Building a Bike Trail - Video

Apr 17, 2017
by Tom Grice  
Views: 13,397    Faves: 51    Comments: 4

What it takes...

During the winter months, we have been busy digging, building and shaping the 2nd phase of the stupendous Lady Cannings MTB Trail #Cookingongas.

Following a lengthy planning period and felling works across the plantation, we were able to squeeze onto the site and make a start in January. Storm Doris (and others) gave us some jip flattening trees around us but we overcame to bring more radness to the area. A whole load more of Blue flowy goodness is now open for action!

Building A Bike Trail

Building A Bike Trail

Big thanks to Ride Sheffield, Go Outdoors, Sheffield City Council and the good people of Sheffield for making this possible.

Designed for fun, Built to last, go ride it.

Sheffield, you are Awesome! Get on ya bike!

Building A Bike Trail

Building A Bike Trail

Building A Bike Trail

Building A Bike Trail

Building A Bike Trail

Photos and Video - Tom Grice
Words - Jordan Gould



  • 169 36
 That's not a mountain bike trail, that's a path through the woods.
  • 63 12
 It's a blue grade trail, made for all abilities to ride, give it a go and I'm sure you'l have fun...
  • 17 9
 It's actually a really fun trail, one of the best flow trails I've ridden anywhere - and I ain't young, I've ridden more than a few in my time!
  • 7 3
  • 11 9
 @TOMGRICE: only real men ride down trails that have 45+ grade. clearly this is not a trail but a form of art.
  • 1 3
 double post
  • 8 2
 its a big two lane highway through the woods! fast and super epic!
  • 20 8
 i know right? how dare someone make a trail that isn't to your liking…
  • 2 0
 Eventually we bought an excavator.
  • 19 6
 My grandma would love to be pushed through that trail in her wheelchair.
  • 7 1
 @TOMGRICE: I'm not talking about the difficulty of the trail more the construction.
  • 5 2
 I for one can't stand trails like this, BUT, I would love to have one locally I could take my kids on... just one. Or two for variety. Oh, wait, I do highland mtb park...
  • 2 0
 @manchvegas: someone sounds a lil mad cuz they can't ride any of the real trails at highlands lmao
  • 3 2
 Shut up, not everyone is as good as you, BesideCabinet.
  • 1 0
 @sandboass: ridden all of them for years, all summer long a large group of us rides highland every other wed. #beerleague if you've raced enduro the past few years in the northeast you've seen most of us on the podium. My point was more of it would be nice to have trails like this by my house to take my kids on, instead of having to cart them up to highland. But yes, when they are with me, I don't get to ride the other trails... but watching them is pretty fantastic. I can also see them from the DJ area... haha
  • 61 18
 Nice highway. And that devastation around that "trail"...
  • 24 4
 @novas752 it looks like there was some recent thinning in that area, which would explain the carnage around the trail. Coming from someone that works for another trail organization I recognize that to keep the sport growing we need to develop trails for everyone. Although, personally I would love to see every trail be raw loamy tech... that is not realistic for the rather high percentage of riders that are a beginner to intermediate. Plus this is sustainable trail that will last for years to come!

Looks like a fun rip! Thanks for putting all the hard work in and growing the sport @TOMGRICE and crew!
  • 50 8
 @Mitch-Lee: I learned to ride single track riddled with roots and rocks on a full rigid like every rider that's been in the sport for a long time. MTB isn't for everyone and that's ok. That said, of course we need beginner trails and we've always had them. There's never been a shortage of easy trails out there. There is a shortage of natural technical trails that have character unique to their local environment. Flow trails destroy all that is unique about any environment they are in. I've rode all over the country and love experiencing different soil types, roots, rocks...... I've rode flow in the woods, and in the desert. Only difference is shade.

You and I both know it's not just a flow trail trend going on. Trails everywhere are being dumbed down and for what? Increased participation? More people buying stuff? Lame.
  • 17 2
 @cofattire: So I am gonna go here with me 6 year old lad in a week or so, he isnt quite ready to drop into the stuff into an actual mtb trail yet, not for want of him trying, but we all gota learn. Where, if people didnt make trails like this, would you say he should ride? He loves riding his bike in the woods, I am stoked on that and keen to keep it up, except bowling around the local riverside path aint much chat tbh, and although he loves the bmx track he also likes riding woods
  • 7 0
 @usmbc-co-uk: yeah! I would love to ride that trail with my wife and two toddlers. worthy enough to plan holidays around there. you are very lucky
  • 11 5
 There definitely is more than just thinning around the trail. They used a large excavator and you can clearly see that the ground cover has been demolished. Why not use a smaller machine and make it much more sustainable with a smaller impact on the surrounding terrain while only slightly decreasing the perfection of the trail?
  • 1 3
  • 4 0
 @usmbc-co-uk: I went with my 9 yr old yesterday,it's great for the kids,and adults alike.big berms an doubles.Ideal for skills sessioning.
  • 1 1
  • 10 1
 This is a working woods and they had already been in and thinned out the trees with much bigger machines before bike track went in and once those trees that are left are big enough they will go in again with the much larger machines and destroy everything so you can have a nice pine table.

