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Manly Dam new section open

hairylittlehobbit's picture

By hairylittlehobbit - Posted on 15 August 2008

The new section of manly dam is open (in allambie), its fast and flowing with good drainage. As anyone else ridden it yet? what did you think?

hawkeye's picture

Net yet, but my youngster and I are planning a mission for Saturday after soccer. We'll let you know.

Andrew's picture

Rode it today
Its smooth hard packed new fire trail.
There are some good features and token attempts to be a MTB trail, however the extreme drainage lets it down in my opinion.
The drainage consists of steep deep loose rock ditches and small wall like water bars.
In its defence it is not boring and hopefully will bed in well.
It certainly opens it up to all levels of riders and I think it may actually slow the section down or risk OTB.
Cambered drainage and twisty single trail around the natural obstacles would have been a better option in my opinion as it is a purpose built MTB trail.
But hey it’s still fun and better than not being on the bike.

hawkeye's picture

"Dad, we need to find a new trail." This was my son's verdict yesterday on the changes (he is 12).

While I don't think it was that bad, I wasn't impressed. I appreciate that WSC has to maintain the trail and prevent erosion, and parts of that section were badly erosion damaged, but what happened to consultation with users? Would have yielded a much better result. Seems a bit odd they didn't poll the mtbtrailinfo mail list for input, nor even circulate a notice that the section of trail was closed for works. Sad

I disagree that it's not boring - and I'm a beginner. Andrew's comments about going over the bars aren't far off Laughing out loud ... in some places there's a 1-2 foot drop into a rubble drain immediately in front of a substantial waterbar.

Cambered drainage and twisty single trail around natural obstacles would have made it *much* more fun and interesting, and kept speeds down just as effectively. The volunteer labour system that's been used so well in the past could have covered any budget allocation difference. Hopefully some weathering and bush regrowth over summer will narrow it up and make a bit more interesting.

Mick's picture

Hawkeye, I took my 2 boys around the Dam today as well (aged 10 and 12). Both boys were unimpressed with the new section (as was I). While I note that Warringah Council has done some good things around the Dam, their more recent efforts are not an example of that. Was there any consultation at all with the MTB community on these works? To me, their first priority was to address the problem of erosion (in my view caused mainly by the back burn in the area last year), and their second priority was to ensure that MTBers proceed "with caution". I would argue that more MTBers use those trails than why weren't we involved in the decision making process? It would have been so simple to construct a trail that addresses the issue of erosion while making it fun for MTBers and safe for walkers. Just as I'm sure local governments don't build skate parks without consulting sensible, experienced users, why build a multi purpose trail without first speaking to the MTB community? I am a bit grumpy this afternoon but I am sick of the whole lack of consultation on the part of local government. With elections coming up, surely now is the time to find out who is committed to looking after our interests (which does not need to be at the expense of the environment or the greater community).

matthew williams's picture

..Interesting seeing the comments on 'the new bit' at manly Dam, well for the record i was actually inpressed!...for me it has improved an already exiting fast section to an even faster one, if you can clear the first three or four drainage ditches, as dropping into them at speed could end horribly wrong, you can then hit the last one with pace and get a serious jump going! Not much of a jumper type but amazed myself with the air i seemed to achieve at the end!....

Hasbeen Racing's picture

I didn't ride the dam before the Allambie section was closed (Saturday was laps 3 and 4) so I don't know what it was like before. I found the walls a bit of a pain but once past them its a fast run to a fun end section. The drains were a bit of fun to bunny hop but there is a good ramp through the middle too. I really enjoyed the end section and had a great run through there on my 2nd lap, although I had to hammer the brakes to avoid becoming a statistic on the last corner!!

It certainly made the whole ride a lot more fun not having a large downhill section on the road.

Alex's picture

personally i take back my previous comments on how lame i once thought the dam was, as i rode it last week for the first time on a dualy ever, (still concur it blows on a hard tail dirt jumper) and found the whole thing to be cracking good fun , super fast downhill section that is nice and long enough to get some real carving in (under 15kph of course) and some good variety to most sections, plus one of the few trails ive ridden on in the area that havent been let go to sh&^ by the powers that kudos in my book, just wish walkers were allowed at own risk due to the other 5000 trails they have to walk on, and someone would put in some fun things like some wall rides and high berms and jumps for example..ah whistler *sigh*

Baxide's picture

They are pretty steep ditches, admitedly more suited to a BMX rather than MTB's, but if you ride them at an angle you can maintain a fair bit of speed through them. The addition just adds to the whole Manly experience. It's got a little bit of something for everyone... and it's a real confidence building course.

