Building a MTB trail

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  • Building a MTB trail
  • Premier Icon Bushwacked
    Subscriber

    For as long as I can remember there has always been this whole divide between people who love trail centres and people who hate them.

    I’ve never been drawn to them but at the same time don’t mind them either.

    So I was wondering, if someone was going to build a MTB trail what would you make sure was included to make it the best?

    For me it would have to have the following:

    -Some good climbs (technical)
    -Followed by some level bits to get my breath back
    -Followed by some technical / non technical descents
    -Have to have a cafe / burger van at the end
    -Great views for some obligatory photo ops
    -Optional loop for some hardcore riding (either climbs or super technical descents)
    -Be on my doorstep

    What about you? What would you like to see in an ideal world to make you a fan of a purpose built trail?

    smoke
    Member

    A section with no pedaling and no braking.

    For an hour.

    soma_rich
    Member

    Most of what you described cannot be made. You have to find the location that fits that bill. If you are looking for the right location why does it have to be called a trail center?

    Admitadly most good places to ride in the UK have Trail centers cited on them.

    Not sure what my point is.

    What would i like. somewhere you can get to on the train or bus. I hate having to drive to ride at places.

    Premier Icon Bushwacked
    Subscriber

    Most of what you described cannot be made

    Soma-rich – I’m talking in an ideal world, not actually about building something. Although I’ve ridden purpose built trails with the aspects I’ve mentioned – well all except for the last one as the trails I’m thinking of were in NZ.

    I am just curious to understand what people would want from a purpose built trail as I don’t understand why there is general dislike for them. I’ve ridden some trail centres which are loads better than my local trails and vice versa.

    This is just up the road from me. Built with volunteer labour, council funded, 3 km climb, 5 minute descent all within a loop, three downhill trails of varied skill levels. Nice. Here is a video sample of two of the descents.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5os_yZGAHGY

    cannock comes close on the no pedaling/braking front, with the exception of the 2 short climbs to get some elevation back theres nothing more than half crank turns or a quick dab for the last 3 sections. And the new climb rocks.

    the new section -Some good climbs (technical)
    its mostly level -Followed by some level bits to get my breath back
    berm-tastic -Followed by some technical / non technical descents
    never been to it but its there -Have to have a cafe / burger van at the end
    maybe not, just woods, and clearfelled woods -Great views for some obligatory photo ops
    theres the secret bits apparently -Optional loop for some hardcore riding (either climbs or super technical descents)
    cant be much more local to most of the population, compared to wales and scotland, -Be on my doorstep

    All its missing are some nice flowing tabletops, the kind that take a little effort to jump properly, but dont kill you if you come up short. Preferably progressing from about 2ft by 5ft with long landings designed to be taken fast and probably overjumped, to similar sized ones that you have to aim for the landings. Then upto some propper ones, but still with humped tops to make them ridable without crashing.

    And why is there a fireroad decent after section 13? Come on!

    As for the best trail center, im not telling you, but spending a weekend in the summer raking out some singletrack in the local woods is time well spent.

    juan
    Member

    Soma-rich – I’m talking in an ideal world

    Like one where you could ride ANY trail then

    Premier Icon piedi di formaggio
    Subscriber

    An uplift service that only takes 60 seconds to get you to the top followed by a 10 mile awesome descent that takes you back to the uplift service.

    I don’t want much

    djglover
    Member

    naked nubile young women waving at me from the side of the trail

    jedi
    Member

    smoke nailed it in one! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    -Be on my doorstep

    I’d second that one, definitely. Nothing like being able to go for a ride from your front door.

    I’d say stuff that you wouldn’t get on a non-MTB trail. So, all weather design and surfacing, built features like berms, drop-offs, wooden bits and jumps, just a bit of novelty or inventiveness really. All crammed in at a much higher density than your average English “natural” trail.

    IHN
    Member

    So, all weather design and surfacing, built features like berms, drop-offs, wooden bits and jumps, just a bit of novelty or inventiveness really. All crammed in at a much higher density than your average English “natural” trail.

