Video: Builder's Day Off

Nov 26, 2014
by Brent Hillier  
Views: 21,029    Faves: 42    Comments: 7


Starting May of 2013, Martin Newman tackled what seemed like the impossible task of fixing the forgotten North Shore classic that is Severed Dick. Once a popular line that any ride on Mount Seymour would include, the trail had suffered from high traffic, water erosion and a lack of maintenance.

bigquotesI thought it was a shame the trail was in such poor shape and thought someone should do something about it. -Martin Newman




Builder s Day Off

Martin enrolled into the North Shore Mountain Bike Association's Trailbuilder Academy presented by Arcteryx, where students learn modern techniques to assess, build and maintain trails. With permission from the NSMBA, Martin started work and applied everything he had learned from the Builder Academy.

bigquotesThat was the start of my addiction. After a few months, a friend, Penny Deck came out one day to lend a hand and also got hooked. -Martin Newman


Builder s Day Off
Builder s Day Off


This year saw Severed D as part of the North Shore Mountain Bike Association's (NSMBA) Trail Adoption Plan (TAP) with Martin as the TAP Leader. With the support from Different Bikes and volunteers from NS Ride the completion of the project became a reality.

bigquotesI'm proud of what we've done, and people seem to like it. Bikers, hikers, and runners! -Martin Newman

Builder s Day Off

Penny Deck samples the goods and enjoys the labour of love she too has invested in.


In addition to a complete revamp of Severed D, Martin and the NSMBA created a new entrance off of the Baden Powell. A quick but fun, flowy line used in this years BC Bike Race Stage 1 on the North Shore.



Carving up the forest.

Riders during the BCBR sample the hard work done by Martin and the NSMBA.




Want to see more trails like it? Support the North Shore Mountain Bike Association (NSMBA) and earn Trail Karma.




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55 Comments

  • + 15
 i think there's a fine line when changing a trail, between builders destroying it by man made construction and making it too easy, over leaving it as a technical trail. I know of certain trails that the original was better but other trails where the new version is better. Its difficult to make that decision but one that should be questioned before making any changes.
  • + 22
 severed has been pretty blown for a few years now - still plenty of gnar left on seymour - props to the builder
  • + 6
 Oh man! The secret is out! Best trail on the legit trail on the shore right now! PLEASE REMOVE ARTICLE!!! HAHAHA! SSHHHHHH!!!
  • + 1
 Looks like a sweet trail however it isn't one of the most creative vids I've seen
  • + 31
 dvp - sounds like you're speaking in the abstract. Severed started out loamy (not for long). It's fall-line got chundered and destroyed by rain. Personally I do trailwork in the area and stayed the hell away from the Dick because I thought it was pretty much impossible to fix it.

When I saw the work (it was the upper part) it was impressive but at first I thought to myself, oh boy do these two know what they're getting into. It was such a huge task.

Well colour me impressed because they stuck to it and literally thousands of hours away Severed is not a chundered destroyed mess. And the best part is that they left the optional gnar lines. Straightaways to fall-line. Drops to old-school flat. Nosing into steeps. Little hits and cheap air - all left there. And the skinny mid-trail (am I the last person in the world who rides that thing?).

Anyway TLBig Grin R. Bottom line is that the work is beyond description.
  • + 11
 I agree Lee. When I saw what they started I was thinking it was an impossible task. Flow,gnar,then more flow. So niceā€¦and yes, the bottom section is mint! PLEASE TAKE DOWN THE ARTICLE!!!! haha
  • + 9
 People seem to forget that almost every trail starts out a lot more buttery and smooth, and becomes gnarly because of a lack of maintenance, erosion, and traffic. dvp8 - your argument that "the original was better" doesn't have a leg to stand on, unless you're actually comparing it to how it was when originally built (in, what, 1994 or so?).
  • + 16
 OK, somebody's gotta say it.... the Dick rises again! Great work Martin, Penny and volunteers!
  • + 3
 I really like Severed, but call me old-fashioned 'cos I still take the old entrance. I love the challenge of the swamp and cleaning the short, sharp climb.
  • + 1
 OH crap the secrets out, I hope you guys are ready with shovel for NEW winter abuse. Super chill video great edit, and thanks for all your hard work I love this track at night with lights.
  • + 3
 It wasn't about severed d, just trails in general. thought i would raise a discussion about trail building; if we are too focused on updating trails that we removed some of the parts that made it special.
  • + 1
 This is Seymour you got simple gold lines, stupid rock faces and loam
  • + 8
 It's a shame to see some of the stuff that's been, uh, simplified on the Island as well. Sure, there's good, well placed, appropriate to the traffic trail maintenance happenning. Then there's the overkill stufff that obliterates a good technical section. Leaves me shaking my head, it does.

Trail workers everywhere: Try rehab of a section before invasive, and unreversable surgery. Small, effective efforts can have a lasting impact without changing the character of the trail. Please preserve the technical nature of the trail you're working. A tough section isn't a bother to all riders. It isn't an environmental problem. It's an essential part of the ride!.

And thanks for putting your time in.
  • + 3
 It's a very subjective debate, but there is no doubt that overall the trail is much improved. I think of you are making a flat section or uphill easier, great. But keep the downhills challenging. Thanks and to you a nice Thanksgiving.
  • + 2
 Looks amazing! Nice work Martin, Penny, and friends.
  • + 4
 Incredible work. Speaking of erosion, is it just me or do most riders just use their brakes too much? I can't count the number of DH trail segments here in SoCal with DEEP tire ruts on which I don't see a need to brake at all, or if needed, a quick brake tap or feather is all it takes before diving into the next turn.
  • + 1
 @protour. what if you like technical uphills and downhills and flats? Do you even ride a bike?
  • + 0
 maktripper, Feeling desperate lately? Bad Thanksgiving? Major regrets about past life decisions?
  • + 1
 None of the above trolltour
  • + 13
 It's nice to see a video on PB of regular people riding an awesome trail every once in a while.
  • + 9
 Nice work.

