Pinkbike Poll: Why Do You Trail Build?

Nov 9, 2016 at 22:12
by Mike Levy  
Trail building; without it, we wouldn't have much of a sport, would we? I guess we could bomb around on gravel roads, but it just wouldn't be the same, which means I may have already answered my own poll question. But I'm sure it's not that simple for a lot of those beautiful souls who pick up a shovel, rake, chainsaw, or some other tool in order to birth some singletrack. Or maybe it's to fix or maintain an already existing trail or create their own one-hit wonder.


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Video: billmclane

There are probably just as many types of builders as there are riders. I know some people who simply like to be behind a shovel just as much as they do a handlebar, which is quite a thing, and there even a select few who are actually professional builders. I know a guy or three who might admit that shame plays a role in them being out there fixing and building, further proving that guilt can be a good motivator. Then again, getting to ride something that you've built yourself can feel pretty special, much in the same way that saving up for something you want, like a bike or even a car, can feel so much more rewarding than borrowing the money to get that bike or car even sooner. Sometimes you can't simply ''borrow'' a trail - building your own is the only option.

Thanks, whatever your motivation might be.


If you are a trail builder, what is your motivation?




196 Comments

  • 130 2
 Whoever marked "not a builder" really needs to try this thing out. Something about a vision you place in your mind then seeing it slowly be built up the what you are imagining with hours of hard physical labor is a feeling like no other that is rewarding yet serene and fun because you are out on the trails, and you get to ride it after!
  • 61 0
 I've built in the past when student days allowed hours of spare time, but tbh, nowadays I struggle to find the time to just ride as it is let alone dig before I ride. However, I'll happily pay to ride trail centres so I'm giving something back to the bike community. I'll also drop everything to head out and rescue a fallen rider in my voluntary SAR role.
  • 31 3
 Building can get you in big trouble in Europe, everything private land.
Usually you have the right of passage but if you bring a bike you are already stretching the limits.
Start digging (or bring a motorized vehicle) and you are technically committing a felony.

Best case the landowner just destroys your work, worst case you can go to jail...
not worth it
  • 12 2
 @michibretz: never heard of any one going to jail over it.

The Forestry Commission will flatten trails that are illegally built occasionally they will leave the ones that use natural features and not man made ones. National Parks and national trust generally will remove everything especially if it's on protected land. Councils are just ass hats who don't want to be sued. Private land is exactly that, private to the owner so you get what you deserve.
  • 18 0
 And then you get some douche canadian like me saying 'no dig no ride' hahaha, just salt in the wound eh? Austria is pretty kick ass tho, great country.
  • 12 1
 I broke my back 15 years ago and had major back surgery. I'm lucky to even be walking and riding. I sleep with special arrangements for my back. Picking up a shovel or even walking more than 1/2 hour is painful. I simply cannot do back-breaking work. Bummer, for sure. If one is capable then it should be done.
  • 17 1
 As soon as we build any kind of feature it gets destroyed by Forestry Commission. Kind of makes you give up.
  • 4 1
 @fatduke: you are right, would not happen usual unless you cant afford to pay the fine that is...
  • 6 34
flag michibretz (Nov 11, 2016 at 9:56) (Below Threshold)
 building is an american thing...
  • 9 0
 I marked "Not a Builder" because I have no choice but if I did I'd be carrying a shovel with me every other weekend Frown
  • 21 3
 I build because our trail centres are utter crap. If we don't build there would be feck all worth riding here..
  • 7 0
 Totally agree. I've been part of a few bigger group builds and head to the trails when it's too wet to ride and I love riding over stuff Ive had an effect on. Even raking leaves is rewarding! (and is highly underrated for it's value to the trail). I'm gonna say it: if everyone put in a couple builds a year, think how rad trails would be. Right now I'd say about 5% of people who ride my local build. Weak!
  • 5 2
 @Allen82: they get sued by idiots , like the lawyer who got 4mill kind people
  • 5 1
 @Allen82: good. Get permission, join a dig day and take responsibility for what you build.
  • 4 0
 @Allen82: I can only presume you didn't ask permission. Try engaging with them before you dig. Set up a meeting with the local ranger, tell them your proposals and how it is to be achieved and see what they say. You would be surprised how open they are.
  • 3 0
 I used to build a good number of years ago, mainly because if we didnt, we'd have nowhere to ride, I loved it, nothing more satisfying than enjoying the fruits of your own labor, and seeing other enjoy it made it all the more sweeter. These days though, due to my chosen profession and moving about so often, i dont really have any trails that i can call home, sure I have trails that i frequent more than others, but I'm not around often enough or reliably enough to be able to attend organised digs or such. So for now and the near future i must just accept the situation and ride where and when I get the chance and be eternally grateful to the kind souls that put the hard graft into building the trails, and hope that they get pleasure in seeing others enjoy there work. One day when i decide i've had enough of my current employment situation i shall settle down somewhere, and that somewhere i will ensure has hills and forests, and in them i will dedicate some of my spare time to give back to the sport that i so love.
  • 8 1
 @fatduke: I build AND MAINTAIN because I love it and lucky enough to paid to do so, I work for the Forestry Commission. The bottom line is that the FC and land owners in general are liable for there trails, so when someone comes along and builds a jump with bits of wood and pallets and digs a pit next to the trail as a borrow pit for their own gratification, the FC and other landowners have to act, if someone misjudges that jump or it collapses or the transition doesn't work, the rider, or his employer or the employers insurance sues the landowner should there be an accident resultjng in time off work.

