Trail centres – what are they good for?

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  • Trail centres – what are they good for?
  • Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    I spent the day at the ‘faux’ trailcentre, Swinley Forest… TBH, it’s bloody brilliant. It’s like Llandegla witout the climbing 🙂

    Intstant reward, instant fun… Awsome 3 hours spent.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    what are they for? riding bikes, anyone who wants to diss them as not proper mountain biking is a snob.

    Glad you had fun 🙂

    yunki
    Member

    Keeping the real trails from being too busy? 😉

    thomthumb
    Member

    managed an (accidental) tail whip

    really?

    i love trail centres.

    brakes
    Member

    Car parks and cake shops aplenty

    Premier Icon xherbivorex
    Subscriber

    what are they for? riding bikes

    that was my immediate thought on seeing the thread title.

    gears_suck
    Member

    They’re good at giving old farts their mojo back. 🙂 Convenient fun for the masses. Great proving ground and a super training aid. +1 for the coffee and cake too.

    Premier Icon stilltortoise
    Subscriber

    After an odd couple of years of too many crashes and shattered confidence, combined with a shaky start to my new bike relationship, I need to give a shout out to trail centres.

    I had an ACE morning at Cannock yesterday. The fast, flowy and not very scary trail was exactly what I needed to get back to where I wanted to be (pun intended). A quick blast on the Monkey Trail saw me climbing well and descending with flow and – dare I say – style (observers may have begged to differ). I was even comfortable popping off some of the rollers and even – EVEN – managed an (accidental) tail whip of sorts 🙂 Catching everyone on the ups and downs was just what I needed for a confidence boost.

    So, thank you Cannock and trail centres everywhere, you don’t half know how to help a creaking old dude get his mojo back.

    Premier Icon stilltortoise
    Subscriber

    managed an (accidental) tail whip

    really?

    OK, maybe not in the BMX sense, but it was a “whip” in the mountain bike sense that the back wheel ended up being stuck out sideways. Much like Danny Hart in the 2011 World downhill champs*

    *not much like that either 😆

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Absolutely nuthin! Say it again!

    Except riding bikes, but that doesn’t fit the song.

    joeelston
    Member

    I’m fortunate to live within half an hour of Glentress and after four years of going, never once have I been bored. Its fun and everyone seems really happy and chilled out.

    chip
    Member

    Ambulance drivers must really love frequenting them too.
    As I always see them either there or just leaving.
    And when they on on their way there they must be reet proper excited and can’t wait to get there as they come flying up the road on the centre markings a lights a flashing.

    They must really love mountain biking.

    chipontheshoulder – Member

    FTFY!

    Trail centres? Fun. Plain and simple. Fun days out riding.

    rocketman
    Member

    The fast, flowy and not very scary trail…
    …climbing well…
    …descending with flow…
    …popping off some of the rollers…
    …accidental tail whip of sorts…
    …Catching everyone on the ups and downs…

    Sounds like a fairly normal ride around Cannock tbh

    glad you enjoyed it 🙂

    DanW
    Member

    Good for riding in the middle of winter when you want a ride where you can guarantee most of the trails will be rideable and weather proof rather than explore the more natural stuff and get stuck in most of it….

    godzilla
    Member

    Trail centres are good for –
    Terrible weather
    Cake
    People with poor navigational skills
    Orange owners
    Confidence building
    Pussywillow trolling
    Gravel rash
    Finding reflectors

    greeble
    Member

    Trail centres are bad for –
    Finding disguarded inner tubes.
    Finding disguarded water bottles energy gel wrappers.
    the spread of ash die back disease

    rocketman
    Member

    Good for riding in the middle of winter when you want a ride where you can guarantee most of the trails will be rideable and weather proof



    *cough*

    Premier Icon rOcKeTdOg
    Subscriber

    Meeting the opposite sex

    DanW
    Member

    So were the more natural trails in the area any more rideable Rocketman? If so it would be some very unforfortunate localised snow 😀

    Premier Icon ahwiles
    Subscriber

    the man-made stuff at Cannock is very, very good.

    i’ve pottered around ‘follow the dog’ twice with my wife, it takes us about 90mins, but there’s only about 5 mins of ‘climbing’ – the rest is easy*, flowy fun. lots of it is obviously ‘up’ – but it’s interesting, and a nice gradient, so doesn’t count.

    bloody great!

