Apr 13

If you had gone down into the woods today you’d have had a great surprise

demo_setupWell if you had gone to Stainburn there were Santa Cruz bikes everywhere, not mention Orange bikes and Niners too. Not that you would have known it had you arrived before 9 a.m. the car park was virtually empty, it was cold and windy, very windy. But suddenly there was a flurry of activity as van after van arrived in all their fine livery. Doors opened and bikes poured out to be hung on racks.

Then the locusts, sorry riders arrived to start registering for the demo day. This process was somewhat disrupted by the strong wind doing its very best to blow away the Stif gazebo. But with a few bodies holding it down and a strategically placed van some semblance of normality was restored. Soon there was a long queue of riders clutching pedals waiting patiently for their steed of choice.

demo_signinThen there were no bikes in the car park and the red and descent line were littered with people riding bikes on the official marked demo route. Although there where bikes disappearing and reappearing from all over the forest, well you have to test the bikes to the full don’t you.

Then the first set of testers returned and the car park was a hive of activity again as it was all change different bike and different riders.

Suddenly it was knocking noon and the barbie was ready, burger anyone?

So did I try a bike or two well it would have been rude not to, wouldn’t it? A Solo and the 650b Heckler had to be tried, decided not to try the carbon Bronson just in case I liked it too much. All in all a good day.

So why not give Stainburn forest a go, can’t guarantee a Stif and Orange demo every day, but surely it must a good place to ride if its used for demos.



Mar 19

A polite request.

Stainburn has recently experienced unauthorised and destructive activities and these have now escalated to a point where it has become a real concern. We must ask that no-one take it upon themselves to remove, modify or add trail features unless at a SingletrAction Dig Day. Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 03

2 Dogs, 5 Kids and 13 Adults

We are ready to roll

We are ready to roll

So what do you get with 2 dogs, 5 kids and 13 adults an unbelievably great dig day. It’s been a long while since we have had such a large turn out for a dig day at Stainburn, and its was quite surprising given the rather poor weather forecast. Drizzly showers first thing followed by lots of cloud and then heavy rain from early afternoon. But no one was put off and we were soon heading off to the red climb.


Johnny's nadgery corner

Johnny’s nadgery corner






We made a beeline for the trees well we might as well get a bit of cover if its going to rain. The plan, to sort out a few of the short cuts riders have been taking on some of the corners on the climb. So on the first corner John decided to build a rather nadgery little rocky walkway close to the corner tree, nice, cut the corner now if you dare!









Posh setting out

Posh setting out

At the next corner knacker got the little orange flags out and Johnny got the pink paint out very posh. We were soon digging out the organic and getting down to solid ground.











Knacker goes mad with flags

Knacker goes mad with flags

At this point Guy Kesteven and Knacker seemed to get their heads together and went mad with the little orangey flags. They laid out a whole new trail cutting off a whole switchback corner. Great that will make the climb a little easier won’t it, no chance, its going to be black with a steeper climb and a few rock steps. As soon as the red flags where placed the Kesteven family, along with a few little helpers, went into overdrive and the trail bed was cleared in no time.












We need more rock!

We need more rock!

While all this was going on the rock scavengers where hard at work trying to dig out enough stone to keep three bits of new trail going. But they came up with the goods and found large quantities of rock of all shapes and sizes. It was quickly being delivered to where it was needed and while it took its toll on the bodies of those digging out and delivering, it was the barrows that were taking a hammering. One died when it snapped in half another needed to have a number of sheared bolts replace and another was resurrected from the barrow graveyard with bits cannibalised from the broken one. We may need to invest in a few new barrows, what spending more money! that will not be good for Tim’s nerves.



Barrow repair and cannibalisation

Barrow repair and cannibalisation

After a restorative brew and a bit of lunch it was back to it. Soon we had two corner short cuts completed and ready to ride. The second one has a nice evil step up, that should eat a few big rings and scratch the odd paint job, whoops.


Under normal circumstances we would have considered two features to be a good days work but not today. The Kesteven trail had been moving on a pace as well and by the end of the day over 30m of trail bed had been cleared and something like 25 metres of trail laid. It’s not completed yet so please no riding it until the whole thing is finished.




An interesting step up

An interesting step up

By the end of the day there were just 5 diehards left to put the tools and barrows away. Everyone else had left to do more important things or possibly because we had broken them. Then it was time to head home for a nice relaxing bath, lots of food and maybe an odd drink or two.


