Love it or loath it, trail maintenance is an imperative aspect of ensuring that your customers are safe and happy while riding your bike trails. Properly maintained trails won’t only improve customer satisfaction, ultimately encouraging users to return, but will also ensure that you are fulfilling your responsibility as a landowner or facility operator to ensure that your facility is safe for its intended use.

 

Here are five basic steps to successfully managing your facility:

 

Defects found during trail inspections should be recorded. Trail inspections reports will be used in planning remedial works.  

 

1. Inspect

A well-designed inspection schedule will help ensure that you inspect all of your trails at specified intervals. It is usually sufficient to carry out a ridden inspection once every month, and an inspection on foot every three months.

Inspection forms will serve as a means to record trail condition in detail, noting any faults along with their location and severity. Thorough inspections will identify problems as they begin to develop and allow time to plan remedial works before the issues worsen.

 

Here much of the fines have been washed from the trail tread due to blocked drainage further up the trail. Regular clearing of the drain could have prevented this damage from occurring.

 

2. Plan

The ultimate aim of planning maintenance works is to enable trail maintenance to be proactive as opposed to being reactive – you want to fix a problem before it occurs. By compiling information gathered from trail inspection forms into a central database the task of planning maintenance works is much more simple, and problems can be addressed quickly.

Works should be addressed in terms of priority – high risk or dangerous defects should have priority over defects that only reduce the ride quality of a trail.

Once high-risk defects have been dealt with, works can be planned to address defects that pose a low risk to trail safety or defects that impact only the ride quality of the trail.

 

While hand tools are usually sufficient for most maintenance work, larger repair jobs may require the use of excavators or other heavy machinery.

 

3. Repair

Remedial maintenance work can be carried out efficiently once a work schedule has been passed on to the trail crew. Routine maintenance will usually require only hand tools and small power tools, but it may be necessary to use plant machinery to complete larger maintenance tasks.

Trails should be managed appropriately during the trail works, this usually involves closing that section of trail off and putting diversions in place.

 

Keeping detailed records of trail inspections and subsequent maintenance works is a key part of a comprehensive maintenance programme.

 

4. Record

It is vital to keep records of all action taken to maintain your trails. Not only do records of inspection and maintenance work aid in future planning of works and resources, but they also serve as proof that you are managing your facility to a high standard.

Records should include all trail inspections, planning and repair work carried out. The date of each action should be included as well as the names of staff who carried out the work.

A great addition to paper records is to keep a file of before and after photos of significant repair works.

 

In addition to regular trail inspections, it is beneficial to monitor the effectiveness of remedial works over time.

 

5. Monitor

So you’ve inspected you trail, picked up on defects, and successfully repaired them. How do you further improve your maintenance works?

By monitoring the effectiveness of different remedial works you will be able to gather valuable information about how effective each trail repair technique has been. Over time this process will allow you to develop techniques that are specific to repairing trail defects at your site. This is important because each site will have a multitude of factors that affect how and why trails need repairing – from soil type to weather patterns to type and frequency of use.

 

So there you have it, our foolproof five-step guide to keeping your trails maintained to a high standard.

Have any questions or want to discuss the maintenance of your facility in detail? Get in touch with us, we’d be happy to help.