2016 Predictions I Can Live By

Dec 17, 2015
by Richard Cunningham  

just sayin RC header pic

December is the month when I usually throw the bones and play fortune teller. With great surety, I’d peer into 2016 and report which brand will rise above all others; who will win the DH worlds; which controversial trend will take root and which genre will fall into the shadows. Subtle or not I’d create yet another angle to insert Pinkbike’s three mythical trolls somewhere in the text, and after concluding with a positive, but slightly ominous message about the sport, I’d sew up my editorial with, “Only Time will Tell.” Had I not met Dave and Griffin, that’s how this story would have gone down.

Terrain actually exists where a mountain bike can be ridden on any point of the compass without the benefit of an improved pathway: the Atacama Plateau, Nullarbor Plain, Bayanzag, the Hun Graben, Thingvellir, Basissletta, and Odessa, Texas. I’m sure I missed a few, but the point is, while there are wild places on this earth where we could choose to ride anywhere we want - possibly where no other human has been - most us are going to need some sort of navigable trail.

Mountain bikers are as free to roam the woods as a stylus is free to roam a vinyl record. We can choose how fit we want to be. We can choose the perfect bike, but once we roll past the trailhead, we commit to a journey that was chosen by others. The builder dictates when to go right or left, how high to climb, when to fly and when to fall.

Fact is: however bad-ass we may believe them to be, mountain bikes are pretty lame off trail. The landscape doesn’t have to be very rough to defeat the noblest attempts to deviate from the ribbon of soil that the builders have cleared.
David Reid
Like most builders, Dave Reid would rather let his trails to the talking. A.J. Barlas photo

Few places drive that home better than Squamish, BC, where a supportive sports community and a spectacular blend of exposed granite and dense forest has lured some of the best builders in the Pacific Northwest. The density of the trees and lay of the land there is such that most trails offer the only viable passage.

Pinkbike was testing bikes there during November. I had spent a great deal of time riding in nearby Whistler, but the Squamish zone was a different world. The routes are beautifully crafted into the landscape, and each trail is thematic: monster rock rolls, or jump lines, or ladders and drops, or berms and flow – most come with a generous serving of BC’s staple: steep, rooted fall-line descents. However challenging its features were, each line was crafted to showcase some unique aspect of the forest – the vibe in Squamish is both pride and respect.
bigquotesDave said that Griffin, already a good bike-handler at the age of seven, was digging with him almost from the moment he could walk.

I met Dave and Griffin Reid riding Rupert. It was my last ride in Squamish. The father and son team joined Mike Levy and I while we waited for a small traffic jam to clear before hitting the last descent. When I mentioned I was new to Squamish, Dave asked me which trails I liked best. Easy answer: every one that I had ridden so far. But, I did carefully describe one masterpiece above Britannia Beach, after which he smiled at his son and said, “Did you hear that?” Turns out, I had been speaking with the man who helped to create it - and almost every other trail on my list. Dave said that Griffin, already a good bike-handler at the age of seven, was digging with him almost from the moment he could walk.
Griffin Reid early years
Griffin Reid was well on his way to becoming a second-generation builder before he could ride a bike. Dave Griffin photo

I left Squamish’s crappy November weather and stunning trail system with a new respect for trail builders, and a much simpler outlook. All I really needed was good health, a decent bike, and builders like Dave, who can make a narrow swath of earth do magical things. As a result, I only have three predictions for next year: Bikes are going to get better. Trails are going to get better and, if we can all manage to stay healthy and ride, 2016 will be perfect.

