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  1. #1
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    The Anatomy of Intelligent Trail Design

    I wrote some thoughts about trail design, what to do, and what not to do. Some of it is inspired by threads in here, but most of it are my own thoughts, and what ive learned the (hard) way. Its kept lighthearted, so take it for what it is.

    Check it out:

    All Mountain Next: The Anatomy of Intelligent Trail Design

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    : )

  2. #2
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    Much better than Darwinian trail design! Seriously, good job putting it in a nutshell.

  3. #3
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    Agree. Nice post. Thanks.

  4. #4
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    Re: The Anatomy of Intelligent Trail Design

    Good stuff :thumbup:

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    Thanks guys, I appreciate it.

  6. #6
    zrm
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    A couple things:

    Don't assume everyone hates climbing. Many people enjoy all the things that make climbing challenging. A trail can climb aesthetically as well as descend.

    You talk about building jumps, drops. Man made features, etc are all fine in their place but "features" 1) are a lot of work to build and if you have a significant amount of trail to build they will take a very disproportionate amount of your crews time or add a lot of expense if machine made. 2) Man made features create an artificial bike park type experience. Again, nothing inherently wrong with that but if the trail is multi use those feature will most likely not be very aesthetically pleasing to other users which shold be taken into consideration. Not to mention, while such features can be fun to mountain bikers, many bikers also enjoy a more "natural" trail experience. Technical challenges can be incorporated into trail design without artificial drops, berms, jumps, rock piles, etc. Our local open space department has been building lots of "flow" trails with huge machine made berms and such. A lot of people, including me, comment that the trails a great fun and all, but not every trail needs to follow that standard.

  7. #7
    saddlemeat
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    I like that you stress thinking about the overall experience that you are designing. I personally approach trail design as choreographing a dance led by the terrain and your particular inner symphony.
    A Useful Bear is a handy thing.

  8. #8
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    Nice write-up/summary!!!!
    The world needs a huge socio-economic change...be it. We all need to ride more....

  9. #9
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    I like your message zrm.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    A couple things:

    Don't assume everyone hates climbing. Many people enjoy all the things that make climbing challenging. A trail can climb aesthetically as well as descend.

    You talk about building jumps, drops. Man made features, etc are all fine in their place but "features" 1) are a lot of work to build and if you have a significant amount of trail to build they will take a very disproportionate amount of your crews time or add a lot of expense if machine made. 2) Man made features create an artificial bike park type experience. Again, nothing inherently wrong with that but if the trail is multi use those feature will most likely not be very aesthetically pleasing to other users which shold be taken into consideration. Not to mention, while such features can be fun to mountain bikers, many bikers also enjoy a more "natural" trail experience. Technical challenges can be incorporated into trail design without artificial drops, berms, jumps, rock piles, etc. Our local open space department has been building lots of "flow" trails with huge machine made berms and such. A lot of people, including me, comment that the trails a great fun and all, but not every trail needs to follow that standard.
    Absolutely.

    Tech climbing natural features is my favorite part of mountain biking.

    Our northeast trails are vastly dominated by natural, technical features. It would take a ton of work, and remove a lot of the beauty, to transform these into more buffed out, perfectly flowing trails.

    I view a lot of trail build like splitting knotty wood by hand... Some times you've just got to take what it gives you. But, thinking ahead, and doing the best you can with what you have can go a long way.

    That said, we are just completing a large section of perfectly laid out, buffed flow trail. It will be part of the natural featured, rugged, chunky loop. The way it is all coming together and rides is a total blast.

  11. #11
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    well done.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by warmonkey View Post
    Much better than Darwinian trail design!
    I'd much rather see Darwinian trail design b/c it would allow trails to evolve as riders evolve. No matter how intelligently one thinks he designs a trail, too many variables will dictate that the trail will have to evolve.

    Leave the "intelligent design" designation to the zealots.

    D

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by dburatti View Post
    I'd much rather see Darwinian trail design b/c it would allow trails to evolve as riders evolve. No matter how intelligently one thinks he designs a trail, too many variables will dictate that the trail will have to evolve.

    Leave the "intelligent design" designation to the zealots.

    D

    But wouldn't an intelligent design make room for evolution? That's part of my thesis.

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