    That exactly sums up what I don’t like about trail centres. They feel ‘fake’.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    Instead of worrying about whether what you’re riding over is “real” or “fake” why not just enjoy it? Just a suggestion, like. πŸ˜‰

    IHN
    Member

    I don’t enjoy it, because it feels fake.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    This could be the start of a long and fruitful discussion. Or not. πŸ™„

    IHN
    Member

    I can’t really explain why I don’t like them, I just don’t. Your list neatly summed it up in a way I hadn’t before.

    Similarly, I don’t like reggae. Again I don’t really know why, but I’m not just going to listen to it and enjoy it am I?

    And smilies are the crutch of those who cannnot express themselves properly in written English.

    πŸ˜‰

    sofatester
    Member

    πŸ˜† πŸ˜€ πŸ™‚ 😐 πŸ™ 😑 πŸ˜₯ 😈

    Lets help them out then IHN. Use the above “smilie scale” to describe trail centers.

    GNARGNAR
    Member

    Well it would have to be Whistler, minus Americans. Job done.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    I think the problem with trail centres is that they can be very formulaic, and are liked by people whom some mountain bikers find annoying in their enthusiasm for something that they consider pedestrian. So the reggae metaphor is quite apt, really.

    IHN
    Member

    sofatester – the one fourth from the left beautifully sums up my indifference.

    Olly
    Member

    open with a long shallow climb for a km or so, as a nice warm up.
    W
    ho gives a toss if they feel fake? you know you can cane it around a blind corner without running into a horse (just be aware of dogs and crashed bikes)
    that and the bike dosent need cleaning when you get home.

    sure i wouldnt want to ride it everyday, but mandmade flowing rolling pumpable singletrack can be the best riding too.

    horses for courses

    i want to live somewhere where i can dig my own trail, wales backing onto woodland kind of idea

    Premier Icon Bushwacked
    Subscriber

    Nettles – This is the reason for putting the post up – to try to understand the grey area between purpose built and not. Surely there is a point where a purpose built trail can be enjoyed by someone who traditionally does not like riding these so called “fake trails”

    Effectively what would make you enjoy a purpose built trail (not necessarily a trail centre)

    I’ve never quite understood it but want to, as to me riding a bike is still riding a bike whether on road, hardpark, rock, chalk, roots, wood or metal.

    GNARGNAR
    Member

    Bushwacked
    I’ve never quite understood it but want to, as to me riding a bike is still riding a bike whether on road, hardpark, rock, chalk, roots, wood or metal.

    Surely you undertand that a steep rooty rocky descent is totally different from a road ride? It requires a totally unique skill set and the feeling of reward once mastered is much greater than say blasting down a fire road.

    pantsonfire
    Member

    My ideal trail would be one that has no dog poo and a retractable roof for when it rains

    Of course that is impossible we are never going to get rid of the dog poo

    sofatester
    Member

    I remember catching a dog walker on Penmachno letting his Bitch crimp one out on a hairpin corner. Right on the Apex FFS!

    Tried to say it was the “dog walker further up the trail” πŸ‘Ώ

    Sausages laced with immodium, placed around the loop should do the trick!

    Premier Icon Bushwacked
    Subscriber

    GNATGNAT – Of course I do, but the point I was trying to make is that the surface is immaterial as it is all about riding irrespective of the surface – just get out and have fun.

    Everyone has their own level and as long as people are enjoying themselves and maybe even pushing their limits then its all good.

    However, I know what you are saying as cornering on a roadbike at speed can be much harder than riding some rocky descents on a full Sus!!!

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    They feel ‘fake’.

    What an odd thing to say.

    Seeking out the supposed ‘authenticity’ of things is a strange passtime, surely. Are you some kind of fixie riding fakenger, always looking for the most ‘real’ experience?

    Boring, maybe. Crowded, often. Unadventurous, sure. Fake, eh?

    Open your mind and look again at life, I would.

    GNARGNAR
    Member

    Bushwacked –
    GNATGNAT – Of course I do, but the point I was trying to make is that the surface is immaterial as it is all about riding irrespective of the surface – just get out and have fun.

    Everyone has their own level and as long as people are enjoying themselves and maybe even pushing their limits then its all good.

    However, I know what you are saying as cornering on a roadbike at speed can be much harder than riding some rocky descents on a full Sus!!!

    Im sorry Bumwank but you’re talking out yer hole.

    Premier Icon Bushwacked
    Subscriber

    No I’m not and no need to call me that! Why get personal??

