Trail centres.

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  • Trail centres.
  • Premier Icon ahwiles
    Subscriber

    there were no trail centres when i started mtb'ing. just miles and miles and miles and miles of featureless arrow straight bridleways.

    trail centres are often up for a kicking here on STW, but i love them, i get to ride swoopy technical walker-free singletrack, what's not to like?

    i don't buy into any of this man-made vs natural rubbish – ALL bridleways / BOATS / footpaths are man made. i honestly don't see a distinction.

    Premier Icon bungalistic
    Subscriber

    Trying to vary my riding now and do some none trail centre routes, but as we regularely take out new folk with us trail centres are an easy safe option, plus we have loads within about an hours drive so it's just easy going there and playing on the fun sections when we can't be bothered to work out a route.

    Premier Icon neil853
    Subscriber

    ahwiles – totally agree

    mooman
    Member

    Are you using them as much now as you used to when you first started mtb-ing?

    When I first started they were the 1st choice every weekend. But I find that nowadays they are avoided at all costs during the weekend.

    clubber
    Member

    They didn't exist when I started either πŸ™‚

    I still happily ride them but if I was out mtbing away from home every weekend (which I'm only really doing a few times a year now), I'd definitely not be limiting myself to trail centres which are great for a fun ride with no map reading issues and guaranteed good riding but would get a bit repetitive IMO if you did them exclusively.

    Junkyard
    Member

    i honestly don't see a distinction.

    Does this help you see a distinction?

    PS i dont really care where people ride but know which I prefer

    +1 for ahwiles comments above.

    Trail centres have there place. It's all about variety.

    grumm
    Member

    there were no trail centres when i started mtb'ing. just miles and miles and miles and miles of featureless arrow straight bridleways.

    Doesn't really apply if you started riding in the Lakes. I suppose when I started I did tend to ride trail centres more though.

    Premier Icon stilltortoise
    Subscriber

    I love trail centres – mostly. The swoopy down and along bits are ACE but, whilst not afraid of a hard uphill slog, the "in the trees" fireroads can be dull as ditchwater. The Tarw trail at Coedy is a great example of good bits of trail ruined by too much dull fire-road

    …but then there's nothing like getting out the map and following a route

    trusz
    Member

    Trail centres are great but can be very repetative if you keep using the same one over and over and being marked out, they're not usually very open to interpretation. You couldn't really try one backwards unless you had a death wish!

    They're all a bit too 'safe' as well, especially if you like things a bit rougher. Try building your own elsewhere and the FC come in and take it down πŸ™„

    Premier Icon ahwiles
    Subscriber

    oh come on Junkyard, we can all be selective with our pictures.

    your top picture could be taken from Dalbeatie, and your lower pic' looks more fun than most bridleways.

    my point is: trail centres offer a chance to ride 20ish k of singletrack, which is tricky to reproduce anywhere in this country outside a trail centre; i don't understand the venom some people reserve for them. And yes, there are some loverly bits of bridleway.

    X

    (i can offer more than 20k of singletrack from my back door, and it's all a bit cheeky – does that make it more exciting?)

    Premier Icon miketually
    Subscriber

    I started MTBing in Swaledale πŸ™‚

    epicsteve
    Member

    I used to ride at Glentress fairly frequently but haven't been in years. Mainly that's because I've got decent riding from my door so I can't be bothered packing the bike in the car to ride elsewhere.

    tinsy
    Member

    Just about every weekend I get to ride my same local loop, I love it, but at the same time its getting a bit dull, & I get dog poo on my bike every time…

    I long for trail centres.. favorite trail Whites. πŸ™‚

    Trail centers are for a quick fix, even the climbs are manageable in the knowlage ever m hained is geting put into some singletrack later on.

    Did a week in the lakes last month, whilst its still realy good fun, a 20 mile loop probably included

    1 hour+ of hike a bike

    60 min on the road

    2+ hours of climbing

    less than 30min of downhill fun?

    Route was conniston -> Conniston old man (little arrow moor anyway) –> trover -> round the hill to Balwith ->Up the hill to Grizedale forrest and down (an addmiteldy awesome track) to the road.

    Now if it had been a trail center it would have been all as fun as the last decent (although maybe not as steep, rooty or rocky), but to be fair on the track, it was insane, just needed some boardwalk over the first bog, but then it'd be spoilt as it wouldnt be so secret πŸ™‚

    The downside of trail centers is their ability to flatter mediocher skills, going back out to the middle of nowhere and being confronted by a
    steep rocky roll in with a bend in it, if all you've ever seen is the relatively smooth one on McMoab and been told thats difficult, you'll struggle.

    Ian Haughton
    Member

    Likewise trail centres hadn't been invented when I started riding but as soon as I found one I was hooked!

    Ride both, love both for the fun and excitement they provide be it on my hardtail or full susser but tbh it's the company as I ride that helps make the ride just as much.

