Timed runs at trail centres

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  • Timed runs at trail centres
  • Premier Icon jim

    It will increase business for the trail centres.

    Do trail centres need or even want to increase numbers?


    As for the law suit thing, I've heard that shower facilities at FC sites are possibly under threat as they have actions against them for people slipping over.

    Jim, if they're run on anything resembling a commercial model, or need to justify their existence to funding bodies, yes they do.


    what will be easier to do, make a lot more money, and be a lot more rewarding:
    install a high-speed camera near the landing of a jump, and a (timed) trigger on the run up. Sell the pictures at the end. Everybody would buy a picture of themselves getting air.

    Premier Icon cookeaa

    Like I said before, it comes down to what you define this fictional timing system as.

    If you are very limited in your scope and description I think you can stay within the “law” as it exists, you would not be operating and “Event” “race”, “practice” or otherwise, merely providing a service;

    i.e. telling a customer that on date “X” at such and such a time they were at “Point A” and X.XX Minutes later they were at “Point B” you do not prescribe the route between these 2 points and you do not encourage them to cycle aggressively or anti-socially you are merely providing a “data acquisition” and reporting service and nothing more…

    Looking again at the kit the OP linked, Swiping or “dibbing” a timing device is probably about as accurate and certainly as time consuming as pressing stop on a watch or bar mounted timer so the most cost effective way to monitor your run times would be a DMC moto timer or something similar.

    I personally would want an automatic system where you “break a beam” or “roll over a mat” with a wireless timing fob, just like you have for many races, but that would cost more and would get damaged quite quickly….

    The freelap watches are functionally ideal but in my opinion the price is a total rip off…
    There would probably be far greater adoption of them and as a result more trail centres fitting poles if they were a more sensible price, when they came out a couple of years ago…
    I’d be amazed if Gawton make any actual profit from renting out Freelap kit, once they’ve covered the cost of purchase…

    The real business opportunity is for someone more commercially minded to make a similar but more cost effective product that the average rider can afford to own and trail centres can afford to install and maintain…

    I've heard that shower facilities at FC sites are possibly under threat as they have actions against them for people slipping over.

    Thanks for the inside info genesis, I'll make sure to take a bucket next time I head over to Afan. 🙄

    it's been coming through loud and clear from the start, to be honest. Do you know of any mountain bike events where someone has sued the organisers then?

    Yes, at least 2 Trailquests whereby the insurance companies of self employed competitors have tried to recover damages to pay off policies and AFAIK a guy who met a FE van in N Wales in a race in Clocaenog also claimed, sorry for being vague but the TQ ones are definites and failed due to the non-race argument. It isn't the malice of the riders but their insurance companies who employ people to minimise their liability that is the worry.

    Time trialling is great and should be encouraged* but doesn't mix with leisure riding on the same trails IMO. I'm surprised the Kona Mashup mixed them up- but it must work OK.

    *Go to any "enduro" MTB event on bridleways and there are people trying to get a good time and comparing their times with others – including me. It's a grey area indeed.


    If you want to establish some times and the like, you might like to consider starting a Blog.

    You'd have a winter and a summer time I'd suggest.
    At Afan, for example, it's easy as you know when you start and finish the timed hill climb known as Dastardly & Mutley.
    My own time was awful.

    On Sunday I rode the Sky line which has 4 sections out and I took 3hrs and 10 minutes. If I'd been less buffeted by the wind and less chatty on the ride up it would have been under 3hrs.

    Red Route at Cannock in 42 mins. A bit of practise would see that down by 3-4 minutes for sure.

    There – I've stared you off!

    Pistonbroke, if those lawsuits failed, it doesn't follow that one against a non-TQ event would succeed. The risk that people will sue you is always there – you cannot take that away no matter what you do. What concerns me is the people who recommend preventing this by not running events or providing the facilities in the first place.

    Premier Icon jim

    if they're run on anything resembling a commercial model, or need to justify their existence to funding bodies, yes they do.

    So trail centres are currently running at a loss/about to lose their funding?

    No, most are going from strength to strength, which is why they keep building more and improving the existing ones.

    Premier Icon jim

    No, most are going from strength to strength, which is why they keep building more and improving the existing ones.

    My thoughts exactly, hence my thinking that adding timing equipment (with its undesirable downsides) is unnecessary.


    bonj, we tried it having a snapper take shots. Not as many people bought them as you'd think!

    It would be carnage if a hundred or so were there whilst younger and less experienced riders are about.

    There were at Glyncorrwg last Saturday and it wasn't.

    So you'd keep going back, time and time again, for a very similar experience? 🙂

    If you want to establish some times and the like, you might like to consider starting a Blog.

    I was thinking of something a bit more easily accesible by everyone.
    There are various "How fast can you lap xxx trail centre" threads on various forums.
    Wouldn't a league table on the trail centre's own website be better.

    So you'd keep going back, time and time again, for a very similar experience?

