Culture

Build It And They Will Come | Trail Tales – Video

Trail centers: a gateway to this awesome sport.

All trails connect us. Whether it is an ancient shepherd’s track following the path of least resistance through the mountains or a perfectly sculpted berm in a bike park. By definition a trail takes us from A to B, one place to another, but the connections run deeper than that.

Every trail is a collection of stories, from the first person to think “I wonder what’s over there?” to the pioneers who first rode it. After that, each and every one of us adds our own story when we ride. Stories of friendship and stoke, of solitude and escape. With this, a trail grows – it becomes more than a simple route between places – and it represents a gathered history of those that have been before. Some tales run a little deeper. We are all guilty of sometimes forgetting the origins of a trail, as we get lost in the simple art of having fun. It pays to take a step back every now and then listen to the anecdotes of others. By doing so we become more connected – not just to the trail, but to each other. 

Trail Tales seeks to share some of these stories to a wider audience. Each story has its own flow. Some are older than living memory. Others are still being made. Trail Tales aren’t just about the riding or even about the trail itself. They are about the individuals and communities, the emotions and of course, the riding. Together we will travel the globe. We will follow in the tracks of the pioneers of off-road riding. We’ll hike to Pyrenean summits and discover lost villages. We will hear from the first riders to shape trails purpose-built for riding. Trail Tales is a ride through history and a glimpse of how mountain biking will shape our future. 

Orbea Trail Tales will document and record these unique and authentic stories in film and journal. We will follow in the footsteps and tyre tracks of those who have gone before us and we will forge our own path. 

build it they will come
Photo: Duncan Philpott

In “Build It and They Will Come” we rewind back to the mid-90s. Twenty-five years ago, a small group of pioneers realized that mountain biking didn’t have to simply be about riding what was already on the ground. They decided to create their own trails. More than that, they wanted to build trails that could be enjoyed by everyone: singletrack that was challenging and fun for beginners and experienced riders alike.

build it they will come
Photo: Duncan Philpott

The vision of riders like Dafydd Davies in Wales and Rik Allsop in Scotland changed the riding landscape in the UK for good. The trail center was born. A quarter of a decade later we revisit their handiwork to ask what the key to the trail center’s longevity has been. We discover everything that makes mountain biking great: flow, community, and passion.

build it they will come
Photo: Duncan Philpott

In 2020 there exists over 2,500km of purpose-built trail in the UK, ridden by millions each year. Build it & they will come.

build it they will come trails
Photo: Duncan Philpott

Ready for more trail-community focused storytelling? Try this.