photo courtesy hansrey.com.
This morning at the IMBA Summit, Mr. No Way himself, Hans Rey, gave a great talk about where he’s been and what he’s been up to lately. Hans brought some amazing photos to share including shots from many first rides and first descents around the world from Egypt to Machu Pichu to China and beyond. In the mountaineering and climbing worlds, first descents are a hot topic and it was cool to imagine taking a mountain bike to places that have never seen knobby tires. Of course IMBA’s official stance is that unless bikes are expressly allowed in an area, the area should be considered off limits to biking which sorta puts a harsh on first descent bagging.
Hans also talked about a new trail designation he’s pushing for adoption in the MTB world: Flow Country trails. If you’re a mountain biker you already know what flow is and the “country” part is a nod to cross-country riding. Anyway, the idea is to certify “flow country” trails that are appropriate for all skill levels and even all riding styles (FR, DH, XC, etc.). Hans showed a video of the first flow country trail in Livigno, Italy and it’s best described as flowing and fast, with bermed turns and small jumps for getting air. Here’s the official flow country description from Hans Rey’s website:
Flow Country trails are flowy, purpose-built singletrails for mountain bikers of any skill level or for any kind of mountain bike, no matter whether beginner or expert or on a hardtail XC or downhill bike; and especially for the ever growing section of All Mountain/ Enduro riders. This mountain bike specific trail will provide a common playground for both worlds of riders, the endurance driven riders and the Freeriders. The tracks shall neither be extreme, nor too steep or dangerous, small berms and rollers shall provide the addicting rollercoaster feeling and sensation.
Although we didn’t get all the details this morning, I’d venture to say some of the loops at FATS here in Augusta might qualify (we’ll see what Hans has to say after he rides there this afternoon). I got a chance to sample the Big Rock loop there yesterday afternoon and flow country seems to be a pretty good way to describe it.
We’re stoked to see the movement toward uniting all types of mountain bikers with a single trail type that everyone can enjoy instead of fragmenting the sport further. As IMBA gets behind the flow country idea, look for designated trails around the US and the world.
I think this is a cool idea. But, I wouldn’t want every trail to be like FATS. As much fun as it is, I enjoy riding the slower, technical trails too. Just depends on what you’re in the mood for. I want both! Luckily, I do have both where I live.
The latest issue of BIKE has an article/interview with Hans Rey about this exact topic and it even goes as far as specifically mentioning FATS as the type of trails denoted by the “flow-country” idea. In the article, they mentioned that IMBA stated they would be onboard for certifying this type of trail designation if the demand was there for it.
Anytime you can unite different rider types behind a common goal good things will come from it. There will always be specific trail types out there but for planning purposes land managers (who usually havent seen a bike since jr. high school) don’t really want to discern between them. This also gives riders a louder voice via the larger numbers. Good idea. In areas of smaller population Ive noticed ALL riders coming together over bike issues including the pavement riders and we in turn join in on there causes. We are all in this together.
I really like the idea of FC trails. Technical trails can be intimidating for beginners, and honestly, sometimes I like to zoom down a trail without worrying about accidentally doing a flying windmill kick off the edge of a cliff.
I like the idea of making the ride how you want it based on how you ride the trail. It seems like these sort of things would be the perfect opportunity.
[…] Ray has been promoting his concept for “flow country trails” recently and that’s a pretty good description for Livewire. The trail definitely flows […]
One of my favorite trails adheres to this description of “flow country.” If your ever in Maryland, check out the Rosaryville trail loop at Rosaryville state park outside of bowie. A great loop with small jumps and rollers all the way through. super fun!
[…] to certify Flow Country Trails around the world and so far five trails have made the cut. We first wrote about the concept during the 2010 IMBA World Summit where Hans Rey spoke about his vision for […]