Thanks @TOMGRICE & friends for building a quality family trail for everybody to enjoy.
  • 9 1
 @cofattire: if you like natural technical trails you should go build some... instead of hating on the hard work of someone else.
  • 5 0
 @cofattire: couldn't agree more
  • 35 11
 Pinkbike being all negative about new trails once again... It's almost like you all forget that without people like this you'd have nowhere to ride, and without trails like this you would never have upskilled to where you are now
  • 30 6
 Agreed, Far to much negativity on here, the fact that a trail like this can be ridden by a kid on a balance bike but then Steve Peat can also rip down it and have a good time is amazing. Stop commenting on here and go out and ride your bikes guys!
  • 17 0
 The Lady Canning's plantation is a (very) small commercial pine plantation - the crop (trees) was recently thinned/felled. The trail was built afterwards.

The trail builders are very good at their job, hidden along their 'easy' blue trails are a tonne of progressive challenging features.

Just Outside the 1sq mile plantation is a relative wealth of natural technical trails (peak district national park), there has been almost nowhere for kids and newbies to ride and learn.

Not all trails are suitable for kids of all ages, these 2 are and they're awesome!
  • 10 1
 Lots of negativity and naivety on here (as usual). Great work by Bike tracks AGAIN. To think that Bike Tracks harvested, or felled on such a scale before starting work typifies the lack of knowledge expressed by armchair builders or those who like to build shonky trails in their local woods. Do your research.

A key aspect of growing mountain biking from cash strapped niche sport is progression and that starts with fun blue trails for kds.

If its not for you make use of the bike parks. But get behind projects such as these.
  • 16 5
 Loving all the arm chair trail building experts coming out of the woods here
  • 5 0
 sure it's no black, but looks fun as all heck for getting some speed up and just flowing through the trees, and having some fun, i'd love something that simple by me, as all i've got are reds and blacks.
  • 4 0
 I enjoy riding the new trail, it's not the most technical trail but good fun. Also I can ride it and Blue Steel with my girlfriend who's just getting into mountain biking. It's not like Sheffield and the surrounding area is missing gnarly trails with Grenoside, Wharncliffe and The Peak District on its door step.
  • 2 0
 I'm planning on taking the wife there soon to help improve her riding. I've no shortage of technical trails surrounding me but this looks ideal for her to get used to coping with undulations and learning how to carve basic turns, and if I can hop and pop about over them then It'll be fun for me too (towpaths on an endure bike are a bit of a snooze). There's just nothing around me that doesn't need a good amount of the basics for her to learn on so places like L.C are ideal for days out with the bikes.
  • 7 0
 So many Negative Nellies in here today. Nice little machine built trail there Boys!
  • 8 1
 Right. All I need now is a mini excavator and I'm golden!
  • 7 0
 a lot of work for sure, thanks always to those that build trails
  • 2 0
 Agreed - any day a new trail gets opened is a good day, and nice to see some recognition go to those that put in the work. To me the positive angle isn't necessarily growing the sport in terms of numbers, but normalising it, so that the general population can understand that normal, well-adjusted people also do mountainbiking. I reckon so much of the trail access issue is to do with public perception of our sport. We have an image problem. The sooner we get acceptance of the sport, the more trails we can build. And we all need more trails. It would be nice to see some of the bike companies getting behind trail advocacy in a more public way.
  • 8 1
 tempted to try this on a skateboard
  • 2 2
 Release the scooter kids!
  • 5 1
 All I see is the heavy equipment and get jealous! I love SoCal but man, too many environmental regs when it come to making trails. At least there's still hope in other parts of the planet... keep rocking it fellows!
  • 1 1
 Heavy equipment isn't always the answer. In my opinion, the best trails are hand built. Besides, their use of heavy equipment looked pretty destructive. The regulations are there for a pretty good reason.
  • 3 0
 I have been around this sport for many years, now 46 years young I find myself enjoying more flow trails and jump trails than raw full on tech, but I dont go on about having to much of that style of riding, im not into it so I dont ride it, if you dont like flow trails dont bloody ride them.
  • 2 0
 Good job. looked like lots of raking. Don't take this the wrong way but watching the video it looks like there was a substantial foot print left with the building of the trail. I have seen many trails built where the machine sits on the ride line and uses material from drainage and ditches along side of the trail to build the ride line, leaving no foot print other then the trail behind. To me it looks like there was a lot of digging and walking machines all over the forest floor.
  • 2 1
 Fair to say not all trail is great, some are mediocre and others, well, people just don't ride them so I guess the proof is in the attendance and longevity of a trails use/development. If it doesn't work, it doesn't last. In an ideal world we'd all build trail that works.
  • 6 2
 Damn gotta get me one of those!
  • 2 1
 Ya that's not really what it takes... whole lot more shovelling, wheel barrowing, pick axing, raking and more shovelling. If you don't have a bunch of equipment on hand that is.
  • 2 0
 nice work looks like this trail will last for a long time without erosion problems since the terrain looks not steep and the work of the base of the trail is amazing
  • 5 2
 just gettin approval for chainsaws made me cry
  • 3 0
 I wish there was somewhere without trails where I could make... trails...
  • 12 13
 Way too much peddling and it looks like you caused some massive damage with the bigger machine? Why didn't you just use a 3 ton and dumper and keep the digger on the track instead of wrecking all the ground around it?

