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Nárlee tréyl

Adjective, Noun

Gnarly Trail: a rugged and challenging off-road riding trail.

Example usage: Let's tackle the gnarly trail this weekend!

Most used in: Mountain biking communities in the western United States.

Most used by: Mountain bikers and triathlon cyclists.

Popularity: 8/10

Comedy Value: 5/10

Also see: Techy, Rocky, Rooty, Chunky,


What is a Gnarly Trail?

A gnarly trail is a mountain biking term used to describe a demanding and technical trail which requires a high level of skill and experience to navigate. These trails are typically characterised by steep drops, rocky terrain, sharp corners and other technical features that can be challenging for even veteran riders.

Gnarly trails are often seen as a badge of honour for mountain bikers, with many riders actively seeking out these trails to test their skills. In fact, according to the International Mountain Bicycling Association, there are over 400,000 miles of trails in the USA alone, with over half of these classified as ‘technical’.

If you’re a beginner, it’s important to note that gnarly trails are not for the faint of heart. It’s best to be cautious and start with easier trails until you build up your skills and confidence. With practice and dedication, you may eventually find yourself tackling the gnarliest of trails!


The Origin of the Cycling Term 'Gnarly Trail'

The term 'Gnarly Trail' first appeared in the early 1980s, originating in the mountain biking scene of California's Santa Cruz Mountains. It was used to describe a particularly challenging trail which featured a mix of technical features, including steep inclines, tight turns, and large rocks.

The term quickly began to spread to other mountain biking scenes around the world, and by the late 1980s, it had become a part of the popular cycling vocabulary. Today, the term is still used to describe a difficult and challenging trail, and is used by cyclists of all types, from mountain bikers to road riders.

So the next time you're out on a particularly difficult trail, you can be sure to hear the term 'Gnarly Trail' being used by other cyclists.

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