TRAIL BUILDING






Where do I start with this page?

I am only new to mountain biking, starting out as a complete novice in about 2008 when I found some trails on the hill behind my house. I didn't know how they got there but I was mightily glad they were.

I made the mistake that MOST new mountain bikers make. I had total disregard for the trails and by extension, the people who had built them. I skidded into corners, I short cut corners and I moved obstacles that I couldn't ride over. In short, I was totally ignorant that these trails were designed that way for a reason. That reason is to make them sustainable by stopping or largely slowing erosion as well as to be challenging to ride. A very delicate balance.


In late 2010 as I learned more about mountain biking I joined two other local riders in starting to build a new trail on the hillside behind my home. One of the other guys had trail building experience but it is fair to say that none of us REALLY knew what we were doing.


The stars lined up around this time in that the local council officer in charge of that section of bush was keen to see us continue the building, but in an approved and sustainable way. This led us to seek out information on how to build trail properly and to proceed as authorised by him.


To say there was some friction between the three of us is an understatement. While I personally didn't like to follow a whole set of "Rulz" in what was meant to be a fun pastime where I could escape "The Rulz", I came to see that what was at stake was bigger than just my personal feelings and desires. If we could do this right it would lead to more trails in our little patch of bush.


As we moved along to finally finish that trail 12 months later, our model was starting to attract attention from other land managers as to what could be achieved with a bunch of "scruffy" mountain bikers. The powers that be discovered that the demographic was mainly 30-40 year old professionals and not the 16 year old kids that they thought mountain bikers were. As a result we were beginning to be taken much more seriously (well, mostly).



This led to the formation of Logan Community Trailcare Alliance by Logan City Council here in south Brisbane. It is meant to be a trail and bush care stewardship model that all of the community can be involved in. The reality is that ONLY mountain bikers are actually getting out there and putting an effort into cleaning up the bush. How ironic, considering all of the protestations that bush walking and horse riding groups make against mountain bikers. We are the only ones actually putting back into the trails. The very same trails that these walkers and horse riders use.



LCTA has several new trail projects planned for the hill behind my home. They depend on volunteers to become a reality. Unfortunately, volunteers are very thin on the ground with most people just wanting to ride their bikes and have nothing to do with authority. I personally feel that successive governments and local authorities have contributed to this "dispossessing" over the last 20 years. Responsible community groups were locked out of natural areas, right across the country, and were made to feel like criminals despite generally good intentions.


Having said that, I now feel that the pendulum has begun to swing the other way. With massive health problems looming due to community inactivity and the ensuing medical costs that come from this inactivity, governments are having to embrace the sensible use of our natural areas for healthy activities.

Unfortunately, reversing this ingrained "dispossession" will take time. People have forgotten the great sense of  pride and self satisfaction that comes from giving your time to a cause that you are passionate about. There are many great trails just waiting to be built, so why not put your hand up and come along to a trail care day?

Remember. The people that build the trails build them the way they would like them. So come along and have your input into the trails in your area. You won't regret it!



















Benching trail


Retaining Walls



Erosion Control


Rolling Grade Dip



Potentially a fun way to get to the worksite, but this video captures the fun vibe that prevades trail care



BOB from Seth Graham on Vimeo.






2 comments:

  1. Wow I just came across your blog via NeilEnnis's and have been having a look around, I am a very novice MTB'er but am really starting to love it.

    What you guys are doing with the trails around your area is fantastic and has started me thinking about my own area at Glass House Mountains. I love the comment about only the bike riders being involved in cleaning up the bush, not that I have anything against them, I am "them" occasionally.

    I look forward to following your blog with interest.

    Phil

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words Phil. I am sure there are plenty of other groups out there looking after the bush, so I am possibly taking liberties with the truth claiming that only mtbers are active. Having said that, it IS only mtbers here on the south side of Brisbane that are doing something. Might I suggest talking to the appropriate land managers in your area before digging begins. You will save a lot of heartache and gain a lot more respect by making a direct approach. Hope to catch you out on the trails at some stage. Cheers. Dave.

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