Sunday, 30 September 2012

Forest Discovery Day

Thanks to everyone who stopped for a chat – it’s good to get feedback from the public. The old trail route markers come mug coasters went down well - again thank you to those who purchased them along with the pens…. one chap said he was getting one for his girl friend so she’d know where her bike was kept!

As part of the day, we utilised our time wisely to demonstrate how rocks are split and the boardwalk is constructed – this will get used on the trails so it won’t go to waste.

On their stand, the Forestry Commission guys were running a competition to name a section of trail – they received 37 entries and the best suggestion will be immortalised in wood. The entries will be judged next weekend so watch this space for the winning details ….


Sunday, 23 September 2012

"Berm Bailing" – Trail building

Today's trail building involved...laying pipe. We started off the day by adding a quick diversion around where we were working, once that was done, a trench was dug in the berm to drain away the water that had accumulated, then the pipe was dropped in, and covered up (plus the hole inside the berm was made a bit bigger). Finally, a bit of whacking to harden the surface again, and it was ready to be reopened, just as the rain started.

The berm now drains a lot better (hopefully), and since it can double up as conduit, when the trails are eventually tarmac'd and lighting added all the way around, you'll be able to see at night. Plus, power sockets will be added every 100 meters along the trail to help riders who have that new electronic suspension since they'll need to charge their bike up all the time..

Okay, I lied, it's only for drainage. There won't be tarmac, lights, or power sockets, ever. [Are you sure about that! – Andrew].


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Forest Discovery Day – Sunday 30th September

On Sunday 30th September, from 12 pm to 4 pm, we’ll be holding a Forest Discovery Day at Birches Valley. This is a great chance to find out more about Forestry, Wildlife, Recreation, MTB Trail building, Orienteering, Huskies, Go Ape and lots more. There will be loads of activities and competitions for all ages throughout the day.

Paul Massey and his team from Mountain Bike Adventures will be running free skills sessions and on hand to offer tips and pointers.

There will be a couple of talks related to mountain biking followed by Q&A sessions so if you have any thing you want to ask or find out more about please come along.

Chase Trails will be demonstrating boardwalk construction and will be there to sign up new volunteers and members and answer question on trail building.

There will be a competition to name a section of the trail. This will be your only chance to name a section and have to immortalised in wood. There will also be spot prizes and the chance to win a year’s car parking pass.

Other activities include the chance to have a try on Segway, have a go at micro orienteering with local club, Walton Chasers plus loads of things to see and activities for kids.

12:30 pm – MTB Skills Session
1 pm – Talk on Managing Mountain Biking followed by Q&A
2 pm – Talk on History of Chase Trails & volunteer trail building followed by Q&A
2 pm – MTB Skills Session

See you there,

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Harry’s looking good – Trail building

As we didn’t have time to finish the repairs on “Harry” (the last of the rock gardens on the ‘Red Monkey’) the other weekend, today’s mission was to install a crib wall and back fill with suitable sized rocks.

While Martin and Steve split several large rocks into more manageable pieces, Dave, Jez and Matt drove the rounds into the ground to support the larch planks which are bolted in place with coachscrews.

The rest of the crew took the opportunity to do a spot of routine maintenance – removing the “marbles” and pine needles followed by de-berming the edge of the trail to reduce the number of puddles.

The finished job looks good and it was down to me to test ride it in front of the heckling crew – that what comes of taking your bike to a build session.


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Temporary Closure of ‘Red Monkey’ on Sunday 16th September

To allow for us to complete the repairs to the final rock garden on the ‘Red Monkey’, we will be imposing a temporary diversion from the red/black trail decision point (near the ‘M3’ information post) out onto the fire road then down to the end of the section.

The ‘Black Monkey’ may be effected depending on how work progresses.

Please obey all warning signs and any requests from the trail crew for your own safety – we’ll be shifting some sizeable rocks on Sunday.


Sunday, 9 September 2012

What's on your Christmas list?

I know it's only September but you do have to plan ahead!

