Bike Report: Trail etiquette

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A trail that sees a lot of traffic is the mark of a community actively engaging with nature.

Ski Hut employee and experienced mountain biker Shawn Rooney said, “There’s a lot of walkers, a lot of hikers, runners, and it’s great to see. It’s great that everyone’s getting outside and enjoying the great outdoors. This is what makes Duluth special.”

Being one of many trail users comes with a set of responsibilities both in how we interact with the trail and each other.

"It’s about being a responsible trail user in terms of not riding on wet trails, knowing if the trails are going to be open," Shawn said, "But also, leave no trace. Making sure that you’re packing out anything that you’re bringing with you, and being respectful of those around you, too."

Shawn says the Twin Ports area is unique in that most trails are two-way, making it important to know who gets the right of way. When two mountain bikers meet, it goes to the uphill rider.

"It’s important to slow down for them because trying to start back up when you’re at a dead stop uphill is really difficult. So just kind of slow down, wait for them to pass, and then keep going on your way," Shawn said.

Most of our local trails are also multi-use. Mountain bikers are responsible for yielding to all other trail users.

Shawn said, "So that’s walkers, that’s people on horses. Sometimes when you’re going fast it’s hard to remember that, but it’s important to remember that, too."

When crossing paths, it’s also helpful to communicate what lies around the corner.

Shawn said, "If I’m riding with a group of two other people and I’m passing somebody else on the trail, because we have two-way trails, I want to inform the other people of how many riders are in my group just so they know there might be more people behind me, or, ‘Hey, there’s a family of three walking 200 yards back.’"

Keeping simple trail etiquette practices in mind goes a long way in maintaining a quality trail experience for all users.

"Just being friendly with each other. That’s the most important thing," Shawn said, "Go out and have some fun."

Ski Hut put together a comedic video about trail etiquette and they plan to host a contest for anyone wanting to make their own videos later in the summer.

Every Thursday, WDIO News will bring you a story about the sport of bike riding. We will focus on the trail systems in our viewing area as well as equipment and bike maintenance.

If you have a biking story that you think we should cover, e-mail Brandon Weathers at