Diary of Progress

26 Feb 2011 – Consultation at Avon Tyrrell to see plans for their new pump track and gravity track. They look good and I am jealous.

29 Responses to Diary of Progress

  1. WCA says:

    8th March 2012

    Holy Cow!!! We have done it. The first phase is completed and being enjoyed by kids and adults alike.

    Two days of intense digging and shaping and we have the kiddies oval, the children’s trail and the pump track up and open. We also have the first of the long lines scratched out to show where it will be going.

    The first success was seeing a little girl arrive on Friday having had her stablisers removed being pushed around. today she rode close to 40 laps of the kiddies oval on her own. Loads of riders of all ages enjoyed all three tracks. I even managed 4 loops of the pump track without pedalling.

    I am now going to close this blog as what was a good idea i had has now become Southampton Bike Park with the associated bike club. Follow Southampton Bike Park on Facebook. I will post up all the links when I have them.

    Thanks to everyone who donated money and effort to make this happen. Every one of you is a hero.

  2. WCA says:

    29 March 2012 – Would you believe it is over a year since I thought of this idea and nothing has happened. Well, not quite nothing but nothing has been built.

    I decided that this has to change so went to see Danny Allen who said we could go ahead and build the pump track first. There is a new Boss joining on Monday so there is a chance she will want to stop it but I can’t see why.

    Right then, CALL TO ARMS. I want everyone who rides a bike and can carry a pick or shovel to turn up at the Sports Centre on Friday and Saturday at 10:30am to build the pump track. If you can’t make both days then please turn up for one of them. We want to be riding this on Sunday.

    Meet up at the dig site. From the artificial pitches you go up the tarmac path towards Coxford Rd. You will see us.

    The centre line for the pump track is already marked out if you want a sneak preview. It is only small but if enough people turn up then we can build some of the other trails shown in the master plan.

  3. WCA says:

    Active Nation have linked this development with a couple of other ones in the Sports Centre which means they won’t be getting the funding and starting the work until next year! 😦

    It kind of makes sense from their perspective but is frustrating as I was hoping to get this started and hopefully completed before Christmas.

    I guess we need to find £5-£10K of our own money quickly and then we should be able to force quicker progress.

    Any offers?

    contact me if you want to be a named sponsor or even the Platinum Sponsor with the whole area named in your honour.

  4. WCA says:

    We have a winner – Rowan Sorrell from Back on Track will be designing our trail.

    He won the bid through a combination of competitive pricing but mainly by listening to what we were trying to achieve. We wanted an off-road riding skills area rather than a trail centre style track. He contacted us a few times to clarify the exact requirements and explained that if we left the surface as dirt it would need a lot more maintenance but would retain the natural feel.

    Now we are just waiting on Active Nation to gather the funding together and start it!!

  5. Dumbleton Park says:

    What i have seen and heard of Rowens work, it looks brilliant and the same for Ians builds.
    The gravity track at Avon Tyrell is a great example of a trail anyone can ride but is still as challenging as you want to make it with variety of lines to play on.

  6. WCA says:

    21 Sep – The short list for the trail designers in no particular order is:

    Ian Warby – CTC
    Rowan Sorrell – Back-On-Track
    Phil Saxana – ArchiTrail

    I am sure you can use Google to find out who they are and what they have done. All top blokes.

    We want them on site to help oversee the build process rather than just post us a piece of paper with some pictures. This should help the build speed and success.

  7. WCA says:

    Dan – I do know the book and i do agree that we should incorporate a pump track in the area. check the updated design picture on the home page of this site. Feature 4 is a pump track, now check page 20 of Pump Track Nation and Lee’s (ex) pump track will look spookily familiar.
    Thanks for the suggestion but clearly great minds think alike.

    Are you up for a bit of spade work with CHAOS?

  8. Dan Hornan says:

    Hi Nick,
    Do you know about Lee McCormack’s (famous US mtb and BMX coach) book ‘Welcome to Pump Track Nation’. It contains extensive information about how to build a pump track and why. It would make sense to have at least part of the facility as a pump track:

    http://www.leelikesbikes.com/WTPTN/WTPTNindex.html

    Cheers,

    Dan

  9. WCA says:

    I am setting up a loose affiliation of volunteers for dig days and general maintenance. no membership fees and no membership benefits but you can turn up, dig with the group and then ride the results knowing that they are yours.