Wish I was riding it now...

Whisperer's picture

I did six laps yesterday (bit of an epic in prep for some endurance events ahead),
and had plenty of opportunity to 'test' the new section.

Ok, some will find it 'boring', but keep in mind what it is replacing. The section previously had a lot of erosion, and deceptively deep holes/puddles and due to ongoing degradation was sometimes dangerous to beginners and experienced riders alike. Over the years I have seen a large number of accidents including one guy with a badly dislocated shoulder as he lost it and landed up in the ditch.

Yes, it could have been made more interesting, but there is plenty more of the dam for that.
And yes there will be OTB's, as the drainage sections are too deep in some places combined with the smooth rolling surface meaning speeds will be up. Let's hope in time they 'fill up' a bit.

On technique, its an opportunity to practice manualling through the dips, or if you can get good lift, bunny hopping over them. (Hard to clear the back wheel, but with more practice...)

Appreciate the manly dam trail for its overall benefits and please don't slam the council for trying to cater for a wide cross section of the mtb (and other) community.


Matt's picture

I need something to distract me from the rain in Auckland...

Bernd's picture

...all Whisperer, I did 2 laps on Sat. morning and feel the same, you have to slow down on 2 of them, but thats all.
All good and we should be happy to have such a nice MTB loop in our back yard!

christine's picture

like it when i rode it on Saturday and grumbled away to myself but by Sunday had recovered and thought it wasn't as bad... but I do think those drainage sections are a bit 'narky' - apparently i will just have to lift my game and learn to jump the bloody things!!
i just love the dam!
was excellent to see you guys yesterday - Whisperer and all the others!

MEEE Smiling

Little-Ditty's picture

I am voting in the negative on this one, to an extent. I am all for NPWS maintaing the dam and preventing / repairing damage due to over use, rain and erosion. NPWS do an excellent job around the dam with the limited number of staff available. However...

- I had heard from NPWS months ago that this section of trail was too big for NPWS to work on, and was to be sub-contracted to a 3rd party. Who was this? Who did the work? Did they have any experience in maintaining trails?

- the water bars are much too large and the recessing between the bars is also far to deep. These things, in my opinion, are currently dangerous and it is only a matter of time before someone breaks their neck or is killed on one of them. Especially at night when you can't make out how deep they are. Sure, I may know because I have ridden there. But what of the first timers?

- the only thing I can think of is that NPWS are expecting the recesses between the bars to fill in with dirt to make them flatter, or they want riders to slow down by making the water bars difficult to negotiate at speed. But if they think that riders will voluntarily slow down is a bit naive. Riders will always speed along that section of trail as fast as they dare. After all, it is the only really fast and fun section on the entire trail.

Rob's picture

Doooode... Manly Warringah Council look after Manly Dam - not NPWS.

I've been quiet on this one, but am getting my probably wildly optimistic crystal ball out here (note then - that these are my silly predictions and nothing more than pure speculation):

- Manly Dam will become a victim of it's own (and the sport of MTB riding) popularity. With more and more newbie and novice riders using it inevitably the council will have to make everything super easy and not expect anyone to ride at speed here.

- In their recreational policy (due out in December) the council will publish plans for an advanced MTB facility. Such a place will have a track with speed and technicality to rival Manly - a place where riders can progress to once they have mastered the now easy Dam course.

Here's hoping!!

Baxide's picture

... they don't make it easy. Just that they make some easy lines for noobs.
Mind you in saying that there are a few tricky lines at Manly. It's just a matter of how you want to ride it.

Stuart M's picture a tad over twelve months ago

Matt's picture

If you don't take the A Line at the 19th hole then you should probably restrain yourself from commenting on what you percieve as a lack of difficulty at the dam... to no-one in particular... and don't forget it is a firetrail in large parts and needs to be maintained as such.

woftt's picture

I rode it twice last Sunday. For those that recall the old trail in this spot will remember how bad it can get with rain and erosion, and so it is an improvement from that respect. However the old trail seemed to launch you into the downhill section much better than this one, as you lose a lot of momentum going in and out of the ditches.

Still I applaud the work and those who put the effort in to keep our trail open by maintaining sections like this.

dreggsy's picture

I agree with Little-Ditty on this one,
I don't think the council have really thought about it.
But it is not built according to IMBA standards.
They are the wrong size and are just asking for trouble.
luckily you can bunny hop all of these.

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