Digger’s Diary – Week 3

Owen dumping his load.

This is my third week of working on the new trail building project at Lee Quarry, Singletrack’s local trail centre. If you’ve never ridden there, it’s an old quarry near Bacup in Lancashire, that’s being given a new lease life as a bike park and when completed it will be one of the best places to ride in the north of England.

Black skills line with berms & jumps

All the materials are on hand and the site lends itself to the creation of challenging technical trails. To help riders to enjoy what’s on offer here, a skills area is being developed, which can be ridden in graded stages to progress riding skills. There are different lines which will give riders the chance to get to grips with riding berms, jumps, rocks, drop offs and balance beams as well as plenty of features to practice pumping the trail.

Me & Leon enjoying the sunshine & a stroll up a berm with the wacker plate

Unfortunately we’ve not had much sunshine on the job so far. Frozen ground and snow have delayed putting the finishing touch to the majority of trails that have been shaped by the diggers.

Rowan Sorrell, designer and boss, raking the final surface of a berm

There have been times when we’ve been scraping snow off the new trails to be able to work on them. Today it has become so bad, with the most recent snowfall and dire weather forecast, that we’ve had to cancel working for the rest of the week. All being well, we’ll be back there on Monday to put in the last of the work.

It's a bit unfair that Andy gets the digger and I get the shovel

It’s not all berms and red hot downhill action though. There are two new climbs being built, including the stone causeway that is opening up a whole new area of the quarry, as yet unused by the existing trails. Andy has built the trail out of rock slabs using the digger bucket like someone using their hand with bits of Lego. I’ve been hurling rocks around and filling all the gaps in between the rock slabs with dirt. It takes skill you know.

It's going to be a technical first climb

A finished bit of the first climb

The must have for every bike playground at the moment is a pump track. Sean built this one with his digger in three days from scratch and pretty much ‘freehand’. Leon and Rowan helped give it the final raking, wacker plating and a good old touch of the back of the shovel to seal the surface. Several dickheads have already ridden on the surface as well as on other trails that we’ve put in, despite them being closed off with warning tape. This just damages the surface and means we have to do repairs and leave the trails to dry again. All of which delays the time when we can all enjoy the trails. If you are up there are see people doing this, please tell them to stop. Tell them I said!

Pump track under construction

Rollers taking shape

Grinning fool in shorts giving it the finishing touches

Finished, and I think you'll agree AWESOME

All of this new stuff is going to feature in the Singletrack Classic Weekender (link) on 3-4 July, when you will be able to race your mates and share in the good vibes of Lee Quarry in a uniquely Singletrack style.

High Vis......FTW!

Back on Track (link) is the company responsible for the design and build of these trails. All of the team are mountain bikers who ride to a high standard and so have a really good idea of what is going to work on the ground for other mountain bikers to ride.

Click here to find out more about Ed’s “Great Rock” mountain bike skills courses