The Voice of Mountain Biking in Northern Ireland

News

We will keep this section up to date with any relevant NIMBA information and activity.
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  • 02 May 2014 4:28 PM | Rick McKee (Administrator)
    craigavon pump trackNIMBA was delighted to have the opportunity to support and endorse the work of Craigavon Borough Council and its partners at the launch of a new pump track which has opened beside the existing mountain biking trails at Craigavon.

    This not only provides an important facility for the local community, it is another draw for those willing to travel to experience the wider mountain biking and leisure offering around Craigavon Lakes.  

    NIMBA has worked alongside Craigavon Borough Council on a number of initiatives related to the trails, including routine maintenance, and the council deserves great credit for its long-term commitment to provision in the Borough under its Craigavon Cycling Project.  This latest pump track is yet another example of how biking is getting an ever-increasing profile across the country. 

    The pump track was designed by Architrail and built by contractors FP McCann.  A wide range of users had a go on the new track, including the local cycling officers, the two PSNI officers, the photographer, and even the mayor Mark Baxter and the day's other dignitaries.  After that, it was time to return to Craigavon Watersports Centre for a complimentary and very welcome barbecue, kindly hosted by the Council. 
  • 28 Apr 2014 4:13 PM | Rick McKee (Administrator)
    SSEC2014NIMBA has worked with Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland over the past year to initially secure, and then go on to deliver, SSEC2014 for Northern Ireland.  Since winning the right to host the Championships at last year's event in Girona, there has been lots of hard work to prepare for the 2014 event at Castlewellan, with Down District Council having been very generous in their substantial financing of the event.

    The event took place from 25-27 April, and saw over 260 European competitors join the weekend festival of fun, bikes, hospitality, friendship, fancy dress and general outdoor life!  The overseas guests got a real flavour for the hospitality and welcome available in Northern Ireland, as well as a taste of our new network of sanctioned trails, plus some of the 'old-school' trails that many of us know and continue to love.

    This event has only served to strengthen the voice of mountain biking in Northern Ireland, as an outdoor activity that deserves investment, as it draws visitors, drives spend and encourages people young and old into the great outdoors.  NIMBA will be working to build upon the success of this event, to raise the profile of mountain biking, to get more people out on their bikes, and to demonstrate its potential to generate a much-needed stimulus to our local economy.
  • 09 Feb 2014 9:20 PM | Rick McKee (Administrator)

    Calling all riders of the Stream Trail at Davagh Forest who would like to see it return to its former glory


    A meeting to discuss the above project is planned for Monday 24 February 2014, 8:00pm SHARP.  Tea/coffee served from 7:30pm.


    Venue is Bluebells Cafe, on the Cookstown/Dungannon Road. 3A Killycolp Rd, Cookstown BT80 9AD


    This meeting is for RIDERS.  Its purpose is to finalise plans for the new Stream Trail, in terms of trail style and features. The project is a joint initiative between local riders and Cookstown Council and, if budget allows, may also extend to cover the Plate Trail above the top car park.


    Anyone planning to attend the meeting, bring a couple of quid to cover the cost of tea, coffee, biscuits and venue from our hosts.  Do please try to get there in good time, so that we can get the meeting done and dusted and home to our beds to dream of flowing mountain biking trails.


    The meeting will be chaired by Rick McKee of NI Mountain Biking Alliance (NIMBA) www.nimba.org.uk, who has been involved in discussing this project with Cookstown Council and local riders in recent months.


    Meeting Agenda:


    1.    Welcome, background and context of meeting - Rick McKee (10 mins)

    2.    Presentation of initial trail plan - Stephen Law and other local riders (30 mins)

    3.    Discussion and feedback - All present (30 – 45 mins)

    4.    Confirmation of next steps - Rick McKee (5 mins)


    The outputs from this meeting will be compiled into a final trail brief that will be submitted to Cookstown Council for discussion and ultimate development.


    Just to give an idea of numbers, for the convenience of our hosts at Bluebells, if you hope to attend please be sure and drop an email to Rick@nimba.org.uk.

