Flow Country Trails


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.