So a short car journey later and something strange happened. I had walked to the car at Stainburn but when I try to get out at home I am suddenly a paraplegic! I have to roll out of the car and drag myself up using the door. Luckily after a little physio, read bashing and shaking the legs, life returned and I could unload the tools out of the car.



Into the house, prep food for tea, then its time for a quick bath to relieve those aching muscles. The only way I could get the grime off my forearms was to scrub them with a nail brush and that lead to the final revelation of the day, shock horror my skin is not rock resistant! So after some uncomfortable scrubbing my forearms now look like I had developed something akin to a cross between nettle rash and eczema.


But what can I say it was well worth it, a great day with a huge amount of trail built. Let’s hope it carries on for the rest of 2014.

That's a lot of trail

That’s a lot of trail

Feb 13

All because one Sunday I happened to get out of bed…

Boots and gloves

Pretty much all you need to lend a hand.

I’ve been feeling particularly sentimental about SingletrAction just recently, and Stainburn in particular. It is my local trail and it is my playground, both for riding and trail-building. Also, its pretty awesome and I just happen to feel particularly proud of that right now. No reason, I just do.







Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 02

Two sites in one day

It was a great day at Stainburn for the February dig day, the weather was quite frankly spectacular especially given the time of year, several people ended up working in T shirts. We also had a great turnout with 13 people and 2 dogs turning out to make their mark on the trails.


Ok that berm needs to be bigger


So we attacked with gusto and decided to start by “improving” the berm below the drops on the Red return. This turned into a major renovation as seems to be the norm at Stainburn.


That should be enough rock to finish it


So once enough stone had been delivered it was time to start working our way round the Red clearing the muck and pine needles from the trail and improving the drainage where necessary. We made it about a third of the way up the climb in the trees before deciding to cross back to the Red return.


A bit of drainage work on the Red


We carried on clearing organic detritus and tweaking the drainage before returning to the berm which was now considerably larger than at the start of the day. Time to surface the berm so we carted in about 20 barrow loads of aggregate from the top car park, lets hope it settles in and doesn’t get ridden off, please be gentle with the berm for the next few weeks.


The finished article turned out to be a bit bigger than planned

The finished article turned out to be a bit bigger than planned

So why two sites in one day, well we also managed to ship a bit of specimen rock up to the site of the new pump track we are involved with up at Rawcliffe Bar in York.

A few rocks to create the odd techie feature

A few rocks to create the odd techie feature

It was also nice to see that York Council had a contractor in and lots of trees had been felled ready to be cleared by the volunteers next weekend.


Nice the trees are down now for some clearing up

Nice the trees are down now for some clearing up


All in all a very good day lets hope it carries on for the rest of the year.

If you fancy getting having a go checkout the next dig day in the calendar on the right of the page, they take place every month and at different locations all over the North of England so find one close to you and get involved.

Jan 19

Lot’s of new tools at the Dalby dig day

breakieThe first dig day of the year at Dalby and it turned out to be quite memorable for several reasons. Firstly the weather was fairly miserable particularly early on, but it didn’t put a dampener on proceedings. Secondly it was a great turn out with 14 volunteers opting to get wet and muddy building trails when they could have been getting wet and muddy riding their bikes.


After a bit of breakie in the court yard café it was time to start fettling and building the odd trail feature. We got on with fettling the end of section 17 clearing the drains and the plan had been to finish the surfacing but it was just too wet.



But we could get onRock pitch with improving the drainage at top of section 18 otherwise known as Medusa’s so there is now a whole section of rock pitching on the first corner to shed the water before it gets onto the decent.








Then the new Dalby gillie kettle got its inaugural outing, we all had a hot drink and a natter out on the hill nice! and there were a few biccies ad some chocolate.



We also rock pitched up to the root halfway down the first descent as it was starting to get rather eroded. Either roll it on the left as you come down the hill or try the little drop to the right by the tree.














After that we moved lower down Medusa’s and did a little remodelling of the bend before the rock steps. Hopefully that will swing riders a little wider and line them up a nice and square for the steps, well that’s the plan anyway only time will tell if it works..