Unofficial trailbuilding is layered in risk for the landowner, the unofficial builder is free of liability, as riders we are literally taking a leap of faith.
  • 1 0
 @gandalfsdad: no I totally understand the FC point of view, I know certain area's round here on FC and national park land have trails built over protected area's, it gives builders a bad name if they keep on doing it that way.
  • 2 2
 If you look at the excuses why they don't even here is pretty lame, I wonder if they realise you can build maintain trail legally?
  • 3 0
 @algs911: Sounds bad :-( Broke my back too 3 years ago. I'm 4 centimeters shorter now! Luckily there is so much more to do than "back breaking work". Administrate trail days, funding, arrange various stuff etc. Most of the time I'm guiding people around at trail building days etc., as I too is limited as to what kind of work I can do.

You should try it! It's really nice to be out there with lovely and passionate people and get to ride the trail afterwards :-)
  • 3 0
 @ibishreddin yeah I would agree with that, people who ride should give it a go. I my self have built for years and know what you speak of, when it comes to being creative, be that either with the features built or the way the trail will flow with the lay of the lands natural features, but for one thing, I will not use wood, firstly I ain't a skilled carpenter and nor are many of the people who have built bloody wooden features in many of the forests in the uk by the looks of some of it, and secondly it rots to quickly in the uk if you haven't weatherproofed it, and with wet muddy tyres its bloody slippery as f*ck., not what you need when your about to hit that next gap or drop.
  • 5 2
 Problem with arm pump? Get on a shovel!!
  • 3 0
 'Building doesn't really happen round me as the FC/NRW build the sanctioned trails and the public bridleways don't allow features to be added. Used to build when I was younger (~20 years ago..) in some woods on a friend's farm but now I just help out on the odd 'dig day' at the local trail centres, but that's more maintenance stuff rather than building. I don't have the skills to construct big stuff anyway so best to leave that to the professional teams we have round here TBH.
  • 1 0
 @BryceBorlick: I know was the most annoying thing when I was little, too little to build stuff and no place to anyways i would ask where stuff is and get the generic no dig no ride
  • 4 0
 Winced as I ticked 'not a builder', I used to build my own in the UK but since moving to Oz there's nowhere where I'm even allowed to build, let alone I don't have the time or the equipment now I have a family. I would love to find somewhere to build if I knew I was allowed to build there
  • 1 0
 Make you feel part of them trail, not just a tourist
  • 1 1
 @bat-fastard: same reason i build as every weekend i cannot afford to travel about 2 hours to my local trails to get there and be rubbish much more fun riding your own trails for sure
  • 2 2
 @algs911: But you're able to ride a bike? Haha okay.
  • 1 0
 @BryceBorlick: I wish I could build more but in Southern Ontario you need to be careful where and how you build.
  • 1 1
 @fatduke: "The Forestry Commission will flatten trails that are illegally built occasionally they will leave the ones that use natural features and not man made ones"

And it's EXACTLY this shit - (not fecking e-bikes, for the yanks that are reading) - that result in bans and trail closures.
  • 1 0
 The best trail builder is the nature.
  • 2 0
 @michibretz: I wouldn't say building is an American thing.
I've lived In California and nearly everything gets taken down.
anywhere you put work it, it just gets torn down.
  • 1 0
 @Niko182: hahahahahaaaaaaa.......lol
  • 1 0
 I dunno I've reached the point where I would rather just not have the help of people who really don't want to dig. I would rather do it right by me and the dudes who love to dig, rather than have to gonna know and fix something someone half assed because they didn't really want to use the shovel.
  • 1 0
 @fatduke: FC are slowly seeing the light. They are now working on some weird 'grey area' where a trail gets noted by the ranger, but so long as it isn't obviously dangerous or somewhere they're about to do forestry work, it sounds like they'll leave it alone.

As for man made features, the issue there is any 'structure' on their land needs to have a proper spec submitted (engineers drawings) and it also has to go onto an inspection list, which means the local Ranger has to go and inspect it's structural state every month - obviously something they want to avoid.

I envy these videos. Sadly we can't just bust out the 2-stroke and get chain-sawin'....
  • 2 0
 @Niko182: yeah, but at the same time you guys do not have a lot of natural, old single trails...

In the alps you have millions of miles of age old single track form farming, mining or the wars up and down almost every mountain.The US, especially the west is simply not old enough to have these kind of trails.
These trails are complete legal for hiking even if they cross privately owned land.
They are barely "maintained" and if then its done by the mountaineering/hiking associations of the different countries. If you start building on these you will get in trouble with them and the land owners and thats something you don't want because mountain bikers need those organisations to have "positive feelings" towards mountain biking.

These organisations have quite some weight in politics and could ultimately could cause a complete shut down of trail riding if they wanted to.
For now mountain bikers are tolerated on a lot trails but we are not legally allowed to be on any single trails.
Riding them could become a felony, which also is true for a motorized vehicle like a dirt bike or an e-bike, where now if caught you will usually get away with a warning.