    GNARGNAR
    Member

    Bushwacked
    No I’m not and no need to call me that! Why get personal??

    If you resort to misspelling my username for mildly derogatory comic effect then I’ll do likewise. And you are talking out yer hole. You’ve started a thread about the ideal elements of a trail or trail centre then say that the surface, type of bike and style of riding is completely irrelevant to enjoyment. Nonsense.

    Premier Icon Bushwacked
    Subscriber

    Molgrips – exactly – its all riding whether it is man made or not. Surely it can be enjoyed in the same way and I’d like to think that man made stuff can actually be more testing of skill but also can be designed to take in some breathtaking views.

    So it really comes down to the thought that it was put there for the purpose of riding rather than horseriding or walking (both the other two “purpose built” types of trails we frequent) which stops people enjoying them

    So back to my question – what would make purpose built trails the best trails to ride for those who don’t like purpose built cycling trails?

    Premier Icon Bushwacked
    Subscriber

    GG – You are missing my point – people who ride bikes get enjoyment out of riding those bikes irrespective of the sruface – its all about the riding. Now I personally prefer rocky rooty technical riding and skateparks but I know others who prefer scenic XC rides coupled with some road riding – but when we talk about riding we can all share the enjoyment we get from riding on two wheels – irrespective of surface. I know as long as I get out on a bike even if its not on my surface of preference I am happy.

    What surface is best is down to personal choice.

    The original reason for the post was really to understand how people who enjoy riding off road on similar surfaces to those at purpose built venues don’t enjoy those purpose built venues and what it would take to get those people seeing the purpose built trails in a different light.

    IHN
    Member

    Are you some kind of fixie riding fakenger, always looking for the most ‘real’ experience?

    I’m really, really not.

    Maybe fake is the wrong word. Maybe ‘contrived’ is a better word. I like riding on roads, towpaths, rocky stuff, grassy stuff, woodsy stuff, lots of stuff. I just like riding it on stuff that was there already, rather than stuff that has been purpose built for me to ride on (and yes I know that roads and towpaths are purpose built…)

    Open your mind and look again at life, I would.

    I shan’t dignify that with a response.

    Premier Icon Bushwacked
    Subscriber

    Nettles – LOL!!

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    Wall rides are ace too. There need to be more of them.

    walleater
    Member

    GNARGNAR – Member

    Well it would have to be Whistler, minus Americans. Job done.

    And Australians…..and hundreds of people riding in pyjamas…

    Maybe Gargamel though.

    noteeth
    Member

    Endless, endless miles of singletrack, through dense woodland.

    Some kind of bothy, with chan marshall in it, playing guitar.

    Goz
    Member

    Trail centers have a purpose…people can chat on forums before and after riding, knowing that they will all share the same trail/line…and can compare experiances etc……

    BearBack
    Member

    Whistler has 2 examples of trail centers… well.. areas of riding that are purpose built for riding.

    The bike park is a phenomenal example of how to purpose build trail for bike riding and a good example of one that some people love, some people hate. Simply put though, if thats what you are looking for, theres nothing better.

    If, i’m sure like most of you here, prefer to pedal and earn your ride, then the cross country trail network is possibly the perfect example of a trail centre. Every trail is accessible by riding to it from your doorstep, everything has been maintained with a view to bikes being ridden along them (I hesitate from using built as many of the trails were existing hiking, hunting and logging access trails that have been purpose adapted, not purpose built) and pretty much everything has a natural feel and has been maintained in a way that keeps the essence of riding pure.
    Of course there are trails that have been purpose built. Many lovingly built by hand as well as those that make use of machine based construction and copious amounts of pea gravel. These machine built trails still serve a purpose and do have a welcome place in the Whistler trail inventory as areas that help to encourage people into mountain biking.

    Anyway, love them or hate them, I believe trail centers are an important and integral part of riding culture although it’ll probably be a long long time before the UK sees a trail center that gets close to the 250+kms of XC riding that Whistler has on offer. I for one hope that it does happen.

    One thing that Whistler is missing, is a high alpine XC trail – So, thats what I would build if I could.
    Give it a couple of years and we will see high alpine XC riding with lift support in Whistler.

    Premier Icon Bushwacked
    Subscriber

    Gonna have to get my butt to Whistler sometime before I pop my clogs.

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