I’ve just finished a wee trail I’ve called “Jump Street”. It’s not the most fun trail I’ve built but it has the most jumps. Something I’ve never really built before or really ridden, so I wanted a wee short trail with lots of jumps to play about on. It has a great variety, senders, kickers and jumps to berms. With my coaching head on its great. Such variety means you can teach different techniques and you can build up to the bigger ones.
This got me thinking about digging in general. So it seems to me there are two main types of Mountainbikers, those who like to build and maintain trails & those who have no notion of it. I fall into the first category. I get as much fun out of building a new trail as riding a new trail. From near enough the day I started taking biking seriously me and mates starting digging. The beginning was just fixing up existing trails, we weren’t experienced enough to pick our own lines. A mention for myself and my good friend Richy in Dirt mag for helping fix up the trail for the national champs in Rostrevor in 07 made us feel like heroes.
Then we started digging our own stuff. To begin with it wasn’t great, some brilliant sections but there just wasn’t that flow in between. Many years later and we finished a wee beaut in Rostrevor, originally named Supernatural it was soon nicknamed dh3. To see your own trail feature in promotional videos and loads of headcams just makes me want to Build more.
To me trail building lets you give something back to the sport. Many people won’t appreciate that and I totally accept that. But mtb is growing and the way it is now isn’t sustainable in my opinion. Trails are seeing far more traffic than ever. Maybe we should set up a local trail building crew where we can get the local mtbers together to give a few hours back to help fix up the trails.
A few top tips if you fancy some digging:
- A mattock is your friend
- Pick a start point or end point and work from there. Don’t try and join a start and finish point.
- 90° bends add to the flow
- Don’t make the entrance or exit obvious
- Take a mental note of what works well on trails you like and how it’s been built
- Get your mates involved. Saves a lot of time and effort and adds in different ideas.
Just got out there and give it a go!