Bottom line: its better to ride whats already there then to mess around and piss of people by digging up their property...
  • 50 0
 Honestly we cant all build . I am OK with riders enjoying the fruits of my labour. I do not impose that people must do what I do. If you do have skill with tools and have done your research on how to properly build or maintain trails that is great! If you just enjoy what others have built that is great too. Please have respect for the individuals that invest free time to work on trails. You may not like what they have done but any trail work that's done comes from the heart not the pocket book.
  • 9 1
 I think anyone who can spare time to ride trails can spare time to at least maintain them. Luckily there are people out there that put in serious time, otherwise we'd all be riding trail centres and hiking paths, but I really believe the rest of us can contribute something, even if it's just raking or some basic maintenance like debris removal after a storm.
  • 4 1
 @JesseE: I use to build at my local trails for years and enjoy it but I gave up after constantly having features destroyed by careless teens that have nothing better to do. I definitely maintain the trails I ride though
  • 4 0
 @transition-racer: that's really discouraging. Least you're still putting in time.
  • 3 0
 Thank you for making me feel like less of an a*shole for not building. I'm just always so busy with school (chemical engineering, so super busy) or work that any free time I get goes to riding. Thanks to all the builders out there who do have the time and dedication. We could not enjoy this sport without you.
  • 2 0
 @JesseE: Great points, I do build & to be perfectly honest, one of the biggest reasons I do it is an excuse to be outside for extended periods. However as much satisfaction that I get from building, I get as much from maintaining & repairing trails & trail features.
  • 2 0
 Just riding the North Shore yesterday with a couple of Newbies. There were THREE crews working on Expresso! As much as I wanted to ride like crazy I stopped to personally shake each one of their hands. We are so spoiled up here with all the awesome trails and even more awesome people that maintain them. I put it on my list to put in some work. Thanks to all of you builders!!!
  • 21 0
 Building a trail and hearing countless people say how awesome it is pretty cool. I didn't invent the internet or find a cure for hangovers, but I've left a mark that people appreciate. And spending time building something technical and a little scary that you know you have to ride is pretty sick.
  • 3 2
 Haha, I grind my balls between the seat tube and rear wheel trying to do an old drop i rebuilt. And yeah its scary but hey this is why mtb biking is so interesting.
  • 4 0
 Well put kubaner. Just the other day I was thinking the along the same lines regarding trails. Never thought I will ever do anything to leave a permanent and positive mark on this planet that others will appreciate for years to come. But now after building trails for about 18 years all over the place there is a good chance a few of them could be there and still in use after I stop riding and maybe even after I kick the bucket.
  • 1 0
 What kubaner said. So fun to build, ride, then share.
  • 22 2
 I build for these reasons:

Building makes me feel like I give something back to the sport

I get more enjoyment out of riding what I have built

I believe that I can do a better job than most builders

I just like to build

No dig, no ride

For my own satisfaction.

To build my own progression.
  • 5 1
 are you my soul?
  • 3 0
 Besties!
  • 3 0
 Pretty much the description of every "real" builder, not the one who really has to build in order to ride but one who likes to build for the love and progress of the sport and himself.
  • 7 0
 Nothing philosophic here. I just like being out in the woods and creating something, preferably less boring than official IMBA style trails.
  • 3 0
 I LOVE TRAIL BUILDING FOR SO MANY REASONS!
  • 5 0
 Building also makes you a better rider.
  • 16 2
 As lame and cliche as this sounds, for me, hearing someone say they like to ride what I built is the reason I build. I have a big cheesy grin on my face every time someone says they enjoyed it, and it's a super rewarding feeling! Also, the spiritual connection with the wild and dancing naked around a fire whilst worshiping the woodland fairies...but mainly the people enjoying it thing...
  • 1 0
 Gave me a good laugh Big Grin
  • 14 2
 IF YOU HAVE TIME TO RIDE, YOU HAVE TIME TO DIG. The "I don't have time" excuse is total crap. You don't have to start a whole new trail but you can maintain or help out with an existing trail very easily, really just a few minutes here & there.

If you're lucky enough to have found a trail, RESPECT IT! (others have touched on this). Unless you built it, don't modify it. Don't make it easier. Don't modify it in any way (except possibly fixing others f'ups). We spent months weaving a trail through 100yr old Manzanita trees only to have some d-bag come in & cut them all down because he wanted to rally through them & didn't have the skill set required to do so. I've only been out on the trails that I dug myself a few times since then, cutting those trees down really ruined the feeling for me.
  • 3 0
 I always ride with a saw in my bag. Even ten minutes off the bike during a ride can help clean up overgrowth. And don't be afraid to hop off the bike and grab a rake or lump a few buckets to help out
  • 1 0
 Nailed it. If you didn't build the trail don't touch without permission from builders. I know what trail you are talking about.
  • 15 1
 What about an option: "I dont build, but I do trail maintenance."
  • 5 0
 I consider that building. Where I'm from, trails will last at most a year or 2 without maintenance, and often what starts as maintenance changes the trail so much it becomes a new trail. Even when we're cutting new lines, for every guy with any sort of vision, there's 20 that just show up with a McLeod and dig, and the trail wouldn't happen without them.
  • 10 0
 Trail building has changed my life.

A few justifications for that sentence follow: Meeting more people and forming more lasting friendships than I ever did either just riding or in other sports (surfing, swimming); being a part of building a sense of community among riders in my local area; joy of sharing rides with fellow builders and seeing the smiles from everyone who visits our trails. Plus the boost in fitness and time in the forest when (for me) it's too wet to ride.

Please consider giving just one day back this build season on a trail you have ridden, and bring a friend!
  • 1 0
 Got caught building on the local trails and got recruited to join the local club. Smile
  • 9 1
 I build trails in Jamaica. Here in Canada we are inundated with a plethora of endless hand made trails. In 1999 I had an apiphony and changed my life from abuse to fulfilment. Deciding to find positive vibes as I was drowning in negativity, death and dishonour. I flew down and yes I found footpaths, trails and a guy who was building them. I helped put on the Negril Fat Tyre Festival from 99-06 helping spread the word and leading the daily tours out and paid in full every year as a participant to support the building of the festival's vibe.
In 2005 Hurricane Ivan destroyed ALL the Negril trails. Corral was found up in the hills and it covered my lower trails and the destruction was vibe ending. So.....I went to the north coast for 5 years, missed Negril and came back.
Now Rusty's X-Cellent Adventures was done and it was my turn to dig or go elsewhere. So for the last 5+ years I fly down to Jamaica and dig for a month but now it's evolved into 3 months a year and I have a tour company.

Ya I had to dig and trailblaze or ride lazy ass footpaths that had ZERO maintenance and you never knew what to expect. I am not a fan of poaching FOOTPATHS created decades ago, then clean a few bits and put your ownership name on them and claim they are your trails...stay off. THAT IS NOT WHY I RIDE A MOUNTAIN BIKE and not a positive vibe. Also you must deal with everyone who uses those common footpaths and it can be extremely frustrating when barb wire goes up without you knowing it.