    I do however feel happier / safer riding trail centre stuff on my own than out in the wilds as your as good as guaranteed someone will pass you if you have mechanical or accident and stop and help.

    Premier Icon stilltortoise
    Subscriber

    They're all a bit too 'safe' as well

    I'm not sure I agree that trail centres are "safe". If you look at the piccies of "riding gone wrong" in a certain MTB mag, most of the accidents seem to be at trail centres. Even my friends – competent "old skool" riders – have hurt themselves more at a trail centre than on bridleways and the like. Trail centres invoke an air of indestructability. Great fun, but you still make a mess if you fall. Compare that to the Lakes' "natural riding" where most riders on STW would, I guess, err on the side of caution on a new trail rather than assume it can be ridden flat out.

    Still, I'm sure this has been debated umpteen times before

    sofatester
    Member

    I do however feel happier / safer riding trail centre stuff on my own than out in the wilds as your as good as guaranteed someone will pass you if you have mechanical or accident and stop and help.

    That’s why the wild riding is more rewarding even if you don't get the perfect singletrack descents. You have to have good navigation skills, fitness and experience to find the best bits. Not just a 4×4 and credit card!

    I ride and enjoy both BTW!

    Premier Icon Pook
    Subscriber

    Junkyard – can i have a prize for identifying your pics…..

    Walna Scar road, about half way down.
    Llandegla. Just getting back…

    :o)

    Premier Icon BigDummy
    Subscriber

    I do not have a car, so trail centres have never been a big part of my riding. I like them when I go, but compared to a big day out somewhere proper they don't push my buttons.

    Basically, I'm not an extreme sports person, I'm an outdoor person. πŸ™‚

    joolsburger
    Member

    I live midway between Swinley forest and Surrey hills and find I spend much more time at Surrey than Swinley, I also tend to avoid the beaten trails at Surrey. I like both but if I had to choose it would be Surrey everytime.

    1) Trails centres:

    Good in winter when the dirt trails are mush
    Good for twisty corners and narrowness
    Good for BMX features

    2) Singletrack bridleways and other non RoW trails

    The ultimate when conditions are good e.g. most of the good stuff in Somerset

    3) Bridleways used as farm tracks:

    Good for nothing except avoiding the road

    dasnut
    Member

    Caddon bank at Inners – say no more πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon allyharp
    Subscriber

    I use trail centres more than I did when I started riding.
    But that's because I don't drive, and it just happens that I now occasionally ride with somebody who does now and likes trail centres.

    Most of my riding was and is still from the back door.

    I've come to think that I like the adventure side to biking rather than the actual riding. I've had some great rides in areas which aren't anything technical, like Corrour, West Highland Way etc.

    I've only been to 5 trail centres (Carron Valley, Learnie, Glentress, Ae & Laggan) and the only one I really want to go back to is Laggan. Even then I'd still try and pair that with a day of natural riding around Aviemore.

    Ian Haughton
    Member

    That’s why the wild riding is more rewarding even if you don't get the perfect singletrack descents. You have to have good navigation skills, fitness and experience to find the best bits. Not just a 4×4 and credit card!

    Even an expert can get caught short, my old fella's done all the Monro's in Scotland and I've been lucky to do a few with him over the years but even he's been caught short on occasion and my point was for safety I'd rather do a trail centre ride if solo than out in wilds as it doesn't matter how fit or well you can navigate if you get 'unlucky' solo.

    BTW I do own a 4×4 and a cc too though πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon miketually
    Subscriber

    Most of my MTB riding is currently at my local trail centre, but I ride there and often ride the off-piste stuff, which is often basically just cleaned up deer tracks.

    Does that mean I'm riding unnatural trails? Are the old lead mining tracks that I ride in Swaledale natural trails?

    πŸ˜‰

    Edit: No 4×4, no CC.

    Premier Icon Bunnyhop
    Subscriber

    There was only one trail centre when I started – Coed Y Brenin. As centres go it's one of the tougher ones.

    Now though we live near some great natural stuff, so ride that 99% of the time.
    Just been to Dalby though for a change and I loved the red. My other favourite is Penmachno for a yearly trip.

    There are of course some trail centres which would rival natural riding, e.g. Northern trail centres in Scotland are completely different, than somewhere like Llandegla.

    I would say I now ride natural (non-trailcentres)more than I did as a beginner because of where we live and by choice.

    My local riding is Mendip and Qs and from this year I have started visiting the closest part of Exmoor. For some reason, I don't ever visit Bristol trails!

    Visiting Trail centres is still a "special" event for me. Technically, Cwmcarn is closer to home than Minehead but it is >Β£5 for the bridge and I'm tight.