The day finished with Tim Sellors unloading loads of new tools from his car and transferring them into Dan Pattinson’s car for the Guisborough crew and Clare Woodall’s van for the Dalby Crew. Dan also took a shiny new gillie kettle for Guisborough, in all over £800 of new gear, nice.


Jan 09

St Ives Update

000_2920We’ve had further correspondence with BMDC and unfortunately no progress has been made on cycle trails in St Ives Estate.
The lead Councillor with the portfolio for parks, woodlands, leisure etc met with Friends of St Ives in December to try and negotiate some sort of compromise with them. The outcome was that no compromise could be reached at this time and that the proposed MTB trail development requires further consultation. To progress this, it has been agreed that a Management Group consisting of key St Ives stakeholders will be reconvened. SingletrAction will be invited to represent MTB cycling.
Tim (STA Chairman) and I have talked and decided SingletrAction will stick with the Management Group process through 2014 and try to influence the process to a successful outcome.

In the short term, nothing will happen. It’s a huge disappointment that we still can’t even finish the Heather Park trail, but never say never.
Thanks to everyone who turned out to digs and an apology that your efforts have so far gone unrewarded.

We’ll be posting updates after meetings and as and when anything occurs.

To end on a positive note, we start trail building with York City Council this weekend at Rawcliffe Country Park if anyone from the Leeds/Harrogate area (or anywhere else) is interested in joining us on Saturday and/or Sunday 9am to 3pm.
We also hold regular trail building days at our Forestry Commission venues at Stainburn Forest (Otley), Dalby Forest (Pickering) and Guisborough Forest (Guisborough)


Nov 30

Yorkshire Water Swinsty Trails

Yorkshire Water have been pretty good in the past for opening up permissive bridleways, though they have shied away from offering shared use of footpaths on their land. But they are still ahead of many with their embracing of mountain biking. They took another big step this year when they invested heavily in a new 1.2km bike trail along side Fewston reservoir in the Washburn Valley, North Yorkshire.
Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 25

What is Gnar, What is Flow – pt. 1 The Gnar


One of SingletrAction’s regulars pontificates on the jargon, and the meaning, of mountainbiking in an effort to answer what at first seemed a simple couple of questions – What is gnar, and what is flow?

Part 1 – The Gnar

First things first. Us mountain bikers have silly names for things…

Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 07

Stainburn October dig day – An Indian summer dig!

More rock arriving

More rock arriving

What a fabulous day up at Stainburn for the October dig day in fact it was almost too warm, but who is going to complain at this time of year. It was a small crew this month just a 4.1 people turned out so we decided to concentrate on completing the new black rock section on the decent line.


Before you ask the 0.1 was Dave who turned up with a bad back and slightly hung over, medicinal apparently to ease the pain in the back, so he was only capable of poking out a drainage channel and taking a couple of photos on his phone to prove it, but every little helps as they say. Unfortunately he didn’t bring the gillie kettle so no brew at lunchtime!


We started by pulling all the rock out adjacent to the trail and dumping it in the dug out trail bed that had been started several months ago now. This was carefully re-arranged into the latest awesome Stainburn rocked up trail. We also started eyeing up a very nice ‘feature’ rock, it was the only thing left, that we thought would make a very nice entrance to the trail.


The rock to be moved, notice how much was below ground

The rock to be moved, notice how much was below ground

Unfortunately it turned out to be twice as big as expected and probably weighs close on two tonnes. It remains in-situ until such times as we get the manic gleam in our collective eyes and it will be moved, not sure how far but it will move. It does now have a moat and drainage channel down the back but that’s another story.


So it was back to barrowing rocks from the remains of the wall over by the plantation and it is surprising how much can be moved in a day by a dedicated crew of idiots sorry I should say enthusiasts. We estimate about 10 tonnes in total all of which was pitched and locked into the new trail. All that is left to do now is finish the run in on the corner, something for the November dig day if the weather plays ball.


The stump feature at the end of the new section

The stump feature at the end of the new section

But that was not all; we excavate a drainage ditch that was well and truly overgrown in the hope that this will keep the water table a little lower and we re-engineered the run out to incorporate a new ‘feature’ over a stump that was encroaching from the side of the trail. All in all a great day although I think we will all be feeling it for a few days afterwards.


You will be pleased to know we left this new section in a ridable state and would welcome your comments and feedback. But before you say anything it is Black, you have been warned, now get your bike out and enjoy.

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