Video: Trails For All Seasons - A Trail Builder's Success Story

Dec 1, 2012 at 0:01
Dec 1, 2012
by Paul Snyder  
 
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It's great to see riding communities grow in an area where it sometimes is a challenge.
Views: 32,954    Faves: 168    Comments: 10


When one thinks of good mountain biking destinations from around the world, Denmark is probably not the first place that comes to mind. It probably wouldn't even make the top twenty list for most people. That is, for those of us who even know where Denmark is, and that's it's actually not a nation of Dutch people. Unlike its larger Scandinavian brothers (Norway and Sweden), Denmark has not been blessed with mountains. It's also wet, and easily rivals cities like Vancouver for per annum precipitation. But despite its moistness and lack of vert, Denmark has a vibrant - and still growing - community of mountain bikers.

Photographer Andr Andersen

Tools of the trade


As with other places in the world, mountain biking took hold here in the late eighties and early nineties. There were no official trails, as it was mostly a small group of renegades riding around the forests in the mud and rain. If you told the average person what you did for fun, they would think you were crazy. A rider and his bike covered in mud would, without fail, draw bizarre looks as you rolled back through the streets of Copenhagen on your way home from the forest.

Photographer Andr Andersen

Gold digger


The first official mountain bike trail (the Red Trail) was opened in Hareskov (Hare forest) north of Copenhagen in 2001 by the ministry for the environment's forestry commission. Since that time, it has had a few reroutes to move sections of wet trail to higher ground. But otherwise, trail days were far and few between, and consisted mostly of a handful of people trimming back branches that hung at eye level during the summer months. Mud, and often hub-deep pools of water, were the accepted norm. Low-gear spinning was the only way to plow through long sections of trail during the winter months.

Slowly, this began to change, but "flow" as we understand it today was not yet a part of the mountain biker's vocabulary. Some of us were inspired by the ladder bridges and log rides of the North Shore and wanted to implement such structures on our trails, but were met by resistance. The adversaries were both purists that felt that ankle-deep mud and granny grinding were an essential part of the sport, and the forestry commission that at that time disallowed any unnatural materials to be used in the forest (i.e., nails) and generally frowned upon the idea of man-made structures.

Photographer Andr Andersen

Representing!


By 2009 mountain biking had exploded in Denmark and interest in the sport was continuing to grow. Nowhere was this more evident than on the trails that were now becoming heavily eroded. They resembled ugly black scars cutting across the landscape. But after several years of attempting to create better and more trail days, backed by information from the likes of IMBA and NSMBA, we finally got through. A meeting was set up between a few of the diehards and the forestry commission’s head ranger for the Hare forest. Our wishes were no longer falling on deaf ears and the environmental aspect of proper trail building and maintenance could no longer be ignored by the rangers. We agreed on work guidelines, signed an agreement, and Trail Builders Copenhagen (TBC) was born.

Bermed bridge in progress


Since then, TBC has moved on to a popular trail in a neighboring forest, where they've managed to win overwhelming support through their noticeable trail improvements, creative building, and dispersal of information about trail building and maintenance through their own and other mountain bike forums. They’re working to make sustainable trails that can be ridden year round. They've already set a new standard for how trail days are conducted and have attracted a large volunteer base to draw from. More recently, local clubs and businesses have begun showing their support through donations and sponsorships. They've even been nominated for the 2012 Danish Bike Awards as "mountain biker of the year."

