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
  • Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

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

    Yes, I’m doing it 3x a week at the moment, chaseing a sub 1:20 for blue/red/blue.

    Think of it like a spinning class for people who (much as they like ladies derrieres) don’t want to spend an hour in a sweaty room.

    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

    Asside from 11-15 there’s barely any fire road, and the only tedious bit is the muddy slog, the rest is an exercise in cornering quickly! Although I do see a lot of people teetering round them very stiff an upright which looks less fun.

    I think the issue is peoples
    a) opinion of themselves
    b) oppinion of what a red should be.

    Case in point section 15, there are some pretty big (10ft+ ?)doubles, but you can pump them easier than you can the 4ft squirrel catchers on the blue, which means some people complain they’re easy, when a better and more objective interpretation would be they’re a step above the majority of riders skill level.

    rewski
    Member

    Switched to a carbon seatpost and all is fine.

    amazed it would make that much difference, might give it a try. That fizik post in this months ST as been calling my name πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon kimbers
    Subscriber

    must admit on my steel hardtail kona with a carbon post it was lots of fun, just as much as on the full sus

    DT78
    Member

    Right booked thurs and fri off, going to try swinley out and QE. Cwmcarn on sat too. Wonder which one will be most fun.

    Premier Icon FieldMarshall
    Subscriber

    Have ridden at Swinley a fair few times over the last few years on a HT and rode the new blue/red last week.

    The newer stuff is definitely harsher on the derriere than the older armoured stuff. As stated by others it needs to be ridden reasonably flat out to make it more challenging, but found being sat down pedalling on the HT quite fatiguing. Maybe it will wear down/smooth out with use. Saw a lot of people on short travel FSers, that were hammering along.

    Still fun though if taken for what it is. But agree with CG that much of the charm of the place. i.e. being able to mix up trails, has gone.

    chip
    Member

    I really like the blue and there are a couple of places I get a little bit of air and I mean a little.
    As I don’t have the skill or confidence to go for anything big as of yet.
    I would like to see more jumps to flat with enough straight before and after, as the more air I get the more confidence I get.
    Maybe widen the trail slightly in places with a few small drop offs to one side and a roll over on the other like the big rock about half way round.

    Switched to a carbon seatpost and all is fine.

    Anyone ever used planet-x:

    http://www.planet-x-bikes.co.uk/i/q/SPFSSLK-316-350-20/fsa_sl_k_carbon_seatpost___316_mm___350_mm___20_mm_layback

    Seems like a very good price.

    tutgareth
    Member

    Have to admit my rear end did receive a good pounding too! and one of my first thoughts on the blue trail was “I miss my full sus” but it was still good fun on the HT all the same πŸ™‚

    Jason
    Member

    I live about a 25min ride from the start of Deerstalker and used to ride Swinley a lot, and still ride it a lot now the trails have opened. I think most of my rides on the new trail have been on a 29er hard tail, which has a fair bit of flex in the seat post and it is pretty good around the trails. I also have an Epic 29er and that does allow pedalling on some sections where it gets a bit bouncy on the hard tail. Overall I would happily ride either bike around there.

    I think the great thing about the Blue trail is that it has been designed to suit all people, if you want to ride it flat out it is a challenge (to be fair more on fitness than skills) and it is equally suitable for beginners. I have done a few laps with my 7 year old son and he can ride all it apart from the one sharp short climb. I have also taken my Father in Law out for a lap, he is very much a beginner mtber in his late 60’s, although did ride a motorbike when he was younger so has some bike skills, he managed to get around without any incidents and I think enjoy it.

    Some improvements are needed. Better signage would help, both direction signs and warning signs. A few skull & crossbones signs would be good at the start of all the downhill sections.

    The carpark was chaos at the weekend, hopefully that will improve as the novelty of the trails wears off, but maybe not.

    M1llh0use
    Member

    Well as a “foreigner” (dorsetlander) and a crash “victim” (2 wrists, 1collarbone) of swinley I really liked it before but agree with those above about the blue being better than the red but will always have a special place in my heart for deerstalker/babymaker/labyrinth.