Sorry to be negative, but seems like a big mess for a skinny line
  • 8 6
 Completely agree. Being a builder, not only of my personal trails but also federal hiking trails, it disgusts me to see the destruction surrounding the trail.
  • 7 0
 @yukonman: and @sals Look at the map or do some reading above, Lady Canning's is a 1km fenced in square of commercially planted (on artificial earthbanks) pine in rows. It's a working forest, not old growth mahogany. The brambles will be ok in a year, trust me. Cheers for the fun trails.
  • 2 1
 see that sweet sweet yellow dirt with all the rocks that they are using as the baselayer, and see how the topsoil isn't that color? That's because they've had to dig down to get it, and it looks like PERFECT trail base layer, the alternative would be to
- use small digger just on the trail and dig holes close to the track because of it's small reach, but that would take ages due to the small digger and be dangerous as hell to riders
-use a dumper to cart in from a dig hole near the trails or bought in from a quarry (expensive) but then you have to re-sculpture the whole trail once you're done from the dumper chewing the trail up, and you'll need a second digger to load it
-Use a dumper again and lay the track down first, but you'll spend all day driving, and its hard to judge a tracks flow until it's shaped to know what section to build next.

And then yeah, commercial forest, who cares.
  • 2 0
 funny thing about the forest, it grows back... from the looks of it this forest is regrowth anyway, pinner trees at best
  • 6 0
 100% looks like a working forest.
  • 10 8
 Sorry guys that is shit. That is not mountain biking and if you think anybody needs a trail that easy you're just misled.
  • 3 0
 Those blue lines often looking very lame on video but some of them can be very funny when you try to ride it with your maximum speed.
  • 6 3
 awesome guys!
  • 3 0
 I'll take the Kubota
  • 2 0
 Looks amazing! Really flowy and fast! Great work!!
  • 1 0
 The only thing I'd like to see is the process of scouting a trail and how one decides to take it this way or that.
  • 1 0
 Looks like an amazing take my kids on. I wouldn't go out of my way to ride it myself though.
  • 4 2
 thats shit.. take a rake and a shover . thats all
  • 2 4
 Fuck you guys are nuts. Tomgrice seems decent. Its just that there are a bazillion trails in the world and yous gotta go burn cash, diesel, pollute the world and still make a video about it some wack ass path you built. Thats why I said fuck only rich people do redundant shit like that.
  • 2 1
 Your business suits Rock
  • 1 0
 Song names?
  • 2 3
 Gosh, no rocks, roots, stream crossings, steeps, guess it's not Pisgah.
  • 5 5
  • 2 1
  • 2 0
 watching them throw rocks off of the trail is a sad moment for a MOUNTAIN BIKER
  • 4 5
 my god that is a trail what a joke we down in south wales can do better
  • 4 6
 no flow,no speed,no roots,no´s a walking ruined the complete track...sorry Frown
  • 3 0
 @fossydh: How can you say theres no flow, you've never ridden the trail! the Video doesn't do justice how much fun this trail is, and how suitable it is to all abilities. Were not saying this is a HOW TO video, it just showing people the progression of the sport and the fact that a community can come together to fund trails like this is just amazing!

Id like to see kids ride there balance bikes down a black grade trail, our sport is progressing and people are starting younger and a track like this can be enjoyed by al!
  • 2 0
 @TOMGRICE: (Putting this here as i couldn't work out how to tag you properly) this looks like a banging beginner track, people always forget just how skilled they are compared to a novice and what their needs are, that place looks epic to build, that base layer you are mining from next to the track looks PERFECT
  • 1 2
 @TOMGRICE: If People have to pedal all the way...I yust see that there is no flow!!!
And for Kids and beginners is a well build pumptrack much better!
Anyway...that's my opinion, and I feel sorry to see such a messFrown
  • 1 1
 @TOMGRICE: What the f*ck are you talking about ? Didn´t say that ! I just said it can be funny to ride it with speed ! I doesn´t say that it is not funny when you ride it slower. It was just an answer for those who are complaining everything that suits not to their own needs !
  • 1 0
 i was replying to @parkbuilder dude not sure why its staged you mate, and your right the faster you go the harder it gets on these kind of trails...
  • 2 0
 @TOMGRICE: Ok, thx. We have a few bikeparks here and some bikers only ride the red and black lines the whole day. Some forget how fun or how demanding a blue line can be when you ride there with speed. For sure, always paying attention and slowing down for beginners.
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