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TAP - Optional Lines

Dec. 5, 2012, 10:27 a.m.
Posts: 248
Joined: July 10, 2010

Below is a comment I made in a recently deleted Thread.

I was interested in thoughts from Mathew, Mark and other TAP builders, so I have reposted.

Original post was as follows:

If those with "opposing views"


(Sorry for the length, I'm sure most won't read this, hopefully Mathew, Mark and TAP builders will)

I feel I'm somewhere in the middle on this whole issue, not really an "opposing views", i don't think.

I'm not big on super smooth trails, nor any loose blown out trails or mud pits. Gold resurfacing is great, so is cedar, rock faces, skinnies and log rides.

I like slower tech riding, steep chutes and gnar are fun. i don't want to be down the hill in 5mins, not looking for jumps, but do enjoy a fast rip.

Like everyone, just looking to have fun.

My fun is riding up the hill fast, or tech XC climbs and then down trails like bookwus, crippler, UOC, boundary, ladies, LL, skull, dales aftertaste, boogieman, C-Buster. Thats the style i enjoy, all of those have the type of tech i am talking about. And yes, they can all use love and improvements.

But seems when i read other posts i am getting grouped in with these "haters"…

Not everyone will agree 100%, but figure we should try to see the grey between the black and white that this board sometimes makes it look like.

I'm very happy with the amazing progress and hard work that TAP, Mark, Digger, NSMB… have achieved recently.

For some the old school riding styles and structures being pulled out in a few spots, there is legitimate concern when they think that this might be the approach with other trails when they are TAPed.

?UOC, will it be left to rot away or will this trail see its essence and style live on?

I know landowners prefer no structures for liability reasons, and that factors into the rebuild process. Hopefully there is still some room for them.

I hope maintaining optional lines, opposed to ripping them out, might be a solution.

The now dead ramp onto the rock after the 1st long log ridden 7th would be a great optional line to rebuild.

Optional lines allow trails to maintain character and challenges, yet optional. When I was new to the NS, I gravitated to these lines, as benchmarks for improving or aimed to achieve in skill, confidence and adrenaline.

These features are what other riders also enjoy, yet being labeled as "opposing views" or "haters", is unfair.

One area where optional lines have been removed is on Dale's, (in order you ride them) entrance to large log, board walk over muddy area (now awful in wet but fine in dry), long elevated boardwalk that led to teeter has entrance removed, the teeter.

No more teeter, fair enough, but it would be nice to see the other lines get rebuilt down the road when time is available, and yes, i am happy to help.

There may be others, these ones pop into my mind.

Digger's done a great job keeping old style features on Ladies, like Barts bridge. The kind of technical trail I enjoy, not chunder and chaos as some suggest the "minority" enjoy, just a tech line adding to the trail. Another spot on Ladies Digger kept as an optional line and improved the entrance is a little farther down, after a creek crossing with the pipe, there is a new rolly boardwalk, where the old line goes down a root shoot to the left, back right to a skinny and then back on the main trail, I'm sure many new riders to the trail don't even know its there.

NH also provides this approach, ride the tech or ride around, multiple ways for different riders, enjoying the trail based on ability.

Maybe its those little things that other riders enjoy and are scared to see removed, especially if unnecessary. And maybe optional lines are a great way to achieve some balance in this polarizing topic.

And for the people that think TAP is dumbing down, a kudos to the work on Boogieman, testament that the TAP approach is not to change the feel of the trails, maybe riders with concerns can take this as an example of the larger vision of the shore.

We are all aiming to have fun while riding, though everyone might have a different view of what fun is.

I am not big on gap jumps, doesn't mean i want them all pulled out, i am fine with riding around them. Maybe one day i will enjoy the jumps and it'll be there if i am interested.

So hopefully builders who are not big on skinnies will keep in mind some people are, and having them as an"optional" line might be a plus to the trail.

For the people voicing concerns, maybe its not always what has already been taken out, but the fear of what might be removed or left to fall apart…

Dec. 5, 2012, 10:57 a.m.
Posts: 486
Joined: April 11, 2011

recently deleted Thread.

Seriously, it got deleted? Is rational conversation on this forum allowed? I thought Matt's response to this particular post was insightful. I hope this doesn't deter NSMBA from contributing here in the future. It seems pretty disrespectful to blow away a thread where NSMBA leadership has taken time to address their user base.

Dec. 5, 2012, 11:01 a.m.
Posts: 209
Joined: May 29, 2003

There was a lot of negativity in that thread and some personal attacks. I'm happy to see it removed.

I will repost my response to the optional lines question after work, and hopefully the thread stays on track with "rational" discussion.

Dec. 5, 2012, 11:04 a.m.
Posts: 3801
Joined: April 13, 2003

Danb (the original poster) deleted the thread.


Dec. 5, 2012, 11:07 a.m.
Posts: 486
Joined: April 11, 2011

Danb (the original poster) deleted the thread.

I stand corrected.

