Digging and diplomacy

How to make trails legal. Our ten step guide to making sure your trails are legit. IMBA’s Bike Park Guide is a good place to start as well.

>>> How and why you should do a bit of trail maintenance

1. Grow your people power

Represent more riders and you’ll have a stronger voice talking to a land manager. Form a group or body and appoint a head.

2. Get the inside line

Your best approach is to get the land manager on your side, a supporter from the inside will help you to move things along.

3. It’s good to talk

Talking is good, talking that gets you somewhere is better. Have a direction and build trust in your communication.

4. Work for it

Make it easy for the landowner by taking on the lion’s share of the work. This could mean organising focus groups or mapping the trails in existence.

Watch the opening of Sheffield’s crowd-funded Lady Canning’s

5. Know your trails

If there’s a trail network close by, consider joining forces and combining your efforts — larger and more coordinated projects are stronger.

6. Build the data

Sell it to the local authority — get the figures on how many people use the area, how much money could be fed to local businesses, etc.

7. White knight

Be the land manager’s saviour — you can stop the building of unsanctioned trails and control the way the existing ones run.

8. Bring solutions

Land managers are busy people so offer solutions — develop a trail plan, with details of routes and conservation too.

9. Know your sensitive spots

Work with the land managers to avoid sensitive areas — archaeological sites, SSIs, rare species habitats.

10. Learn the lingo

Cut out all talk of ‘gnarly booters’ and speak the language of red tape — planning applications, council liaison documents and environmental impact surveys.

Finally, a bit of fun from Transition Bikes. Which sort of trail builder stereotype are you closet to?