Trail build report: Fri 18th – Sun 20th March 2011

This weekend was planned as a big push. The idea was to finish off a new section that had been started the previous weekend and then to get as much of Piper’s hill as possible rebuilt. This was a good bit of trail that had been built in 2009 and resurfaced in October 2010  but had sunk due to the poor quality of the soil. It hadn’t been truly finished anyway, so this was a chance to get it up to scratch ready for the spring and summer evening rides.

Friday 18th March

Gary had sourced a large pile of concrete blocks just up the road in Old Town. Gary, Sharon, the builders and myself spent a few hours moving these ready for our weekend offensive.

Saturday 19th March

Group of volunteers moving gravel.
Moving gravel.

The day started with ice on car windscreens but by 10am the sun had cut through this to deliver a warm, early spring morning. We had Chris, Jez, Rafe, Gary, Sharon and myself raring to go. Chris and Jez got going with the compacteractoriser whilst the rest of us moved concrete blocks up to Piper’s hill with the aid of Rafe’s Jeep (Land Rover).

On the hill the claggy clay was dug out of the trail line before dumping the blocks into place. These were then smashed up by an angry man with the faithful sledge hammer. Several sections of drainage pipe were built into the low points.

Newly surfaced trail in Swindon.
New berm.

We were joined by new recruits Malcolm and Dave and at lunch time Cameron turned up with his Land Rover. This allowed twice the rate of progress, with gravel going to the first section and bricks to Piper’s hill.

By early evening the new section was finished plus a short section between two berms down near the pond. This had gone boggy so was dug out, filled and surfaced.

About 70m of trail was surfaced.

Chris, Gary, Phil and myself worked on until it was dark and rebuilt the jump on Piper’s hill using compacted concrete blocks. This was twice as wide as the old jump and looked a bit higher.

Sunday 20th March

Volunteers loading gravel into bags.
Bag filling.

It was another sunny spring morning as Swindon’s finest shovel enthusiasts assembled in the car park. This time we had Kristian, new recruit Paul, Richard, Rafe, Micra Mike, Phil and myself present. We were joined later by Nigel,Karl and Kate (maybe).

Several bits of the Piper’s hill descent were dug out and filled with concrete blocks. The berm after the log pile was tripled in size using bricks and then mud.

Using Jez’s patented sack filling technique then we were able to keep the Jeep (Land Rover) moving all day. This meant that a lot of material was moved. Enough to surface all of the Piper’s hill descent including the log step bypass and the jump chicken run, the return climb, top section and a new link shortcut. That’s about 140m of trail which is almost as much as the best we achieved with a team of 8 Community Payback non-volunteers. Using some previous stats which estimate 70kg of material per metre, then around 10 tonnes of material was moved which would require about 20 Land Rover trips. The large lorries hold about 20 tonnes.

Volunteers building trail.
Sunday evening.

By the end of the day the descent was starting to really take shape.

We’re looking forwards to the “cutting of the old inner tube with the loppers” ceremony on Friday night before we ride it for the first time.

Big thanks to everyone who came to help over the weekend. By the end of the following Saturday we will have the whole section resurfaced, which then only leaves the East side of the pitch and a few minor patches before the whole trail is surfaced.

Big berm at Croft Trails.
Bigger berm.


New trail taking shape.
Piper’s hill descent.

Map of trail build progress.

Trail build map March 2011.
Progress map March 2011.

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