    Pook, your nearly right, the Walna scar pic looks like its the bit pretty much at the top? Unless the climb realy does go up furthr, i usualy turn left after climbing that bit to decend through the old quarry.

    trusz
    Member

    I'm not sure I agree that trail centres are "safe". If you look at the piccies of "riding gone wrong" in a certain MTB mag, most of the accidents seem to be at trail centres. Even my friends – competent "old skool" riders – have hurt themselves more at a trail centre than on bridleways and the like. Trail centres invoke an air of indestructability. Great fun, but you still make a mess if you fall.

    I'm not denying even the best of riders can make silly mistakes and smash their face up on a rock or fall down a bank. I'm talking about downhill singletrack that lasts 15 seconds before you have to start pedalling again (i.e. most of the afan trails except for maybe the wall which has the better of the descents there imo. White's is a bit of a dissappointment).

    tazzymtb
    Member

    Hate riding trail centres on the whole because I hate people and all the macho Alpha male "look at my bike" shite that goes with it.
    Same reason why climbing walls are dreadful compared to the real thing.
    trail centres are great for beginners, or those who want a quick fix, but I'd rather have a propper big day out, rather than share multiple laps of a centre with others.

    Crag
    Member

    Sounds like you've got people skills issues there tazzy.
    And probably a shite bike as well.

    tazzymtb
    Member

    Crag, no people skills issues, I just can't see the point of wasting my play time on crowded trails filled with ****.
    Bike wise, 3 of the buggers from sub 20lb xc race rig to a 3.5k 25.5lb 5" full boinger, all in about 7k's worth of bikes so yeh they're probably shite.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Trail centres probably did exist when I started, I just never heard of them. But these days I love them, I've done some great "natural" riding (and of course that definition's total, total bull*hit, since even in "nature" we're usually riding on bridleways, manmade paths, sheep trails, planted forests, ancient drover's trails etc etc) but I just simply don't think it's as good as a good trail centre- you can get bits of riding which are as good as the best I've found on built trails, but do you get kilometer after kilometer of it?

    (I'm including all purpose built bike trails as "trail centres" here, even though some really aren't, they're just more like trail centres than they are natural riding)

    I agree you can lose your edge though, particularily if you're mainly riding just one place- same applies for "natural" riding too mind.

    simonralli2
    Member

    I don't know if it just me, but I live bang in the middle of the 7 Stanes so ride them a lot.

    I can't help think it is one or two people off here who over do this "look at all the people at trail centres who are all Look at me on my bling bike" business. Never come across it myself.

    Chatted to a very nice at Ae coffee shop this morning before setting off. Chatted to another lass while waiting for the Pyes towards the end of Kirroughtree. Saw a good few kids and jumpy types at Glentress and everyone was Hello and no don't mind us. Awesome.

    So yeah, I never have come across people who are all show offy.

    Trail centres are brill for people like me and there's plenty of riding away from them for people who dont. So what's the issue πŸ˜€

    cpon
    Member

    I'm a fan of all types of riding.

    Dalby is 45 minutes away and I ride there often. Over the last 15 years I've seen it grow from a forest with a couple of poorly marked tracks to a facility which has something to offer everyone. There are still bridleways/tracks and trails off the marked runs for those who like to do their own thing too.

    I can't knock the fact that you can buy spares from the bike shop before a ride, hose down the bike afterward and finish off with a warm brew and a slice of cake afterward.

    I occasionally visit Stainburn forest too which is home to the Boulder trail which recently had the air ambulance over to pic someone up who had fallen from the 6 foot high skinny wood work. I'm sure that rider won't be saying it's too safe.

    I've never noticed that 'Alpha male look at my bike stuff either'. When I barge people off the trail and grunt that their bike is sh*te they always seem to smile and apologise. πŸ˜‰

    C

    tazzymtb
    Member

    "Trail centres are brill for people like me and there's plenty of riding away from them for people who dont. So what's the issue"

    perfectly put, each to their own.

    TBH I've only seen trail centre nobbery on busy weekends. Very early morning or mid week it's always been ok, but I started riding in the 80's when it was a case of, "I have a map, those contour lines look exciting, let's go and see what's over there". For me personally it's always been about getting out and travelling big distances.

    Premier Icon allyharp
    Subscriber

    I'm willing to bet that people in England use trail centres more than those in Scotland – because we have proper hills and we can ride wherever we want πŸ˜›

    Mind you, that might not be so true since the majority of Scotland lives within 2 hours of the 7 stanes.

    Premier Icon stilltortoise
    Subscriber

    Hate riding trail centres on the whole because I hate people and all the macho Alpha male "look at my bike" shite that goes with it.

    never had that

    …climbing walls are dreadful compared to the real thing.

    yes, but I don't think this can fairly be compared to trail centres v "natural"

    trail centres are great for beginners, or those who want a quick fix,

    OR a great place for everyone to improve their skills without having to worry (too much) about a horse plodding up the hill around the blind bend (and let's not get started on the "you should be prepared for anything" argument that has done the rounds many times).

    Trail centres are great as is natural riding, but I guarantee I would never have learnt how to jump tabletops coming down Chapel Gate

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