trail tips focused on mountain biking with consideration toward other users.


1. Be Nice & Say Hi!

Whether you’re coming up on a hiker, equestrian, or fellow rider, take a second to say hello and wish other users a good time out there. If you have to pass, do it kindly, and be mindful of others’ comfort level if you’re riding exposed singletrack or other technical sections of trail.


2. Pull Off Safely

If you want to take a moment to yourself to fix a flat or eat a snack, please pull off to the side of the trail to give folks room to pass. Don't stray too far (rustling bushes can frighten horses!), and please be mindful of sensitive habitats, but make sure to think of others when enjoying our shared trails and give enough space for safe passage.


3. Always Yield to Uphill Users

Remember right of way rules when you’re out on multi-directional trails. Here's an easy guideline: if you're heading down a trail, always yield to uphill users. They're working against gravity, and need the momentum more than those who are descending. Cheer on the climbers! And don’t forget - cyclists must always yield to all equestrians and hikers.


4. Stay in Control

Practice caution around others and always stay in control! If you're mountain biking while out on the trails, remain mindful of the speed and machinery you're responsible for controlling. While you may know the power of your hydraulic disc brakes, others might not. Give them some peace of mind by riding conservatively around other users and erring on the side of caution when passing.

Trailtips4 1

5. Multi-Use = Mellow Rides

This one's simple - always keep it mellow on multi-use trails. When trails are bi-directional, multi-use, or just plain busy, it's extra important to show courtesy and respect to other users. Multi-use trails are for everyone to enjoy, and by staying aware and taking things a bit slower than usual, you can show respect and courtesy to all user groups.


6. Plan Ahead

Before you grab your pack and helmet to hit the trails, spend a bit of time mapping out a route with online maps, looking for resources and services you might need along the way (like water and restrooms), and sending all that info over to a friend if you're planning on riding solo. Who knows, maybe your friend will end up joining you! By planning out your route ahead of time, you can confidently hit the trails knowing you're prepared for what the ride may have in store.


7. Pack Your Trash

Leave no trace, and always pick out your trash. Protecting natural areas is all of our responsibilities. We recommend reading the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace for easy tips to ease your impact on the environment.


8. Wait Till Trails Are Dry

Finally, trust the dirt when deciding if it’s too wet to ride. By hitting the trails before they’re dry, recreationalists can cause unnecessary erosion and destruction to our outdoor spaces. If you're leaving tracks, it's still too wet!

Ready to hit the trails?

Check out MBOSC's website for more trail tips, trail guides, volunteer workdays, and local riding news. Then, set off on a GPS tour of the stories, ideas, and artworks found within Trailblazers with our new Exhibition Expeditions. A gallery tour and a bike ride all rolled into one, go on this 16-mile journey through the Santa Cruz Mountains to retrace the steps of mountain biking’s early innovators.

Download the Ride

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