    Cycle Helpers Active Operations Squad

    That’s right, I am organising CHAOS.

    I will be bringing CHAOS to the sports Centre.

    If you want to be part of the CHAOS then email me and i will add you to the contact list. You will then get emails every so often telling you what we are planning and asking if you want to come along.

    Email me your name and phone number : skillsarea AT gmail DOT com
    Replace AT with @ and DOT with .

    Cheers

    Nick

  10. WCA says:

    31 Aug 2011 – I have contacted a few trail designers and they have shown interest so it looks like we are moving forward. Most of the area we can develop ourselves but some bits like the main trails will really benefit from a professional design and build.

    I am not sure if this will work but the basic design is going to be something like the picture in the link below:

    The final layout may change but it shows the 9 key componants

  11. WCA says:

    26-Aug – GREAT NEWS!!!
    We had the consultation last night and there was a fair mix of people, local residents, British Cycling, Active Nation Staff, local shop owners, other cyclists and we went through the proposal. It was an amazingly positive experience and I would like to thank the Active Nation team for allowing me this opportunity.
    It looks like all systems are go the get the proper trail design drawn up. There is a Cyclocross meeting on 13th November which we will probably present the design to the public. We need to work with the Cyclocross organisers to make sure the two facilities enhance each other and don’t clash.

  12. David Drew says:

    New cycling area … for the record.

    Active Nation is wholly supportive of this initiative and further believes that development of a holistic cycling provision within the Outdoor Sports Centre is an idea we should pursue further.

    The reason we are focusing on this initiative now as a stand alone development is because as a project it would be relatively easy to implement, there is a clear demand, its impact on the landscape is consider low and recently we have seen some nasty cycling accidents. Creation of a facility like this will offer cyclists an alternative, and much safer challenge to cycling over grass verges.

    Over the next six months Active Nation will be undertaking an extensive consultation project to help determine what future improvements and developments we should be focusing on for the Sport Centre. Cycling will feature as an area of focus within this consultation at which point we will revisit the other proposasl which have been suggested.

    We hope to see you all on 25th August and look forward to having a conversation with you.

  13. WCA says:

    09-Aug – The meeting has been scheduled for 7pm on August 25th at the Sporting View pub in the Sports Centre. This is a great opportunity for everyone to make suggestions, get involved and make this skills area the success I know it can be.

    Please turn up, bring friends, contribute positively and lets get this project started!

    See you all there

  14. WCA says:

    01-Aug – Woot! Woot! We have signs of progress!! David Drew is arranging a consultation meeting towards the end of this month. I will be working with Danny Allen on the presentation. If you want to see this plan go ahead then please come to the meeting. I will let you know when it is just as soon as I know the date.

  15. WCA says:

    03 July 2011 – The wheels of progress work slowly don’t they. Well the latest installment in the progress was an email from David Drew following up from the grand plans shown above. The edited highlights read ” in reality we are not going to get the consultation planned quickly enough to look at your arrangements. I am going to suggest we hold an open forum to hear your plans (particularly targeted at residents) and then we see the objections and respond.”

    You may read this as a a knock back but I prefer to see the positive. They have seen the big proposal which is good. They want to progress with the original plan more quickly. This has to be positive doesn’t it?

    Anyway, more great news is that a local hero, Gary Kingsbury, has said he would also like to get involved. i am sure that most of you know Gary or at least know of the work he does but for those that don’t he is responsible for the track at Dumbleton Park and leads loads of the youth riding out at Moors Valley and Avon Tyrrell. He is an all round good guy who knows how to get things done with all the hoops and rings we will have to jump through.

    With luck I will meet with the Active nation guys early this week and get the backing from local residents, then with Gary’s help we should get the funding and project plans in place to turn this into a massive success.

  16. WCA says:

    12 May 2011 – Just come back from my meeting with David Drew. He listened to what I had to say, explained his position and we then walked around the Sports Centre to see what it might look like in reality. Lots of good an positive feedback but he explained that they were in the process of a big review of the Sports Centres facilities and development potential for various different sports.

    This could have been the start of ‘Death by Committee’ but David assured me that Active Nation were keen to get things done however were constrained by due procedure. This sounds fair enough, it is a much loved public area so they need to let people know what they are planning and give their feedback and suggestions. David reckons it will take a couple of weeks to get the consultation process arranged within Active nation and then it will be launched to the public.