Posted In:


  • 114 3
 Speaking of trails getting better, anyone who hasn't already should try to pitch in on a build day at your local trails. Trail building can be a ton of fun, and you get an active say in how you want your trails to look in the future!
  • 37 2
 Nothing more satisfying. And there are always beers at the end.
  • 9 0
 I came 7 weeks to BC last spring just for trail building and riding and all what they said above is right !
  • 9 0
 I say we all pitch in on multiple build days. One is a good start, but most of us owe much more than one day a year.
  • 10 0
 If people just maintained what they ride, it would be awesome. Volunteer labour is better than paid labour.
  • 10 3
 who gives about the beer, its awesome being able to see a hill go from just bushes and weeds to a nice trail. its awesome every time you ride it, when you whip around a berm or pop off a rock you're like "I did this shit, and this awesome time I'm having is due in part to my efforts and those who came to the trail day."

you also meet people you can ride with and just have fun working and sweating
  • 3 0
 Get your crew of friends together, mcleod's, shovels, picks, beer, maintain existing trails and dig cool shit! Don't let your own trails turn to rain ruts and your berms to powder bombs
  • 6 0
 Kids in high school have to do their community service and since there are high school mountain bike teams we have them do trail work with the forestry service to earn their hours and at the same time learn how to respect their trails that they train on. I have never seen them complain about using a shovel.
  • 66 1
 Soap box time, I gotta say, in a perfect world, I wished every rider would dig, but realistically, I've had people help--- I would hand them a shovel or whatever, next thing I know, I turn around and they are shoveling top soil loose leafy dirt on top of a berm, or making some crazy sketch jump that doesn't have the right lip or not gapped or positioned correctly, or they don't grade the trail right or lack water run off's so puddles build up in stupid places (like in front of a jump), or just dig massive holes in dumb spots, etc.. etc.. etc.. just frustrating, so I have to go back and rework their non-sense. Good hearts, good intentions, but good intentions doesn't equal long lasting, well built features and trails that are also safe and FUN!

