If you’ve been around Mountain Biking for a while you will know something about Singletrack. If you are new to the sport, you will undoubtedly come across Singletracks and after some practice will come to love them as many riders do.
“Singletrack (or single track) describes a type of mountain biking trail that is approximately the width of the bike. It contrasts with double-track or fire road which is wide enough for four-wheeled off-road vehicles. It is often smooth and flowing, but may also feature technical rocky sections, go over tree roots, and include berms, banked turns, switch-backs, hills, drops, jumps, and so forth. Singletrack which descends significantly, and in the most downward direction, is said to be following the fall line” (Wikipedia).
Although many bike parks have specifically designed singletrack sections, some of the most challenging I’ve found are out on back country rides. They are pleasingly littered with Technical Trail Features (TTF’s) such as trees across the trail, rock gardens, jumps, deep muddy puddles, stream beds, hidden roots and switchbacks. Not to mention well camouflaged drops and climbs with over-hanging brambles that leave thorn tattoos on unprotected skin.
If you’re unfamiliar with any of the TTF terms, you can check out descriptions here.
Focus is essential to stay on track and avoiding the tunnel vision often created by trees, bushes and other natural features can be a huge challenge. Confidence and Skills Development is crucial, but you don’t have to get out on a gnarly Singletrack until you’re ready. There are plenty of ‘tame’ places to practice and hone your skills.
Look at this video from GMBN . . .
If you like to read, this book from Robert Hurst is a refreshing look at the art of Singletrack riding. Hurst doesn’t focus on training, equipment or other aspects of riding that he says have already been beaten to death in other books. Instead, he focuses on the art of riding the trails.
The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) developed “Rules of the Trail” to allow safe-passage for all trail users and to contribute to environmental protection. Many of the back-country Singletracks I know are on shared trails so awareness and respect of these simple guidelines is essential.
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