Dec. 5, 2012, 11:15 a.m.
Posts: 209
Joined: May 29, 2003

TRD, your sentiments resonate with me. My riding style and preferences are very similar to yours.

If I understand correctly, a major theme in your post is keeping/rebuilding optional lines to allow for a variety of riding experiences on the same trail. Something old, and something new.

I hope the following explanation with help everyone understand why some optional features have been removed and not replaced.

The NSMBA has created a "trail triage" for prioritizing what work gets done on trails. This system is taught in our Builders Academy and helps us direct our limited resources to ensure the most important trail work gets done first. The deciding factor is safety of the rider. Our priorities are in the following order:

  1. Danger Tree removal: Completed before work starts on the trail
  2. Structure assessment: If it is on the primary line and is unsafe to ride, it must be removed or repaired. If it is on an optional line and is unsafe to ride, it must be removed and may be repaired/replaced when resources are available.
  3. Rider hazards / fall zone: Clearing any potential hazards (ie: sharp objects) from the trails edge or around TTFs.
  4. Drainage/erosion: Ensure trail drainage meets guidelines. Prevent erosion.
  5. Alignment: Reroutes or bypass must improve the current alignment as a last resort.
  6. Consistency: Difficulty and character of the trail should remain consistent top to bottom. Crux moves are good, but if its out of character, then a ride around is necessary.

The reality is that we are busy catching up on 10 years of deferred maintenance, eliminating unnecessary risk and making the trails safe to ride. Some risk is part of the sport (that's what makes it fun and exciting) but we don't want anyone getting hurt because a ladder bridge falls out from underneath them.

Replacing optional TTFs on trails falls low on the priority list right now. When we've brought the trails up to a safer, more maintainable and more sustainable state, we'll have the time and resources to be creative with the optional lines.

Hope that sheds some light on it.

Dec. 5, 2012, 11:40 a.m.
Posts: 260
Joined: March 1, 2007

Danb (the original poster) deleted the thread.

Yeah, I was asked to and did. That thread was a great reminder of why I stay away from forums.

Dec. 5, 2012, 1:38 p.m.
Posts: 464
Joined: Nov. 2, 2003

We have the same problem here in kelowna.

We recently held a trail day here on a trail that everyone's been talking about rebuilding forever. I finally got sick and tired of everyone talking about it so we went up a few days before the planned day and did a bunch of prep work and hiked a crap load of tools and saws in to an area that really needed love.

The plan was to decommission a long bridge through some rocks and make a ride around that everyone could use…the old wood stunt was not for everyone and it was really rotten.

As soon as everyone got down there and saw what we were doing they just kept walking down the trail, three of us were left trying to accomplish a task that required many hands. Worst part was as we were hiking all the tools out (with no help) at the end of the day, "they" came down on their bikes to "pouch" our work that they didn't approve of.

I heard though the grapevine that some shit talking was done in regards to the work we did. Recently on fb, there has been more talk of fixing said trail…lol

Talk is cheap.

I find it's mostly the newer riders that don't like change, not newbs but people that are fairly skilled on a bike who haven't been doing it all that long.
What they don't realize is that when these trails were built bikes didn't have rebound, in some cases these trails where built pre-suspension. We used to run our bikes with really short bars, 3" tires and thought 24" wheels and hardtails with monster t's where the sh1t.

Now, as stated in the old thread, riding is leaning away from tech and more towards turns and flow; it's a natural progression.

Put yourself in the shoes of someone that has only been riding a few years. They see these crazy tech lines and wooden features and they want to hit them and start making personal goals towards hitting them. Then TAP comes in and "ruins" their dream. Not really but it may be seen that way…especially if you didn't know that Ned's used to be an uphill loamy climb!

People need to get over themselves and their idea of what mtn biking is. Mtn biking is exploding, that means it's time to play nice with land managers and it's time to make more trails accessable to the newbs so that our sport can grown and so we get better technology at better prices.

I really believe that the future of trail building is going in the direction of line option. Making a tech/skinny/big hit/flow line all in one, while managing risk, erosion and keeping things looking as organic as possible (anti bike park) is where you will keep the most people happy.

Ladies Only and Full Nelson are benchmark new school trails, keep them coming.

transition bikes

Dec. 5, 2012, 1:45 p.m.
Posts: 14564
Joined: Dec. 16, 2003

Making a tech/skinny/big hit/flow line all in one, while managing risk, erosion and keeping things looking as organic as possible (anti bike park) is where you will keep the most people happy.

might as well throw a unicorn in there too! :lol:

Dec. 5, 2012, 1:51 p.m.
Posts: 248
Joined: July 10, 2010

I had assumed that was why the thread was remove. Being interested in the discussion to my post is why i created this thread, with the hope that the personal mud slinging from both sides of the puddle would not continue.