- One way anyone can help is: rake up a trail, or move unnecessary debris-- clean it up, especially during the winter season. May not seem glorious, BUT SO NEEDED! And thank you to those who do- honestly!
- Leave the "Building" to those who have a good eye to understand the trail at hand, and it's theme and how to enhance and do it right the first time, and so it's safe... Don't want people getting hurt on bad builds.
- Beginners-- just join some good builders, watch, learn, and apply
- At public trails, all level of riders-- then be sure to make options for everyone. If I build a BIG sender, then I always make sure I make a medium jump near it. No one likes to be left out. I sometimes will even make a 3rd small jump for beginners and little kids, etc..and everyone loves berms and rollers- throws those in and everyone is happy! And if hikers and horse back riders on there, make sure you have a path option around your stuff. Just make everyone stoked no matter who they are.
- Don't have an attitude when building. Just be happy your out there digging
- Build clean. finish your stuff, it makes it look professional and nay sayers won't be complaining about it or finding a way to tear it down.
- You pack it in, YOU PACK IT OUT.. Be clean!
- Lastly, RIDE!
- I know for me, I'm always thinking of others when I build and how to accommodate. And to this day, I keep running into folks who just rave on the stuff I build from all levels of riders. It's such a good feeling knowing I've had several thousand people and counting, plus big name pro riders, and big brand name company riders ride my stuff and ALL good things to say. But it's at a back breaking price, but well worth it! So, thank you Dave and Griffin! You guys run mud in your veins! Stoked on all your hard work! Keep it up!
  • 9 0
 @diggerandrider Your soapbox cannot be upped enough. Exceptional words to build by.
  • 5 0
 What's the good trail building resources out there? I already dig here and there with the local builders but I just do what I'm told. I want to get into it more seriously and I'd like to read on the topic during the winter.
  • 2 0
 PLC07 +1
  • 3 1
 Just an amatuer digger here but one tip I found that helps me is to bring the bike out on some dig days and test out what you have built. I have gone out and dug a bunch of stuff only to find out later on that it didn't work and i ended up abandoning that part i worked on, wasting a lot of time/effort. Go out and build a few little jumps or berms, test it out and if it works keep going with it, make things bigger, make the trail longer and have fun. Also get good tools and dont work for too long everyday, i have strained my back and muscles pretty hard before digging to the point where I didn't feel like riding the next day.
  • 42 6
 I dig this article.
  • 13 3
 It has a nice flow.
  • 13 3
 and a down to earth vibe
  • 10 2
 It was very well built
  • 13 2
 Wood you please repeat that...
  • 13 2
 Don't soil the comments with puns
  • 9 1
 It ramped up a bit, but trailed off near the end.
  • 9 2
 I'm gonna have to berm the midnight oil to think of a good pun for this.
  • 8 1
 I don't think Richard Cunningham is a-loam in his love for well built trails.
  • 7 1
 I'm Pulasking you all to stop with the puns
  • 6 1
 You all came up with some good lines
  • 3 4
 it was a good run but now it's trailing off..
  • 1 0
 I like that he didn't jump to any conclusions.
  • 28 0
 Nice shoutout to DR and Griffin. Lots of other builders/workers in Squamish too - too many to mention. And tip of the hat to SORCA
  • 5 0
 Dave's handiwork has made my life better! Hero!
  • 3 0
 Big thanks to Dave and Griffin....love your work...fun, well built, always with a touch of spice added ...smiles for miles !
  • 2 0
 What a cool encounter! DR and RC. Squamish is awesome. And @richardcunningham next time you're in town I'd love to go for a pedal with you.
  • 26 3
 BC has some incredible terrain but the difference between a poor built and good built trail is by far the biggest differentiator. PB should run some articles on how to build good trails and not that IMBA thing which most of us don't have money and men to build.
  • 5 1
  • 3 0
 Trailbuilder interviews with some how-to's like the Gwin Mech John Hall one. That would be great.
  • 13 0
 Good trail builders need more respect and coverage in mountain biking. I'd like to see more companies sponsor builders. Without rad trails we wouldn't need rad bikes.
  • 6 0
 Totally agree, I don't think some people realise that the trails they ride were made by people, or is often the case for me, by a person. Builders are the back bone.of mtb, they are the ones progressing the sport, not your favourite WC rider, not your shiny carbon bike or your opinions on what wheel.size is better! But at the same time it's good that not every one builds, the woods would be a mess of badly,half built crap, huge holes every where, trees hacked down for no reason.
  • 14 3
 Trails don't magically appear and trails aren't magically maintained either... maybe grab a saw and help maintain and clear once in a while
  • 1 0
 Could not agree more! No dig, no ride! It's as easy as that. Good write up RC
  • 11 3
 If you don't help build trails you better be buying the beer!
  • 1 0
 Or donating cash to build and maintain them . Go to Trailforks.com and support your local trails .
  • 9 3
 great article as always RC been a fan of your work since the MBA days happy trails! Rob C, London, England
  • 3 0