    Actually managed to take both bikes (spicy and c456) round and although both have their place the HT took a bit of relearning how to ride one again but boy was it fun once I’d found:
    A) my legs
    B) some flow
    C) remembering how pumping a HT and FS differ slightly

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    I think the lumpyness and overly wide bits will improve with time, look at other trail centers, a line develops, get’s hammered smooth, and the way the trails are built above the ground, as they wear, sink into the ground, the mud encroaches on the side etc, eventually they look like they’ve been there forever, but won’t wear.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    TINAS

    Genuinely interested by what other’s opinions of what a red should be like are. That’s my point, maybe I don’t know, but after the blue which wasn’t anywhere as tame as I’d thought it would be, and is almost completely single track, I expected more of the red. Bar one or two sections, it’s no more technical than the blue although I understand once you’ve sent someone out on a trail it has to be graded to the hardest it becomes – you can’t get them to the top of deerstalker as a blue and then tell them it’s now red. And the climbs are a bit tougher and it’s further. But large sections don’t present anything harder than the blue, and in fact much is lower difficulty / interest.

    Overall – I’m not disappointed in the new trails as a whole, but after the blue, the red didn’t hit the same spot IMHO.

    Premier Icon deadkenny
    Subscriber

    Jason – Member
    The carpark was chaos at the weekend, hopefully that will improve as the novelty of the trails wears off, but maybe not.

    Problem is it’s attracted a huge amount of people who happen to have a bike lying around and think it’s a nice idea to go out with the family on a bike ride.

    Before Swinley was split into two. The family pootle riders who would go from The Lookout up and down a couple of fireroads with the kids and go home, and then the “expert” (as they put it on the maps) i.e. normal mountain bike folk who’d disappear off to hidden trails.

    Now the family pootle bunch are all over the place with nice trails telling them where to go.

    To be fair I’m actually very happy to see loads of families, kids and people who’ve been stuck on the sofa for far too long, getting out there and getting exercise and having fun. That really is what blue trails are all about.

    Unfortunately it’s made it incredibly busy, and worse is the blue has turned out to have some rather good sections on it that more experienced riders can blast along at speed, but that’s a conflict with the others who want to potter along with the toddlers and have picnics along the way πŸ˜‰

    And then the walkers are totally confused and don’t understand what these trails are about, so they’re walking them also.

    TurnerGuy
    Member

    Try a titanium seatpost rather than a carbon one, much plusher,

    I get a good half inch travel out my USE titanium post and Flite Flow saddle.

    Premier Icon mattbee
    Subscriber

    Living in Pompy I’ve ridden Swinley a few times through the years butnever had a locl guide. As a result visits were either awesome or rubbish, depending on which trails I remembered the location of or tripped over.
    The new versions are in my opinion great. Have been a couple of times now; it’s worth the drive up as I’m guaranteed to be able to ride the fun bits as they are signposted!
    I guess that’s the thing though. Locals were used to being able to ride what was there how they wanted and some won’t like being told how and what they can ride. Those of us who ‘com over’ will probably appreciate it more. I feel sorry for those who are unhappy but it is great for the likes of me.
    As for difficulty. First visit we (wife & I) did 2 laps of Blue on our singlespeeds. Great fun and again, in my opinion the prefect bike for it (100m travel fork steel hardtail ss). Thought it was a great Blue trail; all rollable by the kids who were on it but fantastic at speed.
    Next visit we plnned to do both Blue and Red. Wife has only been riding ss since booking in for SSUK so she decided to take her 120mm FS bike as she was worried the Red would be tough, given what we thought of the Blue. After the ride she said she didn’t think she’d needed the fs bike at all and would have had more fun on the ss. I was on mine and again thought it was the perfect bike. Don’t see how people can say it’s crap on a hardtail?
    Toughness though; my wife rode all of the Red and most of the Blue with a freehub that wasn’t free; she couldn’t stop pedalling for more than a second or the chain would wrap itself around the mech/wheel and lock the back up. She still maanaged to ride all of it. Not saying that is an empirical guage of difficulty but as others have commented the Red just didn’t seem any harder than the Blue on the whole.
    Still, all enjoyable and we will continue to make midweek trips up there until the school hols….

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    Anyone know the outcome of the Air Ambulance attending on Sunday around lunchtime? Think it was section 25-26 on the red route. Think a lass was hurt on a set of doubles. Hope she is ok. So much for the new route reducing casualties, never seen Air Ambulance out before yesterday.

    Just seen news on another website, seems like it was a BOB rider on a club ride: knocked herself out, collarbone, broken hip and 2 broken ribs. Was in ICU in Tooting being prepared for surgery yesterday.

    Be careful out there, particularly when it’s busy. Just because it’s a prepared trail doesn’t mean it’s clear, you need to be able to stop in time if someone stacks in front of you, Strava or not.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    theotherjonv – thank you for posting this. Poor girl, that’s awful but she is in very good hands at presumably St. George’s. A good friend ended up there with a broken pelvis and the consultant was excellent.

