The new flow trail in Marin has been open to ride for a few weeks now, and the word has gotten out. Local bike shops are reporting massive increases in the number of riders coming through Fairfax. Parking lots are full, the trails are busy, (as if they weren’t well populated before) and riders are stoked. It’s a whole new trail experience for the bay area, and a ridiculous amount of awesome packed into a short (or long if your fitness isn’t ready for it) mile.
With the crowds though, come the need for additional help to maintain the trails. Although the trail was designed to shed water and be as sustainable as possible, trails with these types of features require more maintenance than a typical multi-use trail. (Water is the issue the trail is having at the moment, but due to the lack of moisture this year, it is the lack of it that is the major challenge.) The flow trail has bike park quality berms, and unlike a typical bike park at a ski resort, there isn’t a paid crew to maintain the trail. The trail has great soil, but even optimal soil regularly needs water and compaction when you have lesser skilled riders breaking up the tread by over braking and skidding. (Note: read the sign fellas)
Like other flow trail success stories like the Half Nelson trail in Squamish and the Sandy Ridge Trail system on Oregon’s Mount Hood, riders are flocking to these new trail experiences by the car load. Shaped rollers and berms (sadly no legitimate jumps, as many of the features I help layout with Jim and Kevin in December were shortened after I ran out of spare time to make the drive over the bay, for reasons I simply can’t fathom) simply don’t hold up to this volume of usage without additional maintenance. A sprinkler system is currently in progress, and Jim Jacobson has already installed three watering stations. Until the sprinkler system is complete, there are 5 sprayer backpacks and 3 watering cans located at 3 water stations, and watering is being done by hand.
If you’re a regular at the trail, and have time to help out with some watering, it would be helpful and appreciated by all. If you have little time but a bit of disposable income, consider making a donation towards the maintenance of the trail and the sprinkler system. Every little bit helps, and will help keep the experience of the trail primed for the next riders that come down the trail after you. (otherwise the trail would become a dustbowl filled with braking bumps and blown out turns— if you’ve ridden Northstar in the summer you already know what I’m talking about) A PayPal account has been set up via www.tamoflow.org.
Sandor Lengyel is one of the more dedicated volunteers that have been helping with flow trail construction and was responsible for making the wood balance skills area happen.
He’s been helping with the project since day one, and while many of us were forced away from trail building to focus other priorities and obligations, made it his job to make the elevated wood skills zone happen. If you’re a fan of practicing your balance on wood features, they’re out there.
If you haven’t made it out to ride the trail yet, here’s a POV video of the entire trail my buddy Max posted.