This weekend, the core members of Chase Trails paid a visit to Thetford Forest to meet up with their trail builders - the TIMBER folks. It was an early start on Saturday morning to get to Thetford by 9:30 am. After exchanging introductions and signing in, we had a quick briefing on the day’s work – rebuilding a flowing single track climb. Whilst pruning back the branches and raking off the pine needles along the trail corridor, the sound of an engine echoing amongst the trees signified that the Kanga had arrived. This is a compact stand-on tracked machine that can be fitted with various hydraulic powered attachments. The TIMBER guys have it kitted out with rotovator for breaking up the sandy ground. Their trained operators took it in turns to work along the section whilst the rest of the volunteers piled the rotovated material to form the new trail bed.

It wasn’t long before their other “toy” arrived by trailer – a Bomag. It’s a remotely controlled articulated roller weighing in at just over 1.5 tonnes – definitely something for the Chase Trails’ Christmas list. It made short work of compacting the new trail, especially as it vibrates while trundling along the trail – much quicker than our wacker!

It had been a productive day with over 100 metres of trail refurbished. After a little weathering and once the bracken grows back, it will take on that natural look all the Thetford trails have. To finish the day, the guys laid on a BBQ – a perfect way to soak up the rays while exchanging stories over a burger or two.

After a hearty breakfast, we met up with the TIMBER guys for a guided ride around the best bits of their trails. For those that think Thetford is flat, think again. OK, we’re not talking mountains but there are descents and climbs which add to the variety of riding. As you’re pedalling constantly, it’s a good workout – covering just short of 20 miles, we finished at the visitor centre cafĂ© for lunch.

A big thanks to everyone involved in organising our visit and making us feel so welcome - the FC rangers: Emma (from Thetford) & Gary (from Cannock) and all the TIMBER folks. Click here for more details about TIMBER - who they are and what they do.

Dave, Jez and I will be heading east again next month for ‘Dusk to Dawn’ organised by Thetford MTB Racing. Click here for more details. 


Friday, 7 September 2012

Skinny final dies - Trail update

The fallen tree that became the log skinny on 'Follow the Dog' after the “Stegosaurus” and causeway bridge is no more. Following a trail inspection yesterday, we found severe rot in the feature so in the interests of safety it has been removed.

We have plans afoot to add similar features elsewhere so watch this space …..


Wednesday, 5 September 2012

No Trail Building on Sunday 9th September

The core trail crew are on a road trip to Thetford Forest this coming weekend. We're meeting up with TIMBER, their local trail builders to share knowledge and experiences whilst lending a hand at one of their building sessions. We also get chance to ride with the guys on their trails - both man-made and natural stuff.

For more details of TIMBER click here. There’ll be a full report on our escapades in a future post.


Sunday, 2 September 2012

“Tom, Dick & Harry” – Trail building

As posted previously, this Sunday saw us up on the “Red Monkey” doing some much needed maintenance on the rock gardens. As regulars to the Chase will know, there are three rocky descents in this section so Frank aptly christened them “Tom”, “Dick” and “Harry”. All three require work but first a diversion was cut so we could work in safety. This was to be a permanent route that would become a waymarked ‘short cut’ for those that don’t fancy the rocks. With haste, branches were trimmed, top soil dug off and way marker posts planted. Meanwhile, the “Rock Splitters” (Martin and Steve) fired up the generator and turned the large rocks into Swiss cheese before slicing them into manageable chucks with the wedges and feathers.

‘Harry’ needs the most work, requiring a timber crib wall to be erected then back filled with rocks. As the trail was to reopen later in the day, we concentrated on the other two sections. The Bruces, Frank, Jez and new volunteer William worked on ‘Dick’ whilst I replanted a missing waymarker at the end of the trail. Returning to find much shuffling of rock, I accepted the easy task of dropping a slab at the bottom of ‘Tom to prevent the step down growing deeper. “Crash Test” Bruce donned is helmet and test rode my handiwork to ensure everything was good.

As soon as ‘Dick’ was finished, Bruce happily rode the new line several times just to check that the rocks were nicely bedded in – sorted. We’ll be returning to have a bash at ‘Harry’ and maybe the “Black Monkey” in a couple of week’s time.