I'd be interesting to read people thoughts on the 'evolution of bike dedicated forests'.. Personally, i've got mixed opinions of them..
What i have noticed, especially in N.Wales, is that since bike dedicated forests have opened, the odds of bumping into a family of 6 on a bridleway has dropped significantly. I reckon the vast majority of beginners and intermediate level bikers that struggled on the gnarly 'wild' uphill routes have opted for the relative ease of the hardpacked man-made/ enhanced forest and singletrack trails.
I have only used the Marin Trail once, it was late afternoon on a week day and it was still uncomfortably busy with traffic blocking the majority of the downhill sections. I can appreciate dedicated forest routes as a training aid and to evolve techniques, but are they starting to pull people away from considering the more 'wild' rides that take time and preparation? Are we becoming Americanised in the sports department as well where we want it all handed to us on a plate? Rather than using dedicated forests, I tend to opt for the fusion of rideable ascent, carry-ups and technical descents on the bigger hills which offer a level of uncertainty and most of all tranquity and awesome views. Is it just me or is there becoming a definite distinction between the 'traditionalist' mountainbiker and the dedicated 'forest rider'? Is the ease of arriving at a dedicated forest with a cafe, cleaning facilities, parking and a pre-designed trail starting to remove the element of adventure from the realms of the biker?
Have a great weekend everyone and remember to do everything in your powers to keep Bridleways open..