Certainly this isn't a new story, but every success story is one worth sharing. Trail closures are still a very real threat in many countries, whether due to liability, user conflicts or just plain ignorance, so every happy ending plays its role and can be used as a shining example of sustainability and cooperation in places that are struggling with the threat of closures. And the struggle is far from over here, as the positive momentum has really only just begun. TBC has a long road ahead of them, but through continued advocacy and a growing volunteer base, it looks like the future will be bright. A true happy ending will be one where the mountain biking community is truly a community that works together toward a common goal, and where Trail Builders Copenhagen isn't just a small group of renegades, but a collection of people that includes everybody who rides the trails north of Copenhagen.
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84 Comments

  • + 45
 This is the main reason Denmark is the happiest country in the world!... Awesome job guys!
  • + 11
 nope sorry. denmark has the most beautiful women of all countries! Im pretty sure thats the main reason Razz
Anyways, nice video, awesome country! would definitely move there, if they had some mountains
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  • + 23
 Thats awesome!
Where I'm from in Texas, there is a rivalry between the guys who want to build jumps on trails, and the guys who like more of the cross country aspect. No such thing as middle-ground or compromising. It's simply that the 29er hardtail's rule the place, and us, with any sort of desire to make the trail into something other than a fitness loop are "rowdy little kids." It's nice to see that in some parts of the world, people have the intelligence and ability to come together as just mountain bikers working towards a common goal.
  • + 14
 If they can't handle a few jumps on their 29er hardtail then they probably need to work on their bike handling skills. I fail to see why a few jumps in a fitness loop would be a bad thing, have a descent with the jumps in, an ascent without any jumps in, everyone's a winner.
  • + 3
 My hardtail is a 29er, and I jump it harder than I probably should. I normally won't ride my hardtail in a place where I CANT jump it Big Grin
  • + 2
 if you dont like jumps, go around them! simple as that
  • + 1
 I broke my 29er hardtail frame over shooting a landing Frown
But I got an new one from the warranty Smile
  • + 1
 Why not just make a sissy route (or Rob Warner line lol) around any jumps? But make sure it's well signed so exactly what little girls they are!!!
  • + 1
 But that's not any fun Wink
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  • + 17
 "This saw takes too long!" -punches log in half-
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  • + 9
 Decades ago in BC we needed to keep our tires out of the muck. That is how wood ladders came into play. The trail building You are doing is top notch! Using hand tools is awsome. This is a prime example of sustainable trail building in Denmark. As a trail builder myself I give you two thumbs up for networking together to put together a crew and creating a very fun trail.
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  • + 11
 Good job Copenhagen Trail Builders
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  • + 6
 Once again props to Jonas Hansson for making this video, the guy is super talented. His first bike related movie ever. Keep sending good vibes PB, it's encouraging.
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  • + 6
 awesome work! it's also refreshing to see HT bikes in a video instead of monster DH machines flying around with the speed of a jet.
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  • + 5
 Really cool to see this going on in Denmark, hope to see it spread the rest of the country...
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  • + 2
 Here were i live we the KW cycling club that owns a huge section of land just outside of the city! But god forbid they build jumps and berms someone might get hurt and sue or the cross country guy's might have a fit ! I dont get this place (Ontario) ppl sue all the time even blue mountain which is our only lift access mountain for down hill freeride took out all their jumps because some spode broke his neck on possibly the safest jumps i have ever seen and decided to sue the resort! Same company that owns Whistler but i don't see Whistler take out all their jumps!?! You know what the risk our and assume all of those risks its not the resorts fault u went in over head u took that risk on ur self its not like they held a gun to ur head, now the rest of the Mtb comunity has to suffer because of one moron !?!
  • + 1
 Pretty disrespectful to Igor and the Hydrocut trail crew. They've put hundreds of hours into building arguably the best single track within a 2 hour drive of the tri-cities. If you want more challenging features to ride you need to get a very large (the trails get >3000 riders a month in high season) group of responsible riders together and show the WCC that you are willing to help plan and build with them. The DH/FR crowd has to prove to the stubborn XC old-schoolers that they aren't reskless and won't cause any legal problems for them. That's just the reality of things whether you/we like it or not.

Blue Mountain is a different story being a private company and all. Really confusing how all that went down. Don't you sign a waiver anyway?
  • + 1
 Igor and the Hydrocut trail Crew have done nothing short of spectacular job with their trail builds. If you want something a little more crazy [freetard/ cross stuntry] within an hour's drive, drive to Kelso or Hilton Falls. There are some great builds and some pretty crazy stuff to ride. We ride Hydrocut for flow, fun, and cardio. Kelso, and Hilton Falls are for when we want to get stupid, which is most of the time. Nothing wrong with stuborn old XC guys. Just ride your bike and have fun!

