Mountain Bikers Yield to All

In recent years some mountain bikers are ruining things for all mountain bikers in the Nambé Badlands and causing long-lasting damage to the area.

Please help us protect the fragile land of the Nambé Badlands and Sombrillo Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC).  Please demonstrate, and promote responsible mountain biking.  Please follow the well-established rules of trail etiquette:

    • YIELD TO HIKERS: Mountain bikers must yield to all hikers.  This means slow down, get off your bike if necessary, and let the hikers pass.  Say hello.  Give hikers a heads up about your presence.  Do not ride off the single-track trail to go around hikers — this damages the sensitive soil crusts and gives mountain bikers a bad name.
    • YIELD TO HORSES:  Mountain bikers must yield to horses.  Bikes can scare horses.  Slow down, engage politely with the horseback rider, ask the horseback rider what works best for them. Sometimes they prefer you move on by quickly, other times they want to calm their horse down before you get too close to them.
    • YIELD TO UPHILL MOUNTAIN BIKE RIDERS:  Unless a trail is explicitly signed with a downhill/uphill direction, the uphill mountain biker has the right of way.  This means let them ride by you. If there is no room for them to clear you, then get off your bike and let them pass.

When you are an inconsiderate mountain biker, other mountain bikers pay a price.  We risk having the area closed to bikes when you anger hikers, horseback riders, or dog walkers; or when you damage the natural resources in the area.  We have even had other mountain bikers recommend closing the Sombrillo ACEC to bikes due to mayhem of late!

Please spread the (polite) word to any irresponsible mountain bikers that you see.  Remember, that some inexperienced riders may not know better (and unfortunately there can be some bad apples that are well aware of the rules they are breaking).

The more responsible mountain bikers we have riding in the area, the better it will be for everyone.

The famous trail triangle of the International Mountain Biking Association lays out the expected rules of mountain biking. Experienced mountain bikers know these rules and follow them.  When you do not follow these, you blow it for the rest of us.

Mountain bike damage to cryptobiotic soil in the Sombrillo ACEC, April 2021.

Mountain bike damage to cryptobiotic soil in the Sombrillo Area of Critical Environmental Concern (April 23, 2021)

Set a Good Example

The more you can set a good example and be respectful and friendly to other users of the Nambe Badlands the more trails will remain open and the more we can get support from the BLM and other stakeholders.

  1. Do not cut switchbacks
  2. Always stay on existing and authorized trails
  3. Say hello and be polite to others
  4. Slow down when approaching others.  Politely let them know you are present.
  5. Respect others experience in the Nambe Badlands
  6. Leave cattle gates as you found them
  7. Think of the future impacts when sharing location information on social media.
  8. Be a steward for responsible mountain biking.
  9. Have fun, be polite, and be respectful of others.

Follow the International Mountain Bike Association’s well-established guidance on mountain biking.

Undisturbed cryptobiotic soil crust in the Sombrillo Area of Critical Environmental Concern, Nambé Badlands

Resource damage in the Sombrillo ACEC from illegal mountain bike trail construction, 2021

Illegal mountain bike trail constructed (March 2021) in the Sombrillo Area of Critical Environmental Concern.  The trail builders had no authorization to build this trail, none of the required environmental assessments were made before any construction began, the trail was irresponsibly cut through fragile desert cryptobiotic soils and sensitive ridge lines.

Mountain Bike Clubs

Join a mountain bike club to meet other riders and learn the rules of ethical mountain biking.

Join the International Moutain Bike Association (IMBA) to learn and become a mountain bike ambassador.

To join your local IMBA chapter see these Northern New Mexico Mountain Bike Clubs:

Los Alamos Tuff Riders

Santa Fe Fat Tire Society

Taos Mountain Bike Association

If members of your mountain bike club are setting bad examples (i.e. creating illegal trails and associating themselves with your club ), your club can be seen as condoning their actions.

Remove the bad apples from your club if they do not change their behavior!

Actively speak out publically against illegal trail building and irresponsible mountain biking. Carefully monitor what bikers post on your club’s social media feeds.

Others are watching, so please set a good example.

This excellent article shows how your mountain biking behavior can or cannot damage the environment or give mountain bikers a bad name.

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