    I was going to comment on these Strava times but felt sure I’d be labelled a party pooper. Sensible advice there and really do hope that people take note.

    was section 25-26 on the red route

    I can see how that can happen there. You do get a lot of speed up very quickly and it can throw you around a bit.

    chip
    Member

    What is a BOB rider.

    Muke
    Member

    Berks on Bikes Mountain Bike Club

    http://www.bobmbc.com/

    boltonjon
    Member

    Strava people going for times on Saturday or Sunday rush hours are going to mighty frustrated i reckon!

    I’ve been getting pretty annoyed with drongos on full DH rigs and full-face helmets pushing their 45lb monsters back up the same track as they’ve been sessioning on

    Is it really that difficult to push it up the fire track so they don’t get in everyone elses way?

    I’ve asked a couple, but i’ve got the same spotty teenager response of ‘duuuuhh’

    Friggin’ egits!

    Mr Woppit
    Member

    So – anybody local organising a Super Sexy Swinley Mass Ride?

    s’pose that’s a no, then…

    Premier Icon FieldMarshall
    Subscriber

    Don’t see how people can say it’s crap on a hardtail?

    Far from it, it’s great fun on a hardtail. Stopped riding my FS there years ago, as just don’t see the need.

    But just found the “ripply” surface a bit harsh on my backside, now that almost the whole route is armoured.

    dashed
    Member

    Mr Woppit – Member
    So – anybody local organising a Super Sexy Swinley Mass Ride?
    s’pose that’s a no, then…

    I’ll pop by if I’m around πŸ˜† I guess a separate thread would very likely generate a lot of interest…

    tutgareth
    Member

    Far from it, it’s great fun on a hardtail.

    +1

    just mentioned that my rear end had recieved more of a pounding than I usually got round the old swinley trails, still very enjoyable up there

    Second visit this afternoon. Took some advice from above (thanks) and ran tyres with 10psi less than normal. Felt and sounded (?) a bit strange at first but was a more comfortable ride in my HT. Also dropped the seat post a little. Surprisingly felt a lot more tyre drift in some corners but that may have been because i was riding faster.

    Still enjoying the novelty of the new trails and rode much better than last week. That’s three TC visits now and riding the berms much better. Read about pointing inside knee (opening hips) and focus on head looking well round the corner made a lot of difference. Still had one very dodgy moment on one of the early doubles. Note to self, you are not a jumper! Two blues and one and a bit reds today. The middle bits f the red – after the reservoir, deerstalker, labyrinth and the fast bermy bits after – remain my favourites. Deerstalker was particularly good fun today.

    Does anyone else get caught out by the little roots on one early/mid RH corner in labyrinth. They are right next to a tree and need to be hit at speed but both times today, I failed to hit them with enough speed. Made it the first time but dabbed the second πŸ™

    Tutgareth – taking a punt on the accent. Were you up there today on a brown Trek fuel ex and headphones?

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    TINAS

    Genuinely interested by what other’s opinions of what a red should be like are. That’s my point, maybe I don’t know, but after the blue which wasn’t anywhere as tame as I’d thought it would be, and is almost completely single track, I expected more of the red. Bar one or two sections, it’s no more technical than the blue although I understand once you’ve sent someone out on a trail it has to be graded to the hardest it becomes – you can’t get them to the top of deerstalker as a blue and then tell them it’s now red. And the climbs are a bit tougher and it’s further. But large sections don’t present anything harder than the blue, and in fact much is lower difficulty / interest.

    a) the surface is far more variable and genraly loose on the red
    b) the jumps (if you opt into them rather than pumping them) are big with some serious consequences for failure, the tabletop on 15 for example involves far higher speeds and quite a drop down the far side if you overshoot, and preceding that there’s a series or rollers you could pump, or make some substantial jumps, compare those tot he 3-4ft squirle catchers on the blue?

    As for a lack of interest, depends how you get your kicks, you could ride from the car park to tank traps brakeless, every corner is either bermed or has a rise before it that naturally kills your speed. The red has more loose/flat corners or linked features like rollers into corners which mean there’s jepordy if you pick an incorrect line, or corners at the bottom of descents or requiring braking.

    I’d criticize it for a lack of rock or root based technical features, it could (IMO) do with some slower and more technical stuff to break it up. But as it stands the features that are there are probably out of reach of 99.5% of the riders doing the red loop.

    The blue being ridden probably as it should:
    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=4Ie0gmbAbrU[/video]

    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1yRiFOdZiU[/video]

    Nice clips – Fail from me on both, but WIP!!! πŸ˜‰ I will get there in the end (maybe with a Jedi trip before hand!)

    I don’t recognise the first, but the step down is a really nice section on the blue IMO.