Kudos to Trailbuilders CPH for a great video and what look to be some awesome trails! Denmark is on the destination list! I'll bring axe if they'll let me on the plane with it.
  • + 4
 i don't think mrthirteen is being disrespectful, just stating his frustrations. xc old-schoolers do not like change or trails that put a little air under their tires, that's a fact in ontario... we call them albiotards ( www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=albiotard ) it really gets so stupid at times. thankfully land managers are beginning to see the light and want to create a more diverse trail networks which in end will cut down on the informal trail building...

it's awesome what denmark has done and i hope to do the same here in ontario one day...
  • + 3
 First, BIG THANKS TO ALL THE PEOPLE BUIDLING TRAIL! CAN'T THANK YOU ENOUGH. I also live in KW and travel to many of the DH resorts around. As for the Hydrocut, I've been riding there for 20+yrs and in the past there WERE lots of "north shore" style skinnies and higher elevated platforms to ride, along with some jumps here and there, but although the problem initially was that there were some serious injuries, at the same time those that took the time to build the features, weren't coming back to fix and repair them. Eventually the features became worn, were not safe, and simply torn down in replacement of hard single track (now maintained by the WCC). As the others say, within 30mins on the 401 there are some VERY technical single track to be ridden, also maintained by riders, for riders. I hear what you're saying about the Hyrdocut, but simply, I've learned to just take one area for what it is, and luckily for us, within 2hrs, we can pretty much do/ride whatever we want. It's awesome. Riding the Hydrocut specifically, if you want a couple fun lines with jumps, about 1/4 way into Adam's run, there is a rock garden a little bunny hop will send you flying down, then shortly after there is another big rock jump, just watch your angle. On Kamikazee, if you hit the blue line and fly down there, is a nice big rock jump 1/2 way down, you just have to really pay attention to anyone riding the black line as they're zigzaging their way down in front of you, then at the end where it pushes into Creepy Corner you can fly off that last bit pretty good. ENJOY!
  • + 4
 Read this: forums.mtbr.com/rider-down-injuries-recovery/personal-injury-lawyer-sues-over-his-mtb-injuries-94065.html

It was because of this douchebag that brought this fear into many trail associations and municipality in Ontario. After this many areas tore down illegal stunts and non-sanctioned trails. But also - it did bring the mtb in ontario together. Many associations and imba associated clubs came together to build many more trails together with many municipalities.

Remember guys - if you dont like the trails around you, dont bitch here. Go join a sanctioned trail crew and help pitch in. When you earn respect and learn more about trail builidng then you can also have your input into your local trails.
  • + 2
 Btw - LOOOVE Denmark - truly friendly and beautiful people. Their bike culture is second to none. Would live there in a heart beat.
  • + 2
 I'm with Sam on this one, I'm still glad our local trail in Puslinch still has the natural technical features that have not been taken out; too many people are putting on their horse blinders and not seeing the risks of the trails. Take a walk through it first, if your not comfortable with it don't ride it, there are tons of other great trails to be ridden in the KW area, the both the hydrocut and Puslinch have easy and hard parts to them.
  • + 1
 just thought i would say for shits and giggles i live in B.C. Razz
  • + 3
 people should be vocal/bitch on what trails they want to ride on here and everywhere else.

actually i was up in kolapore this fall (the lawyer incident trail) doing a little bit maintenance with the new user group. it is a common misunderstanding that the kolapore incident raised liability concerns that changed municipal polices. it was the success of mountain biking and all the informal trails being built reached a tipping point that it could no longer be ignored. lots of the land managers where unprepared about what to do plus they where long time public employees with not a lot of formal training in sustainable recreation land use management. they also ran their areas independent from most policies and mandates of the parent organization. the easiest thing to do for them was to shut it down and sweep it under the rug (which didn't work). luckily this old guard is moving on/retiring and new land managers are filling the ranks. the new land managers are better educated, progressive, follow polices/mandates/standards, engage the public and see the value of the diverse mtb community as a recreation resource. actually it is looking good and i'm very happy to work with some of these managers.