    (*just enough tech to keep my wife busting out the high-fives 🙂 )

    peterfile
    Member

    I’m sometimes left a bit puzzled by the difference between man made trails and natural trails. The “natural” trails are still man made, just for a different purpose.

    Surely it would be more accurate to say “I love riding my high horse along walkers paths”.

    This could not have been more apparent on Buachaille Etive Beag at the weekend. I was up for a summit camp on Stob Dubh and remember reading about a couple of STWers attempting to ride the ridge and then back down. First thought was “poor sods”, since 50% or more would have been unrideable. Then it occurred to me that many MTBers would class riding a munro such as this is “natural” trails, when actually there isn’t a single metre of that route which hasn’t been created/manufactured by man.

    That said, I know where i’d rather be. As much as I love glentress/laggan etc, it’s lacking in soul compared to the mountains. But that’s got nothing to do with the quality and heritage of the trails.

    *What 29er for the steps down from Buachaille Etvie Beag?*:)

    rocketman
    Member

    So were the more natural trails in the area any more rideable Rocketman?

    Not really Dan 🙂

    Premier Icon stilltortoise
    Subscriber

    it’s lacking in soul compared to the mountains

    I love the mountains, and there’s no doubt I’d rather be riding in the Alps or Sierra Nevada than Cannock Chase, but instead I have to make the most of what is on my (relative) doorstep. Yesterday morning it was all about riding the highest proportion of fun trails in a short space of time and that’s what trail centres are great for.

    I’ll save my soulful rides for less windy days 🙂

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    the other bonus of going to a trail centre is that all the chip on shoulder brigade being miserable and grumpy are plunging through bogs and pushing up hills telling everyone how much better it is.

    mangatank
    Member

    Trail Centres are the uk ski resorts in a sense (leaving aside Avimore). It’s where the sport’s zeitgeist exists. I really enjoy TCs, and without them the sport wouldn’t be anywhere near as healthy as it is, but I’d take a good natural trail over them most days.

    OK, maybe not in the BMX sense, but it was a “whip” in the mountain bike sense that the back wheel ended up being stuck out sideways.

    Whips are so 2011, it’s all about the scrubs now.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    peterfile – Member

    I’m sometimes left a bit puzzled by the difference between man made trails and natural trails. The “natural” trails are still man made, just for a different purpose.

    Yeah, it’s just shorthand for “not purpose built”, not ideal but nobody’s got a better suggestion I think. Even when it’s a sheep trail like some of my local stuff, it’s still not natural, we deforested the hills and then we imported sheep onto them.

    gazc
    Member

    they’re great at keeping the hoards off all the decent natural/bridleway/cheeky stuff

    gavmac
    Member

    Have ridden golspie (trail centre) and arkle loop in the north west this week. Totally different types of riding but both amazing. U always work harder on the natural stuff though!

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    Having ridden BPW for the first time a week ago I have to say its about as perfect a model of what a (UK) trail center should / could be IMO.

    You can pedal up the fire roads, you can take the more challenging “Beast of Burden” climb or you can clamber onto the uplift.

    Pretty much all of the trails bringing you back down are great, the Blues are just pumpy, swoopy goodness which you can actually pick up a silly amount of speed on, the reds are a good mix of that plus some more techy and bumpy stuff and the Blacks are more challenging still with less grip, more mud and some bigger features, but there are still chicken lines for the scarier stuff.

    There’s plenty of options and you can stitch the different lines together meaning there’s no need to ride the exact same route twice in a day.

    You can take whatever bike you fancy from a Full on DH bike to an XC whippet and find something worth riding on it…

    I’d say it’s an idealized example and not every location in the UK has the terrain or funding to achieve what they have at Gethin…

    Swinley is my local and they’ve done a lot with what they have, again it ticks a number of boxes if your after a day or a half days straight forwards fun riding on trails set out specifically for that purpose, whats not to like?

    Like most people the majority of my mileage is still local, on cheeky woodland trails and bridal ways, I’d not be without this sort of riding, but I don’t really see why it has to be an an “either / Or” type decision I think trail centers and Local* riding both form part of a Balanced MTBing diet…

    *I’ll not call it “Natural” as that’s not an honest description IMO…

    Premier Icon stilltortoise
    Subscriber

    U always work harder on the natural stuff though!

