Home > Video

Are Paved Trails the Future of Sustainable Mountain Biking?

28 Comments
Support us! Bikerumor may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article. Learn More

As mountain biking grows in popularity, certain trails run the risk of being loved to death. More tires + more miles has a way of accelerating erosion, especially in certain regions where the soil composition tends to wear away quickly. If you’re lucky, your favorite trails will be routinely maintained by an army of paid, or more likely, volunteer trail workers. But even then, it can be tough to keep up.

So what’s the answer to more sustainable mountain bike trails? As Seth from Berm Peak Express points out in one of his latest videos, the answer could be paving the trails.

That will sound like blasphemy to many MTB ‘purists’, but for heavily trafficked trails like some in Bentonville, AR, it makes a lot of sense. Though there are a few other ways to make trails more sustainable short of paving them.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

28 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mike Wise
Mike Wise
6 months ago

Curious to see if the injury rate increases on the hard surfaced areas in higher speed turns and off camber sections. With the high humidity, shade and heat, in an almost rainforest type environment, surely these will become icelike in nature and be slimed over.
Perhaps pervious concrete would help, but that has its issues as well. Will be interesting to follow.

david
david
6 months ago
Reply to  Mike Wise

This is CLEARLY just another scam from Big-Pad to get our money

John
John
6 months ago

There are not enough no’s.

Dougie Fresg
Dougie Fresg
6 months ago

A nice thick matt of leaves does wonders for making trails that are resilient. Late in the summer you might even need to blow leaves onto the trail, but at least you can ride in the rain.

Fig Ciocc
Fig Ciocc
6 months ago
Reply to  Dougie Fresg

These trails see incredibly high use as they’re pretty much in the center of a town that has sort of built its name on mountain biking and has big berms. I know what you’re talking about but with this design and use I don’t think leaves would help that much. If this was more flowy and flattish single track it would work.

Anthony Klick
Anthony Klick
6 months ago

Honestly……I would LOVE to ride something like that. I can only imagine how fun, fast, and grippy it would be! Sure; I totally get it as far as any reluctance goes, but gosh darnnitt that would probably be fun as all heck and would surely mitigate erosion and, washouts, and muddy puddles.

TheStansMonster
TheStansMonster
6 months ago
Reply to  Anthony Klick

Grippy, fast, flowy corners? Wait till you hear about road riding.

FrankTheTank
FrankTheTank
6 months ago

Actually, it would be pretty rad to roll those trail on a road bike at Mach 10.

mud
mud
6 months ago

Reasonable solution for heavy use trails. Mountain bikers will find out that road rash is real.

Fig Ciocc
Fig Ciocc
6 months ago

I’ve been to this area and I think Seth does a pretty good job laying out why the city needed to do this. Obviously not ideal but on super heavily tracked trails that are prone to erosion this is far better than not having mtb trails.

HDManitoba
HDManitoba
6 months ago
KBC
KBC
6 months ago

Asphalting = absolutely not! Rock armor the trail if you want to still call it a mountain bike trail.

Dennis
Dennis
6 months ago

I predict the end of bothersome knobbies and the rise of fat slicks.

M K
M K
6 months ago

If you pave over dirt, is it really mountain biking any more, or just another bike path?

Jeremy
Jeremy
6 months ago

There is nothing sustainable about clearing a corridor in the woods, taking crushed rock, emulsifying it in petroleum-based products, and delivering it in dump trucks to the site where it is spread by more equipment and manpower before it becomes a “trail”. Is it perfect for kids and families? Maybe. Is it an accessible opportunity for people with all types of abilities? Sure. Is it a faster surface for e-bike dads? Yep.

It might reduce erosion that results from trail usage (although the jury is out on how bad this really is compared to other types of trail users), but the erosion caused by construction and increased runoff from impervious pavement surfaces means there’s nothing “green” about it. This is not sustainable in any way and if this is our future we need to find a different sport…

Cory Benson
Admin
6 months ago

Please, no.

Cory Benson
Admin
6 months ago
Reply to  Cory Benson

Armor, properly grade, dial-in drainage, and maintain as necessary. Keep asphalt off the trails if you want it to be mountain biking. Save it for the pumptrack at the trailhead.

Deputy Dawg
Deputy Dawg
6 months ago
Reply to  Cory Benson

At least one of these trails IS pretty much a little pump track at the trailhead, and near a school, so kids often lap it at lunch, which we thought was fun as heck to see…….

Cory Benson
Admin
6 months ago
Reply to  Deputy Dawg

That sounds pretty great.

Hamjam
Hamjam
6 months ago

The asphalt has been insanely durable. With the cost of trail building, it must pay for itself quickly. Its should be used where it makes sense, but there is no way that it will be used for whole trails. One awesome use is for steep climbing trails that lead to downhill hubs. Also, where trails cross the streets. It is very rough, so traction is good when wet. Bentonville also had a ton of rock armoring. It can get really slick on some humid days. Bentonville is a like a trail buffet There are going to be trails you don’t like, but you’ll find more than enough that you love to get stuffed.

Jorge
Jorge
6 months ago

There are strong pavements (gravel/concret mix or resin aggregates that are seamless with natural dirt. This seams like a stupid solution were are better solutions in the market.

TJ Cowern
TJ Cowern
6 months ago

Don’t mountain bikes have suspension to help smooth out a rough trail? Are they going to put in curbs and drainage pipes so our bikes won’t get splashed? Brake bumps help toughen up our soft, easily offended youth of today. I guess if their arms hurt they won’t be able to check social media and that would be horrible.

For all the cows
For all the cows
6 months ago

At what point does it just become a BMX track?

WhateverBikes
6 months ago

The fact that this is even considered as an actual option makes me very, very sad.

Antoine
Antoine
6 months ago

i’m pretty sure there are kind of honeycomb concrete stuff that you can fill with dirt that would be even more durable because asphalt crack quickly when there are trees and vegetation around. Obviously drainage would be better, look feel etc would be better.

Antoine
Antoine
6 months ago
Reply to  Antoine

If my memory serves well there are also similar recycled products that are better at shock absorption, feel more like real ground.

WhateverBikes
6 months ago
Reply to  Antoine

You know what really behaves and feels like real ground?

sirbikealot
6 months ago

thankfully it will never happen, the risk management and insurance companies will axe this quickly (anywhere that doesn’t have billionaires finance their trail like Bentonville).

Subscribe Now

Sign up to receive BikeRumor content direct to your inbox.

Subscribe Now

Sign up to receive BikeRumor content direct to your inbox.