now i would definitely show up to help out on a trail day, but i wouldn't be in a hurry to join a mtb club. make sure that the mtb club you join supports the trails that you want to ride. some clubs no not promote technical/feature trails and are more fitness/xc/race oriented. but don't let this stop you from contributing and helping out (and bitching to the land manager).
  • + 2
 I don't mean to dissrespect the hydro cut crew what they wave done in the region is nothing short of amazing! But would be nice if they benefited a wider range of riding options that's all! I would be so down to go help out build features if they ever did change their minds. But around here its all a matter of legality is what i was trying say.
  • + 1
 But should count myself lucky that the City's of Cambridge and kitchener have come togther to provide us with nice bike parks such as Riverside and Mclennen park over the past few years dosn't beat trails but dose help reinforce the local biking comunity .
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  • + 2
 Terry (Danes) - Brent and I are just sitting here on one of our Sat mornings in Victoria BC Canada and we couldn't believe we got to watch you, awesome job, your trails look good! Come back any time for more riding and inspiration.
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  • + 4
 What an inspiring clip! Makes me wanna go out and work on a couple local trails, too bad the ground is already frozen here Frown
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  • + 2
 From Abbotsford BC Kudo for your community spirit. I was told the Mtb community in BC puts in more work than any other group on trails. That's how you get respect,put back. The fvmba.com formed in the valley here and our banding like hundreds of other groups has made a huge difference. We are rider supported and now with legalization of some of our trails and more coming we are attracting government money. Good luck Gary Harder
  • + 1
 Right on, Gary. I'm actually following you guys on facebook. Seems there's plenty of good stuff going around with trails these days. Let's just hope it keeps growing with rider based organizations putting in the effort and working for better and more legal trails.
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  • + 2
 Stoked to see something from Denmark on the front page!
Though there is two more good stories on the Danish bike scene. In the other end of the country there is Denmark's biggest dirtjump park:
www.pinkbike.com/video/273138
www.pinkbike.com/video/278226
And one of Denmark's best freeride trails:
mpora.com/videos/4K7KUqiUM

Mountain bike is a sport in progress!
  • + 1
 The Rold Skov DH trail is awesome. Really well built.
  • + 2
 thx for sharing. trail looks amazing. nice jumps
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  • + 5
 before I realized it was Denmark, I was going to say thats some German efficiency right there!
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  • + 1
 Great vid. And looks like you guys made a nice trail, props. Regarding the rest of Denmark, its sadly corrupted by lack of innovation and conservatism. No one is thinking out side the box, and we are far behind other countries. Its such a shame.
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  • + 2
 Awesome story , I'm very jealous that you have some where to build knowing it won't be taken away from you , just lost all my local trails to logging , this has helped me think beyond the loss and look forwards to new ideas.
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  • + 2
 Awesome story, me and a couple of friends are struggling to legalize (make permanent) an existing trail mixing DJ/DH/SS in our city. This is the kind of thing that pushes me forward into keep trying, and building.
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  • + 2
 I would like to see such a project in germany ... unfortunately the government punishes us all the time ... Good Job in Denmark!
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  • + 3
 nice work! I love my digging days and wish more would get involved.. Thanks for sharing!
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  • + 4
 Wow. More than what I expected from the video. And a great article Paul Smile
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  • + 4
 That's one smooth bit of writing Mr. Snyder, kudos! Smile
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  • + 2
 Allt jag önskar mig i julklapp är att det här sprider sig till Skåne över Öresundsbron, sedan upp i Sverige.

