Freitag, 5. April 2013

A trail maintenance day @Schwelm

 On Thursday I rode my bike to work, as I did the whole week. That´s one of the resolves I came to: Why do I use the steed just to get to the smithy or around town or any such like, when it can save me roundabout 20€ a week at least, and 40€ this week for train tickets? With a salary about 400€ less than the dole would amount (and no dole for me, no, sir, I like my freedom and human rights left intact;-)), this much money is something I could use better. And riding to work (40 km a day) keeps me fit, and I always come home with a huge pack of spring steel this spring... sorry for the bad pun, I just could not resist*ggg*. I feel fresher and more relaxed at work and have the impression I can do better work. I eat healthier, and after work I can do some singletrail riding for my soul. On Thurssday, however, it was honest work do be done. I met with the locals, Viktor, Erik, Benny and Carsten to do some trail work at their downhill and freeride spot. This is a great achievement of their lot, for this spot is 100% legal, is established by the city management and on city property. It does not harm that it once was strewn with urban litter and now it´s not. They were not allowed extra soil to make jumps from, and no machine access to the woods (no caterpillars here!). They did all this by hand, and when they started they were just kids. Now they are growing up;-)NOT, and they ride with top results races all over the world. Our relationship has not always been free of arguments and misconceptions, and I must admit a huge part of it was due to myself. Only but recently I messed up again, meaning the best and making a huge disaster out of it. I daresay that´s not important anymore. If anyone would ask, I´d tell my tale, but we have learned a lot of it.

There was one guy who wanted to partake in the building and digging, and addressed me at the city marketing how he could help. I gave him the contact data of the local guys and said he should respect them and things like the DIMB / IMBA rules and common sense trail etiquette. It turned out he could not wait to make a proper contact with the locals and just started digging away, modifying the course in a way that made it unrideable in the original way. So, it was a bit my fault. I was enthused about someone willingly offering to help, and, mind you, moving tons of soil by hand is not always fun, so I forgot to mention the rules in my email.

There was a time not so long ago when it was mandatory to repair what you had damaged, but if you wanted to really dig, you had to ask the locals. If you could not get them, you did not dig, period.It is a matter of respect, in my book, but it seems it´s no longer the case this is a commonplace amongst mountainbikers. Too many morons do this for a sport now, and it has become a "fun sport trend", meaning there are a lot of goofbrains around.

So, I have to mention the following rules for the course in Schwelm, and I´ll do it in German and in English, for I guess it´s to ask too much from the average mountainbiker (sorry) to read and understand English.

1. Tragt einen Helm auf der Strecke (Pflicht). Empfohlen wird ein Vollvisierhelm, und entsprechende Protektoren.
2. Fahrt ein technisch einwandfreies Fahrrad. Besonders ist auf intakte Bremsen, Rahmen und Gabel zu achten.
3. Kontrolliert Eure Geschwindigkeit und fahrt die Strecke vorher einmal langsam ab, um Euch zu orientieren.
4. Auf Fußgänger, Reiter, Hundebesitzer und Forstfahrzeuge ist zu achten.
5. Schwächere Fahrer dürfen nicht genötigt werden.
6. Schwächere Fahrer können die Hindernisse auf sogenannten "Chickenways" umfahren, überschätzt nicht Eure Fähigkeiten.
7. Nehmt Euren Müll wieder mit.
8. Habt Ihr Schäden verursacht, behebt kleinere Schäden selbst oder schreibt den Locals eine Nachricht. Am Pumptrack befindet sich eine Werkzeugkiste, an der Ihr Nachrichten hinterlassen könnt. Auf jeden Fall stellt nur den Originalzustand wieder her. Alle Modifikationen, die nicht mit den Locals abgesprochen sind, werden von der Stadtverwaltung Schwelm als Sachbeschädigung an städtischem Eigentum umgehend zur Anzeige gebracht.
9. Bei Nässe ist der Pumptrack nicht zu befahren. Im Zweifel fragt die Locals.

1.Always wear a helmet. A full-face helmet and appropriate safety gear is highly recommended.
2.Take care your bike is in good working order. Especially your brakes, frame and fork should be in good condition.
3.Control your speed and ride or walk the course first to inspect and as an orientation.
4.Respect hikers, horseback riders and dog owners and take care of forest bureau vehicles.
5.Less skilled riders and beginners have to be respected.
6. Less skilled riders and beginners can ride around the obstacles and use the "chickenways".
8. If you have damaged the course, repair minor damages, but do not modify the course without talking to the locals first. You can leave a written message at the toolbox beside the pumptrack. Any modifications not made in consent with the locals will be prosecuted by the bureau of city management as a damage to public property.
9. Do not ride the pumptrack when it´s wet. When in doubt, ask the locals.

And this is how the pumptrack looks like. It is a fascinating way of riding, for it addresses all kinds of skill levels and nearly anybody can have fun there. The locals have also built some dirt jumps for the wilder ones, and they are constantly building on. Each Thursday they try to get together at 4 pm and do some honest work. If you are interested to help out, I have permission to give you the email addresses of the guys. Just comment with your Email address and I will mail you.

We digged and repaired some of the damage done to the course, and certainly built up a sweat. Then I rode home over some singletrails, just smelling the roses. I can tell you, I was all fluffy when I came back into my attic, and just some few kilometres from home I bonked hard... no harm, really, just having a good meal and drink restored my energy, and then it was off to bed. I slept well content with having done some repair to the damage done and having a good talk with the guys bout the critical points in our relationship.

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