So I bit the bullet....ya I hired 3 rastas who are farmers and labourers who have bonded with me over the 17 years I have been visiting Jamaica each year our bond grows even stronger. I am very proud of my crew.
The 40 Legger Trail Crew works for me for 6 weeks each season now and my trail boss is at my bacon call each and every day I spend in Jamaica. I feel blessed that I can do this even though its up to me to make it happen. I work for 9 months here in Canada as a sound man and when I hit the jungle I blow my savings on my crew.
At this point I don't care if it takes off as long as my trails are sustainable I am happy, riding all day, digging all morning and if tours show up it pays for more tools and my crew's wages.

I never thought in a million years I would work my ass off all year just to work even harder in the nasty ass jungle for a month or two. Well I am good with it cause i got bit by the trailblazing bug.
MAXIMUM RESPECT TO ANYONE WHO DIGS, HELPS OUT AND DOES THEIR LITTLE BIT TO HELP PAY BACK.

anyone ever venture down to Jamaica just give me a shout out.
marsh@ www.2wheels1loveJamaica.com
also major shout out to the trail crew here on Pinkbike for adding the Jamaican Flag to Trailforks and now a hook up for my tour company and my crew. Makes me cry PINKBIKE.
www.pinkbike.com/directory/9055/40-legger-trail-crew

2wheels1love mantra:
I build trails for everyone's use. Farmers, donkeys, kids going to school, farmers carrying palms and fruits to market after shopping in the jungle.....ya the list is endless. I build them on Jamaicfan government land so I do not own the trails the people do and I try to build them in the nastiest spots I can find.
ALL JAMAICAN RIDERS WILL NEVER BE CHARGED FOR ANY TOUR.
  • 8 0
 Building isn't the issue for a lot of people it's access and legal issues. Back when I was younger we used to build a lot but, even when we had permission we would still fall foul of someone with destruction on their mind
  • 5 0
 I build because cycling would not exist without trails. People talk about how you can only grow the sport through racing or tv, when in reality the sport would not exist without trails, and builders. It cannot grow without new trails to continue to excite riders. The same goes for tourism. Most people will visit a cycling destination once or twice and feel like they've ridden everything. If you build good new trails you'll get their attention, and might even lure them back for another visit.
  • 5 0
 Because without trail builders we would have fewer and worse trails not more and better trails. Because building good trails is hard, not easy. Because I can. Because it shows land managers that mountain bikers are willing to show up and work, not just whine and complain. Because I need the upper body workout. Because it shows the hikers and equestrians that mountain bikers are regular folks and not a bunch of crazed hooligans. Because it's fun. Because it's incredibly satisfying to build a great trail and then ride it. Because the trails aren't going to build themselves.
  • 5 0
 I dig because quite frankly I'm disgusted with the frat/clique persona that our local IMBA chapter has transformed into. Knoxville has got it right, they have 60 ppl show up to work days, then drink beer and ride after digging, Chattanooga on the other hand, is like 15 years behind the progression curve. A little harsh, maybe, but the only jump spots that are open to the public within 30 min of the city, I have had a hand in building. The Trials Training Center Gravity Park (TTC Gravity Park) has been 7 years in the making and is a gem of a DH park near Chatty. I put in 5 years of volunteer time there and try to get out that way whenever I can. Now I'm helping build a new DJ park in Trion, GA (only 45ish min outside of Chatty) Red Clay Playground (RCP). I build because it helps me sleep at night, there are so many features that I see in movies, pinkbike, and all things dirt mags, that I literally have to build or it drives me and everyone around me crazy. When I dig, if i'm angry I can utilize it in a good way, if I've got a lot on my mind, I can process better with digging, also when i'm done, I have created something that I can enjoy with my friends.
  • 4 0
 I don't trail build per se but I do trail repair existing trails quite often. I live in middle of a city and ride at my local parks and trails. It's actually funny seeing people walking by giving me odd looks when they see a 50 yr old man digging in the dirt in middle of a city park.
  • 1 0
 That's rad, thank you. I'm 40+ & one of my digging buddies is old enough to be my dad. We definitely get our fair share of looks when people find out we're the "kids" who built the trails "out there"
  • 4 0
 I dig because none wants to.... Everyone says theyd like to help, but its just talk and that's ok... I build because I love bikes... I build because I enjoy creating something fun to ride... I build because its healthy to be alone in the woods with just my thoughts and imagination. ..I build because its in my blood....
  • 2 0
 Me too!
  • 4 0
 I am old and beat up, bad back and broken leg, but I still ride 4-5 times a week. Shovel work inflames my back and then I can't ride. Sounds like a cop out, but instead I give relatively generous donations to IMBA and Salida Mountain Trails each year. Not as good as building, but better than nothing.
  • 3 0
 I keep a shovel and rake stashed in the woods of my local trail system. Fixing a blown-out corner, clearing a log or just raking a trail makes me feel better and is, in a way, my way of saying "thank you" to the dudes that built the trails. Or maybe it's my way of feeling less guilty for some rotten shit I did earlier in the week...
  • 3 0
 Dear Trail builders; You have my respect and support. I prefer to donate to my local trail building associations for a few reasons, if i wreck my knees/back no more ride,(getting old) also out of work, and I got a family to feed so lower risk. I also don't know squat about trail building, and lack the imagination to think up new trails, many trails I have said to myself "who thinks of this?" (I tip my hat to trail builders of all kinds) You can donate on trailforks if you prefer.. just my two cents.
  • 3 0
 I build because of the creative outlet it provides. The time spent with like minded individuals creates a sense community. the community of riders creates awareness about the need to municipalities for inventive, sustainable trails for all riders, ages and abilities. The tangible product of a MTB trail in a positive community awareness creates opportunity. This community not only depends on folks at the end of a shovel; time can be spent fundraising, baking food, working on websites, grant writing, etc for non profit organizations. This is equally important to trail development as digging, everyone has something to give. The positive side of no dig, no ride is that without an individual or group caring nothing will change and we won't have a destination to enjoy, feel free, and forget about the problems of the world. Thanks to all the builders and people that support this most rad endeavor!!
  • 3 0
 Hello guys . My Name is Çağrı and i am From TURKEY .. I live in one of the City Called DENİZLİ and i am trying to do downhill in my city in my country .. People told me Charlie or Çağrı you are crazy . why do you spend so much money for a stupid bicycle .. And than i answer them i like to ride a bicycle .. They said : Brother we understand you but for Downhill there is nothink to do in Turkey we dont even have a dh park or any place for dh ride .. And i say i will make it ... I found a guy 24 years old and he owns a really cheap bike with V breaks and he said he will help me to make a racecourse .. What a guy isnt it . And We are trying really hard think and illegal thinks in our country because people still think bicycle is an stupid think to spend a money and spend a time but we will try to do our own decisions ... Maybe we will get caught in the forest one day , and we will get punishment .. Nobody can understand how hard think we do in our country or neither here people talk about building a racecourse .. I cant upload pictures what we done about build But WE BELİEVE we are doing best think for the future Bicycle rides for the young genetarion ...
  • 2 0
 The trails have to be build, if im waiting for others in the area to build trails then I dont ride cuzz people here only apear when the trails are done/complete and then argument this or that when I was working alone on the trails no one seemed to help, but I enjoy it anyway, its more greatfull! But like me sure there are many others, am I right??
  • 5 0
 Because fresh loam and wood shavings mixed with chainsaw exhaust is the best smell in the world.
  • 2 0
 And you one of the best sounds in the world...the chainsaw.
  • 2 0
 I build because I have a dog with a lot of energy who needs long off leash walks and it gives me something to do in the woods while I wait for her.

