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Fort Bill Red DH- why can't they use chickenwire?

neil_sheehan2000neil_sheehan2000 Posts: 529
edited September 2009 in MTB general
So, the new red DH run at Fort William is pretty terrifying, isn't it? I had heard that the boardwalk was supposed to be covered in some sort of anti-slip stuff but, having been up there on Friday, I can assure everyone that it doesn't seem to work in the wet. Which is, err, when you really need it!

Actually, it was Friday afternoon by the time I got to riding it. The rain had stopped but everything was still pretty soggy. The route's pretty mental, but nothing impossible if you've ridden other trail centres' red/black XC routes (just much, much harder than you'd expect if you've only ridden other trail centres' red/black XC routes), apart from that damn boardwalk- it was impossible to brake on it without starting to skid, so I just had to crawl down, constantly dragging the brakes. My nerves were shattered after getting through that section.

Now, in hindsight I probably could have done with fitting a big, fat sticky tyre to the rear instead of just a 2 inch job, and that might have made a difference; but my mate had bought a brand new big, fat sticky rear tyre just for the occasion and he didn't fare any better than me.

So: anyone know why they can't just use chicken wire on the wood instead of the non-stick coating they appear to have used? Is it purely because of what would happen if someone fell off onto it? If so, I'd have thought that would be slightly balanced out by the fact that people are less likely to fall over when their tyres can actually grip a surface...
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  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    I rode it once in the wet when I was up there a couple of weeks ago, no real problems at all... Just 2.1 Nevegals front and rear, they just got on with it, some minor slips but nothing major.

    It's not as grippy as chicken wire would be though, spot on there, chicken wire can sometimes wear very fast though (as you can see on the Witch's trails, where the centre of some of the boardwalks has no wire any more). It does tear you up if you fall on it though, as you say, you're less likely to fall.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • i really like the board walk, in the dry that is, if it was wet i would hate certain bits... the bit where it shoots up left for example....

    what was the river bit before it meets the black run at the wallride like in the wet?
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    So: anyone know why they can't just use chicken wire on the wood instead of the non-stick coating they appear to have used?
    maybe because not everyone wants to be wrapped in cotton wool, and would rather ride trails that challenge them?
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    maybe because not everyone wants to be wrapped in cotton wool, and would rather ride trails that challenge them?

    Hah, trust me, nobody who's riding this trail is afraid of a bit of a challenge, it's a beast... Thing is, the boardwalk ridden slowly and cautiously would just be tedious, and it sounds like that's how the lack of grip made him ride- it's only really fun with a bit of pace. I didn't find that myself but different tyres, weather, etc...
    Uncompromising extremist
  • v23v23 Posts: 217
    Chicken wire is horrible stuff. Grippy, yes, but it'll cut your face clean off given half a chance. As recently experienced by a rider at another trail centre who had to be airlifted to hospital with his face in a Morrisons carrier bag.
  • canada16canada16 Posts: 2,360
    Why would anyone use chicken wire, thats just dumb.

    Yes you will mess your face up, and also if it snags it will puncture your tyres.

    If its too rough for you dont ride it. :wink:

    I would not go to the downhill in ft.bill unless it was nice and dry as I am no expert.

    Actually I prob would not go down it.. :lol:
  • canada16 wrote:
    I would not go to the downhill in ft.bill unless it was nice and dry as I am no expert.
    this isn't the proper dh the world cup riders use this is the "easier" option which in places seems harder than the proper dh
  • ceecee Posts: 4,553
    i am off up to the fort on saturday! cant wait!
    Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I believe in the future of the human race.

    H.G. Wells.
  • P-JayP-Jay Posts: 1,478
    Hmmm, the stuff they use a Afan grips well Dry or Wet, it's like sandpaper, to me it was like they coated the stuff in skateboard grip tape.

    Chicken wire is great, but needs to be maintained a lot. I saw a Guy in Morzine a couple of years back lying on the floor looking dazed and confused with his bike still sat on the boardwalk, it's was worn to censored and lifter from the wood.

    Got tangled somehow in his front wheel, Bosch 30 to 0 in 1 meter and he flew for miles over the bar, luckily it was only there to cross a boggy section so he had a soft landing.

    This red DH track, any good? I've mostly read of people hitting it on XC/AM bikes, is it worth taking a proper DH bike?
  • i did it on my Am hardtail and found it a bit bumpy a dh bike might be a bit too much, imo an AM full sus would be perfect

    if you are going to do the orange dh as well then take a dh bike, its not worth taking a separate bike to do the red on
  • To try and answer your question, chicken wire has been banned from being used on all FC land, for reasons suggested above. Most trail centres are trying alternative methods of keeping woodwork grippy all year round.
    These are some of the solutions we are trialing
    3196286553_1373a7e7bf.jpg
    3191305320_9b92391c34.jpg
    3191274676_3404b91cc7.jpg

    I think that red grade downhill at Nevis Range is partly not FC land, but it would appear they have applied the same policy.
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    canada16 wrote:
    If its too rough for you dont ride it. :wink: :

    Heh, the problem isn't the rough, it's the smooth ;) IIRC there's about a km and a half of boardwalk on the big red. It's more or less there to get you from one big mad rock feature to another, it's got some interesting bits but it's mainly just a means to an end.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    [sarcasm]Why don't we do something about wet roots and rocks too eh? All that slime on rocks in winter, man that's bad.
    And talking of winter, what about snow and ice? Surely 'they' should find some way of making those dangerous surfaces grippy? [/sarcasm]

    Seriously, just man the fark up. :roll:
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    You're missing the point, a kilometer and a half of slippy boardwalk just isn't fun, especially this boardwalk, which is built for speed (lots of little jumps and drops). If a quarter of the entire descent's turned into an ice rink for people it'll just ruin the ride. There's a big difference between the challenge of negotiating slippy roots, and the tedium of negotiating a mile of slippy boards. Like I say I had no problems at all with it in the wet, I found it had all the grip it needed, but that could easily change once it's properly soaked.

