Eight, five, one: Trails Roadtrip

Eight spots, five days, one trip

Photos taken by Mike Elkington and Matt Rowland (watermark)

Freddy Pulman

 

Spot one


After Jamie picked me up we floored it to Bristol, chasing the receding sun. We made it in time for a half hour mini ramp volcano session at Horfield skatepark, which was a great warm up for the trip ahead.


The following morning, when the car was finally rammed with bikes and bags and Elky had been picked up, we headed east to meet Dave and Fred who had camped the previous night at our first trails spot. A night on pine cones was clearly not conducive to sleep, as they looked pretty beat. However their early rising had ensured that by the time we arrived the jumps had been repaired and ready to ride.



Spot two


We were at Woburn, about to hit the main line. After recording some footage and getting tired of missing landings we rode the hip line and sessioned some tricks. Fred has his twists dialled, getting them dumped and flat. Jamie got comfortable upside down and I pulled some combos. 


As the light faded we left en route to Hampshire where we were staying for the night. We stopped off at a McDonald's in Farnborough for a nutritious meal then Elky suggested that we ride the floodlit skatepark where he spent much of his adolescence. 

Spot three


I wasn't sure whether I had the energy to ride anymore but after rolling around I realised that this was my kind of park: A smooth wooden mini ramp and a main section that had a volcano in-between a wide quarter at one end and a couple of small quarters with a double kinked flat bank in-between. 


Soon enough we had to leave as it was time to find our accommodation for the night. After a while of country road driving we eventually pulled into a drive. A guy I later knew as Ben showed us an annex next to his dad's house. This was road trip luxury! The dart board drew our attention and we competed to see who was first to hit triple 20. It was late when eventually Over an hour later Fred finally put us out of our misery and we could go to bed.


The next morning we were treated to a hearty breakfast of well done meat and not done black pudding (nice Jamie!), before setting off to the first trails session of the day.

Spot four


We were at 4a. It took a few runs to get used to the smaller main line. The top section had a series of tight small jumps and a tricky hip before some larger doubles. Fred then led us to the top of a roll-in which led to a step down into a fast descent to a large racer that fed into another before a trick jump. On one run I stacked doing a non returning whip on the trick jump. As I tried to bail I got caught in the bar which tattooed a nice shape into my stomach. Unimpressed with the original line we rode, I spotted a diversion from the top section into a six pack of steep doubles, more my style. Ben showed me the line and we trained some runs. During filming Ben bailed right in front of me, but he managed to run out the way just in time as I shot past, fun times!



Spot five


The clock was ticking so it was time to go to our final set of trails for the day: Sheet. I was in awe as we walked around. The jumps were big and perfectly sculpted, and there were numerous lines crossing and turning between and in-between each other. At the start was a tight step-up step-down section which took some concentration to get right. Afterwards a couple of set up jumps and pumps led into a series of steep doubles, hips and step ups with huge bomb holes in-between, before a tricky set up jump coming out of a berm that led to the final set of jumps. An injured local agreed to take some footage on the Gopro, capturing trains of riders flowing through the trails. The spot was so much fun that I rode until it felt like I could no longer keep my feet on the pedals or my hands on the bars. After the session we helped dig a new landing until dark. 


We dropped into Tesco on the way home. I was so exhausted it was difficult to think about purchases. I left it to the others and followed them around in a half-asleep zombie like state. Elky managed to forget about our 3-for-1 pizza offer and payed for two pizzas. After a long winded explanation as to why he needed to be refunded for one pizza while receiving an extra for free we walked out and drove home. We finally made it back after the satnav decided to play games and send us in apposing directions. 

Spot six


After meeting at a Tesco car park and stocking up on (riding) fuel we drove to the days spot: Holdshott trails. Upon arrival we got straight into digging, helping to finish a large berm. As the composition of the soil in the region is mainly sand it doesn't take long to construct dirt features, especially when so many spades are out! 


After the spade session we picked up our bikes and started riding a line of slightly hipped doubles with pumps in the landings and a tight berm into the finishing jumps. As usual I had some difficulty not overshooting landings, but then got used to lazily pulling up and not pumping. Fred sent some 360s and we dug some more.


