You’re running out of time and fast filling spaces to get your name down on the lists for the IMBA / FE trailbuilding schools that are coming to a forest near you soon.
In case you missed it the first time IMBA (International Mountain Bike Assosciation – responsible for all sorts of trailbuilding and access saving crusades in the states) have teamed up with Forest Enterprise (responsible for the ever growing network of top quality forestry singletrack trails and welcoming attitude towards mountain bikers) to launch a pilot series of trailbuilding schools.
Each weekend school is taking place at a forestry centre and you’ll be instructed by IMBA’s international co-ordinator Judd de Vall, and expert trailbuilders from the FE trail crew in Wales. They will take you right through the basics of trail construction, from the best way to talk to local landowners through to actually constructing a permanent and weatherproof trail that will last for years. Best of all, the whole thing is free.
The schools are being held at:
August 26th – 26th Coed y Brenin
September 1st – 2nd Dalby Forest North Yorkshire
September 8th – 9th Afan Argoed South Wales
September 15th – 16th Mabie Forest Dumfries
Proposed itinerary for each school is as follows:
Saturday 10am: Meet at IMBA / FE Landrover at Forest Visitor centre.
Saturday am: Learn what IMBA and FE are about and all the best techniques for getting trail permission in the first place.
Lunchtime: Feed your face. We’ll try and sort out some sort of butty run, but bring your own just in case.
Saturday pm: Recce round the local trails looking at the techniques that have been used or could be used to solve trail / erosion / terrain issues. This will be followed by a faster “proper ride” led by local guides.
Dinner: Again there’s a high possibility of a run to the local chippy (depending on venue) but bring your own food and cooking gear.
Saturday night: There will be basic camping facilities available nearby for rugged types to bring their own tent but otherwise you can arrange more genteel accommodation through the local tourist information office.
Sunday morning 10am: Meet at IMBA / FE Landrover at Forest Visitor centre.
Sunday morning: Quick briefing before heading out for the practical trail building session. Tasks will depend on number of attendees and ground conditions. Our aim is to construct a length of trail containing a section of ‘full bench cut’ (simple yet sturdy form of construction) with a ‘rolling grade dip’ (stops water erosion) and a ‘rolling crown switchback’ (the only bombproof way to change the direction of a trail). You’ll then be able to use these techniques on your own trails when you get back.
Sunday pm: Local ride for anyone who’s got any energy left.
To make sure you’ve got one of the limited places on the schools you need to register on the IMBA site or with Phil on 07968 325291.
As well as food and a camping gear, you’ll also need to bring riding kit and a bike, but most importantly weatherproof work clothes for the Sunday session. But don’t worry, you don’t need to be a navvy to be useful, you just need plenty of enthusiasm to help get trailbuilding established in this country any way we can.
And now a quick word from Judd at Imba;
This isn’t about coralling mountain bikers into forests on sanitised tracks, this is about learning the skills that can make any trail anywhere more sustainable and enjoyable to ride. Get yourself and your mates organised and invest a weekend in the future of mountain biking. It’s going to be a great laugh, so we’ll see you there.
Please note: IMBA is a grassroots, rider-managed organization funded through donations from our members. We are striving to create a permanent presence in the UK that will support British mountain bikers. This effort will only be possible through generous donations from riders and industry members like YOU.
While IMBA/Forest Enterprise Trailbuilding Schools are free, riders are highly encouraged to get involved, join IMBA and make a personal donation to the help keep trails open for mountain biking. Your contributions will directly help IMBA to lower our costs and open more trails for mountain bikers in your region.