Singletrack Club
  • TRAILBUILDING

 

Details of upcoming sessions are emailed to our database. If you would like to be notified, please email us to be added to the list.  Addresses below.

Aims

On the Port Hills we are working towards seeing the gaps in the Crater Rim network filled in, more intermediate level trails provided (e.g. Montgomery Spur circuit), and some more climb-able trails created to access the Port Hills, as well as continue with the ongoing maintenance of existing trails.

At Halswell (van Asch farm) we are extending the current netwrok of trails, as well as continuing with the ongoing maintenance of existing trails. The focus here is to develop a variety of XC trails for general riding, whilst at the same time create a great wee race venue.

At Living Springs we have improved the existing loop by creating the Totara Gully tracks and hope to do more in future when other areas are destocked and turned into planted out reserves.

Click here to see Diary of work undertaken and Hall of Fame for Living Springs  

Overview

Trailbuilding is a great way to meet other people associated with the mountainbike community and to contribute in a meaningful way to the sport.   Two members of the Christchurch Singletrack Club head up two of the many trailbuilding projects going on in Christchurch.  Everyone is welcome to lend a hand – you do not have to be a member of the CSC.  We are involved with both trail maintenance and building new trails.  Graham Allan was the liaison with the Port Hills rangers for 8 years.  In 2017 the role was passed to Ally Mackay.  He coordinates the volunteers for trailbuilding sessions on the Port Hills cross country trails.  Sessions are usually held monthly on Sundays and sometimes on midweek evenings during daylight savings.  Times and meeting places are advised by email.  Craig Tregurtha heads up the Living Springs and Halswell trail development volunteer crews.  Contact him at craig@singletrack.org.nz for more information.  Those sessions are usually held on Saturday’s but not always.  Other groups or individuals work in other locations on the Port Hills on both cross country and downhill tracks.

As the opportunity arises we may also assist groups/clubs in other locations with their trailbuilding projects.

What to bring // What is provided

TOOLS

Grubbers, spades, rakes and other tools are provided but you are welcome to bring your own if you prefer.  Occasionally we will put out a request for specific items.

CLOTHING

Some work gloves are usually provided but you may prefer to bring your own or wear your cycling gloves.

We recommend you wear work boots but at the very least, sturdy footwear

FOOD AND DRINK

Bring plenty of food and water – on a hot day you will drink a lot.  At Living Springs we usually try and provide some biscuits, lollies or chocolate.  At the Port Hills the CCC often provide a sausage sizzle, biscuits and juice after some sessions.

There are usually no toilet facilities available close to the work sites.

Building basics

DESIGN

Prior to a trailbuilding session the planned line is scoped out and marked with flags or paint.  While there are physical constraints that we need to work within, as much as possible we try to adhere to the rules of trail design – avoiding the fall line, keeping the gradient at less than 50% of the side slope, keeping the overall gradient at less than 10% and keeping any individual section no steeper than 15%, incorporating frequent grade reversals to keep water from flowing down the track and trying to maintain flow – design the trail so that people naturally slow down before bends rather than having to brake hard.  There is lots of good information at the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) website – http://www.imba.com/resources/trail_building/index.html

BUILD

At the trail building sessions the builders clear the corridor if required (trimming back overhanging vines and branches) and shape the terrain so that the rideable bench is about the width of a grubber or spade handle.  The bench has three components – backslope, outslope and flow.  The backslope is the bank that is created when the trail is benched.  We try and make the slope of this as gradual as possible to prevent debris falling on the track with water flow.  It also means that grass is able to grow back on it. Outslope is where we try and make the track slope out slightly so that water that comes on to the track will flow across it and off the edge, rather than down it where it can cause erosion.  However, sometimes the bench needs to be insloped so that it is not off-camber. Regarding flow – the section of track you are working on needs to blend in with the sections on either side of it so be aware of what people are doing on either side of you.

Track building can be hard work but it is hugely satisfying. You can just do what you are able and all help is appreciated.  It takes a lot of time to get to the point where the section of track is finished even when building straightforward track in open areas.  Sections involving switchbacks or insloped turns are even more labour intensive. We have noticed that some people are great at moving a whole lot of dirt and others are good at “finishing”.  Finishing involves getting the bench to a point where it is smooth (not bumpy) and compacted (not loose).  And it’s not all about moving dirt – there are often lighter duties that need to be undertaken and, particularly on the Port Hills, sections are now being armoured (setting rocks in the trail tread) to prevent erosion.  Some people find this kind of activity really enjoyable. It’s like doing a giant jigsaw.  At Living Springs we like to leave the area tidy so in open areas we remove material by wheelbarrow and deposit it in a less obtrusive area or else in piles that get regrassed.

THANKS

We would like to thank Fulton Hogan, Ground Effect, Lyttelton Port Company and Pub Charity for their support of our trailbuilding projects.