I was intrigued to ride the line that currently ended with the berm that by this point was looking close to completion. Fred went through then on his next run Jamie followed him into the line. What he didn't realise was that the take off for the first jump was not the one he was about to hit. Instead it was the lip of another line that you had to jump sideways to make it into the right landing. As soon as Jamie took off it was clear he was coming up short so he pulled the eject button. He laughed off his fall but something was wrong with his wrist so he stopped riding. By this point the rest of the group had also put their bikes down as the exhaustion from the past few days had drained everyone's energy. 


However I still wanted to ride the line despite being apprehensive about the entrance into it. After a couple of pull-outs I stayed off the brake and went through the whole line into the finishing berm. I was stoked as the set fitted together just right, with non of the over-shooting issues that I had with the previous line. I had a few runs training Tom, the local, before suggesting riding it with the Gopro. By this point I felt comfortable on the set, so didn't think it would take long to film a decent run. Unfortunately I kept overshooting the first jump, which required a smooth landing and a pump to carry on through the line. Time and time again I made mistakes, and the pressure of the group leaving the trails meant that I had to quit with no solid run recorded. I was frustrated we couldn't stay for longer but with Jamie's injury and everyones sinking enthusiasm to ride replaced with excitement over the prospect of a BBQ we left. 

Spot seven


Jamie hoped that his wrist would be OK the following day, but in the morning it was obvious that he wouldn't be able to ride despite the makeshift support of bandage and gaffer tape. Something was seriously wrong with it. We thought for a while about where to ride, deciding in the end to check out Milford, a location regularly featured in old dirt jumping videos. 


After a local showed us the right way out of the car park we had a look at the trails with great disappointment...  What had once been a renowned spot now comprised of a crumbling line of small jumps. At the start was a berm which spat you in the wrong direction for the first jump, causing you to brake then steerer and pedal before the first jump. The rest of the set followed suit with landings that may as well have not existed as you sailed straight over them, and a final trick jump which felt like any regular double at the start of an average line. It was the kind of trail that wouldn't look out of place on a slow section of a downhill run or in a cross country trail centre: definitely not 'trails' in the dirt jump or BMX sense. 


Eager to ride somewhere good on our final day, I called Tom from Holdshott to see if the locals were around, however his phone was off so we headed to 4a. Elky swapped his BMX for Jamie's 26' for the trails, and was looking comfortable straight away. When we got to 4a we were alone, which didn't create a great vibe. As I had previously sessioned all the ridable lines it wasn't long until I was done riding. Elky however was having fun riding a couple of lines for the first time and putting in some solid runs. Soon it was time to drive back to Bristol.

Spot eight


On the drive home Elky suggested riding Yate skatepark, which apparently is one of the oldest skateparks in England. While the original bowl was fun to pump around and use as a fly out, the newer section of the park was so slippery that it was too unpredictable to ride. After a 360 flyout session (neither of us had span in a long time) we packed the car and I was later dropped off at Bristol Temple Meads to catch a train home. 


Despite the disappointment on the last day, we had ridden so many spots over just a few days that overall the trip was a great success (Borat voice). We even had good weather! Sheet trails had been the top spot in my opinion, followed by Holdshott and Farmborough skatepark. Woburn could have been on top if the infamous, and pretty large, Busline had been running. Let me know when it is!


End



Healing vibes to Jamie, who has a suspected scaphoid fracture in his wrist. Hope you're riding again soon!


Thanks to Jamie for making the trip happen, Ben for accommodating us and the locals for letting us ride their spots. Hope to see you again soon!

Milan

The dart board drew our attention and we competed to see who was first to hit triple 20. Over an hour later Fred finally  put us out of our misery and we could go to bed.”

I was in awe as we walked around. The jumps were big and perfectly sculpted, and there were numerous lines crossing and turning between and in-between each other.“

What he didn't realise was that the take off for the first jump was not the one he was about to hit.”

What had once been a renowned spot now comprised of a crumbling line of small jumps.”

Sheet trails had been the top spot in my opinion, followed by Holdshott and Farnborough skatepark.”

Jamie Taylor

Freddy Pulman

Milan Olivier-Recknagel

Ben Lyon

Freddy Pulman

 

05 September 2011