  • 07 Feb 2014 1:23 PM | Rick McKee (Administrator)

    The following was submitted to Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland, who are running the consultation process for Castlewellan Phase 2.

    1.    We had previously suggested a climb to the top of Slievenaslat from circa Point 35, then offering riders a singletrack descent section from the top of Slievenaslat towards the north, with the section ending at the beginning of Whitewater Rapide.  We believe that the proposal as it currently stands misses an opportunity to offer riders a much longer descent overall, and better options for ‘mixing it up’ on their day out. 

    2.    The delivery of trails that are challenging, fast and flowing, with jumps, berms, drops and other features delivered in a manner that flows for the rider, whether they are a beginner or highly experienced.  These do not need to impinge upon the landscape around the castle negatively, which we understand to be some concern.

    3.    No more rock gardens and similar elements that "interrupt" the flow, as they deliver a poor rider experience in their currently-designed form.

    4.    Any new build should focus on a different feel/type of trail, preferably with a different design philosophy than that already delivered, to enhance the variety of a trip to Castlewellan.

    5.    Absolutely NOT 'more of the same' trail type as was delivered in Phase 1.

    6.    Experienced rider involvement at all points in the design and delivery process.

    7.    Overall, we are calling for the delivery of trails that flow well for the rider and where the rider is given more responsibility for speed control with a trail design that supports it, not speed control forced through dangerous obstacles such as trees and rocks that interrupt flow and increase risk.  In short, grin-inducing stuff that in our view is absent from much of Castlewellan Phase 1.  

  • 24 Jan 2014 6:54 PM | Rick McKee (Administrator)

    We understand that it was suggested from the front of the consultation meeting in Castlewellan on Wednesday 22 January that the frame of reference for Phase 2 of the Castlewellan Trails called for 'accessible, low gradient and low technical trails", and that this frame of reference came from NIMBA and the NI Tourist Board.  This does not represent NIMBA's views. 


    NIMBA representatives were unfortunately unable to make the meeting in Castlewellan, but to clarify our position in our own words, the views of NIMBA on Castlewellan Phase 2 requirement were, and remain, as follows:


    1. The delivery of trails that are challenging, fast and flowing, with jumps, berms, drops and other features delivered in a manner that flows for the rider, whether they are a beginner or highly experienced.


    2. No more rock gardens and similar elements that "interrupt" the flow, as they deliver a poor rider experience in their currently-designed form.


    3. Any new build should focus on a different feel/type of trail, preferably with a different design philosophy than that already delivered, to enhance the variety of a trip to Castlewellan.


    4. Absolutely NOT 'more of the same' trail type as was delivered in Phase 1.


    5. Experienced rider involvement at all points in the design and delivery process.


    6. Overall, we are calling for the delivery of trails that flow well for the rider and where the rider is given more responsibility for speed control with a trail design that supports it, not speed control forced through dangerous obstacles such as trees and rocks that interrupt flow and increase risk.


    7. In short, grin-inducing stuff that in our view is absent from much of Castlewellan Phase 1.

    In response to the consultation process, NIMBA will be further articulating the above in writing, as well as providing written feedback on other specific items outlined in the information/consultation session on 22 January, and we will be making this response public in due course.


    Rick McKee

    Chairman

    Northern Ireland Mountain Biking Alliance

  • 21 Dec 2013 11:08 PM | Rick McKee (Administrator)

    Discussions have been ongoing with Cookstown District Council in recent months to see further trail development within Davagh Forest in partnership with the local bikers.  See http://nimba.memberlodge.com/news?mode=PostView&bmi=1456469 for context.

     

    It has been widely acknowledged that the structures that made up the old trail known as the Stream Trail were neither safe nor sustainable in their current form – the council, who have responsibility for recreation right across Davagh Forest, were understandably unable to stand over the quality of the structures, meaning they all had to go and were scheduled for removal.

