An alternate line taken by a trail user off of the trail. These can include shortcuts, trail widening, ride arounds, or any alternate line not envisioned or constructed by the trail builder.
The act of riding or walking off trail, and creating trail braids. This can be done by those who are trying to cheat on Strava times, unconcerned about drainage and maintenance issues, or those who want to bypass certain features or sections and ‘need’ to create a new trail.
An inconsiderate person who braids trails.
In a sentence: Did you BRAID that trail? BRAIDING is for hair, not trails. I don’t ride with a BRAIDER.
Always remember that every braid you take means more environmental impact around the trail and wastes valuable trail builder time blocking and repairing it while they could be working on way cooler things. Most builders are volunteers and they’d way rather be building fun features than doing maintenance like braid blocking.
Trail braids often lead to significant trail erosion issues, destruction of water management features, or trail widening, all of which reduce the trail quality for other users. Yes, you may think your new line is better, but there’s probably a myriad of reasons why the builder selected the current line. Did you know about the ephemeral stream? Have you seen the roots just under the surface of your new shortcut, and did you know its a protected species of tree?
While trail braiding is not endemic to mountain bikers, ask any advocate or builder about the societal and perception impacts of trail braiding as well; its easy for land managers to not want more trails constructed if we don’t respect the ones we have.
So support your builders; ride trails not braids.