Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What Big Creek Still Lacks... (Big Creek Review Series, Part 3)

From here on Singletracks.com
In my estimation, there is still one form of mountain biking that Big Creek does not cater to. This discipline is wildly popular in mountain bike movies, photos, and to the riders that thrive off of an even greater sense of danger than is inherent in regular trail riding.  This sort of riding can be classified as "North Shore-style Freeride."


Part 1 of the Big Creek review series
Part 2 of the Big Creek review series.

For those who don't know, "North Shore" riding is characterized by elevated wooden bridges, skinnies, teeter-totters, and all manner of man-made obstacles. 

From here on Singletracks.com

Big creek has one or two low skinnies and log rides spread throughout the cross country trails, but they do not have any sort of dedicated freeride area with man-made obstacles such as the ones pictured on this page.  I personally only know of one area in Georgia that has any real man-made features at all, and there are still only two or three of them. (If you know of a place in Georgia with some real North Shore stunts, please share in the comments below!) 

From here on Singletracks.com
If every other sort of riding can be catered to in one small area, why not North Shore too?  I think that this style of freeride trails would do well in the dense forests of Georgia.  There is an ample amount of trees and real estate to construct trails like these. In fact, the picture to the left is from a trail named Hurricane Creek just next door in Alabama.  The only things that are still required are the permission to build, the know-how, the money, and the hours and hours of time required. That's still a lot of factors that need to come together. 

Perhaps Big Creek park doesn't have the real estate left to construct a trail on this magnitude, but I'm sure there is somewhere in Georgia that does.  And I think that there should  be an area either added to an existing trail system, or built from the ground up that features a high concentration of these man made features.  As trek7k of Singletracks.com wrote back in 2009, freeriding might be the future of mountain biking.

Lucy's Loop at Levis Mound.
Beginner Freeriding
While some people may see these features and think, "That's crazy dangerous!" I think wooden North Shore stunts can be made to be accessible to all skill levels.  Trails can be constructed for varying difficult levels and/or can contain bail-out routes around many of the harder obstacles.  Recently, the geniuses behind the trails of Levis Mound constructed a "skills-course" that basically amounts to low entry-level freeride loop. It is very doable. If a freeride area were built in Georgia, I would recommend building a short loop similar to Lucy's Loop at Levis first, and then continue by building obstacles of progressively greater difficulty.  In that way, there would be features for beginners to learn on, and tangible goals for them to work up to. 

I agree with trek7k: freeriding just might be the future of mountain biking, and it just might be what brings mountain biking to the masses by providing visually challenging and just-plain-awesome stunts. 

Your Turn:  What are your thoughts on North Shore freeriding?  Does Georgia need some skinnies and ladder bridges?

2 comments:

Clayton September 1, 2010 at 2:34 PM  

Hey Greg, good to find someone in the states as into free ride as I am! Me and some buddies are working on a free ride trail, check it out, and let me know what you think?

http://www.thisismyaddiction.com

-Clayton

Greg September 1, 2010 at 4:40 PM  

Hey Clayton,
I checked out the link. Looks like a very cool trail that ya'll are building! Now if only Missouri was closer....

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Greg Heil is the Editor in Chief for Singletracks.com. He's been writing and publishing online since before blogging existed.

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