This month’s Cactus Trail Hero is of course as previously announced Simon Bannister from Nelson. A lot of you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Simon yet or riding his trails so we thought you’d like to hear a little more about why Simon was nominated and why it’s been such a popular decision.
First of all from Sven Martin, a man who’s ridden all around the world but chooses to live in Nelson when he’s not working. It was also Sven who nominated Simon in the first place:
There had recently been some posts about how homogenous a lot of the new trails that were being built around the world were. Built to IMBA standard etc, now while there is nothing wrong with this, it does take some of the soul and character out of the trail. Especially when machines are involved.While there is a place for those type of trails its the wild native out back trail riding that made me choose to immigrate to NZ.
Simon is one of those guys thats sticks to this ethos. Sustainable technical, native forest bush riding. Its fast flowy steep and the obstacles are all natural and occur where nature put them. While it seems like it takes less effort to build such tracks the opposite is in fact true. It takes a special kind of eye to scout a hill, ridge, line through extremely technical native bush without taking away any of the character of the trail or area and making it rideable (well almost rideable for some in sections). There are lots of diggers, volunteers, clubs and work parties building great singletrack all over NZ, lets not forget to keep it real sometimes. I don’t want to ride a trail that feels like any other trail all over the world. Keep it unique. Sven.
We asked newly elected Nelson Mountain Bike Club Chairperson Paul Jennings to do some digging (!) for us, to see if he could get the scoop on Siban and he tracked down long time digging and riding buddy James Horan who had this to say about Simon’s work and the bikeparkification of mountain biking:
It seems that most modern track building is about flow. Sculpted berms, reverse grade and cross fall, rollers where you can pump for speed and jumps you can boost. Riders are getting faster, smoother and the sport supposedly is progressing. Except that it it’s all contrived, a scam. All these buffed trails are dragging us away from the real roots of mountain biking – the absurd fun that is riding bikes in places where bikes never used to belong.
Wanna see what real riding is? Try following Simon Bannister down the über steep root infested hell that is the Croesus descent into Barrytown, or holding his wheel as he slays the jagged rocks on Kill Devil. Good luck, you’ll need it! Your local DH track is where you go to warm up for a trail riding road trip to Nelson and the trails that Simon has built (Peaking/Sunrise/629) are trails where frames, forks, wheels and overconfidence gained from too much time in bike parks go to die.
Simon, thanks for keeping it real bro.
Thanks to Cactus for the $150 voucher that is on its way to Simon, nice work. Thanks again to Sven Martin / HouseMartin for the photos always much appreciated. For those of you heading down to Nelson to ride in the TopGun, DME or Coppermine Epic don’t forget to take some time out to check out Simon’s work.
For more information on Croesus Trail featured in these photos check out this Department of Conservation page.