Monday, April 14, 2014

Open meeting, free beer!

Join us on Wednesday, April 16th from 6-7pm at Sweetwater Brewery for our next chapter meeting! Meet your 2014 board of directors and learn about some exciting new projects we're working on, as well as status updates for Sope Creek. 

When you arrive at the brewery, check-in first at the main lobby counter to pick up a free cup or purchase a pint glass. You'll have 6 tickets for tastings regardless of which you choose. 

Feel free to get a beer from the Tasting Room before you head upstairs to the Couch Room (where the SORBA meeting is taking place). You’re free to head back to the Tasting Room throughout the meeting to get another beer, and when the meeting concludes feel free to join go downstairs for the rest of the tour & tasting hours. Last call is at 7:15pm, and we close up at 7:30pm. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Action Alert! South Rockdale Meeting back on, this Monday at 6 P.M.!


OK Guys and Gals, It’s time to show your support for South Rock Trails (SRT)!!

We have made some great progress in getting hiking, Mountain Biking and Equestrian trails into South Rockdale Community Park off Fairview Road in Rockdale County! IMBA/SORBA and Rockdale County Parks and Recreation SPLOST have appropriated $12,500 for the IMBA Trail Solutions design proposal. This proposal would be a comprehensive trail design for the 276 acre park and adjacent DeCastro property. We have a Memorandum of Understanding ready to be signed, and Parks and Recreation is ready to move forward.

The process is being delayed by the Rockdale Board of Commissioners (RBOC) to review issues of trail sustainability. The RBOC and others in county government are concerned the mountain biking, hiking and equestrian community will not follow through on trail maintenance resulting in the trails falling into disrepair.

At the upcoming Parks and Recreation meeting on February 17th, we will have a chance to present our plans on sustainable trails that include a regular maintenance program. We need everyone possible to come out and show your support for the first Mountain Bike trails in a Rockdale County Park! This is a chance to partner with the county and create a trail system that will provide enjoyment and challenge for Rockdale County and the Atlanta metro area for many years to come!

Come out and show your support!

RSVP to this event on Facebook at:
www.facebook.com/events/446396682155001/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

Friday, February 14, 2014

Schedule Changes and Open Meeting!

Hello All- 

We have a couple of changes to our schedule and a reminder. 

The work party for tomorrow has been rescheduled for next Saturday, 2/22 due to the super wet conditions at Sope Creek. We will meet at the Columns parking lot at 9 A.M. on the 22nd, weather permitting.

The meeting for South Rockdale Park that was this coming Monday at 6 P.M. is being rescheduled to a future date because the Chairman of the Rockdale County Board of Commissioners will not be able to attend. Stay tuned for the new date, we need your support!

Our open meeting is this Wednesday the 19th, at 6 P.M. at Sweetwater Brewery in the fabled Couch Room. Ya'll come!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A plea for responsible riding

This is definitely one of the wettest, coolest winters in recent years. It's certainly the worst since we added the 6 miles of new singletrack at Sope Creek. With that in mind, we'd like to take a minute and make a plea for common sense riding at one of the most visited trail systems in the region.

Those are frozen tire tracks below the snow
Let me first explain the situation: guys and gals, there are way too many people riding the Sope Creek singletrack trails when it's far too wet. With temperatures dipping near or below freezing many nights during the winter, the moisture gets stuck in the clay, unable to escape. Many of the gullies and hillsides in the Sope trail system never see direct sunlight and remain several degrees below the high temperatures for the day. These are called "freeze-thaw" conditions. The soil (moisture) freezes at night, thaws during the day (becoming peanut buttery mud), and can't evaporate because of the low temperatures. These are perhaps the WORST conditions a biker could ride in with regard to damaging the trails.

This spot is probably 4 feet wide, 10-15 feet long, on a hillside
that should drain better than the tire tracks allow
When you ride through this mud, it makes your tire tracks form ridges in the mud. Those ridges trap any liquid water and cause more mud. It also keeps the trail from draining properly, as it was designed. Even SORBA Woodstock, with their army of amazing trail workers and one of the strictest trail management protocols in the area deals with this too. Last week our chapter president watched dozens of riders happily thrashing through the mud at Sope. Hikers see this. The rangers see this. Other bikers are vindicated by seeing other riders doing the same things they are. It contributes to the never ending user conflicts we have at this trail system when they see the damage we do. Sorry to say it but Sope is under the national spotlight as one of the only singletrack trail systems in the country where mountain biking is allowed on National Park property. There is a chance much, much more epic singletrack will open up around the city and country if we can put our best wheel forward.

The temperature when I took this was just below freezing - the snow is insulating the water
The problem with Sope Creek is that it's heavily visited by all manner of land mammals. Being on National Park Service property it can't really be closed, just like you can't really close the trails in the National Forest. But those trails see so few riders by comparison to our urban ride centers that even if you did ride when it's sloppy, the effect is not as exponential as it is here. "So, why doesn't SORBA Atlanta just fix the trails?!" We are a small group of volunteers. There are 5 of us on the chapter board, all with full-time jobs, families, and schedules that change constantly. We do our best, but we also have other responsibilities, like working with the City of Atlanta and Trails Solutions to design a ride center in Southeast Atlanta. We need help.

