Swinley, best 2quid I ever spent

  • This topic has 136 replies, 49 voices, and was last updated 6 years ago by  Muke.
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  • Swinley, best 2quid I ever spent
  • tonyd
    Member

    Ouch. Some of those doubles towards the end of the blue (I think) deserve a bit of respect if hitting with speed.

    Premier Icon ChrisI
    Subscriber

    Dislocated shoulder and as yet unknown damage to hip/pelvis is all I’ve heard so far

    Thanks for the info. Does seem a bit excessive to get the Air Ambulance out for that, but if there are any change of back/neck injuries I guess they will always be called out.

    Didn’t get to ride that section in the end so cant comment on how likely it is to catch people out, but I am amazed at the amount of people to hit stuff far too quick and then claim it wasn’t signed or is dangerous. I’ve always been taught to ride to what you can see, and everything (that I’ve seen) in Swinley is rollable and should be rolled the first time around. When it gets a bit touch and go is when you can do it quickly but not quite clear it comfortably as will be the case with a lot of people at Swinley and a few of the doubles.

    ChrisI – Member
    When it gets a bit touch and go is when you can do it quickly but not quite clear it comfortably as will be the case with a lot of people at Swinley and a few of the doubles.

    Very true – this and tony’s comment – I think I fall into that camp (not enough speed/bottle/skill to ensure clearance at the moment). πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon jairaj
    Subscriber

    Anyone else think the Red is a bit boring? It didn’t seem to have the fun or flow of the blue.

    Just seemed like they put some single track for the sake of getting over to the labyrinth and back. I think I’d rather just take the fire roads and get there quicker go up and down a few times then head back an continue with the blue.

    Maybe I got lost and missed all the good bits?

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    Re C_G – would i be happy to ride there every day?

    That’ll be the test for me. I’ve been riding in Swinley and surrounding areas for 15+ years. At the moment these new trails are fun, but I’m not sure if that’s because of their innate fun-ness or their novelty value. I guess if I lived in Afan i wouldn’t just ride the waymarked trails either, whereas if you don’t ride there often, the ability to turn up and know what you’re getting is part of the benefit of a trail centre.

    I’ll admit, before the work started I understood and accepted absolutely why it had to happen but wasn’t in favour, if that makes sense. When the blue opened, I was impressed. I thought it would have been a lot tamer but there’s enough on the blue to keep the more proficient riders occupied while at the same time being suitable for less experienced. On that basis, I became quite excited at the prospect of the red.

    But on the hope that the red would be another improvement over the blue – it was a bit of a letdown to me. There are a few great fun sections for sure, but there seems to be an awful lot of fireroad and flat / traversing singletrack just to connect them up. I don’t remember the numbers, but the whole section from the end of Tank traps to the start of Seagull is dull. Fireroad, swamp, and then st through the trees but it seems as if the trees have been cut so far back it’s a 4m wide swathe with a half metre ribbon of trail in it. Is this a feature of the machinery used, would have been much better if it had remained densepacked like the last section of Seagull?

    So overall – better than i thought it might be, but not as good as I’d hoped it would be.

    rewski
    Member

    Serious question – would people be happy riding those loops week in week out?

    If I’m on my bike I’m happy, however I would get a little bored doing the same loop in the same direction week in week out, I can understand why they’ve done it. If I’m really honest I’m not a massive fan of the orange surface, but I guess it’s what you’re use to, I ride mainly South/ North Downs and Surrey Hills so it’s very natural and obviously not a trail centre. Still a huge fan of Swinley though, lucky to have a facility like that so close to London.

    @ weeksy – btw it’s rowan πŸ˜‰

    dashed
    Member

    Would I ride it week in, week out?

    Probably. But in the same way I used to ride old Swinley – have a session around Labrynth area one visit, maybe a couple of blasts around the blue on another… Mix and match kinda thing but I would get bored of riding the whole loop time after time.

    natrix
    Member

    Does seem a bit excessive to get the Air Ambulance out for that

    Was actually fractured collar bone, ribs and hip, so not so excessive after all. Wishing her a speedy recovery.

    Premier Icon ChrisI
    Subscriber

    dashed – Member

    Would I ride it week in, week out?

