the Follow the Dog and Monkey trails at Cannock chase are some of the best way marked trails close to where i live. They are also very close to the massive conurbation that is Birmingham and the Black country which means they are very accessible by lots of people. this is great and it's brilliant to see so many people out riding their bikes on a well designed trail.
However, this close proximity and the fairly easy technicality of the routes together with the local strata the actual ground is made of does have it's drawbacks. it's been well documented that Cannock suffers from braking bumps. Braking bumps are holes in the trail where someone has panic braked, locked the back wheel and dragged it locked up into and around the corner. This action digs into the trail and hollows it out. everytime this happens the hole gets bigger, riders chose another line to avoid the hole, lock the brake and make another depression, eventually they join up and the whole entrance tot he corner or berm is wrecked. as i mentioned the relatively soft, sandy and stoney ground (think river bed) has a large part to play in this too but i think it has a lot to do with poor technique. i say this because it's not the big tight bermed corners that are affected it's also the easy slow open corners too which would suggest either inexperience of rider or poor skills. the area of cannock chase is a vast open playgound and away from the marked trails there are a lot of "off piste" trails that are used by riders who've got some experience and even though those routes are much more challenging technique wise they rarely if at all suffer from the braking bump curse and these trails surfaces are made up similar natural materials as the way marked stuff.you also don't see this at other trails such as those in scotland or the forest of dean.
this all sounds a bit moany and superior as if i'm an expert rider, I'm not. but also i'm not a beginner and i know that proper cornering technique is to brake before the corner then off the brakes to carry your speed out of the exit. obviously this is best case scenario and we all get it wrong sometimes and we were all beginners at some point.
what i dislike though is that riding fast into these deep holes at speed does my back no good at all. i'm used to riding a rigid forked bike on bumpy terrain, i pretty much do it all year round so i have good technique to absorb the impacts through my arms, shoulders and to some extent legs but Cannock goes beyond this unless i slow right down and frankly, where is the fun in that?
so as i writet this nursing at least one pulled muscle between my shoulder blades can i request cannock riders please brake carefully, I'll thank you and i'm sure the trail maintenance guys who have to repair these holes will thank you too.