    The OP has nothing to worry about on the MTFU front since that's exactly what he did :wink: now he's asking a sensible question. I think a lot of people on here would s**t it off the nevis red in the dry never mind if it's properly soaked.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    Well maybe those people need to learn how to ride then, and quit moaning about how hard everything is. A lot of fun features in trail centres seem to be taken down because some idiot crashed, hurt himself, and moaned.
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    Oh, I'm sorry, just one moment. Is this a five minute argument or the full half hour?
    Uncompromising extremist
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    It's not an argument. I'm just putting across my view that people should quit bitching, and accept that some things are bloody hard to ride.

    So that differs with your opinion, big deal. You can have your own opinion. So can I.
  • grumstagrumsta Posts: 994
    yeehaamcgee - have you actually ridden this trail? Thought not.

    There are some things that are difficult without being a fun challenge, ie the bumpy logs at Llandegla - lots of people find it tricky, no-one finds it fun or interesting.
  • Hmmm... I seem to have sparked an arguement- apologies. And to be honest I expected far more comments along the lines of MTFU.

    My thoughts are, though, that I don't mind things being hard to ride. But, if you're going to run a ski lift to the top of a hill, in Scotland, then construct an incredibly artificial way of getting a good part of the way down, in Scotland, that you then invite people to pay £25 to ride on all day, in Scotland, you should probably try a bit harder to ensure that it's ridable at a decent speed when it's raining. Rocks and roots can be slippery in the wet, that's fine, that's mother nature's way, but I just think it would have been nice if the obviously constructed bit of the trail was a bit more all-weather.

    Appreciate the arguements against chicken wire though. The sand paper idea sounds interesting. Not sure I would want to go all that far over the chopped up logs but, hey, it's better than that boardwalk!
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    grumsta wrote:
    yeehaamcgee - have you actually ridden this trail? Thought not.

    There are some things that are difficult without being a fun challenge, ie the bumpy logs at Llandegla - lots of people find it tricky, no-one finds it fun or interesting.
    :roll:
    The bumpy logs in llandegla are a perfect example of people moaning about nothing. I think it adds an interesting, techy climb into the mix. Whilst I don't "love" it, I honestly do wish it was a longer section.
    What I DO think is odd though, is that the bumpy logs are on the red trail. I think all their moaning problems would be solved if they were grouped with the "black" sections of trail.
    After all, as easy to clear as they are, they are still trickier, and require more technical ability than anything on the black routes.
  • lm_treklm_trek Posts: 1,470
    I Rode this trail about 6 weeks ago, just after all that rain which raised rivers etc.. and found the north shore bits on the red route firstly fun, secondly scary as hell! thirdly a little skittish but with good bike control i had no problems, and thats on my 100mm travel XC bike.

    I did think in places the wooden parts of the trail seemed to take over and was a bit too much wood and not enough trail, but thats what they need to do to make a ridable trail so be it, as for chicken wire, wouldn't fancy hitting the deck with that on.

    Overall was a fun route and im looking forward to hitting the trails again next june!
  • grumstagrumsta Posts: 994
    I think it adds an interesting, techy climb into the mix.

    You are the only person I have ever heard of that likes that bit. Think that says a lot. :P
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    It's not an argument.

    That's just contradiction :lol:
    Uncompromising extremist
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    grumsta wrote:
    I think it adds an interesting, techy climb into the mix.

    You are the only person I have ever heard of that likes that bit. Think that says a lot. :P
    you don't think thats because people who moan about it actively go around telling everyone else how "censored " it is, whilst people who can ride it fine, but don't find it a particularly life-changing trail either way don't tend to bring it up in conversation?

    Let's put it another way...
    Every single time I go to Llandegla, one or two, of the hundred or so riders there, will moan about it.
    Almost every single one of the moaners will admit they can't ride it.
    Does that mean that everyone else loves it? Or do they just not feel strongly about it enough either way to bring it up in a conversation with a complete stranger?

    For the record, none of the guys I ride with dislike it. The two who can't ride it damn it to high hell, for sure, but they enjoy the challenge regardless.
  • grumstagrumsta Posts: 994
    I can ride it just fine - I still think it's a censored feature though.
  • BigStu2BigStu2 Posts: 794
    Really depends on peoples definition of slippery, We have a 60m long boardwalk 30cm over marshy land flanked by ferns that is constantly wet with a 5mm slime coverage and even applying the brake at 5kph is enough to slide off the plank into the mud, and shoes offer no grip at all so walking is not on so if this was on the side of a hill then no I would not ride it at.
    .........all
    ...at........work
    fun..................&
    ..no.............no
    .....is......play
  • rhetterhette Posts: 1,248
    That's just contradiction

    No it isn't[
  • dodgydodgy Posts: 2,890
    Trail centres are for pussies anyway :lol:
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    Funnilly enough, I noticed that they've taken the rabbit fence off some of the woodwork at glentress (but not all), so I asked Andy why... He says it's not because it hurts people, it's just because it doesn't last, people skid on it and it tears it to bits. So, the grip paint they're adding now is supposed to be lower maintenance and still give good grip.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • dodgy wrote:
    Trail centres are for pussies anyway :lol:

    +1

    Although our government have recently decided that they would help us out and have put in a couple of boardwalk sections over some of the deeper bogs in the local hills. They are shared use but they have let MTBers take credit for the work 8)
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