That isn't my sole motivation. I have a chunk of woods near me on a campus where I work that is really underutilized and I wanted to ride there as a quick training loop when I can't get to the trail systems 10-15 minutes away. Plus it could give students who haven't biked before a place to start before venturing out and investing the time and effort to getting somewhere you need a car to get to. But the reason I'm out there every day building/tending the trail system is the dog without her, I'd have much less of an excuse.

I had a kid this May, so I my morning dog walks soon became morning dog walks with baby strapped to my chest with the new purpose being giving my wife a little more rest/a chance to eat or shower. I still managed to make a mile or so of trail after that point. It isn't on stuff that needs heavy digging, but I was still proud of myself. Now if I just had more time to ride that trail...
  • 2 0
 I build because there are no trails that are built for light free ride. The trails are either all mountain with no drops or jumps or very few. Downhill trails or hardcore free ride trails that are too big, too hard, too tech or require better bikes or stronger legs to clear. I also build so I can have trails closer to home as I have no car and like to ride/build more often. I build because I get bored riding the same shit all the time. I also like to think I build to promote the sport and add value to natural spaces so they won't get bulldozed. That last is some romantic bullshit but I'd love it to be true.
  • 2 0
 As young as I can remember I always built jupms and ramps to play on. Early teens, I was a skater and we had no skate park in our area, so we built one at my house. All the local skaters would come and hang out it was cool. Then later on when I got into biking I built dirt jumps and pump tracks. It was just a natural progression of wanting to play on something so you build it. I was fortunate to stmble upon a trail building contract back in 2009 to go to Chile and build trail. I've been a paid Trail Builder ever since. I love building trail. Its my hobby, my passion, my life, my lively hood. It puts a roof over my families heads and puts food on the table. But the job satisfaction is intense. I love being able to have the skillset ro build tracks that not only offer fun and thrills but also mental therapy for people. Trail building is everything to me. If someone asks what id do otherwise, honestly there is no other answer. I hope ro be a track builder for life. Making a career of it and providing happiness to thousands of riders for years to come.
  • 2 0
 theres something about trail building that just pumps you up. its not hard work if you enjoy it! just letting your brain flow and being a little creative. and then you can ride it after!
  • 3 0
 Building trail can not only improve the area for riding, but improve the rider. Its easier to say "I can hit that" when you built it.
  • 1 0
 We all see things differently. Sometimes I look at a feature that to me looks so janky I don't wanna ride it, but my bud next to me is thinking "yes I'm gonna rock the sh1t outa this". I like to build for many reasons not least to provide more stuff for us all to ride but a major drive is to make something the way I think is right. So selfish and not so selfish reasons I suppose :-P
  • 1 0
 I build - my local spot has a lot of old trails that have falling into disrepair, so if I want to ride there & ride fun stuff, I have to get on with it.

Sometimes progress is slow & sometimes you hit dead ends, but it's nice to create a trail.

Nothing like this in the video though - my local woodland doesn't exactly have the terrain for it!
  • 2 0
 Same here, I live in East Anglia, about the flatest bit of the UK so options are limited without driving for nearly 2 hours haha
  • 1 0
 I did not expect "not a builder" To be leading the top of the list. That sucks GET OUT AND BUILD!!! Make something you want to hit or just help maintain what you ride. A simple task of foot packing a rutted out berm or clearing the trails of debris makes you a builder in my book.
  • 1 0
 As someone who marked 'not a builder', I would qualify under your definition. Claiming the title of builder seemed too presumptive to me. While I do maintenance and clear debris, I have never designed a trail, built wood features, or dug a trail from nothing.
  • 2 0
 I marked not a builder. I think what I'd want to build would get torn down. granted I've cleared trail debris.
  • 2 1
 @sutter2k: so get involved and do it legally.
  • 1 0
 Yep.
But what happens when the local builders appropriate the already existing hiking trails that were serving many people? And I don’t mean just hikers and runners, but also bike riders who love the old school style trail ridding (not he so called “flow” trail)…
This is exactly what is happening here at Greece, given the fact that there’s no protection at all by the law for the remaining forests, were all trails are gradually “transformed” into DH tracks, serving just a minority of bikers and forcing all the rest away.
I would also like to remind to the younger among us, that mountain biking existed (and thrived) before the specialized tracks. We had tons of fun also.
Sure,
But to put it in simple words, trail building is just great. Creating new tracks is also great. But respecting the rest of the people who love the mountain (I assume as much as the trail builder, at least) AND the life which already have a hard time to survive there, is a MUST.
So, what I want to say, is that all bike tracks / trails, may be, for some, a necessity, but the builders have to respect and follow some common sense rules…
  • 1 0
 It's a funny thing this how this works in different areas. Where I live there's lots of riders and tons of nice trails to go ride on. The trails 99% just natural trails that are formed by people walking on them. The first problem here is, that most riders are into basic xc and trail riding and that's what our local woods are best for. So if you want to ride a jump or a berm you pretty much have to build it your self. The second problem is that even if you want to build something it's very difficult when the woods are full of big rocks and roots and there's very few places where there's enough soil to stick a showel in. Not to mention that a 20m vertical drop is concidered a huge descent here haha. So apart from a few special spots it doesn't really make too much sense trying to build anything here for trail riding or fr unless you want to block an existing path with features that would be annoying for others using (walking or riding) the same trails.