 Just ordered a Rogue Hoe and am gonna do my best to get that thing dirty more than once a year. Moved dirt twice this year (only) and am really happy to be part of the trail that I ride all the time. There are a core group of less than a dozen guys who've built all my new fave trails in my local system, which has led me to think how much work could be done if 20-30 people put in even once build day every 3 months. Here's to the builders!
  • 7 0
 New year new wheelsize.
  • 2 0
 Reading this article got my hands shaking, I want to ride so bad now! But noooo, I have to sit in an office until 6 pm. One day I will throw everything out of the window and move to Squamish, maybe get a bartender job in there, and spend the rest of my life actually living it..... Well, now let's go back to excel.
  • 1 0
 Thanks @Pastafarion Only thing that's less than stellar is this is the best time for riding conditions in my neck of the woods. Oh well. Good time to strip down the bike and swap out frames! Smile
  • 8 7
 With so many great trail builders in Squamish who put in so many trail hours out of their own pockets, it is a shame that SORCA continues to award contracts to companies based in Whistler.
  • 7 1
 that's ok... volunteer built trails are better than "Professionally" built trails.
  • 1 1
 hey @home-team who are you referring to? i can't think of any whistler companies paid to slang dirt down here
  • 2 3
 Pretty sure Gravity Logic was paid to rework some trails last year and I heard that GL and Joyride are getting the contract to extend the Legacy.
  • 3 1
 Didnt Joyride build Half Nelson? FYI- I love every trail in Squamish, so I'm not picky about who built it.
  • 3 1
 Dream Wizards built Half Nelson
  • 6 0
 @home-team Dream Wizards and Gravity Logic and while we are at it Joyride are Squamish based companies.
  • 1 4
 Interesting, GL is listed as a Whistler based company on their website and JR is listed as Rossland based business. But I have been wrong before ...
  • 9 0
 lots of different paid builders for sorca, all respected, all do quality work, no need to stir up controversy where it doesn't exist.
  • 9 0
 @home-team Rob from Gravity Logic has lived in Squamish from before it was even called Squampton. Thanks for the opportunity to educate
  • 7 0
 @home-team (rob) i know Rob and Paddy (gravity logic and joyride) very well. I assure you their residence in Squamish is legit my friend. Pretty rad SORCA is sourcing local companies for our trails!!!
  • 7 0
 Gravity Logic, Joyride and Dream Wizards are ALL Squamish based. Be thankful we have so many incredible builders instead of whining and knit-picking.
  • 5 0
 Well we really wanted to award the contract to Griffin (who is most definitely a Squamish local by the way) as his RFP was by far the best out of the bunch, but unfortunately he's not legally covered by WCB yet.
And @home-team , come one out to the SORCA AGM in the new year, this is when we will officially be announcing the contractors for the climb and the descent and what we have in store for 2016. It's a great opportunity to have your voice heard.
Check out Griffin's RFP here www.facebook.com/sorca.ca/photos/a.123435474393735.22111.121345061269443/967648476639093/?type=3&theater
  • 1 0
 Definitely the best RFP ever! I'd ride that.
  • 4 0
 Love RC articles, no hero bs, just straight to the point with wise words.
  • 3 1
 Nice, perhaps your most creative, yet least opinionated article I've read. Some of your lines about riding what others have created really hit home here, truly romantic!
  • 2 0
 love the dave and griffen combo, they've built some of my favorite trails in the s2s corridor but anyone who thinks dave doesn't like to talk hasn't spent any time with him!
  • 1 0
 Yes Squamish Alberta! Amazing. There is a squamish in BC but thats just a red neck logging town. Nothing to see there. Thats how mountain biking began. The idea of taking pedal power anywhere you can imagine.
  • 1 0
 If you ever get a chance to hang out with Dave and Griffin you'll know what trail building is all about and what makes this sport so good. Time well spent on the trails we ride.
  • 4 1
 Really hoping dad comes back next year
  • 3 1
 Build it and they will come
  • 3 2
 I predict in 2016 I will continue to be stoked every time I see a new RC article...
  • 1 0
 To us, Squamish is the PSW, not PNW. Great article and breaks it down to the basics. Cheers. AK
  • 4 3
 Amen, Amen, and Amen. Who else is ready to kick a** in 2016?
  • 1 0
 Once my shattered wrist heals. Can't wait until then...,
  • 6 0
 Good thing it's winter! I just dislocated or broke my middle finger an hour ago and I'm feeling like if any time was appropriate to lay low... its now Wink hope you heal soon!
  • 1 0
  • 8 7
 Star Wars was pretty good huh
  • 7 1
 Man, that part where Chewbacca pulled off his mark and he revealed he was Luke's Uncle the whole time!

/Mind Blown
  • 3 1
 "Uncle Owen?"

  • 2 1
 Cop out.
Somebodies got to keep you on your toes RC ;-) Merry Christmas.
  • 1 1
 Maaaaan I wish we had some trail builders in this shitty part of Germany. I dont want to build each trail I ride on my own.
  • 22 24
 Sorry but that just read like a load of waffle. I was hoping it would lead up to an interesting revelation or unexpected pearl of wisdom.... it didn't
  • 12 2
 Yeah that's the problem with the Internet. When somebody just speaks the truth and simplifies things, it can make things seem a bit dull. Or perhaps refreshing to others.
  • 5 0
 Yeah he left out the part about kim Kardashian and the terrorists
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 Well written, Richard.
  • 1 0
 So anyway
  • 2 3
 Kelly Slater retires...best competitive athlete of all time.
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