JÄVLIGT BRA JOBBAT !
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  • + 2
 What a great vibe in this video. If you guys ever set up shop near Århus, I'll certainly show up and help Smile
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  • + 4
 Makes me proud Smile
  • + 1
 makes me proud to be half danish
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  • + 3
 fuck ya 29er hardtail jumping
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  • + 3
 Good job guys =D

Looking forward to try it out Wink
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  • + 3
 true spirit of mountain biking right here, good stuff!
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  • + 2
 Great work Danish trail fairys..
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  • + 3
 amazing work boys!
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  • - 2
 im sorry to be mean but these arent really trails, i know you guys worked hard on them but i have you thought of building them high. Perhaps 7ft high and 10 ft long as you would get a googd line going and get flow. sorry to be negative but hope it helps but good edit
  • + 4
 They aren't trails? What have been riding all these years then? I'm terribly confused...

The bridge in the video is longer than 10 ft, and we don't build them 7 ft high because of liability issues. We have to concede to the land manager's wishes and guidlines, and build according to ridership, which is predominantly xc. I'm not sure how you judge flow by what you see on the video, but the bridge has plenty of good flow. You'll just have to take my word for it.

Thanks for the input. :-)
  • + 2
 The 14 year old who started riding a year ago doesn't think they're really trails. Don't worry about it guys. I never expected sick Danish trails and this just opened my eyes. Great job and keep up the work.
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  • + 1
 By accidental oversight I neglected to credit the photographer for the first three photos. His name is André Andersen.
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  • + 2
 Great video content, nice to see trail building done that way.
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  • + 1
 What happens when the wood rots? Are you guys going to pick up/out all the nails?
  • + 1
 Perhaps you think this is better? Becaus this is what we're dealing with.
www.pinkbike.com/photo/8962795

The section of trail in the video has seen more rubber than an Amsterdam brothel. It will end up like this unless we 1) ban mountain biking in the forest entirely or 2) fortify the trail. It would be very easy to remove decommisioned structures after they rot and transfer them to a landfill btw. Your bmx track was once nature, too, and it could have been a nice, green park.
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  • + 2
 Very inspiring video! Names of the songs,someone??
  • + 3
 All My Days • Alexi Murdoch
Blue Mind • Alexi Murdoch
Little Black • Submarines
The Black • Keys
Burial Miike • Snow

Thanks!
  • + 2
 Roller is the man behind the video btw.
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  • + 2
 no chainsaws? no cordless drills? impressed
  • + 3
 We're old scool. Karate chops and hammers should do the trick.
  • + 1
 hats off to you ---- l used to do everything old skool too..... but then kids came along and that changed everything. simply not having the time to play like l used to, l slowly started using tools that made everything one heck of a lot faster.

Stilhs BR550 replaced the rake --- although l do still use rakes, the BR500 will blow a trail 5 times as faster as doing the same with a rake.

chainsaw replaced the handsaw --- still use handsaws from time to time -- depending on where l am.

screws replaced the nails --- nails don't last as long so although screws cost more, the stuff we build will hold up a lot longer. professional grade hand held drill replaced the hammer

magnifying glass was replace by a lighter and a container of some sort of accelerator (aka same gas we use for the power tools).


the sledgehammer, shovel, pick-ax are still the same


example --- www.pinkbike.com/photo/8911292 l would never try to build that with nails ---- l'm sure it would get all wobbly pretty quick. it hit the 90 foot long mark a while ago, l have since built more onto it. maybe another 40 feet or so longer
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  • + 2
 i wanna ride that trail on my dj
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  • + 3
 Amazing work!
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  • + 2
 I like how they are using mostly hand tools.
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  • + 2
 Fed video, rigtig godt arbejde fra dem Smile
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  • + 1
 What's the name of the song at 2:28 please???
  • + 1
 the black keys: little black submarines
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  • + 1
 Nice job. PS. Lithuania has the most beautiful women of all countries,
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  • + 1
 Proud to be from Denmark!
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  • + 1
 the font is to small....
  • + 1
 yeah took me a few seconds to realise it was there
  • + 1
 Have you tried full screen?
  • + 1
 yes..still the same...
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