Am I Going Mad?

Postby punkture on Wed 11/Jul/12 10:10pm

I need some feedback. I have recently moved to a new town with very few MTB trails (I won't name it but it is on the way to Milford Sound!). The town is surrounded by National Park - off limits to MTBs (but we're working on this). One area has been 'developed' with about 8km of single track 'designed and built' by one person. I really want to get involved with further developing these tracks (as do many others) but the current caretaker has a very very different view on what mountain bike tracks should be. This is from a report written for council about the MTB tracks. Let me know what you think! Quotes from the current developer in Italics.

The 'blue track' should contain as many uphill and downhill sections as possible, to be challenging, to constantly disrupt rhythm and flow, to necessitate the use of a range of gears, to be a 'conditioning' track as well as technical. Tracks in a clover leaf or sausage shape so entrances are near exits. Low invasive, more natural for the user, not require drainage, not require backfill with material such as gravel. "Natural" in their finish. A style that is unique (to this area). Not a copy of Sandfly Point, Bluff or Queenstown. Tracks that are not downhill, higher speeds or tracks that brought in a small group of alternative users with the associated problems of maintenance, safety issues and so on. A system that allowed from under 5s (years) to older people and covered all skills. A section of humps and bumps that catered for children and thrilled them without the wheels leaving the ground. The tracks should also cater to runners, walkers and orienteering.
A section under injuries sates - Very few injuries have happened on the tracks - principally because of the lines and designs. We have deliberately forced riders to slow down in a lot of sections but retained the buzz, fun, new skills, technical and work out factors. We have avoided the classic PC problem of making the courses so obvious that the person using the tracks stops thinking. AND HERE IS THE SHOVE THAT PUSHED ME OVER THE EDGE- The track constructors who talk about "flow" constantly end up with tracks that have more injuries - people speed up, thinking is not demanded - accidents result. Compared to Rotorua and Queenstown the injury rate is extremely small! (Like comparing the death rate from war in New Zealand and Syria!)
And it goes on to quote from a satisfied user - "Better tracks than Wellington. Too many tracks now try to flow and it takes all the enjoyment out".

So has this person got it right and I am loosing my marbles and the style of trails in Rotorua, Wellington, Nelson, Sticky Forest, Queenstown, Dunedin etc etc or the "Flow Trails" http://www.imba.com/model-trails/flow-country is the wrong direction!! We need support because I want somewhere fun to ride! I have attached some images of the current tracks. If you have ridden here visit this site http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/W7NVY6N and let us know what you thought! Cheers!!
P1020230.JPG
Last edited by punkture on Thu 12/Jul/12 2:26pm, edited 2 times in total.
punkture
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Re: Am I Going Mad?

Postby Trail on Thu 12/Jul/12 8:12am

If that person builds tracks that you are not at all fond of and is set in their ways (which by what they have written it sounds like it) and you want some more standard tracks with strange things like flow in them... then I suggest you look at finding somewhere that you can get permission to build some tracks and you put your own ones in with the characteristics that you like.

It does sound like the builder of those trails thinks of fun mountain biking as something a bit different to what many people around the country think of as fun mountain biking...

Dont worry about fighting the guy, just build your own thing. If you do it well then your tracks will be popular and when there are options you will start to see whether people like the current track and still ride it when there are other options.
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Re: Am I Going Mad?

Postby mtnkiwiishere on Thu 12/Jul/12 8:30am

I totally agree with Trail on this one. Sounds like you are up against a guy truly set in his own ways so no point reasoning. Fun and safe? Blah, sounds like a bicycle rail trail with some stones chucked on to stay natural (and looks like an old Makara track before they got good). There are about 3 different groups of people building trails in Nelson (I know, there are more but i am thinking current new tracks on the Maitai and Hira), and these trails are all completely different from concept to finish - which is just awesome for riders. Sounds like you need to get a small group of riders together, get some land to work, and do some digging. Good luck
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Re: Am I Going Mad?

Postby Flyboy on Thu 12/Jul/12 8:48am

plus it would be satisfying to build some more 'traditional' tracks somewhere else & then end up with more people using your tracks instead of his "safe" ones!
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Re: Am I Going Mad?

Postby thorg on Thu 12/Jul/12 8:59am

lets encourage diversity. Everything like Rotorua would be rather boring, so if this guy wants to build something else, good shit.

Turn the tables - what is your reaction? You have a great set of tracks that you built, and love. Others have come along and love them also, and you have plans to grow the whole system. It's different, has it's own style and appeal, but it's not for every one. It's raspberry ripple to everyone elses vanilla. Then someone comes along and says "I want to build vanilla :) wont that be great!"

Not saying your 'style' (whatever it is) is vanilla, but you get the point. He probably disapproves of your ethos as much as you do his.

Mountain biking is not limited to what you find in an IMBA book - and that's just fine by me.
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Re: Am I Going Mad?

