Photo Story Narrative
This series of photographs is a documentation of your average day down at the trails. Which will hopefully help to give you a better understanding of the building and maintenance that goes into these locations, as well as the riding. The spot these images were shot at is a prime example of a well established and groomed set of trails, but constructing a place like this takes many years and hands. And many other hurdles along the way can make the job a lot more time consuming and difficult too.
As you arrive at the trails you are instantly greeted by the short rural hilltop stroll down to the jumps. The scenic surroundings of the woods look down over Brighouse and farmers fields populated by cattle which provides the perfect setting for the trails. The setting is a really relieving escape for me and the others, and helps us to avoid over populated skate parks and escape the city. Not only is it an escape for us all, but also a canvas and medium for us to construct our next desires, the only limitation we have is our imaginations.
When we first take place at the trails, the first job of the day is to remove the tarpaulins from the jumps we intend to ride on that day, if not all of them. These tarpaulins cover every other take off and landing in the woods and help to preserve everyone’s hard work and reduce weather damage. As the clay we use is very dense and heavy, extensive rain can cause the jumps to erode or in some cases collapse. Although it is an expensive method, they are essential at saving ourselves days to weeks worth of work fixing the jumps.
Whilst removing the tarps we check over the sets in order to asses damages caused during previous sessions. This damage will be fixed before riding to maintain a smooth riding surface and to prevent creating more work for the future. It is our priority to keep all the riding surfaces smooth and fluid as you reap what you sew.
When fixing and riding the jumps a good water supply is an absolute necessity. Whilst doing this water must be applied to the surface your fixing, as well as mixed through the soil used for fixing to gain a tacky consistency that will stick effectively. As well as this the jumps need to be watered prior to riding, as dry/crumbly jumps will quickly become damaged. Attaining a good water supply is a mandatory but can be extremely difficult to find when digging on somebody else’s land. Fortunately our woods is home to a pond and other water sources, drainage routes are in place to drain puddles into designated storage pits and also water barrels for when pickings are slim in summer.
After this the final task before riding is to unlock the start gates. These help to prevent unwanted visitors riding the jumps in our absence. To an outsider this may seem an extreme measure for piles of dirt, but when a life times worth of hard work and determination lies in a spot you become very territorial.
There is a very small minority of people that have the drive or want to create something like this or even lift a spade at a spot, but the great misfortune lies In the fact everybody wants to ride at one. The term ‘no dig no ride’ is thrown around a lot at trails and is enforced by many in order to motivate people to contribute to a scene rather than just take from it. Many BMXers find this difficult to understand which causes a lot of arguments, disagreements.
On the brighter side of things this helps to keep the woods how we like it. A collection of our close friends, who are like minded in their ambitions and priorities. And most of all enjoying ourselves, riding together and being present in a paradise created by us, for us.