Most people have no idea how much work goes into maintaining and or rebuilding trails.

You deserve more "days off".

All the best.....
  • + 10
 Wow that trail sure feels different going much much faster .
  • + 5
 Yeah I have done this trail after all the changes. the top part is a re rout. It is a modern flow section and has nothing to do with the original trail. Im ok with that. The improvments to the rest of the trail are done with rock armor and wood work. It is not a dumbed down flow trail. Not at all! I love gnar. The trail has sweet drops and log rides. the bottom of the trail is still teck. My thanks to the builders. I met them on the last day of the trail building. I shook hands and expressed my gratitude. I must stress I love challenging trails. This trail does not let me down.
  • + 5
 If the rule for posting on this video was you had to put 15 hours of trail building or maintenance in this year, how many people could actually be able to comment? Significantly less I bet! Quit being armchair critics about how we are changing the old trails or making it too easy. We, as good trail builders have come a long way to understanding the erosive power of water on fall line trails and seeing the increased use of Shore trails means that we can't build old school trails and be accountable to having a long lasting trail system. I suggest that we take the time to get out, help your local trail associations dig and spread dirt around in a festive manner. We may learn a few tricks about building our next trail. Anyway, all I saw in this video was the immense investment of time that two people plus a handful of others are doing to make these trails on Seymour and Fromme world class. It shouldn't be such a great offering of time given the amount of rider days on the shore; there should be a rider every 10m doing trail maintenance, not 2 riders for 1.3km. Anyway that's a rant for another day. So great kudos to Martin and Penny for finding the time and passion to help make my mountain bike ride the best possible experience in every way!
  • + 9
 Great Trail, Video could use a re build though
  • + 3
 Sounds like schalyer is volunteering to re-edit.
  • + 5
 since its thanksgiving I would like to say a big thank you to all volunteers and everyone who pitches in to build trails. Without you we would be riding pavement. Yuck
  • + 0
 Its not thanks giving. That was like 2 monthes ago.
  • + 6
 So. Can still be thankful
  • + 5
 Wow that made me want to ride my bike! Good clean riding on a well made and maintained trail. Made me smile without a single gratuitous roost shot! More of this please.
  • + 4
 Can imba get permission to put up signs saying "This trail built by a mountain biker for your enjoyment"?

beautiful trail by the way
  • + 3
 On the North Shore it's the NSMBA and they've done a great job of signing every trail and including the logo of the company that sponsors the work through their Trail Adoption Plan.
  • + 3
 IMBA's a 'murican entity, whose domain stops at the border. Canuckistan does have 'IMBA Canada' tho. Besides the NSMBA has it's fingers on the pulse of the Shore, and a great plan to boot.
  • + 1
 Here in Italy we have the problem of motorcycles; we can try to build trails for mtb, but some others peoples with motorcycles will come and destroy everything. If we complaint they start to say that the forest is for everyone, not only for bikers..........
its and endless fight.....
  • + 2
 From my comfortable chair in New Jersey all I can see is a beautiful descent. Looks like excellent work to me.
  • + 2
 Mad props to the two builders. Trail building heroes!! North shore trails look amazing! Properly jealous! :-)
  • + 3
 Music is Goldfish - "Hold Tight" good old Cape Town dance beats,,,
  • + 3
 Great job, love the music !!!
  • + 2
 Nice placement of the ferns boys! That's some next level re-naturalization right there.
  • + 1
 A little concerned that Severed Dick and Baden Powell are trail names at the same spot
  • - 1
 Looks like they just made it easier. Flattening rooted sections and rock gardens. Looks less fun, but if its meant to be a beginner trail, then good on ya!
  • + 5
 You should take a trail building course. After looking at the old trail, you'd recognize that it was severely eroded and was not sustainable, structurally speaking. The bottom of the trail was has literally become a stream bed littered w. baby heads and can be wetter than a dolphin with a bladder infection (thx Rob Warner). Nobody came out of the old bottom section yelling "I just LOVED pedaling through that pancake flat 200+ metre trench of 5" of water and baby heads!!".

The mantra of the NSMBA is Trails For All, Trails Forever and anyone who disputes the existence of difficult trails on the Shore should ride a more diverse selection of trails, IMO. What kind of operating alpine ski hill only has double blacks? A bankrupt one. If your trail association wants a diverse and sustainable support base to continually repair and build trails, you need to appeal to a wide swath of riders skills and give them room to grow those skills.

Besides, if you find it boring, go faster. You'll find your or your bikes limits in no time.
  • - 1
 AWFUL MUSIC!!! Just... God. AMAZING TRAIL WORK!!! I would pledge to listen to this terrible song for 24hrs straight for the opportunity to ride this trail.
  • + 0
 Totally agree. Music...killing me. Trail...awsome.
  • + 2
 Totally disagree; thought the chune went well with the video, and made a change from all the recycled dull double speed rock riffs with with a Walking Dead zombie on vocals that we usually get.
  • + 1
 I wish we had trails like this where i live...
  • + 1
 This Speed! ...
  • + 1
 Good job Brent!
  • - 3
 Sometimes when i am building trails like to stick wooden branches in my butt
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