SingletrAction Trail News Update and Membership Drive

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It’s that time of year again when SingletrAction do their “membership drive”. There’s benefits for you and the trails – a win/win situation. The trails you love to ride cannot be maintained without the funds raised through membership.

Although sending a cheque seems positively prehistoric nowadays but like most stuff in the voluntary trail side of things, it takes time. Hopefully online payments will be sorted out by next year.

All those renewing their membership (or joining for the first time) will go into a draw for any one of the following prizes donated by Hope:

1st and 2nd out of the hat will each get a pair of Hope’s Pro2 hubs.

3rd – 6th will each get 6 bottles of Hope’s Sh1tshifer Bike Cleaner.

7th – 10th will each get 3 bottles.

Renewals are still the same fantastic price as last year (£15), you get the chance to win some top gear, club discounts will help you save those valuable pennies in these recessionary times and you’ll get that warm fuzzy feeling knowing that there’s a rider somewhere enjoying a little bit of trail somewhere thanks to you. All this for less than the cost of a decent chain, or a pair of brake pads.

Please dig deep, if it isn’t with a shovel it’s a good second delving into those pockets.

http://www.singletraction.org.uk/index.php

Tim Sellors (aka Cheeky Monkey) Chair of SingletrAction writes about things that have happened in the last year…

There’s often a lot going on in SingletrAction but like the mighty swan it’s all calm, sedate, imperial serenity up top whilst under the water, out of sight, those ugly, wrinkly legs are going like buggery. That’s us that is – sort of.

Dalby Forest
Gil keeps slugging away with his dedicated band of volunteers up in the “jewel in the crown” of FE England’s MTB centres (I may have made that bit up). Check out the forum for some recent reports on Dig Days at Crosscliffe.

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Congratulations also to Gil for landing the prestigious honour of hosting the Single Speed UK Championships (SSUK) at Dalby on 6th and 7th June 2009 (www.ssuk09.com).

Guisborough Forest
I got a pretty nihilistic reply to my original round-robin email requesting an update for this newsletter from Tom, our Head of Trail Design for Guisborough. He’s been at it for a long time now and I guess I caught him at the wrong time. Subsequently some folks popped up on the forum asking about digging and this update is far more positive:

It needs a lot of things doing in a lot of places. Most of the singletrack is pretty much wrecked from overuse/no maintenance/logging/etc.

Silton Downhill
Don’t really know what’ going on with Silton. The young fella (Ed) who was behind it has pretty much dropped off my map and the dedicated site folded as well. We offered to include some info on our main site but nothing was ever forthcoming.

Only so much time in the day so not followed it up for a while. Ed, if you’re out there and want to tell us stuff please do.

As far as I know FE still give it informal backing. I think that means they allow the track to exist and persist but don’t openly promote it or support it in any other significant way.

I think as well he got pretty heavily involved in the stuff at Carlton Bank. There’s only so much time to go around and it’s pretty typical of sites that once the one keen / dedicated / organised person stops being involved everything else quickly grinds to a halt.

Think as well there was some forestry work and that may have trashed a few things. I’ll stop guessing now 

Wykeham Downhill
We were involved briefly with this during 2009. I say briefly although all the going around took quite a while. Initially a group of people keen to preserve and develop the existing, unofficial track in these woods got in touch with us to see if we could help with FE who were promising to put it all “beyond use” (how very WMD ;-)

There was a bit of back and forth with FE and us, trying to reach the right person etc but the eventual upshot was that they wouldn’t support a trail at Wykeham. This was mostly due (I was told) to the following; no scope to promote public access as part of their lease with the landowner (woods not owned by FE), poor historical relations with unofficial trail builders, tree damage and no resources to support trail development.

To the best of my knowledge the track got levelled and all the features taken out in the end. A real shame.

In discussions with FE they did say that a “facility” was available for DHers in Dalby. Anyone that knows the “facility” in question will know it leaves more than a little to be desired ;-) I think FE are missing a trick with the lack of DH development. More people riding bikes is good and potentially more revenue / them fulfilling the wider Government objectives about exercise, access etc. To be honest it sounds like folks at FE don’t quite “get” what DH involves. Maybe sometime there’ll be chance to open their eyes to it.

Scarborough Project
One good thing that came out of all this though is that the guys trying to get Wykeham accepted have also talked to Scarborough Town Council. On the back of the success of the Fat Face Urban DH race this year the Council seems keen to support some form of permanent MTB trail development. We’ve tried to help the guys with whatever advice we can give, put them in touch with others (like CTC and IMBA) and offer space / promotion on our website.

It’s early days but fingers crossed something great will come of it.

