Josh McCreedy wrote:Diesel, I think you're right on, Dan and Jeff, too. Seventeen miles of the West loop would be dreamy. I wonder, though, if Gruber's were better maintained, would its entire length see more traffic? Or is it the style of riding, regardless of trail condition, that makes people avoid it?
I truly can't anwer the question because I'm relatively new to this area and never rode the trail in its "intended" state. I've only ridden it when I've had to fight through the brush and dismount because my bars won't fit between the trees.
I haven't ridden Gruber's in a few years, so take this for what it's worth:
- people ride trails they like, and avoid ones they don't;
- people like trails that *flow*;
- peole like trails that give the sense of pleasure or accomplishment;
- the pleasure or accomplishment may be the view, the skill or effort required, the company of their friends-- lots of possibilities here;
- if the trail is an impediment to, rather than a means of, getting that pleasure, it's DOA.
If riders are avoiding Gruber's, something is breaking that logic. Regardless of the original cause, lack of riders + lack of maintenance = vicious cycle. Even the "hard core" riders who formed Gruber's original constituency will find other things to do.
Can Gruber's be saved? That will call for a lot of work, but it needs analysis first. The trail needs to be re-imagined with a stable constituency (who will both ride it and "own" it in maintenance terms) as its target.
I'll plan on working on Gruber's this Saturday, instead of West Loop, and see if that gives me any ideas.