I think that Bent Creek Recreation Area should have a user fee.
It’s amazing how many people ride out there, and it really requires a lot of maintenance. People are glad to pay at Tsali, so I can’t imagine it would be much of a problem at Bent Creek. I really don’t think people would object.
In order to obtain a permit, people should have to correctly fill out a form concerning trail etiquette. More people = more dangerous.
Just like on the ski slopes – do not ride outside of your own various limitations. I’m all about pushing it, but not at other people’s expense. I was taking a last-minute duck across Hickory on my way down when a rider came flying down the hill. I am CERTAIN he would not have been able to stop had I not dashed into the bushes. Now that the trails have been sculpted they are all rideable by people of any skill level. I avoid Green’s Lick because this is a favorite trail of people without technical skill. You can haul ass on a wide, roller coaster trail with really fast berms. The riders flying out of control are generally on very expensive bikes with more suspension than they can handle. It’s really hard controlling a bike with all of that suspension. I rode a carbon fibre S-Works the other day and nearly annihilated myself because I wasn’t used to so much spring. I can’t imagine what that would be like for someone who rides only a few times a year.
Dogs. I love dogs. I’ve had dogs all my life. I want them to run free in the woods as much as possible. The only way to do that is if they come when they are called. That said, the owner needs to call them when s/he hears an animal, person or bike that may create an altercation. If you have five dogs with you, you probably shouldn’t have them off of the leash. They outnumber your authority. “Authority” is the key phrase here as well. YOU must have AUTHORITY over the dog. I am very happy to slow down so that you can leash your dog, but please do so. Your dog usually likes me better than you and chases me for quite some time. He’s not used to bikes though, so he likes to get up in my pedals and front wheel. Maybe a Saturday or Sunday at Bent Creek is NOT the optimal time to allow the dogs to run free. Those are the most popular days, and if you are a good owner, you will spend the whole time keeping your dogs out of people’s way.
Hikers. If you are on a bike, please slow down for hikers. They are not impressed with how fast you are flying past. Even if you are extremely skilled, it doesn’t feel good when a bike clatters past your 2-year-old child at top speed. Slow down; say hello. Tell them how many people are in your group.
Horses. Horses scare very easily. When they’re scared, people are maimed. Some of them have never before seen a bike. If you’re smart, you’ll stop and ask the rider if you need to dismount the bike. If you’re not so smart, you will be kicked and trampled. You will cause the rider to be kicked and trampled. Just be nice.
Right-of-way. Hikers have right-of-way. Riders who are climbing uphill have the right-of-way. If you believe in natural selection, horses have the right-of-way.
Get-out-of-the-way. If another rider has caught up to you, please get over, or pull over, so that they can pass. Strangers don’t want to ride with you.