    No, which is why I suggested semi permanent timing points.
    I rode five timed sections in all on Whyte's Level and July last Saturday.
    I wouldn't go back to ride those same five again, but I might to ride a different five.

    Mr Agreeable.
    The reason the claims against TQ failed was exactly because we had done our homework and ensured there was no implication of these events being construed as a race. Having Colin Palmer of IMBA on our side was also helpful, what I am pointing out is that it is very possible for a naiive organiser to put on an event and decide to publish finishing positions and times and even give prizes for the winners without knowing the implications. Ignorance of the law is no defence. What would be more damaging to organisers wanting to run events than someone being personally sued for a 6 or 7 figure sum for an innocent mistake?

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon

    Impossible to work.

    What happens when Mr. "I'm not raceing I'm just timeing myself and comparing it to everyone elses time to see who's fastest" comes arround a blind corner to be confrotned by either;

    *TJ on his tandem
    *my mum bimbling allong
    *someones kid out for their first "propper" MTB ride
    *unconcious casualty who was pushing his limits a bit to far to get a good time

    n.b. there's plenty of "races" to enter that cost nowt, you just need to keep an ear open, take the peaks-avalanche (or whatever we called it) for example, informal race, all people had for ID was a bit of coloured plastic/fabric on their bars to identify their team (locals, mancs, sheffield or out-of-towners).

    And there's probably 1001 mates races every weekend, you do have mates dont you, and can muster up 2 phones, and a stopwatch between you?

    thisisnotaspoon, and others with similar objections.
    Are you suggesting that no one rides as fast as they can at trail centres anyway.

    And tell me more concerning these free to enter races of which you speak.


    Have they not just done this for the Fred Whitton roadie challenge? Surely this would have similar implications, along with the extra challenge of big bits of metal moving at speed at the same time? Maybe have a look at that and how that is working?

    pistonbroke, I'm not saying that there aren't issues that need to be worked around. But you seem to be saying "don't bother", which is a shame because I think this is potentially a good idea, and the problems could be worked out with input from experienced people like yourself.

    Mr Agreeable I am definitely not saying don't bother, if TQ organisers had said that 20 years ago we wouldn't have had a sport and this silly law would have been the winner. What I am advising is caution and creative thinking as the law isn't going to be changed for many years if ever. The last Transport Minister to look at it was Glenda Jackson!!! Also prospective organisers need to be aware of how what they are doing could be construed and that participants (don't call them competitors) signing a disclaimer has been proven to be not worth the paper its written on.
    A local example to me, the Holme Valley Scouts have for the last 3-4 years organised a fundraising ride which has a mass start and finishing positions and times have been posted on their website afterwards, it uses several bridleways and they have no idea of the legality of what they are doing. This year there was a tragic accident in which someone died. The mind boggles about the implications of this.
    ajf As I have said about 3 times, this law only applies to cycling on bridleways not roads, RUPPS, Byways, Dual Carriageways etc, thats how barmy it is.

    rushing out so don't have time to read everything, apologies if this is now irrelevant. Winter resorts in America and Canada already do this on some runs with timed stations. You pay for a set number of runs and get timed through gates. It's great fun.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon

    No I dont ride "as fast as I can", I ride a speed I know I can survive at, I could ride quicker, take more risks, I have done in the past, and it usualy hurts and/or pisses other people off as it's generaly considdered bad trail etiquet to pelt down a multi ability trail at absolute flat out speeds, mainly becasue in this country you catch someone up in just a few seconds.

    If I were raceing at a trail center I'd be on a giant anthem-x simple as, the average weekend warrior 'rig' makes it more fun, butt he anthem is faster! Dirt did a run at a DH orientated trail in south wales (near Afan, the name escapes me), by all accounts if you ride faster than the builder intended the whole thing gets messy, which is pretty much my experience of trail centers, trying to squash a 4x4ft tabletops that weekend warriors get their 'rad-air-dude' over is nigh on impossible as the downslope is too steep and you end up mising it.

    Eg FTD at Cannock, there is/was a nice step-up on section 14, about 5ft upto the takeoff, and about the same again upto the top, only about a ft of actual 'step'. Hit it slowly and you lose all your speed, hit it too quick and it gets messy, get your front wheel over the lip and pump for all your worth and it flows nicely.

    66% of people probably ride it nicely, 30% too slowly either through lack of skill or not seeing the line, but the remaining few probably get a litle ragged.

    Bump that 66% into the ragged category but adding an element of timed competition, multiply that by every feature (how about that berm in section 13 that ends in the tree if you get it wrong?) and you have a recipie for face-plant smearing, pedestrian sqashing, newbie mashing diaster!

    If you want people to realy push their limits, like this idea would encourage, you need marshals and ambulances on standby like you'd get races. That is unless you intend to tell epople "please only ride at 90% and don't crash", in which case, why bother timing yourself?

    Spoon, a weekend warrior since 2008, previously a rad to the max dude.

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