I love digging and to improve existing stuff or to create new stuff to ride on. I have only spent like 10 hours this year digging something for trailbikes to ride on. But lucky enough, after our last jump spot was put down by the city, we were able to find a new place where you can actually dig and not hit your showel against big rocks and roots ALL the time. So digging dirt jumps is what I have spent pretty much all my spare time this year on. There's nothing like the feeling of riding something for the first time that you have built from scratch and finding that it actually works. And the feeling of bringing friends to such place and see that your creations brings big smiles on their faces as well.
  • 1 0
 We build because there would be no ride if we didn't. In our our we have the hadleigh Olympic xc track, it's a little tame and they are not aloud gap jumps or anything big tbh. I don't drive at the moment so if you want some knar you have to build it yourself. Our build is in quite a public woodland too, we can't stop those who do not choose to dig, But I will say those who don't just 'ride through' and the guys who stop chat and session bits aren't scared to pick up a shovel if they see we are all at it. You are goin to get people that don't dig, that's the least of our problems. It's the council, dog walkers, hikers that are our real problem. They hate our passion, something is always destroyed when we turn up. We finally got a agreement by word with the council park/woodland warden but it doesn't stop the dog walkers and hikers from calling us immature kids and a need to grow up in life (with a small piece of destruction waiting for you as you walk up the Glen).
It is enjoyable to watch someone ride what you built. The smiles are good enough for me and my pals are walking back up the hill. It's the poor folk who take the trails for granted, rubbish, destroy kickers and landings and just aren't bothered, and the pure ignorant, the not even a 'morning' guys. Just a look of disgust as they ride through thinking your crazy for what you do.
My advice, if your not gonna dig that's up to you but keeping the trails clear, log/rubbish free and be friendly is surly a given?
  • 2 0
 I enjoy spending time in the forest by myself. I enjoy the solitude of it. Most of all I enjoy envisioning something, building it and then finally riding it on my bike. What a satisfying feeling. #dreamsdontbuildthemselves
  • 1 0
 I build a small spot here in Novosibirsk, Russia. We have other spots here but they are a bit far from my home. The reasons are: 1 - to make something out of a small forest / wasteland; 2 - to have an everyday training area next to the home; 3 - to have the feeling that I built something which also can be useful for other mountainbikers.
btw, having a spot by the home is convenient to clean the snow on it in winter on a regular basis.
  • 1 0
 I ride the same area regularly and lose trails to felling every couple of years so need to build. Been building that long now 10 years plus build when the weathers bad all year every year just love scoping lines deciding how it's going to roll line choice how the turns will work how to control the speed working round trees and wet spots it all about creating the ultimate trail .
  • 1 0
 as someone who works for a trail building company, I'm obviously a builder. i was building trails (mainly dirt jumps) well before i built trail for a living, and even now, although i spend all day on the tools sculpting things into something sick i still go out after work and on weekends to rake in a new trail to ride with my buddies, building never stops. shape up or shut up
  • 1 0
 I get asked why i build and so many answers..is it for the fame and fortune? well since i'm not famous or paid to build then no.. the reason i build is simple ..Love for riding and wanting to ride what makes me happy. Of course it is great when other people ride your work and have a big smile on their face, but in the end i build for me. Always have and always will. Got motivated when our trails burnt 13 years ago and most of the local builders quit.. took up the challenge and and haven't looked back since...they say builders are a special and sometimes crazy breed and I agree as i am builder for life !
  • 1 0
 unfortunately the swiss mtbikers are not so much into trail building besides bike parks. we do have too many trails already. but actually they are walking tracks, or at least suppose too. so most bikers are lazy and want just to ride. most of them have no idea how lucky we are, with all the tracks we have. but soon we have to change our minds. we need to build and pay to ride! can you guys imagine, we do have the worlds best mtnbikers here in Swiss, at least in XC, but not one single trail center. hope this will change, so we will have even more people and beginners into biking. witch will bring more volume and business to biking. in this case also more respect to others sports. there is not only football (soccer) ;-)
  • 1 0
 I churn dirt to find peace, to keep moving and to mentally lay rest to dear friends lost and demons past. Trail building helps form lasting friendships with many a rider, and do somethig that is as important as loving your fellow man. that is, to put smiles on riders faces and inject great lasting memories into their spirit!
  • 1 0
 Best Workout / weight loss program! I don't have to join a gym! Plus the wilderness smells better than a locker room! HAHAHA don't flame me! I don't know anything else but to build trails! I am a lil gnome who lives under the bridge!
  • 1 0
 To build your own progression is a huge reason. Most of the trails by me are heavily XC and dirt roadie biased. They would pave the woods if they could. Anything progressive is quickly squashed. I also love the smell of dirt.
  • 1 0
 I've done my best to legit read every post here. To those of you with the political struggle of finding a legit way to build/maintain trails, I am sorry! That sux and is a big struggle! I've lived in areas where bike trails are legal and operated by a "legit" trail organization. What chapped my ass about some of these "legit" orgs is when they'd get all pissy if someone went out and cleaned a fallen tree or raked leaves in the fall because it wasn't "organized". Well F U to those groups! Anyway!!! I'll admit it's few and far between when a community (both politically and financially) supports (truly supports) trail advococy. But when they do! It's amazing! I've been lucky enough to behold this truly amazing feat. When IMBA recognizes a community and awards bronze, silver or gold ride center status, everyone wins! but it takes a lot to get there, and can hinder ability to just go out and build bandit trails. However, if you just show up to a couple "worker bee" events and show that you're worth your salt with a shovel, rake or anything that works it doesn't take a lot to get acces to a few tools to maintain and keep trails clean. Before you know it, you're collaborating with the "experts" to build something new and fun everyone can rip and enjoy! Politics can always change things, but if you stay positive, and work to be as legit as possible, nothing but good comes from a little dig work, whether it's dialing in an old trial or cutting in the next best free ride line! Hopefully this post keeps the positivity flowing! Cheers to everyone one there with a shovel!
  • 3 1
 I don't understand why they cut the ends of the planks, uniformity and straight shapes are the last thing I'm looking for in nature, and it's extra work...
  • 13 0
 I think it's the mark of a craftsman. Uniformity and straight lines may not be what you often see in nature but its what is crucial to a craftsman's vision becoming a reality. It may not matter here but it matters when building a beautifully handcrafted chair or cabinet. I suspect that people who have that kind of desire to build also build other things. And that is where the attention to detail really matters. Everyone I know that possesses these skills finds precision to be a point of pride. There are many minute details they put into everything they do that likely go unnoticed by us simpletons. But they know it's there and that makes them smile.
  • 1 0
 @Duc1098: Nailed it!
  • 2 0
 So you don't want to see uniformity in nature, but you still want to ride a big wood feature that clearly wasn't there beforehand? You be riding through the bushes and vegetation if you really wanted to be immersed in nature lol
  • 1 0
 @Duc1098: " It may not matter here but it matters when building a beautifully handcrafted chair or cabinet". That's what I was trying to say. Of course it's personal, and in my view those wooden features even lose something when the planks get cut. It's extra work, and I don't find the result to be better.

