||How UtahMountainBiking.com Reviews Trails
Who reviews the trails? Bruce reviews
the bike trails all by himself. Sometimes in the past he had the company
of Jackie, the biking-crazed Jack Russell
terrier. On trail, Bruce packs a camera, GPS unit, and a paper for notes.
Bruce with Jackie at Draper's Corner Canyon, around the
|How does Bruce pick trails for review? The goal is
to have information on every trail in Utah that's worth riding. First, Bruce
needs to know the trail exists. Sometimes it's chatter on the internet.
Or a post by a trail-building organization. Sometimes, it's a car with a
bike rack parked where there wasn't a bike trail before. (So tell Bruce if
you know a good trail that
should be on this site!)
In 1998 on Amasa Back, overlooking the Colorado, L to R:
Dominic, Bruce, Mike, Matt, Chad, Gary. Yeah, this website goes back that
How are the trails mapped?
Bruce rides the trails with his Garmin. For some trail systems, Bruce has to explore many forks and
cow-paths to find the right ride. Sometimes it takes 30 miles of pedaling
to document a 12-mile ride for the web site. Bruce takes notes on paper
or with a digital recorder, and stops frequently to take photos.
Digital recorder in Snow Canyon in 2001.
|Who pays for all this? Through the Lehi
UtahMountainBiking bike shop, Mike
provides bike fix-ups and occasional freebies. And in exchange for
lots of advertising, the shop pays the web-hosting and internet access
fees. But Bruce pays his own expenses to ride the trails, which can
include gas, fluids, calories, lodging, and sometimes replacement bike parts.
Old heavy Garmin 12XL on Bruce's hardtail Specialized in
1999, back before anybody was using GPS data.
Who does the web programming? Bruce writes
the trail pages. The track file from Bruce's Garmin Edge 800 GPS unit gets
downloaded to his laptop. That big track gets chopped, tweaked, and
cleaned up. The result is an area file containing multiple trails to
create the map, and clean GPS track files for you to download as suggested
Depending on the terrain, the trail map may be satellite
or topo. Bruce makes both a low-res
overview map for the web page, and a high-resolution printable map to take
with you. And yes, there are still some old hand-drawn "I think I
went thataway" maps on the trail pages.
Figuring out a ride of the Bonneville
Shoreline back in the old days. Yeah, on paper.
How long does all this take? Creating a page for a new trail -- research, travel time,
riding the trail, editing the photos, tweaking the GPS files, creating the
maps, writing the trail description plus the by-the-mile riding instructions,
and formatting the web page -- averages about 18 hours per trail.
Bruce doesn't get paid for this time.
Over the past 18 years, Bruce has created at least 20 new trail pages per
year. There are now over 400 trails on this site, which represents more than 500 eight-hour work
days. Add the fix-it and first aid sections and... Well, it's not a
surprise that nobody else is giving this sort of information away for free.
Bruce mapping the Rocky Tops trail in 2014.