Winter is cold for those with no warm memories.
Occasionally whilst travelling through an incidental area, in an incidental city, you pass woodlands which you cant help but feel drawn towards. Curiosity continually asks you, what’s inside? If you see an entrance or a path, you tell yourself, “ I bet there’s some jumps in there, or were.” In the majority of cases, you are probably correct. Whether it is a well groomed set of trails maintained by a group of dedicated riders, or some little dirt mounds created by kids starting out. It is somethings that in some form has existed for many years and I believe will continue to do so. For me it was deep in the woods where I began riding, exempt from reality and surrounded by the trees. These experiences throughout the years help construct us… and the woods.
It all begins at a simpler time in our lives. A time before responsibility, where little time was spent worrying about tomorrow and the priority was enjoying today. The local woods were your home, the same place both your wheels first left the floor. You’ve never felt anything comparable in your life, this was the reason the woods kept dragging you back at every available opportunity. Continually chasing that feeling, which slowly became an obsession. As you further chase this obsession you want to fly higher, so you built the jumps bigger. You want a greater variety of jumps, so you built more. The obsession continues to spiral out of control until, the last 10 winters of your life have been spent burrowing. Soon enough you progress into an artist whose canvas is the woods.
As an artist would be protective of his art, a trail builder will be protective of their trails. To your ‘average’ person it is hard to understand the reasoning for spending so much time grafting and getting dirty in the woods. In their eyes it looks immature, but it is something they will never be able to comprehend. Regardless of age everybody is present with the same intentions and for the same reasons. To construct something enjoyable and individual they can call they’re own. There are no restrictions beyond your imagination, leaving every spot unique. This is the most attractive attribute of trails to me. Being able to freely express yourself and create what you want rather than what your given.
You develop your own method and style of building and shaping your jumps. Which is your way of express your own style… as just as much skill and knowledge is involved in building jumps as riding them. When you dedicate your life to a spot, you understandably feel protective over it. It feels like your home and you treat it as if it were, and expect others to do so. Many hours are spent during winter planning, constructing and maintaining in preparation for riding in summer. Whilst some live a solitary life in the woods the masses escape winter by residing at indoor skate parks. This doesn’t stop the masses surfacing in summer with expectations of riding. This is short lived as the ‘no dig, no ride’ rule is enforced by most spots and the majority are locked up with chains managed by locals.
This leaves us at present, where trail builders are a dying breed amongst BMX. The subculture is rapidly fading out of fashion, but still strives strong in the shadows of the underground. Trails now function on “a need to know basis’ as an underground community, linked together by merging social circles. In which locals only share images, details and locations with their own kind. I believe this is the best direction for trails. Genuine builders will continue to pursue their passion regardless of fashion whilst the masses are oblivious to the location of trails. This has helped de-clutter the subculture of unmotivated individuals who don’t contribute to the cause. And has left us with a tight community of driven builders who contribute as much as they take.