Tracks, Trails and Architecture

Whilst on a trips to Chamonix no visit is complete without mentioning the amazing personalities attracted to this valley with the laughs and smiles that are had in such a location. A little thanks to Carl, Chris, Rob and Steve for those Blue-sky thinking moments. Quirky folk perhaps but my type of people.

This is where “Tracks, Trails and Architecture “ begins. Chamonix. It’s about thinking of the link between Green Architecture and recreational time in the landscape.

My batteries were going to need to be charged before I was going to endure the pleasure of being sofa bound due to a Knee operation. So before this doing I planned a trip to catch up with friends and do nothing else than ride bikes for the week. Coincidentally in that same week my friend Sam was travelling down from Wales destined for Chamonix on the “Dazzler Express” (a converted coach) the lads had put together for their friend Rob Breakwell’s Stag doo. Sam is always enthusiastically building trails and was telling me about how he had several new missions on the go, what with a new pump track (See below) as well as explaining me  lines of a new flowing trail sections through the woods back in my home town Monmouth.  He continued to tell me about the other lads on the coach that run the trail building company “Back on Track” back in Wales.  Don’t be fooled World thinking Britain is flat! There’s some proper kick ass trails to be had there and some fierce riders to go with them.  5 British Rider in the top 10 for the world cup downhill series says quiet a lot about the momentum of the sport on the little Island. I have to admit it i don’t think the next Mountain Bike Trip will be to the Alps. There really is as much to offer and more in the UK!

After another epic week In Chamonix i drove back the same old way back through Switzerland to Germany and started thinking about all the great design ideas for Tracks, Trails and Architecture with the linking-up of trails across a whole Country complemented with little High Tech Zero Energy Refuge style resting/refueling spots along the way. Even though mountain biking tours are nothing new this linking up would pave a new force forward in a way for fully established trails specifically designed for mountain biking across Continents in the same way the GR walking routes have entwined themselves across Europe.

What an adventure this would be.

Without anymore delay on trying to explain mountain bike trail design take a look at State of the Art, Trail Designer/Rider Rowan Sorrell and his team “Back on Track” as they are revolutionizing modern recreational time out as we know it.



Just for the records, this year was said to be the tipping point with some alpine tour operators selling more beds to mountain biking groups than to the mountain walker. Both the walker and Rider now practice their rights to keep there paths strictly for the purpose of their sport, Hardly surprising when we are entering into the third generation of rider with still the originals in the sport as keen as ever to get in amongst it, ok you might not go as large but the passion never dies. It’s a healthy addictive sport.


The pump track.

So sofa time started and I set to work. Apart from firstly spending hours on the chain reaction cycle website ordering parts to rebuild my bikes front end due to an afternoon with the Dazzler I set to work researching firstly on pump tracks and landscape design as I plan to develop a zero energy family house that blends together simple Japanese Architecture and Garden design with a flowing pump track incorporated into the landscape of the project demonstrating the recreational importance of three. Before I fully embark on this task I have to take it a step further than just research and make a test track for real.  Luckily my current house has enough land to build a pump track in the garden and this will hopefully grow into a central meeting point for kids and adults to play.

To some it’s obvious but many people ask “ what is a pump track”?

It’s basically travelling around a sculptured track without having to peddle but by just pumping the bike through the pumps and burms.



The beauty of a pump track is the small size of land needed for the maximum amount of fun rewarded, It  improves ones handling skills on a bike and offers an amazing fitness level to grow. Grinning while doing sport! what ever next.

Even though the pump track planned at my house is a separate identity to the house it will test the secrets of getting a track flowing and the build and construction techniques needed to carry out such a task.

Further info check out leelikesbikes website. He’s very helpful.

On from here to something a little bit more tech.

Its a techie world i live in.


One thought on “Tracks, Trails and Architecture

  1. Heh Nick, Hope your recovered from Cannes and all that!! Can’t remember if you’ve gone out again for your bike trek again before the big knee op, if so hope you have a good one!!

    Just thought I’d get intouch!!



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