    Probably. But in the same way I used to ride old Swinley – have a session around Labrynth area one visit, maybe a couple of blasts around the blue on another… Mix and match kinda thing but I would get bored of riding the whole loop time after time.
    I think this is how we’ll hit it. One time do a couple of loops around the blue, another do blue and red, another had out on fire road to get to the red quicker and do the interesting bits a few times then head back on the blue or something. Just link it up like we used to and not follow the whole blue/red routes all the time.

    I hope they build more red route sections as there were points on it that are so boring, but then others that are really good. Seems to be much bigger extremes than the blue route which is pretty good all the way around just not techy at all.

    Premier Icon deadkenny
    Subscriber

    Just a note that your Β£2 hasn’t gone towards building these trails πŸ˜‰ . It’s all come from Crown Estate money.

    Very little of it will go to the Crown Estate in the future though a small amount is promised, but the primary reason for the parking charges is stated by Bracknell Council as a source of income to help deal with deficits in their budget (Bracknell Council are responsible for the car park / Lookout area, but nothing else in the Swinley estate).

    But aside from that, yes great job Back on Track & Rowan, especially given the limitations of the land and restrictions placed on them πŸ™‚

    Ridden all the new routes a few times and I can’t make up my mind about them.

    The trails are great fun to ride fast. But unless you like jumping over those table tops (or doubles or whatever they are called) there is nothing on the new trails that you have to really worry about (apart from loosing speed before the jumpy bits).

    So quite often the new routes feel like a cross between a velodrome and a theme park ride. Seems very odd to me.

    And somebody ought to get a burger van at the red/blue meeting point – they could end up making a fortune

    So is Labyrinth haunted? Every time I have ridden their (on my own) I can clearly hear other riders close by. But they never appear. Last week, their voices made them feel very close and I felt that they were about to fly past me at any moment. I waited for several minutes at the end and then kept looking back from the FR – no one.

    So were the voices merely the ghosts of labyrinth? πŸ˜‰ It would take quite a bit for me to ride that alone at night!!

    TurnerGuy
    Member

    And somebody ought to get a burger van at the red/blue meeting point – they could end up making a fortune

    we were talking about this on facebook, came to the conclusion that bikini-clad bike washers would be a better idea:

    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDeqTAvezZ4[/video]

    tonyd
    Member

    THM – those voices were likely from the bikini bike wash (they serve cold beer while you wait). You must have missed the turning.

    πŸ˜€ They were happy voices!!! It explains a lot, plus the riders who I saw skip deerstalker and dive straight in towards the start of (what I stupidly thought was) labyrinth!!! Next time…..

    OK, Am I the only saddo that is going to keep displaying the last couple of years permits – just in case I get a chance to strike up a “I used to ride here before it was famous” type conversation?

    TurnerGuy
    Member

    If you take the permits off and then ride anywhere in the forest or on any trails closed for maintenance/nesting birds, then you can just say ‘it’s my first time here’ when challenged, and everyone will just laugh.

    This seemed to be the policy for all the riders that rode the trails before they were open and it worked for them. One even had a few years of permit bands hanging from his stem.

    tonyd
    Member

    OK, Am I the only saddo that is going to keep displaying the last couple of years permits – just in case I get a chance to strike up a “I used to ride here before it was famous” type conversation?

    Probably. I got rid of the pink one as soon as I could as it clashed with my bike.

    Premier Icon jairaj
    Subscriber

    The trails are great fun to ride fast. But unless you like jumping over those table tops (or doubles or whatever they are called) there is nothing on the new trails that you have to really worry about (apart from loosing speed before the jumpy bits).

    errmm doesn’t that apply to any obstacle? If you’re not going to ride it properly then of course it’ll be easy.

    Trying to do the jumps is the challenge and provides the rush.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    OK, for me anyway, riding Swinley now resembles bad sex. I’ve ridden both trails a few times now and there’s a distinct lack of smiling. 😐

    I know I know I’m coming across as a miserable old cah but really pleased that I had many years of fun there before the changes.

    Possibly my tyre choice/pressure was wrong but the surface felt pretty unforgiving on a hardtail.

