Thursday, 29 December 2011

A spot of one man maintenance (Trail building - Thursday 29th December)

After getting rather soggy feet, there was an indication that maybe a little excess mud and water was present on section 8A (from the top of the fire road climb, through the old growth). What better day to pick for trail maintenance than a rainy one? Well at least you can work out where the puddles are, but the shock was where the trail was. Sounds obvious, but no, you've actually been riding largely off the left side of the trail for at least 18 months. This was not immediately apparent until I set about a spot of one man maintenance.

The puddle points were cleared by pulling the accumulated ledge of mud and pine needles from of the down-slope side of the trail. On the first bend in from the start, that edge of mud was about 13cm high! The side of the trail has been cleared off for a metre out from the down-slope trail edge to give plenty of space for the water run-off to soak away.

It seemed strange that there was trail material under a 50mm layer of mud and grass to the right side of the trail. This ran to about 30cm out from the edge of the riding line. The clearing continued, as did the revealing of more trail material. It soon became apparent that the riding line had migrated left by 30 to 45cm. The right side of the trail had slowly disappeared with time, and become buried - in 18 months! Even more surprisingly, this shift in riding line was to the left of the trail for the whole of this section (300 metres or so), not just a few bits - most curious.

However, the actual trail was in good shape, but the other 50% of the riding line will certainly need surfacing at some stage. The suspicion is that this section may have been too cambered (contractor built) and too narrow, and riders may have ended up riding to one side of the trail surface. This got slowly worse with time, hence why all the mud and pot holes have come about.

A wet cold day, but a good five hour session, and no shortage of happy riders working off the Christmas food. No offers of help mind you! The riding line has been moved back over to where it should be, and the muddy pot holes covered with logs. Your feet should now remain drier down this section, as long as you stay on the actual trail !!

Don't forget the BIG BUILD DAY on 8th January!!!


Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Look what Santa has got us …

Well, maybe not the jolly portly chap in a red suit but a quick surf on e-bay turned up a bike trailer which we reckon will be an ideal means of carrying a few tools around. Our plan is to do a few mobile maintenance sessions sorting out drainage and other issues on the trails. It tows surprising well off-road and copes with braking bumps so watch out for our trailer out on the trails.

An early Happy New Year to all our readers and hope to see you at our Big Build Day on the 8th January.


Sunday, 18 December 2011

It’s not just a resurface… (Trail building - Sunday 18th December)

We may have been spending time on rock armouring the Rollers but we’ve added a few new surprises to the closed section of Tackeroo. To start with, the old stump jumps have been spruced up with rock takeoffs. Young Phil turned up at just the right time to give them a quick test ride.

The first Roller has been remodelled, with a rock slab and frame work that will become a short boardwalk.

We plan to resurface the worn sections at the forthcoming Big Build Day on Sunday 8th January – please come along and lend a hand, it's an ideal way to burn off those festive calories.


Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Date for your diary - 8th January - next Big Build Day

It's been a while since we've had a Bid Build Day so to help everyone burn off those extra minces pies and helpings of Christmas pud, we're having a "Big Surfacing Day" on the last section of Tackeroo - that's the section that is currently closed.

We'll provide all the tools, a free raffle, hot food and drinks - all we ask is for you to turn up and lend a hand. There's plenty to do to keep you warm - the old surface will need breaking up, new material barrowing into place and it all wacked down.

If you can spare the time, even if it's only a few minutes whilst you're out riding, we'll apprieciate it and everyone will be able to ride the "new improved" Rollers again.

Have a Merry Christmas and hope Santa brings that shiny new ......... (insert whatever is on your Christmas list).


Thursday, 8 December 2011

Christmas at Birches Valley

As you probably already know or have seen Christmas Trees have now gone on sale at Birches Valley. While the trails are all open as normal parking arrangements are a little different to normal. The top car park by Go Ape / Swinnertons will be used solely for Christmas Tree sales & Santa’s Grotto so unless you are buying a Christmas Tree you’ll need to park in the lower car park during December.

Buying a Real Tree from the Forestry Commission is a great way to show your support for the trails and the work that Chase Trails and the Forestry Commission do so why not take a tree home after your next ride? More details here

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Back to ‘roo (Trailbuilding – Sunday 4th December)

This week we were back on the last section of Tackeroo and in particular the Rollers and the two stump jumps beforehand.

Thanks to Bob the Digger Man, we had piles of surfacing material and rocks next to the trail which improves the speed we can work immensely. While rock splitting experts, Petra and Martin continued making light work of converting the big rocks into manageable slabs for Frank and Phil to surface the Rollers, "orginal" Bruce and Steve started making an interesting feature out of a massive slab. I’m not going to spoil the surprise but it should make for a novel start to the Rollers.

Meanwhile, Inga and James returned to help "new" Bruce, Dave, Jez and myself converted the existing stump jumps into sustainable features with suitably shape rock launch pads. The line of sight into the features was improved by removing a large mound.

The day’s building drew to a close much earlier than last week due to the inclement weather so after an urn stop, half the crew headed up to check out the Christmas tree sales area and in particular the hot pork baps – well worth a try!