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Rider/Trail Ratings?


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I did a search on this topic but nothing showed up so...

Has anyone ever developed some type of chart or rating system to determine riding skill levels or difficulties of trails? I know in the four-wheel drive world they classify off-highway trails according to their difficulty to traverse. I really am a dirt bike beginner and so know I can't keep up with some (most?) riders on challenging trails. When I see the postings that are looking for people to ride with I have no idea if I should show up or not. I'm nearly recovered from a broken collarbone and a few cracked ribs from a motorcycle mistake I made and I don't really want to do that again anytime soon. I also don't want to show up for a ride and cause people to constanly have to stop, double-back, or wait for me.

I think it would be beneficial if we could develop some sort of skill levels ratings and trail difficulties rating that could be included with the search for companions/riders. If I sign up to go four-wheeling on the off-highway trails in Moab, UT, the trails are all assigned difficulty ratings. Based on that I can find one I'm qualified for and I'm much less likely to hurt me, or my Cruiser. When I read this list, so many people talk as if they're only hours from being discovered by Team Suzuki, it makes me wonder if I'm one of the very few that travels the road at a slower pace (I own one of DrBill's "slow bikes").

What does the group think. Is it reasonable to start a data base on the various trails and some sort of definition for riding ability? I think that if I could designate my current "ideal" trail, it would be firm/packed dirt, very little sand, some hills, enough width to avoid most obstacles, near a paved road (so I could get there easily) and have some scenic value. Probably a 7 or 8 on a scale of 1 (very hard/techinical) to 10 (you could push a baby carriage over it). My riding ability would come in around 7 or 8 too. Scale being: 1 (Hundreds of races, thousands of jumps, and millions of miles) to 10 ("How does this helmet strap thingie work?").

Just a thought.

jim

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You don't have to be invited to ride the same trail the Colorado 500 is rode on Dr BillZ can tell you this is a challenging trail. I think it's one of the finest anywhwere.

Come on out to Colorado and ride it you'll see. George ๐Ÿ™‚:D :D

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I see what you are getting at now. If you come to Colorado most trails are marked as to difficulty. Just starting out stay as far from the Colo. 500 trail as ya can. Well not all of it there are lots of jeep trails that are easy. They have this for all levels of riders. Rampart is clearly marked for easy to expert. Don't know why evrywhere isn't like that. We hate seeing people hurt here. I've worked on trails I will never get to ride. They are just for foot traffic. Why can't some of the organizations that used to be awesome remember guys that come out and work never have signed any sheet. Just do my work and go home. I'm old enough to remember when the Sierra Club stood for good things. Sad what happened to them. George ๐Ÿ™‚

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Hey Jim, I can sympathize with your situation. I've been hesitant to ride with other people for the same reasons you listed. People who race or have raced classify themselves according to class (A - Expert, B - Intermediate, C - Novice, D - Beginner. I might be an F ๐Ÿ™‚) But I have no idea how much faster a B is than a D, thus can't accurately compare. It's a conundrum. I guess I'll have to go out and race to find out.

As for the trails, here in California, trails are designated with a symbol to denote difficulty. (Green Circle - Easy, Blue Square - More Difficult, Black Diamond - Most Difficult, and some Double Black Diamond - leave your strollers behind :D)

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Great idea, however most areas have every type of trail (1 to 10 degree of difficulty DOD).

So the key may be when/if you're considering going on some of these rides is to ask the "organizer"what type of ride it'll be, and to ask him if there"ll be any other 7's or 8's going that might want to ride with you.

That or you could use the tried and true A, B, C, D & E with pluses and minuses to indicate DOD of rides.

FYI- A being the toughest. (No comments from AA & AA riders please)

There's honestly nothing worst than going on a long tough ride and doing a lot of waiting. And nothing scarier than a 7 or 8 riding over their head. (For all involved). Or a 4 for that matter!

I think it's a damn good idea.

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Hey J,this can sometimes be tough.For instance some guys prefer different terain than others, so what seems hard or easy for them might be the oposite for you.I ride A class in one hare scramble series and do alright,then I switch states and the A guys kick my arse!The main thing is to have fun on the bike,if you stress about keeping up, the ride will suck!Try to learn from the faster guys,and if they are like most they will wait at the forks.Hell,if you're ever near Kansas City let me know,we'll hit some good trails.OUT! ๐Ÿ™‚

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I can't speak for anyone else, but in my opinion, you're always welcome to come along. If you're invited, make sure your host, (trail boss, leader?) knows you aren't an expert rider. It's not that hard to wait a few minutes for a slower member of a group, and you will get faster if you ride with faster riders. Many of the trails in N CA are marked similar to ski trails, ie. less difficult, more difficult, most difficult. I believe the most important thing is to have bark busters, (riding without a clutch or brake lever sucks) and make sure your bike is in good repair. No one likes waiting for someone to do trailside maintenance. Go riding, have fun.

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I feel your pain brother Jim. I am very much a novice rider, never raced--only started riding a few years ago and I don't ride the dirt often. I find my buddies waiting for me often on the trail. But they are cool. Unfortunately, everyone's definition of a beginner-expert, or 1-10, or A-F is different.

Even though my buddies are cool about it, it doesn't stop me from going faster than I'd like to try not to be such a burden. I'm probably totally lame, but I still dig riding and challenging myself, etc.

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