Sorry Mark, I had lumped 7th in with Peter's TAP work lower down, accidentally, but none the less incorrect (fixed post above). Very much agree that the ramp was becoming unsafe and needed to be removed (along with the optional lines on Dales) I would still hope to see the structure rebuilt when time allows down the road, talking to Peter he said he had no interest in doing it. Again, I would be happy to help a builder(s) who has the interest to do it. That is if there is a green light to do so.

Mathew, your responses is exactly what I had assumed, hopefully others with concerns will appreciate the scope and reality of what is being accomplished. I absolutely agree with the order of the priorities listed. Not that that information provided has not been mentioned before, but I think it is beneficial to have had it said again here to put people at ease with the approach being used.

Good to know that those lines will be looked at when time is free to do so. A great call for more hands on deck, the more people that get out and help with TAP trail work the sooner the extra side jobs will get attention as well.

Again, great work, it is appreciated.

Dec. 5, 2012, 4:16 p.m.
Posts: 166
Joined: April 26, 2004

what I would like to see for new trail work or modifications of existing trails (on public North Shore land, not private ski areas) is consideration for all trail users and for travelling trails both directions (maybe only hikers, trail runners, dogs and old school trialsy-type riders may travel long ways uphill, but they should be considered too)

natural speed bumps and wise use of features for speed control, tech enough that only World Cup skilled riders can go Warp 1, but not so tech that beginners walk the whole thing (the goal being to see how much you can ride without putting a foot down)
Can be done with sinuous sections with low obstacles to maintain site lines, such as much as Sticks and Stones
varied trail surface texture (not all smooth, so every type of bike and rider can go to Warp Drive for long sections), and with appropriate gradient or periodic grade reversals (so that long travel heavy bikes can't hit Warp Drive the entire trail length either)

on heavily used trails that are smooth trail edge to trail edge, or have only one commonly used fast line (such as many bermed trails), some fast riders get frustrated when they can't pass slow riders, but if the trail has some variety of texture across the width (like Bridal Path) or even parallel single track sections, passing is less of an issue, either for traffic heading the same way or for on-coming beings (actually the race courses I built in the past usually had these feature so I could pass the roadies who beat me up the hill, but I hear frustration on A-Line/Bob Sled type trails is common)

Dec. 5, 2012, 6:46 p.m.
Posts: 0
Joined: Aug. 12, 2007

Can we please have an optional line around the log on Boogieman, preferable on the ground and at least three feet wide? I forgot about that damn thing the other day and my 11 month pup and I nearly soiled our fur / pants trying to walk across it :lol:

wow you are a ass

Dec. 5, 2012, 8:28 p.m.
Posts: 124
Joined: Jan. 16, 2005

Optional lines should be mandatory. (I wanted to leave it at that, but will add that it's great to allow a group of riders of varying ability to ride the same trail, and still all feel challenged and have fun.) There's always one rider in the group that wants to show he has bigger gonads, and how else but to have trail side challenges of varying difficulty.

Dec. 5, 2012, 9:20 p.m.
Posts: 209
Joined: May 29, 2003

. . . the more people that get out and help with TAP trail work the sooner the extra side jobs will get attention as well.

Bang on TRD.

taprider, correct me if I'm wrong, but what I understand from your post is that when planning new trail work, effort should be made to minimize user conflicts. Conflicts between different user types (ie: bikes and hikers, uphill/downhill) and conflicts between users of different skills (fast vs slow) are your examples.

The IMBA guidelines provide best practices for these situations, and we use the guidelines when planning new trail work. Many of these conflicts can be addressed through trail designation and signage as well. For example, if a trail is designated and signed as black-diamond - mountain bike primary, all trail users can expect that the trail has been built with skilled mountain bikers in mind, and that they will probably be traveling down sections of the trail at significant speed.

We're not going to provide every type of trail experience on a single trail. But we can work towards a trail network that has options for everyone.

walleater, I assume you're joking.

horizontally opposed, by "optional lines should be mandatory", do you mean that all trails should have optional features?

In an ideal world, each trail would have some optional "next level" features to allow for rider progression. A good example of this would be Natural High. If you ride the main line, it's mostly a blue trail (except for the narrow, downhill ladder bridge after the swivel teeter). But their are lots of optional black lines to let riders build up their skills to take on trails like Ladies or Upper Oilcan.

If there are more questions specifically related to the NSMBA's approach to optional lines, I'll make my best efforts to answer them. However, if this thread turns into a "wish list" of what people would like to see on the trails, I won't be able to respond to everyone's post. Thanks.


Dec. 5, 2012, 9:26 p.m.
Posts: 497
Joined: Nov. 11, 2004

Put yourself in the shoes of someone that has only been riding a few years. They see these crazy tech lines and wooden features and they want to hit them and start making personal goals towards hitting them. Then TAP comes in and "ruins" their dream.

I find this interesting because I would have assumed that most people who are upset about losing the tech lines would be the folks that were good at riding them, not those that want to get good.

I'm not saying you're wrong, but that we're just guessing.

welcome to the bottom of my post.

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