    C-G, i know what you mean about the HT being unforgiving. That was quite a shock for me last week. And first time round the surface felt very odd and I wasnt sure how to ride it. I was stupidly slow first time round on the very first bit. It just looked a bit weird.

    But what are you missing? Isnt the Deerstalker area pretty much in tact? Tank traps, seagull, corkscrew (I assume) ditto. And there is a better way home now.

    Premier Icon soundninjauk
    Subscriber

    the surface felt pretty unforgiving on a hardtail.

    I thought that as well. Pretty sure my tyre pressures were too high and my seatpost was too low.

    tonyd
    Member

    I haven’t ridden the new stuff on a HT yet but a lot of the older manufactured trail was very similar in construction and I didn’t particularly enjoy riding that on a HT. Too many unnecessary little bumps here and there for a groomed trail, and too hard a material with no natural ‘give’ to make it pleasant on a HT.

    Given the softness of the natural forest floor (apart from all the nasty slippery rooty bits) the Swinley of old was a great spot for HTs, seems like you’re just pining for days gone by CG. Wake up and get with the program πŸ™‚

    Edit: And the ‘softness of the natural forest floor’ was actually more down to the 4 inches of mud you were riding through!

    If you’re not going to ride it properly

    Sorry, I didn’t realise there was a “proper” way. Will I be laughed at because i like to keep my wheels on the ground?

    Trying to do the jumps is the challenge

    Not for me it isn’t.

    and provides the rush

    I’m quite happy rushless thank you.

    Premier Icon Painey
    Subscriber

    I’m looking forward to visiting Swinley, possibly over the upcoming weekend. What are these jumps like though? I’ve been over the ones at Llandegla at full pelt but I have to admit that after getting a jump majorly wrong once and knocking myself out cold for several minutes, getting airborne isn’t my favourite pastime.

    Cheers

    Don’t understand how why anyone moans about the new trails. As someone has already stated “Isnt the Deerstalker area pretty much in tact? Tank traps, seagull, corkscrew (I assume) ditto”.

    Regarding the bumps etc – I heard people moaning about this a couple of weeks back. If you keep your speed up and rider big wheels then you fly round. Much prefer a firmer surface.

    tonyd
    Member

    Regarding the bumps etc – I heard people moaning about this a couple of weeks back. If you keep your speed up and rider big wheels then you fly round. Much prefer a firmer surface.

    Not moaning, just commenting. I don’t mind bumps, but in some places it makes it harder to sit and pedal to keep your speed up. Much easier on a FS. What do you ride out of interest?

    What do you ride out of interest?

    Scott Scale 29er pro

    Premier Icon razor
    Subscriber

    I only get over there once or twice a year and I have to say I’m really impressed with what they’ve done – I just see it as a better way to get over to what is now the “red” section and back again.

    I think the blue route has been really well designed to accommodate fast and slow riders. I rode it on a hardtail (which I don’t normally do) and I think I took the right bike in the end.

    They could definitely do with some signs to keep the walkers off though. What looks obvious to us must look like something else to them.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    theotherjonv – completely understand what you’re saying! I’ve tried to be open-minded but fear the charm and character has gone for good. πŸ™

    tony – I don’t deny it! Used to ride to Swinley from home and had lived in the area for decades. Local knowledge was needed for knowing what trails to use at what time of year. My routes were random with huge possibilities especially if you include the RMA side.

    Another observation is that by having the blue giving access to the red, it can be rather intimidating having people flying past you. There’s a shortage of ‘lay-bys’ for a spliff and cider so that potentially makes for tired riders. πŸ˜‰

    I’m running Nobby Nics, possibly tyre pressure was too high, but always found a hardtail/ss perfectly acceptable there.

    TurnerGuy
    Member

    Scott Scale 29er pro

    that’s my problem – I am on a Turner Flux Amateur – I think I need to upgrade to the Pro model πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon jairaj
    Subscriber

    somewhatslightlydazed – I wasn’t having a dig at you. I don’t clear many of the jumps either and am far from being a riding god, so I’m in no position to laugh at any one myself.

    Its a blue trail in an area where you will get a lot of people new to riding bikes. Meaning you can’t build anything too steep or with mandatory obstacles. You need to build things that can be rolled over by a novice. But at the same time, a more advanced rider can choose if they wish and have the skill, to go much faster round the berms taking a higher line or try to clear the jumps.

