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Cycle route definitions

Paul 8vPaul 8v Posts: 5,458
edited December 2009 in MTB beginners
Does anyone have any info about cycle routes ie green/red/black obviously they will get progressively harder but what do they entail? I'm not bothered about steep climbs or descents but I wouldn't like to find out the hard way that there was a massive jump on a downhill (Not a fan of big air, I'm too much of a censored for that) are there big drop offs on black routes and things like that? Also would all routes be rideable by a reasonably heavy duty cross country/trail bike?
Many thanks
Paul

Posts

  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,682
    It's all over the place really... Like, frinstance, Glentress black is, for most of it, barely harder than the red. And in scottish terms, Glentress red is easy. But then, glentress blue is (I'm told) harder than some of the older welsh reds. Partly it's because trail centres want to cover all the bases, and partly it's that standards and bikes move on- Glentress black really was a black when it was built, now it's old.

    And then, you get stuff like Nevis Red, which is just a black, simple as that... But they want to attract more riders so they grade it red. Or so I interpreted it ;)

    So, the short answer is there's no way of knowing, it depends who graded it, when they graded it... and all riders vary too, so your idea of hard might not be mine.

    But, the good news is that so far I've never found a single trail of any colour which i wouldn't happily ride on a £500 hardtail ;) The rider's more important.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • Paul 8vPaul 8v Posts: 5,458
    Cool, I take it they would warn you if there was a ten foot drop off or something coming up! I must say it is a bit confusing
  • pte1643pte1643 Posts: 518
    I'm certainly no authority, but I understand it's mostly a local thing (as Northwind said).

    Individual centres/forests etc grade their trails Green to Black depending on the local difficulty. Therefore you can distinguish which is the easier or harder trail.

    I believe I've read somewhere that there is a National/International Standard, but this may only apply to competition... Maybe? :?
  • I havent been to many trail centres. Keilder, Hamsterly, Cwm Carn and the one in bristol, and have been confussed over the grading. Take the downhill runs out and and Keilder and Cwm Carn are in my book only red due to the climbing bits. I recently had a guided tour of a fairsection of hamsterly and even though we were on the black again I am sure its to do with the climbs, although I did nearly mess me pants on one rock/drop. There were alot of roots and 2 stream crossings that could cause problems. The one in bristol (Ashgate??), cant remember if its graded or not but its just boinging over roots in the wood.

    What I have seen are warnings if there is a bit of nasty. What has been said before is that what I find hard and technical others will breeze it and viceversa.
    fly like a mouse, run like a cushion be the small bookcase!
  • Paul 8vPaul 8v Posts: 5,458
    I don't mind roots, streams, steep climbs etc I like a good technical section, just not some horrible massive drop, glad there are warnings!
  • .blitz.blitz Posts: 6,197
    Follow The Dog is a red route but all kinds of people go round on all kinds of bikes and good luck to 'em.

    The flipside is that they are mixing it with 'proppa' mountain bikers and so the range of abilities is huge. The plan is to dissuade casual users by making it more 'difficult' with technical features like the Steggy but personally I can't see how this is going to work. I would be surprised if a family park up on a sunny Sunday, read the signs and say 'ooh no we better not go round...'
  • KiblamsKiblams Posts: 2,423
    My understanding is that XC reds have technical bits like small drop-offs and rock gardens etc but these are avoidable with chicken runs, and blacks have much the same features except to a harder degree and are unavoidable?

    Have ridden some of the 7stanes and the lake district red routes, and to be honest the difficulty didn't differ too much for me personally, though the scottish trail centre designers are 10x better so the trails are alot more fun.

    The midlands trail centres are not hilly at all but I do enjoy Cannock alot as the climbs are seperated by fun DHs, Sherwood is just a flat 'barely blue' run IMO but it is graded red for some reason (zero technical parts)

    I have ridden the black route at Llandegla, which I am told is tame and if I had to compare it in difficulty to another trail I would say Glentress red.

    If you are encountering 4ft drop-offs you may have ventured onto a DH trail... :wink:
  • Paul 8vPaul 8v Posts: 5,458
    edited November 2009
    This is the nearest one to me, I'll start off on the easy ones and see how I get on, don't think there'll be much downhill there though :D

    Edit: forgot the link :lol:
    http://www.bike-art.com/
  • AlexAlex Posts: 2,224
    http://www.7stanes.gov.uk/website/fores ... nfd-5sdml4

    The 7 stanes use the same grading criteria as the rest of the centres on forestry land in the UK.

    A trail is always graded to its most difficult compulsory feature. Hence Follow the Dog is a red, even though much of the route could be classified as blue, whilst the Red at glentress has signed features that are black graded, but are not compulsory, with a red graded option around them.
  • Paul 8v wrote:
    This is the nearest one to me, I'll start off on the easy ones and see how I get on, don't think there'll be much downhill there though :D /

    I was up there a couple of weeks ago, I could only do the red route becuase it was mid week and the black is closed in mid week (didn't think to research the place before I went :oops: ), I've only been mtbing for a few months, and have a entry level bike and the red was good fun, some really good singletrack bits cut tightly through trees. Your quite right in saying there won't be any downhill!
  • It does seem to vary on a centre by centre basis.

    During a recent stay in Center Parcs in Suffolk, we took a spin out to Thetford Forest, as it was only a couple of miles away. They have green, blue, red and black trails but, apart from one small section of the black run (Well signposted), I'd say that most of them would hardly rate as a red. My friend managed all of it on his half ton fully rigid Halfords apollo bike. (Although he did scream like a girl when a tree 'jumped out in front of him' on the tricky section)

    Having been to Afan, for the frist time, this year, Thetford was a breeze (But still good fun, due to being the only ones there and being able to blast round)

    I suppose that centres like to have the full range of colours available, so that they don't give the impression that they're lightweights.

    If you didn't learn anything today, you weren't paying attention!
  • pte1643pte1643 Posts: 518
    I could only do the red route becuase it was mid week and the black is closed in mid week (didn't think to research the place before I went :oops:

    Thetford Black isn't usually closed mid-week.

    There must have been some reason for it (Tree Harvesting, Trail maint' etc).

    I only ever go mid-week when it's quieter (One of the benefits of working shifts).

    The Red is a good ride though... Flows really nicely and is quite fast.
  • pte1643 wrote:
    Thetford Black isn't usually closed mid-week.

    That's good to know, i'm self employed and sometimes get the odd day off mid week, and was planning to go back. I have looked on the website but can't see any info about how to find out when and which trails are closed/open, any ideas where I find this out? Or is it a rarity and I was just unlucky on my visit?
  • pte1643 wrote:
    I have looked on the website but can't see any info about how to find out when and which trails are closed/open, any ideas where I find this out?

    You could always phone them - it's a bit radical, I know, but it may just work :wink:

    If you didn't learn anything today, you weren't paying attention!
  • belugabob wrote:
    You could always phone them - it's a bit radical, I know, but it may just work :wink:

    :shock: You mean I actually need to talk to someone and do the work myself, rather than posting on a forum and getting someone else to do it for me??!!

    What is this world coming too...... :lol:
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