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 Post subject: Trails
PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:47 am 
Gold Trader
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Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:08 pm
Posts: 1626
Location: Wales
I used to ride Afan forestry, and the surrounding area back in the early '90s. From a 'purists' point of view, I preferred it then.

However, the development of the trailcentre means its more accessible for my 9yr old lad.

There's still plenty of unspoilt stuff in the area.

It's all good IMHO.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:39 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 2:36 pm
Posts: 4007
Location: uk
I'm all for trail centres..........just a lot ot trails are not much cop.......after all this time I think they should have a rethink on some of the designs....i wish there were more trail centres.....but with better wider proper off road trails with more 'natural' looking features on them ....for overtaking your mates and other slower groups.......wider please..


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:41 am 
Windmilling for a Scotch Egg
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Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:27 am
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Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
I've been thinking about this a lot recently as I like to ride both and I thought I was a weirdo for that (might still be, I dunno!).

I grew up riding natural trails and still love it. Even riding the same route again, it's never the same. You have the personal acheivement (for me anyway) of getting over "that mahoosive hill" put in front of you. You never know whether a drop can be rolled until you try it. The hills can be ridiculously steep and rocky and potentially fatal if you get it wrong. You get trails like Snowden and The Beast (Peak District) which can be just harsh and never designed to be ridden down/up/along!! You also get long stretches of smooth trails and maybe some tarmac for a breather. It's so varied! Fun on a modern full-sus as you can ride for hours and hours without feeling like youve been tumble dried with boulders or you can enjoy pinging off the hillside on a retro fully rigid. All good!

Trail centres ARE like climbing walls, a bit. They take out the "is there a walker around this corner" factor, so you know you can go as fast as you dare without the risk of flattening someone. You know someone isn't (well most of the time) isn't going to riding the opposite way to you either. I've never done a black run I couldn't do and I know unless it says "mandatory air" I'll be able to ride it, so I'm not afraid of trying. I can do sections and sections over and over again to practise something or just repeat the enjoyment! (yeah I know you can do this elsewhere too). There isn't going to be any deep bogs or stiles or gates or anything. I've only ever got to the limits of my modern tyres at a trail centre to be honest (maybe I'm not trying hard enough elsewhere!). And the trails are designed to give the mountain biker, no one else, the maximum fun from the terrain they are on.

I'm not going to go through the negatives of both as I don't care... We don't have to choose trail centres OR natural, we can have both. As long as we all try to maintain good relationships with local landowners and park authorities for the natural stuff, and the forestry commision and all the other bodies who provide the trail centres then we can enjoy the benefits of both for a long time to come.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:30 am 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2007 12:22 pm
Posts: 2942
Location: Platsa, Messinias, Greece
These "trail centres" of which you all speak - one of these days I'll have to get myself to one, just so I can say that I've been.

Sometimes it seems like I'm the only person who never visits them.....

As far as "natural" stuff goes, very little of it is truly natural anyway - sheep tracks, old mine and quarry tracks, pack roads, drovers roads, all these places that I ride were made by someone (or sheep). Even the off-piste across the moorland stuff would have been vastly different before deforestation and now most forestry around here isn't any older than me - if I go riding round my local forest I'm the oldest thing there, as planting didn't start until 1956 :roll:

In Greece it's the same, I'm riding on old Kalderimis (mule paths), newer agricultural dirt roads and goat paths (like sheep tracks, but steeper and rockier then).
Very little around here is truly natural and, ironically, what is usually isn't very rideable :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:46 am 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 2:36 pm
Posts: 4007
Location: uk
indeed using the word ' natural' is a bit odd as yes these 'paths' made by what ever were not made for bikes originally OR some bikes have ploughed a path through a desired area.......but man- made in this context means deliberatly made for bikes only.


One good point i forgot is no walkers in trail centers, BUT conversly sometimes you come round a corner of tight single track to find someone fixing a punture right in your way ! At least most natural trail usually are not full of other riders and visability is usually good.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:27 pm 
National & North West AEC
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Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2008 12:43 am
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Location: Macclesfield Forest
In my experience, trail centres are great on weekdays but awful at the weekend.
This isn't always the case and it depends where you go, but I do find that places like Llandegla are so busy at the weekends that you just can't help but get caught up in a queue of 'Grrr, we're so rad' riders.

In terms of terrain, I do quite like riding some purpose built stuff. Sometimes I get a bit incredulous at the pointless and repetitive features, but not all trail centres were built equal.
Some do feel and look very natural in the way they have been built, whereas others have all the subtlety of a house brick.

One thing that I have noticed more recently is how some riders judge their ability and therefore their 'radness' on whether they have ridden the black graded routes.

I know a group of local riders who now refer to themselves as 'The Black Run Boys', after a visit to Llandegla.
That makes me chuckle as the black runs at Llandegla are not at all difficult.
During the last Retrobike NWA visit practically everyone successfully rode the black graded sections on fully rigid old bikes with canti brakes and 20 year old tyres.

Does that make us even more rad?

Or am I just a grumpy old bike curmudgeon....?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:29 pm 
Windmilling for a Scotch Egg
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Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:27 am
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Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
DSP - I think it makes us 264% more rad. Beleive it!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:43 pm 
Gold Trader / PoTM Winner
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Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:35 pm
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If its boring, why go to the effort of riding it to the extent that one is motivated to construct an online discussion about it?

If its boring, dont ride it... ride somewhere you DO like, and be far FAR happier for it



Simples :wink:


G


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:16 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 2:36 pm
Posts: 4007
Location: uk
can't get anywhere like where i used to live.....no car ...tis all canal paths n flat fields here........after my 20 + years riding in Wales the nearest place is the Wyre forest.............as for the malvern hills although pretty it's mainly very flat trail surfaces that go up /down.

My moan is partly that......but also a genuine gathering of opinions from other cyclists as to wether trail centres could do with a re-think on the width of their trails.

There is a tiny triangle of forest nearby with a huge bomb hole but that's it...........i've been spoilt :oops:


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