    Let’s not get disheartened by this, let’s think of the advantages. It is a consultation where they will be asking for suggestions and feedback. I will be suggesting a number of cycling related things. What I want from you guys is the positive feedback for them. You can guarentee that there will be objections to everything but if 3 people complain and 200 of us are positive, you can see which way the decision will go.

    The plan of action is to wait a couple of weeks for the consultation to start. I will then make sure all of my suggestions are there and hopefully mobilise all riders to support them. A quick list of ideas so far are:

    – Bike Area
    – BMX ramps on the old paddling pool by the Sporting View pub
    – Trials / northshore area
    – Surfaced oval sprint track
    – Kids tarmaced area with road markings for cycling proficiency
    – DH tracks by the ski slope
    – Proper dirt jump area
    – Series of trails to join them all together
    – Cricket practise nets*

    * not exactly cycling related but still a good addition to the Sports Centre

    Anyway, that’s all for the moment. I will let you know when the consultation period starts. if you have any suggestions you want to but forward, either contact me or David Drew directly.

  17. WCA says:

    12 May 2011 – Well it has been a while since I updated this. There is a good reason which is that I actually have a life. I have had a couple of weeks of holiday and work commitments and all the normal stuff that gets in the way of fun projects like this.

    Anyway, I have just received an email from David trying to arrange a meeting for next Monday. this is great and hopefully we will take the first steps at turning all this talk and interest into actual action. Here’s hoping.

    I am expecting to be hit with a big stack of procedures and consultation periods etc but that is probably a necessary evil. You can’t just let people do something good without allowing other people to object because their dog can’t sh*t on that bit of grass anymore.

    What is really encouraging is that he wants top talk about the wider cycling development opportunities available, not just this bike area. This suggests he has enough vision to realise what might be possible and also the intention of doing something.

  18. WCA says:

    20 Apr 2011 – Things are moving apace! Check out this for a reply from David Drew “Love it!! Lets get a meeting in the diary”

    It doesn’t get much more positive than that. Unfortunately due to a combination of meetings, my day job, clashing holidays etc it looks like it will be two weeks before we get the meeting but having spoken to David this morning he sounds really up beat.

    If David truly is the main decision maker / influencer then I would say we are well on the way to starting this project for real.

  19. WCA says:

    19 Apr 2011 – Well it looks like we are making some progress again. I had a very useful meeting with Danny Allen. I went through the detail of the proposal and explained what we were trying to achieve and the requirements we had. He understood that the paddling pool site was unsuitable and that the preferred site near the Coxford Rd entrance was his favoured site too which was good.

    Danny seemed keen to progress the idea and was happy to try and help move this forward. I then managed to catch Ross McClean in the car park for a couple of minutes and he confirmed that he was happy with the idea.

    Ross gave me the email details for David Drew who appears to be the main decision maker now. I have emailed David the proposal and a short presentation explaining my vision for the sport centre. Ross was meeting David this afternoon and said he would raise the matter.

    Hopefully David will get back to me soon and we can hopefully move onto the easy bit of finding some money to pay for it.

  20. WCA says:

    18 Apr 2011 – No updates for ages and then two in one day! I still haven’t heard back from Dale or Ross but have managed to speak with Danny Allen who is the Duty Manager for the Sports Centre. He has arranged to meet me at 10:30 tomorrow to discuss this and then has a meeting with Ross McClean immediately afterwards so let’s hope we have a good meeting.

  21. WCA says:

    18-Apr 2011 – Well it has been a while since I updated this because I have been waiting for something to say. Unfortunately it appears that Dale Bostock has either been too busy to return my calls and emails (quite possible), has been kidnapped by aliens (less likely) or is purposfully ignoring me (it won’t work).

    So in terms of an update. Nothing has happened because of the wall of silence. I will now see if I can find another way around this. If anyone does see or hear from Dale please can they check he is okay and ask him to contact me.

    In the mean time I have managed to speak with Martin Beere (sp?) of Open Spaces in Southampton. He was a very helpful man who confirmed that the Open Spaces department of Southampton Council had no issues, objections or control over this matter and that as far as he was concerned it was solely the responsibility of Active Nation.