    I find on my local “natural” Peak District trails, there are always road sections or easy sections that do not reward by putting more effort in. On trail centres the more effort I put in the more I get out of it, which often means I’m out of breath most of the way round – up, down, along.

    Premier Icon richmtb
    Subscriber

    I’ve never really understood what makes a path built for walkers “natural” while a path built for bikes is “man made”.

    I like the variation and the sense of adventure that comes with a good natural loop. They throw up challenges you won’t find at TC’s. But sometimes I also like being able to just follow the arrows and ride on a fast consistent surface, this also throws up challenges you won’t find on natural trails, like lines and carrying speed.

    And given the climate we have I don’t think its unreasonable to suggest that trail centres are essential to the popularity of mountain biking in the UK

    Premier Icon stilltortoise
    Subscriber

    I like the variation and the sense of adventure that comes with a good natural loop

    I’ve highlighted the key word here. The best rides I’ve ever done have been “natural”, but I’ve had an awful lot of below par “natural” rides too.

    I’ve never really understood what makes a path built for walkers “natural” while a path built for bikes is “man made”.

    It’s just a useful and well-established term to differentiate trails built for feet/hooves that cyclists happen to use versus trails created specifically for riding bikes on.

    IanMunro
    Member

    I’ve never really understood what makes a path built for walkers “natural” while a path built for bikes is “man made”.

    I’m sure you do.

    Premier Icon stewartc
    Subscriber

    Your lucky if you have the option to choose, here we have limited access to ‘legal’ trails and the ones that are open are limited in length (despite the good work of the HKMBA).

    I would love the option of a local bike park to faff around at on occasion.

    Plus one for Swinley. 24.5 miles there last Tuesday left my legs feeling like they would after 40+ miles of local trails in the current dryish conditions. A good trail centre encourages you to cane it for a greater percentage of the ride than most natural trails. Sort of like track days that folks take cars and motorbikes on.

    Premier Icon benji
    Subscriber

    I use them as a skill builder, as it’s more like the things you find in a race which is what you can’t find on a bridleway. Pick the right time of day, and you can often squeeze in a few quick laps without really meeting anyone else.

    Premier Icon stilltortoise
    Subscriber

    Sort of like track days

    Yes. This

    Premier Icon nickc
    Subscriber

    different type of fun altogether…

    [chorus] different type of fun[chorus/]

    Things I love: my GF can enjoy them, knowing she can probably get a short cut or go round at her own pace, work on her skills on stuff that’s there specifically for bikes, there’s generally a cafe, I can switch off my navigation brain off, I don’t generally have to worry about walkers, horses, all that crap. They are pretty much always in good condition regardless of the weather or time of year, if I make a weekend of it, then I’m genuinely putting money in a local community that wouldn’t have it otherwise ( last weekend went to CYB, and must have spent > £100 in local shops pubs and cafes.

    rocketman
    Member

    Sort of like track days

    +1

    The only other place I ride apart from Cannock is natural mid-Wales. Even though I know the area quite well, everytime I go it takes me a few rides to adjust and realise I can’t cane it everywhere all the time.

    By the same token when I get back to Cannock people are passing me in droves 😆

    They are predictably fun. This is most important when the condition of non-purpose-built trails is poor

    I especially like built corners.

    Premier Icon Scapegoat
    Subscriber

    Yep, they definitely have a place. The old bloke geting his confidence back, (that’s me that is) to the young dudes making a fun day out, to families, to all sorts of people who wouldn’t otherwise be out riding.

    I love them to bits if I’m in the right mood, as much as I love plotting something on Garmin and going out and exploring. But, I can’t remember the last time I spent more than a few minutes carrying or pushing at a trail centre, whereas I can remember a couple of rides earlier this year where I carried the bloody thing all round Calderdale for half a day in order to ride falter and stutter my way down about ten minutes of terrifying uebertechy nonsense.

    In terms of manmade versus natural, well, I use the term Organic…. still manmade, but with less input for those who buy on looks alone…..

Viewing 45 posts - 1 through 45 (of 69 total)

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