     

    Despite the many hundreds of man-hours that have gone into building, maintaining, extending and improving these structures over the years, and the back-breaking work involved, the mountain bikers recognised the reality of the situation from the Council’s perspective, and as a gesture of goodwill they decided to take the initiative and remove the structures themselves.  This work is now complete, following the work of 15 volunteers on 21st December.

     

    Discussions will continue with Cookstown District Council in the New Year, exploring ways to further develop the current partnership working relationship, to see the quantity and quality of trails available in Davagh Forest further increased for the benefit of all.

  • 17 Dec 2013 6:25 PM | Rick McKee (Administrator)

    NIMBA has presented a detailed review of Rostrevor Downhill trails to Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland (ORNI), highlighting a range of specific issues that we believe need to be addressed, primarily relating to flow on both trails.


    Going forward, we have recommended that further development requires sustained on-site engagement with a range of appropriate riders in some kind of managed build/maintenance process, initially using the NIMBA report as the basis for discussion on site on the trails. 


    This point was also made by ORNI in their response to us, in which they have acknowledged receipt, thanked NIMBA for the report and ongoing commitment to further development.  ORNI also said that the NIMBA report is to be used in conjunction with other constructive feedback received from a wider group of downhill riders in relation to the Rostrevor Downhill tracks.


    The issues flagged are to be addressed in the following way in due course:

    • The formation of a downhill-specific rider volunteer scheme
    • Some work by the building contractors under their current ongoing arrangement
    • Ongoing targeted maintenance by the trail maintenance team in Mourne Heritage Trust

    We look forward to seeing progress on this soon.

  • 11 Dec 2013 11:04 PM | Rick McKee (Administrator)

    NIMBA had a very productive meeting with Cookstown Council officers on 11 December to discuss further trail development options within Davagh Forest.  The new Council trails that launched last Spring have been a huge success, enjoying fantastic feedback from riders of all abilities.  This is giving the forest a new lease of life not just for mountain biking, but also for wider recreation and leisure.

     

    Of course, the new trails are but another step forward in an ongoing and unfinished journey for all those interested in mountain-biking in the forest.  Davagh has been a top mountain biking spot for many years, and local riders are very keen to assist in moving things forward even further.  Today’s meeting confirmed to NIMBA that the Council remains committed to working in partnership with mountain bikers, with hopefully more great things to come.

  • 09 Dec 2013 12:55 PM | Rick McKee (Administrator)
    NIMBA representatives attended a meeting held at Tollymore Mountain Centre earlier this week to participate in one of three consultation meetings being hosted by ORNI and SportNI about recreation development in the Mourne and neighbouring regions. 

    We took our chance to share views on recreation in the area from a mountain biking perspective of course, as well as discussing the challenges and opportunities of other activities with those present.  Refreshing to see mountain biking so high on the agenda in a positive way.

    Great to see a number of other NIMBA members present on the night, with more NIMBA members also attending the other two meetings at Castlewellan and Warrenpoint.

  • 04 Dec 2013 7:27 PM | Rick McKee (Administrator)

    Today's Antrim Guardian reported progress in the quest to bring Tardree Forest back to life, after many years of decline.

    NIMBA first approached Antrim Borough Council officers in December 2012 with a presentation on the opportunities of mountainbiking, and was subsequently invited to present to the Development & Leisure Committee of the Council in late March 2013.  This presentation was received very positively, with councillors and officers enthused by the opportunity.

    There has been quite a bit of back and forth in the past few months about it, and there are lots of hurdles still to overcome, but the good news is that Council has now approved the first real tangible step, which is to free up some money towards the scoping exercise for trails and other stuff in the forest.

    Tardree is the closest forest of significant size and gradient to Belfast, and is easily accessible from much of the rest of the country, so if the trails ultimately delivered are what people actually want, then Tardree will be absolutely buzzing. 

    This is a council initiative, along with the consultants they appoint to deliver, but NIMBA will try to stay involved with a view to ensuring rider engagement at all parts of the process - note, when the time comes for feedback and consultation meetings, etc, we will need the active support of our members to ensure the mountainbiking voice is loud and clear.

    tardree

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