    I made a quick call to Ross McClean to chase this up but he was in a meeting. Hopefully he will call back soon

  22. WCA says:

    03 Mar 2011 – I am a bit late with the update this week as I was stuck in London on Friday and have been out on the bike since then. Anyway, the news from Dale Bostock is that he hasn’t managed to speak to the Open Spaces people but did talk with someone at the Sports Centre. Apparently they suggested an area for the bike park which used to be a paddling pool down the hill from the sporting View pub and next to the stream.

    The good news is that they agreed to the principal of a bike area but the bad news is they thought a flat area the size of a tennis court that floods regularly was suitable. This was only communicated by email to me so I have no way of telling whether this was a serious suggestion and they just didn’t understand what was being proposed or whether they were trying to kill the project by putting it somewhere that would guarantee failure. I will try to speak with them directly and also with Dale to get the proper picture.

    I went and had a look at the location again on my ride back from the woods today and confirmed it was of no use to cyclist but made an interesting observation:

    a) I had been riding around Lordswood for a couple of hours and met 19 other cyclists, most in groups of twos and threes and 5 dog walkers.

    b) I was in the Sports Centre for 30 minutes and saw 13 people, all dog walkers. No-one on the cricket pitches, football pitches, tennis courts, netball courts, crazy golf, ski slope, play area by the (empty) boating lake.

    From this observation you would conclude that the Sports Centre should be bulldozed to make way for a dogs toilet!

    We need to succeed with this plan to rejuvenate the Sports Centre. We use the bike area to draw people in. We then build the trails to show them all the facilities. I can see this really kick starting the use of the Sports Centre as a place people go to on a Sunday with the family in a similar way to Southampton Common but with more activities.

    At the moment I am feeling really positive but let’s see who wee’s on my dreams from a great height!

  23. WCA says:

    25 Mar 2011 – An interesting and productive week. I got back from a business trip and rang Ross for an update on his progress. He explained that he had discussed the idea with Dale Bostock from Southampton Council and Thea Bjaaland from Sustrans. They were more in favour of longer family friendly trails than a bike area like I am proposing. This seemed a little negative so I contacted Dale directly.

    Dale is a really enthusiastic guy and is quite happy with the bike area idea but would like the longer trails as well, not instead. This was good. He asked if I had any ideas about possible routes for the longer trails so I popped out with the GPS on the bike and mapped a 1/2 mile short trail and a 2 mile longer trail around the perimeter of the Sports Centre. These were all put in a presentation along with the play area and sent off to Dale today.

    He will be speaking to the Open Spaces team next week about moving this forwards so hopefully we will have another update towards the end of next week. I now just need to find the money. Any offers?

  24. WCA says:

    19 Mar 2011 – Spoke with Ross McClean. He has had a number of informal discussions and there still seems to be an appetite to move this forward. The subject is on the formal agenda next week and Ross promised to email me with an update regarding the outcome.

    Ross did warn that this may be a slow process.

  25. 11 Mar 2011 – Meet with Ross McClean, the new guy at Active Nation, to discuss me ideas. He likes them and promises to discuss them with the appropriate people and get back to me by the middle of the following week.

    Well that brings the diary up to today. I am waiting until I hear back next Wednesday before progressing this further but I will probably be forming some kind of club so we can prove the demand and the ability to maintain the tracks. Then it is just chasing the money. Any donations welcome.

  26. 6th Mar 2011 – A quick cycle around Lordswood talking to whoever I meet. They all love the ideas and sign the petition. The local bike shops are all in favour too.

  27. 4th March 2011 – Found out the Sports Centre is owned by the Council but run by Active Nation. Met with Danny at the Sport Centre to see what he thought of the idea. He was really keen and said they had a new bloke joining Active Nation the following Monday and I should talk to him.

  28. 3rd Mar 2011 – Speak the the guys putting the tracks in AT to get approximate costings. Draw up some plans and select the best sites. I now have a plan and provisional costings. I just need the land, the permission and the money.

  29. 2nd Mar 2011 – Nice ride around Lordswood and nipped into the Sport Centre to see if anyone was around. A few people cycling through but no reason to stay.

    A few beers later that evening and I thought it would be great to have a pump track or gravity track like at Avon Tyrrell. If we put it in the Sports Centre it would be a real draw for people too and make it a destination rather than just a route through

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