    Different trails have different challenges. Just happens the challenge at the new Swinley trails is taking berms as fast as possible and doing the jumps.

    If you don’t like the challenge laid out by the trail that’s fair enough, different people like different things.

    But to say I didn’t try to the challenges and found the trail a little unchallenging is a bit silly.

    What are these jumps like though? I’ve been over the ones at Llandegla

    From memory there are only four sections in 14 miles (two on the blue and two on the red). If you know what you are doing I’m sure they are no problem. Although if you’re not careful, I think the second bit on the red route (where the pink bridge used to be) has the potential for something to go seriously wrong. If you are in to that sort of thing, best to try it once then go back up for a proper go.

    EDIT: just checked the route map. Its section 25 – 26

    jairaj – I wasn’t really talking about the blue route. I know thats meant to be fairly easy.

    I mean ALL the new sections taken together. Its seems to be either berms or jumps, which are fine taken at whatever pace you feel comfortable at.

    Its suppose my mixed feelings are because last weekend, I rode 14 miles there with no dabs, no falls and only one involuntary dismount(and that was on the black bit). I’m a slow crap rider and it just doesn’t seem right that a route should provide no challenge unless you ride fast.

    Ride faster then.
    I followed one of my mates round swinley, and you can double up a lot of the rollers.
    It has to be easy to ride slowly, otherwise beginners would crash, and never ride again.

    Premier Icon thepurist
    Subscriber

    somewhatslightlydazed I know what you mean. I’d like some lower speed technical sections in there to act as a change from the fast bermy jumpy bits. I’ve not tried the reworked Satan’s Grotto yet (is it even open?), but that might be a start. There’s plenty of scope for more technical routes coming off from the reservoir near the old Twisted Sister/DH bit but I guess it’s a question of priorities, time, money and effort.

    However I’m not sure which super-sexy old tracks CG is missing – Watson’s Wander is a good riddance, a few of the other bits have been bisected by the new trails so aren’t rideable any more but all the Crowthorne side and a lot of the other off piste stuff is still there. I live practically next door to the place and think I’ve only done a handful of rides that have solely stuck to the signed routes since they’ve been open.

    TiRed
    Member

    C-G, i know what you mean about the HT being unforgiving

    I found the same. Switched to a carbon seatpost and all is fine.

    I wasn’t really talking about the blue route. I know thats meant to be fairly easy.

    And if you don’t think the Blue is technical, try getting round in sub 28 minutes of an evening, once the crowds have dispersed.

    Missing the bomb craters – my collarbone nemesis 😳

    try getting round in sub 28 minutes

    Nice challenge. Looking at my strava data I think I’m around 33 mins (starting at end of saegull). That’s with a few breathers here and there. Challenge accepted.

    It has to be easy to ride slowly, otherwise beginners would crash, and never ride again.

    I teach beginners.

    What you need are a lot of technical features close together on a trail where its hard to build up much speed. So when they fall of, they don’t hurt themselves.

    I used to use a bit called (I think) “New England Switchbacks” It had a steep down, a drop off (with chicken run), a bermy section and a loose granny ring climb, all in about half a mile. But apparently there is some rare lichen there so its been closed πŸ™

    boltonjon
    Member

    I ride Swinley on a weekly basis and wasn’t a fan of what they were proposing, but have been open minded since the trails started to open

    The trails are good fun – not my kind of thing to be honest, with both the traffic and surface resembling the M25 at times

    However, i also understand that this type of riding does suit a lot of people and is good to get newbies into the sport

    I know that i’d get bored of it pretty quickly – so i haven’t attacked it with some of the vigour of some of the other local riders

    I do fear that Deerstalker and Labyrinth will be armoured before long, as the breaking bumps are getting to Les Gets depth already – this will be a massive shame as the Labyrinth is probably the best trail west of London for 100 miles

    It’s interesting to see how many visitors its bringing into the area, but also worrying how many are getting airlifted out.

    Change is change – so i’m using the non-Swinley routes a lot more and sometimes venturing into our new trail centre for a quick blast

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