    Agree that consequences of failure on the best bits of the red seem higher than on the blue. Perhaps what others are referring to are the whole sections between 3 and the top of the reservoir. Little there that is harder than the blue IMO.

    I am always amazed at what a work out you get as Swinley. I am more tired than after a ride in Surrey Hills. I guess thats because you are making more speed yourself?

    TurnerGuy
    Member

    And concentration levels are often higher to follow the bermy bits.

    Hob Nob
    Member

    The table on part 15 is about half the size it should be, considering the speed you carry on it, but then the lander is about 30 foot long. so it’s not the end of the world. You can double up a lot of the rollers before it too if you try, which makes that trail very fast indeed.

    The jumps on part 25 are fun, they arn’t exactly big though & everything is rollable. The biggest one of the lot is the stepdown at the end just before the trail rises out onto the fireroad & you don’t even have to pedal to overshoot it.

    Those two Youtube clips look like the same bit of trail near the finish. The double double was easier before the lip of the second one got wrecked.

    They were working in the FR between the end of tank traps and sign 3/4 today. It was packed down and looked hard but was actually like riding in treacle. I thought I had a puncture as soon as I hit it as the wheel just went into a snake pattern. Really odd surface.

    Saw that damage HN, I guess a few people have not got that double right.

    Any video clips of people flying the rolling bits near the end of deerstalker?

    sm
    Member

    I have to be honest I’m worried about going to the ‘new’ swinley, my son and I used to,pootle around the single track a couple of Saturdays a month. I now have a picture in my mind that we’ll be looking for breaks in the traffic. Are there other areas near Swinley where we can find the old type of single track.

    ska-49
    Member

    Are all the trails marked at Swinley? Will I need to get myself a map? Cheers.

    Ska pretty easy. But print of the map on one of the earlier pages of this thread just in case. Have you been there before?

    If not the places were you might get a little lost are the forest road sections.

    But generally pretty easy to follow both trails and normally people to ask.

    I went over this morning for a butchers. Rode the blue and red. Thought it was really good fun actually. I was riding my single speed hardtail which felt perfect. It has a real trail centre feel to it which I always think is a bit of a shame, but I do understand why it had to go that way.

    However, I think the trail builders have done an excellent job with what is there. I was not really pegging it add it was all new to me apart from Labyrinth and a couple of other plays I did recognise.

    It’s now a great option for an evening /early morning /mid week rag around.

    tutgareth
    Member

    Tutgareth – taking a punt on the accent. Were you up there today on a brown Trek fuel ex and headphones?

    not me, though i’m from tut’north of england πŸ˜€

    I’m usually the fat bloke going slowly on a Bright Green DB alpine πŸ˜†

    DT78
    Member

    So just got back, definitively worth a visit. I managed a 25.15 on the blue running at race pace, even though it was midweek it was still busy I had to pass a group of school kids, a women riding with her dog and at least 3 dads and kids and numerous other riders who mostly got out the way quick. I can only think the blue would be unridable for fast riders on weekends…either take a bell or a really loud rear hub

    I missed the sign for the red trail 3 times and in the end had to ask some one, the post for it is bloody obvious when you know where it is, but when your pegging it round it lines up nicely to be exactly behind a tree.

    By that stage I didn’t really have much left in the tank for the red but it is much better than the blue, still got some of the great sections. Labrythn is simple the best bit of trail I have ridden in the uk. The red definitely needs better sign posting I got lost several time and missed the whole of section 18 but luckily followed my nose and found 19.

    3 laps of the blue and 1 of the red with a lunch stop, getting lost and talking to a few of the other riders took just over 4 hours so most people should be good for the Β£2 park rather than the Β£ 4 one which I paid.

    Oh and agree with above, reduce the psi in your front tyre it’s quite slidy in the dust. I reckon something like small block 8s front and back would rip around there. My Ralph’s were okay.

    And how the hell those guys clear those jumps in those vids I don’t know, I,m sure even at full chat I couldn’t clear those gaps…

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    And how the hell those guys clear those jumps in those vids I don’t know, I,m sure even at full chat I couldn’t clear those gaps…

    It’s not speed it’s technique (but no, I can’t do them either).

    butterbean
    Member

    The jumps are a bit odd, as the first is bigger than the second, so it’s easier to roll that then double the second. Doubling both equals some huge exit speed and a worrying time through the next couple of berms, but its all good fun.

    sninhosa
    Member

    cinnamon_girl – Member

    Things aren’t what they used to be. Wistfully remembers all the Forum rides we had there, happy times.

    try http://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/bramshill-plantation imo

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