It's not cheap either. Besides the opportunity cost of our time, our president spent $500 of his own money on a ton of rock so we could armor the really awful parts of Sope Creek. Those spots are holding well, but it took us two work parties to finish and it barely put a dent in the trail system as a whole. Our last two work parties we had about 10-20 volunteers show up, but 2/3s of those were hikers lending a hand for the benefit of the whole trail system. At Trailblazer volunteer meetings with the NPS, there are rarely more than 2-3 mountain bikers compared to 15+ hikers. At our last public chapter meeting (at a brewery nonetheless, with free beer), only our board members came.

We armored this section during the last work party and it's holding well. 
We have ordered "trail closed" signs which should be installed in the next couple of weeks at the major trailheads. But we also know that many people will not see those. Plus we wont be putting a gate down like some other systems can. We need people to ride responsibly. Even we can't predict when the soil is going to be too gnarly to ride all the time. There will be many times that 90% of the trails are perfect and 10% are godawful. Use your judgement people. We've also implemented the Twitter hashtag #sopestatus to try and provide even more users the ability to comment on trail conditions. Anyone can use that hashtag to get the word out that there's a massive mud puddle near CS14, or a tree is down at mile 1.5 from Sibley Pond. So please try to check our Twitter feed for the most up to date information.

If you get out there and find that your tires are making impressions in the soil, go ride the gravel fitness loop, or go for a trail run. Send a Tweet if that's your thing so others know. And please, join IMBA-SORBA and contribute your time to help us maintain the trails. Can't come to a work party? Come to a meeting! Can't come to either? Then just be a good steward of the trails and spread the word to fellow riders that riding wet trails, particularly in the winter, is not acceptable. There are great dirt roads in Chattahoochee Hill Country and in North Georgia that you can ride in all conditions to escape the pavement. But please help us by paying attention to the impact you're having on the trails we all ride.

In the future, the leaders of the chapter have a vision of Sope trails that are so well-engineered that they really don't have to close. But it's going to take a lot of help to get there. In the meantime, we hope you will join us at some of our bi-monthly meetings to find out more about work parties, rides, and future developments. Our next one is this coming Wednesday, February 19 at Sweetwater Brewery. Thank you for reading and we hope to see all of you there!! Did I mention the free beer?

-Daniel Jessee
 SORBA Atlanta chapter VP

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Action Alert: Come Support New Trail Development at South Rockdale Park!



OK Guys and Gals, It’s time to show your support for South Rock Trails (SRT)!!

We have made some great progress in getting hiking, Mountain Biking and Equestrian trails into South Rockdale Community Park off Fairview Road in Rockdale County! IMBA/SORBA and Rockdale County Parks and Recreation SPLOST have appropriated $12,500 for the IMBA Trail Solutions design proposal. This proposal would be a comprehensive trail design for the 276 acre park and adjacent DeCastro property. We have a Memorandum of Understanding ready to be signed, and Parks and Recreation is ready to move forward.

The process is being delayed by the Rockdale Board of Commissioners (RBOC) to review issues of trail sustainability. The RBOC and others in county government are concerned the mountain biking, hiking and equestrian community will not follow through on trail maintenance resulting in the trails falling into disrepair.

At the upcoming Parks and Recreation meeting on February 17th, we will have a chance to present our plans on sustainable trails that include a regular maintenance program. We need everyone possible to come out and show your support for the first Mountain Bike trails in a Rockdale County Park! This is a chance to partner with the county and create a trail system that will provide enjoyment and challenge for Rockdale County and the Atlanta metro area for many years to come!

Come out and show your support!

RSVP to this event on Facebook at:
www.facebook.com/events/446396682155001/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

UPDATED: Chapter Holiday Party and Chapter Meeting

Join us on Wednesday, December 18th from 5:30 to 6:30 at Sweetwater Brewery for our holiday party and final 2013 chapter meeting! Meet your 2014 board of directors and learn about some exciting new projects we're working on, as well as status updates for Sope Creek.

When you arrive at the brewery, check-in first at the main lobby counter to pick up a free cup or purchase a pint glass. You'll have 6 tickets for tastings regardless of which you choose.

Feel free to get a beer from the Tasting Room before you head upstairs to the Couch Room (where the SORBA meeting is taking place). You’re free to head back to the Tasting Room throughout the meeting to get another beer, and when the meeting concludes feel free to join go downstairs for the rest of the tour & tasting hours. Last call is at 7:15pm, and we close up at 7:30pm.

If you have any questions please emails us at sorba.atlanta@gmail.com

Monday, October 21, 2013

Trail Status for Sope Creek

Update: we have added a Twitter feed to this website that only shows updates to the trail status of Sope Creek. You can use that to help make your decision whether to ride or not.

The park itself does not close for rain, however riding on wet trails damages the surface and causes long-term trail sustainability problems. Please use your best judgement when riding trails and check this website for the most recent weather conditions, with specific focus on the rainfall: http://www.rainwise.net/weather/TWC30339. In general, if there has been .25" or more in the last day, it's probably not the best idea to ride. If you get to the trail, you can tell if you shouldn't be riding if your tires are making visible indentations in the trail surface. We'll update the most current first hand information via our Twitter feed https://twitter.com/sorbaatlanta. If you're dying to get on your bike and ride some dirt, the 3.1-mile gravel fitness loop is always open.