Postby thelongwalk on Thu 12/Jul/12 9:26am

Yep- just as we all ride differently we all dig trails differently .From the information provided- which is not the full picture -The guy seems very set on his ways and knows what he wants . Good on him. It's great to travel around NZ and riding trails build by different users.

I personally like building trails that are armoured and drain well -the trails described here and certainly the picture which is just a line down a slope are different. In Wellington we have very high trail use even in winter that our trails turn to mud. Maintenance is a big thing in ongoing trail management.

As stated above I would cut my losses and try to build somewhere else- with people you like and who have built already that way reducing your error rate. Trail building is hard work and fun-but can be a nightmare if personality issues arise. And the way the guy states his trails are the best ever -is to me cause for concern. I think a trail should stand on its own merits and is for riders to judge -not the biased builder.

I like IMBA books and always recommend –need to use a clinometer. Others dislike them and fair enough.

And the guy does have a point- visit the gondola in Queenstown/Rotorua and see the braking bumps – too much speed and flow is also an arse to maintain.
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Re: Am I Going Mad?

Postby bugle on Thu 12/Jul/12 10:29am

If you build it they will come etc.
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Re: Am I Going Mad?

Postby Trail on Thu 12/Jul/12 12:06pm

If built right you can maintain flow without getting braking bumps. Curving a downhill track back up the hill to naturally slow the rider before turning a corner makes a huge difference to this.

Building tracks that have good sight lines so that people do not get nervous and drag the back brake makes a big difference to this as well. Build the trail surface much wider than you need too and people get off the brakes more.

Building good trails can take a while to get your eye and figure out what works. Best way to learn is to get out and build some trails!

Flying Nun in Chch is a good example of a track that has good flow and many people enjoy. I dare say it has its fair share of crashes and injuries, but by the number of people who are always riding it, this does not seem to be a deterring factor to the users!
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Re: Am I Going Mad?

Postby phunk on Thu 12/Jul/12 12:57pm

thorg wrote: Everything in Rotorua is rather boring


Agreed, well, except the couple of trails right up the back.
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Re: Am I Going Mad?

Postby Yogi on Thu 12/Jul/12 1:31pm

What would be interesting to know is how easy it'd be to convince the council that you should be allowed to build now that this guy has already written the "report". Has anyone approached any of the landowners yet?

A straight forward argument to use would be the attraction of riders to a variety of tracks, which in turn has an economic benefit from visiting mountain bikers. As he mentions Queenstown and Rotorua as examples, you may want to mention how much business they bring to the region (not that it's likely to happen in the short term where you are). Then if you're allowed to build, like everyone else says, the evidence of success will be in the usage difference. Good luck!
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Re: Am I Going Mad?

Postby R+P+K on Thu 12/Jul/12 1:42pm

OP, could you separate out the quoted part from your comments? It's hard to see which parts we are supposed to be critiquing.
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Re: Am I Going Mad?

Postby Trail on Thu 12/Jul/12 1:57pm

phunk wrote:
thorg wrote: Everything in Rotorua is rather boring


Agreed, well, except the couple of trails right up the back.


and that would be the difference between hand built and digger built tracks. However those who are still getting into this biking lark or are just after a fast flowy blast really enjoy the digger built tracks, while those who have a few more skills and are looking for more of a challenge often prefer the hand made trails.
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Re: Am I Going Mad?

Postby E Dogg Capizzle on Thu 12/Jul/12 2:05pm

Trail wrote:
phunk wrote:
thorg wrote: Everything in Rotorua is rather boring


Agreed, well, except the couple of trails right up the back.


and that would be the difference between hand built and digger built tracks. However those who are still getting into this biking lark or are just after a fast flowy blast really enjoy the digger built tracks, while those who have a few more skills and are looking for more of a challenge often prefer the hand made trails.


What a load of pretentious twaddle. :rolleyes:
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Re: Am I Going Mad?

Postby Trail on Thu 12/Jul/12 2:09pm

E Dogg Capizzle wrote:
Trail wrote:
phunk wrote:
thorg wrote: Everything in Rotorua is rather boring


Agreed, well, except the couple of trails right up the back.


and that would be the difference between hand built and digger built tracks. However those who are still getting into this biking lark or are just after a fast flowy blast really enjoy the digger built tracks, while those who have a few more skills and are looking for more of a challenge often prefer the hand made trails.


What a load of pretentious twaddle. :rolleyes:


Yeh, well, you know, thats just like my opinion man :p
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Re: Am I Going Mad?

Postby punkture on Thu 12/Jul/12 2:12pm

Cheers for the feedback. I have attached the report that our group/ club put together for the current land-owners. Let me know what you think.
The issue for us with building somewhere else is there really is no somewhere else! We have proposals in with DOC who are obviously the biggest land manager around these parts (apart from Landcorp east of the lake).
Te Anau Cycling Incorporated (TACI) Ivon Wilson Plan (IWP) FINAL.pdf
Are we on the right track? Pun intended??
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