Stainburn Woods
Ah, Stainburn, the love of my life. My dirty, rocky, woody little mistress. I make no excuse for going on about this place in great detail. I’ve been digging there for nearly 5 or 6 years (lost count), been Point of Contact with FE for only a little less time and still get out almost every “first Sunday of the month” for digs. Nevermind all the dog walking, pruning, clearing and the current love-of-my-life that is the Pump Track.

Once in a while I also ride but the less said about those embarrassing escapades the better.

Boulder Trail
Nothing much happening here except ever increasing levels of use and folks who don’t seem to get the ethos “if there’s a rock ride over it” wearing their own grooves and causing some of the original features to fall into disuse. Plans are afoot in 2009 to address this and reinstate the trail as one of the more technical in the UK.

Pump Track
Almost a personal project of a few diehards / fools / compulsives the PT has continued to be tweaked on and off over the last year. Not that anyone without an obsessive interest would really notice. A recent impromptu jam session with riding gods and a bunch of kids confirmed that PT’s really are the salvation of mankind and a universal panacea for all ills.

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Actually it just rocked, plain and simple. Everyone should have one in my opinion. Plans to extend it are afoot for the 2009/10 season.

Norwood Edge Trails
The big news of the last year was that the “informally-supported-by-FE” trails in this side of the woods were decimated during thinning and felling works. This was, without getting too sappy, heartbreaking for the significant number of people who have been riding and maintaining them ever since the first STA trailbuilders brashed a rough loop way back in the day before building even commenced on the Boulder Trail.

On a more positive note FE have confirmed we can go in and reclaim the trails in Norwood once they’re finished felling. We’ll generally follow the same lines as before (baring unavoidable or obvious tweaks to improve flow and avoid the disturbance of the logging works). There’s also another phase of logging to com in the near future, so watch out for signs and big machines.

Descent Line
This continues to be a popular section since Hugh Clixby finished his excellent work last year. It’s had a lot of coverage in the press and has drawn a lot of the “big bike / DH” type of riders into the woods, principally because a couple of mags called it a downhill course. Generally I think anyone coming for that will be disappointed (although the numbers still seem to be high). Whatever, riding bikes is all great.

The top of the DL (the section in the last area of standing trees / with the Red Loop) got a lot of tweaking earlier in the year. When we planned it out with FE for Hugh to build we’d followed the line of many moons ago by the Army cadets. Unfortunately that was originally intended as a climb and so the easy win of a pre-existing, half dug route actually became a bit of a nightmare with corners blowing out, riders cutting wide and a general lack of flow. Several digs later and it’s been extended slightly, corners re-shaped and surfaced, more kickers and a cracking catch berm just out of the woods. Seems to work quite well now. We’re also trialling some timber treatment involving epoxy and sand as kindly supplied by Andy Willcock at Amogen (www.amogen.com ) on the Cole Chute. Holding up well so far.

Red Loop
This got a little TLC but the majority of work was spent putting in a technical skinny line. Knacker was keen to try chipped logs in the eternal search for a cheap and viable northshore surface that would be acceptable to FE. So the bastard love child technique which resulted was universally referred to as “knackerisation”.

Descent Line Extension
After the aforementioned section was finished we kicked off the long awaited Descent Line Extension. At the moment most of the trail bed’s dug, a lot is rocked and some of the technical bits have been built. We hope to be done sometime in the summer.

Congratulations also to Knacker (Stainburn’s HoTD) and Lib (Membership Secretary) who tied the note in true style earlier this year. Best wishes from all at SingletrAction.

Wharncliffe Woods
Steve Peat held his regular Weekender charity do during Summer 2008 and (like the year before) Simon Mander (HoTD for Wharncliffe) manned a stand and flew the flag for SingletrAction. Unlike last year though a bunch of us from Stainburn went down to lend support and enter the fun race category. We got a lot more traffic this year what with being between the hot dog stand and merchandise tent ;-)

A good day was had by all and there was a lot of interest shown in the trails and our efforts. The course was a great example of why Wharncliffe needs some serious trail construction – muddy soup!

Si and others continue to be a bit frustrated with the apparent inertia at FE regarding development of Wharncliffe. DH development has passed over to yet more new faces since Ben and Rich decided to avoid the hassle and concentrate on their own stuff. Here’s wishing the new guys every success.

Project X
A “Project X” has emerged on a site Sheffield City Council wants to see developed. There’s a lot of enthusiasm for this and quite a bit of support from the Council so here’s hoping it all happens. Si’s quite keen for it as they’re being promised a reasonably free reign, tools, materials and plant assistance. A trailbuilder’s dream!

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