@gtbiker87 : I literally said that I'm not looking for it, what I meant is that cut plank ends are really not something that makes the ride or the forest more enjoyable. I'm not saying it's going to spoil my ride...

To me it's even a bonus to see signs of the manufacturing/assembly methods (welds on frames, screws on furniture, mortise and tenon, "scratch" marks from machining...) And hiding them when they're beautiful is a shame. Plus, it's extra work Wink
  • 1 0
 @Uuno: For me it is safety issue. If tire slips and I crash I won't hit those random shaped edges or get my hand or leg caught between if falling off.
  • 1 0
 Try crashing against a bunch of uneven ends of deck boards... you'll wish they were even. That and it is higher quality construction. Builders are artists and non-uniform decking width is just lazy.
  • 1 0
 Because even tho GROC and Trails 200 are awesome they don't agree with me what makes a 'progressive trail' progressive. Sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands to progress your riding
  • 1 0
 Because most of our trails are fall line and/or have no drainage so they're always eroding.
So in socal its more maintenance and restructuring existing trails than building new.
  • 5 0
 RIP Chainsaw
  • 1 1
 terra forma since 1976,when old guys where passing the rules to me,can not be done like that today,hay kid go park your bike at home and come back to ride the wheel barrow today throw dirt,will let you ride when the time is right till then here's a shovel.NOT in 2016,the rules have change,i'm down to my last spot,were trash from humans is my problem, not camel skid towers,kit photo shop no dirt work just show and go f,, to shovel lets ride no fix,change to easy.,but i guess i'm the old guy now,i still do trail no one hit wonders i do full albums,top to bottom no shuttles no easy shit ya i make turns right or left before that 45foot gap,sorry if i do not make 1mile strait at a 5foot speed bump,if its easy count me out.OOOO not to say the fake tree huger that think a bike is an atom bomb yat yat.o well happy trails from some stupid old guy.
  • 1 0
 Because the people I meet when I am digging are all GC's. In general, the bottom feeding, dead head, nob ends don't dig, they're too busy Strava-ing. So you're hanging with good people when you're digging.
  • 2 0
 Why isn't "I build cause there are no good trails near me" an option? That seems like the obvious choice for a lot of people.
  • 1 1
 The feel of well worn steel tools cutting through cold earth by the power of my own calloused hands is primal and very satisfying. To gaze on a section of completed trail as the sun sets where earlier there was no trail. Hiking out, back sore, tools in hand, job done, in the pitch dark - makes me smile.
  • 1 0
 Currently work on some renegade trails. Cycling groups have build days...and I appreciate they do it. I like to help create the outlaw lines, that challenge me and my buddies and aren't dumbed down.
  • 1 0
 Thank you pinkbike.com for continuing to promote building in addition to the other content. Trail building has brought our community together and taught us how to properly advocate outdoor recreation in our area.
  • 4 0
 Pinkbike should cover more trailbuilding!
  • 1 0
 I build cause it's fun. I love digging. Nothing like playing outside in the dirt all day... takes me back to being a kid. And then of course you get to hit all the fun stuff you've built. Win-Win.
  • 2 0
 Awesome video ! But let's be honest, these guys are close to be professional trail builders...none of us could do something like that.
  • 1 0
 This poll is missing the most obvious option:
To have trails and features to ride

