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A few weeks ago, I left the overabundance of sweet trails here in Fruita, Colorado to ride somewhere close but different. Variety keeps things interesting, and it's always nice to travel and see new stuff and ride new trails.

I went into the local bike shop and asked if they had a map, and was almost laughed at. The shop guy asked where I was from, I told him, and he said “We don't want to become like Fruita.”

It was the LOCALS ONLY mindset.

We here at Over the Edge Fruita are members of the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association (COPMOBA), we are heavily involved in the building and maintenance of our local trails. We have the opposite view of the LOCALS ONLY mindset, we want EVERYONE to come and ride our trails and have a kick ass time.

That said, we can sort of understand where the LOCALS ONLY mindset comes from. It comes from the lack of respect for trails.

We know most people just want to do the right thing, they have good intentions, they just don't think about what they are doing and how it affects others. I've seen people up at the Bookcliffs, what we call 18 rd, riding the wrong way on a one way trail. They don't understand when they do that, it widens the trail because when they encounter people coming the other way, all parties want to be polite and get out of the way, so everyone rides off to the side and the trail gets a foot wider.

When it rains here, we ask people to please not ride our trails, especially at 18 rd.  People coming from wet areas tell us how they ride in mud all the time, not understanding our “mud” is actually clay, which will rip a rear derailleur off like someone pulling petals off a flower, and it scars the trail, creating the ruts that no one enjoys.  

Our desert is pretty fragile, and so when people cut trails, thinking “I'm just gonna ride across this patch of grass because I want to get to the trail, instead of going to the trail head” it makes a new “trail” that is there to stay. All the social trails sprouting up make baby Jesus cry.

Here are some simple tips to follow when you are visiting someone else's trails.

– Follow signage, ride directional trails in the direction they are meant to be ridden.
– Don't do any “helpful trail work.” Don't put up cheater rocks or sanitize a trail. Just because you can't believe someone can ride that gnarly part doens't mean they aren't riding it.  Ride the trail as it is, walk if you have to, enjoy it the way it was meant to be enjoyed.  
– Don't ride off the trail, or cut a trail, or cut across land to get to a trail.
– Don't leave trash behind. Put the empty GU packet in your pack, don't leave it on the trail.
– If your dog is taking you for a ride, and he poops, put it in a bag and take it with you. Don't leave poop on the trail, in a bag or out. (That goes for you too). 
– Don't ride a trail when it's not supposed to be ridden (too wet, under construction, etc)

If riders would be a tad more mindful of their actions perhaps we could get rid of the LOCALS ONLY mindset.

We hope you get to come to ride mountain bikes, and even road bikes, here in Fruita, and when you do, we want you to have the best time ever.  We want you to feel like a local.  

Come ride with us.