COMMUNITY PUMP TRACK PROJECT
WITH HERMAN MANN
Talking to trail builders can be an insightful experience – that is, if you are talking about pump track or trail building stuff and not the usual banterings. We caught hold of a one that has some cool ideas up his sleeve. Read on to discover how to make your mountain biking experience even more fulfilling.
THE MOUNTAIN BIKING SPECTRUM
Mountain biking is a sport that inculcate responsibility and the love for nature. Let's attempt a simplified illustration on this. Very often, we hear some mountain bikers saying things like: "I'm just a leisure rider, only interested to ride. I'll leave the leadership and politics to the experts …" We have news for these folks. Cycling itself is just half the spectrum. It's like when you want to have a good meal at home, you would have to cook your meal first, then you eat and after that you wash up. Mountain biking is the same – you build and prepare the trails, you ride, you maintain, and then you build some more … (Let's not go into the topic on who paid more taxes and stuff like that for now as I am sure it will create a barrage of debate from both sides. Besides, a portion of trail works are voluntary works by local mountain bikers presently). All we need to agree on is, "We Ride, We Maintain". Different folks have different lifestyles and commitments. As such, we would wish to say that we should all help to the best we could, We think that's a fair statement.
Now that we established this stance, we would also want to emphasize that the whole process of trail advocacy, building and maintenance is tough work, time consuming and can run into tons of bureaucratic red tapes. To put it bluntly – It's a dirt(y) job! But it's also very rewarding. It is a vital and inseparable part of mountain biking. Bikezilla salutes all the trail and track builders for showing us the complete picture of mountain biking.
Different folks will describe the sense of achievement from trail works differently. We loosely sum it up with this:
– You get to feel a stronger sense of belonging with the mountain biking community
– You feel stronger emotional attachment to the trails that you helped worked on
– You ride more responsibly, not wanting to damage or litter the trails
– You understand the meaning of "team effort" better
– You are more mindful not to do personalized changes to the trails
– You are more aware of safety for yourself and others
– The list goes on …
[Bikezilla Reminder: Please do not modify the trail on your own. Trail works should be organized by a sanctioned body only. Personal modifications to the trail do not speed anything up, it is selfish to the mountain biking community. Join in Trail Days to make your effort count!}
One of the trail builders – Mohd Herman Bin Mohd Arsek, better known as Herman Mann by fellow mountain bikers – has caught the mass media's attention recently with his proposal to build a community pump track. The proposed Community Pump Track is a place where riders can have fun alongside other members of the neighborhood. This could set a precedence and example for more community pump tracks across the country should the first project be successful. We wait with bated breathes.
We will not be elaborating on the details of the Community Pump Track for now as they are not finalized yet. We mention this project here because we respect that effort had been put in for the benefit of the biking community. Meantime, here's the chat with Herman.
THE MANN SHARES HIS VIEWS
Name: Mohd Herman Bin Mohd Arsek
Years cycling: 23yrs if you don't consider riding BMX during my younger days
Current riding discipline(s): MTB Downhill, Enduro, X-country ,4X/BSX, Road and BMX
Sponsor(s): The Secret Society Inc , Allsports Equipment(FiveTen), DRIVE energy drinks, OZ Racing apparel, Just1 helmet
Affiliated Cycle Group: Ride Brothers
National DH rider 2004-2009
SEA Games Philippines 2005, DH 5th
2005 Tasik Kenyir Int'l MTN challenge, DH 1st Men Elite
Asian MTB Championships (ACC 2004-2009)
ASEAN MTB CUP 2014, Philippines Runner up
2014 CASTLE Enduro Series Master C Overall Champion
UCI Masters World Championships 2014 13th Masters 40-44
How often do you cycle
As often as I would like to but due to work maybe twice a week
Where do you usually cycle
Butterfly, Bukit Timah and Kent Ridge Trails.
Favourite cycle spot
It would be Butterfly Trail. I love trails that has natural flow and features.
Please tell us what you have been busy with in recent years
I love racing and going fast. Winning is a bonus for doing well. So I'm still pretty much involved in racing and have joined the "Enduro" race craze. I've also been spending more time on building of local trails.Trail maintenance whenever and wherever needed.
What motivated you to do what you did and how did it all started?
I developed a love for building stuffs on trails ever since I started riding Gangsa Hills in early 2000 with the likes of Jefri Miswari, Ram (Attitude Bikes) and Uncle Sam – the legendary man of Gambas and many more riders. We used to build stuffs at Gangsa and tested them after we build them. There was never a dull moment when we build. I loved trails to be technical and good for rider skills development but yet safe. The satisfaction of riding what you have created overrides the ache, cuts and bruises you get from building it. And somehow through my injuries – a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), I felt the need to build something i could ride on. That's when Myk Ho shared with me stuffs about riding and building a pump track.
How do you go about picking up new skills and knowledge on trail and track building?
I am a self taught trail builder, learning through what I had built previously. However with the demands of trail stakeholders coming in, I realized that I had to build it right the first time. So I turned to IMBA (International Mountain Bicycling Association) websites and the US Forestry Department website to understand the topic further. I race overseas a lot and learn from the mistakes others make on trail building. I also learn from experienced builders like Lim Huimin of Dirtraction, Coach Chandra from Indonesia and most recently, Tony Boone of Tony Boone Trails LLC from Colorado. When I am free, I watch lots of trail building videos…… on Youtube! You'd be surprised at how much there is to learn.
How should volunteers contact you should they want to join in on trail and track building?
Join us at Facebook group –TRAILwerkzSg or message me on Facebook
In your own opinion, how is trail/track building related to mountain biking?
As a rider, you want to ride good trails hence the need to understand what makes a good trail. Building stuffs and saying you are a trail builder is not exactly how I see it. Build it right and ride it hard. Trails and tracks have to have great flow and be sustainable. Most riders would ride on muddy stuffs without realizing how it affects the trails and the builders. To me, trail building affects how you ride and vice versa.
What do you think the Cycling Community need most currently?
And how do you think you can help?
My best contribution would be to try to build more for the cycling community. As for the issue on trail etiquette, I would leave it to the other mountain biking community campaigns. I would definitely support these campaigns.
Tell us something about yourself in 5 words.
Loud, direct, dreamer, rider, builder
Message to the cycling community?
Better trails for all!
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All photos by Herman Mann