A lot of people build so that there is something to ride. If trails and features don't get built, they don't exist.
  • 4 1
 I like to build cause it looks good on my facebook page
  • 3 0
 I dig because trails don't build themselves.
  • 3 0
 you forgot: To drink beer in the woods with friends
  • 3 0
 Why is there no "having beers with friends and riders" on the poll???
  • 1 0
 Because I'm from wet and muddy Denmark! ;-)
If I don't build, I would be swimming through 3 feet deep mud most of the year... :-/
  • 2 1
 I build for me, not you... So split. Dig alone ride alone. If someone comes up on my secret trail then they are lucky if they ride.
  • 3 0
 Forest pirates buried treasure
  • 1 0
 I dig because every trail tells the story of a mtb community. Who we are, what we care about and how we envision our sport present and future.
  • 1 0
 In honesty I have to tick not a builder. There is no new building around here, all the build days are spent manicuring flow trails.
  • 8 7
 Here in British Columbia it is against the law to build trails on crown land. And as a law-abiding citizen I do not.
  • 14 1
 I train bears to build my stuff
  • 1 0
 So are you helping to maintain what's already there?
  • 2 0
 @toast2266:

Clearly you didn't get the joke
  • 3 0
 @BryceBorlick: Beavers are better builders however, they always slip in a new water feature when ones not looking!
  • 2 1
 I build because I have a big yard, and big yards are boring without trails!
  • 2 1
 What's the brand of that chalk-line you used? It marks so much better than mine I want it!!
  • 1 0
 try putting some chalk in it
  • 3 2
 Because if I don't build/ help with maintenance, I will have to drive for at least 40-60 min to ride anything interesting.
  • 1 0
 Amen. I live in a small mountain town with less than 200 people. If I don't build, I don't ride.
  • 1 0
 to see the lines in yur head, put in the work days, and then ride yur section is a rush!
  • 2 1
 Shaping a little earth is good for my soul. Shaping around the trees is important too. Not through them. ????
  • 4 1
 Shovelling works better than the gym for some too. ???? ????
  • 1 0
 Thank you. Tell that to pigman.
  • 1 0
 If you are a trail builder probably all of the answers except the last two are correct
  • 6 4
 Building is an expression of creativity.
  • 3 2
 Who down voted this. It's so true!! A work of art you can ride. You can't beat that!!
  • 3 2
 Building is the only way to truly progress our sport. I dig for the challenge of making the impossible, possible
  • 1 0
 I like bout, you know if you don't dig there is not place to ride and push your limits as you want .
  • 1 0
 More please, so inspiring. All of them time lapse sequences were cool as f#?@. lol
  • 3 0
 It's for the kids innit
  • 1 0
 I dont like building and working on trails but... no choice - no dig no ride
  • 1 0
 Even helping out with fixing trails helps with the growth of mountain biking I find!
  • 2 0
 Literally JUST got back from trail building, WEIRD!
  • 2 0
 where is the "just smoked a blunt and looking for something to do" choice
  • 2 0
 Give Me natural trails, rocky and roots; no man made machine shit !
  • 1 3
 I trail build because I like and enjoy it. Others ride because they like it and enjoy. Hey. .... I am sure others dress in baby clothes because they like and enjoy it. Pinkbike starts theads like this to turn the masses againt each other because I am sure.... they like it and enjoy it... well... good news... I like building.. I like riding... shiz..
I even like the odd gin... let's all just get one and have fun doing whatever floats our boat and ignore the wind up merchant posts on PB. (Unless you rude a fat bike or am e bike... you are just strange. .. lol)
  • 3 0
 @betsie - "Pinkbike starts theads like this to turn the masses againt each other because I am sure..." Huh? You are mistaken.
  • 1 0
 Clicked on the head line thinking "WHUT?!"
As gar as the sensus, all of the above. Apart from not a builder.....
  • 2 0
 I build because it relaxes me
  • 2 0
 I honestly just cause I'm the only rider in my area.
  • 2 0
 Dug a hole to poo in a couple of times !
  • 7 6
 to get wasted... thats why some trails are really hard.
  • 1 0
 Guys like this are the heart and soul of mtn biking!
  • 2 0
 proud builder!!!
  • 1 2
 I live in South London, i manipulate stuff, alter things, secretly cut out trees, not really anywhere to build trails as it's all suburban woodland, and flat
  • 4 0
 Cut out trees? In a suburban area? do us all a favour and take up bmx and ride concrete.
  • 1 1
 @Small-Tales-Epic-Trails: Mr Prick, to you lol
i ain't on about cutting down swathes of Oak trees, just stupid saplings that are copse woodland anyways, take a pill, n chill
  • 1 0
 @pigman65: stop trying to be cool Mr south London who manipulates things. How do you know the saplings aren't oak? you've only identified them as stupid. What an idiotic comment to make. Please don't damage the reputation of serious builders out there with your stupidity.
  • 1 0
 yes so nice dude !!! Can I work with you !!!
  • 1 0
 Those trails look amazeballzzz.
  • 2 0
 Polls are for poles!
  • 1 0
 @marcofavaretto magari noi una terra del genere
  • 1 0
 Because its the hippy hipster thing to do.....
  • 2 0
 REAL RIDERS BUILD
  • 1 0
 PS The video is super awesome
  • 1 0
 Where is the 'because I get paid to'??
  • 1 0
 I just build so I have something new and different to ride!
  • 1 0
 I dont really build, I'm too busy posting comments about it
  • 1 0
 Who's gonna fill the breaking bumps?
  • 1 0
 this video is amazing !! Well done guys, ride and enjoy
  • 5 4
 Chaps. Wear them.
  • 4 0
 Ok, Iv'e got the chaps on. What would you like me to do next?
  • 3 0
 @mecabeat: help me zip up my gimp suit.
  • 5 4
 DIG OR DIE
  • 2 3
 “You see, in this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig.
  • 1 1
 WE DIG Because its fucking awesome !
  • 1 0
 "You know, for kids."
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