Liam Moss Films

A Rideable Piece Of Art

There’s More To Trailbuilding Than The Riding

‘A Rideable Piece of Art’ is a film by Liam Moss about trail building that explores builder Greg Jolliffe’s style, motivations, and perspective on trail building.Is trail building just a practical necessity for us as mountain bikers, or is it a form of creative expression in its own right – an evolution of Land Art to a truly interactive experience that opens the door to further expression?I (Liam) really got into trail building in 2020. I was in the fortunate position that I was furloughed and had a woodland just round the corner from my house. I started with one trail that my dad and I could use during our daily exercise allowance, then on to another, then another. It became apparent that other people were starting to use these trails too, and as restrictions eased up, people started coming out of the woodwork to help build and enjoy the trails. A community of sorts was formed.

It gave us all a creative outlet. Something to concentrate on during what was otherwise a difficult time for our mental health. I digress, but the point I’m trying to make is that the benefits of building trails go far beyond just riding them. It was in my final trail of “lockdown” that I got into my creative stride, and built a trail that not only rode well, but was also visually appealing.
It put me on a path of really appreciating trail building for its creativity and discovering the different reasons that motivate builders.
During our lockdown builds, there were plenty of people who didn’t approve of what we were doing, mostly passive-aggressive. Some would perform the classic act of waiting until we’ve left for the day and leaving logs strewn across the trail. In the end, I left a short letter explaining what we were doing, why we were building, and how it benefited the community and my mental health. I pinned it to a tree with a pen in case this person wanted to reply. I never heard from this person, but they stopped sabotaging the trail, and I got an overwhelming response from other users of the trail, riders and walkers alike, in full support of the project and the reasons behind it. One dog walker called our trail a feat of civil engineering, but that got me thinking: how is trail building viewed by the outside world, the non-mountain biking community? I think it’s usually viewed pretty negatively. It’s “kids in the woods making a mess”. Some will assume we are damaging and disrespecting nature with no thought for any other woodland users. But when a line of communication is opened, often the response is far more positive.
It was a picture that Jolliffe posted of the trail he was building at Bike Glenlivet that kicked this project off. It was a photo of a “boob” that seamlessly transitioned into a berm, and then into a set of rollers with a backdrop of the Cairngorms behind. It was stunning. With no real plan in mind, I grabbed my kit and made the long trip up to Glenlivet where I spent the next few days documenting Jolliffe and the CRC Trail crew creating this masterpiece of a trail.
I’d love for this film to reach outside of our community and give at least one builder’s perspective on what trail building truly is.
A Rideable Piece Of Art
Here’s what Greg had to say about the project:
Mountain Bike Trail building is the construction of rideable trails usually found in a natural setting, but it can be much more than that. It can be a harmony created by hard graft, expressed by bike and shovel. It’s creating something beautiful out of the most basic elements under our feet.
My ambition is to progress trail building in a new way – with the rider’s expression in mind – and having multiple ways to ride the same trail top to bottom. But there’s nothing new about a side hit here or there, so what do I mean? I guess it’s best to just look at the first scene in our film, a pushed back pocket berm with an inside off-camber “boob”. There are multiple ways to ride it, all directing you in the natural trail direction. It works perfectly for speed management and drainage.Now Picture a downhill skate park bowl with open ends. The green trail is at the very bottom, and the pro line would be gapping out of the top of the ramps. In my mind, that could be absolutely possible to build – A trail with unlimited progression. Always bringing people back to ride a new line. That’s my ambition.The trail at Glenlivet is a start in this direction. Its features are blended together seamlessly and can be ridden in many ways, effortlessly.The simple fact that my work comes from my heart tells enough that it can be art.” – Greg Jolliffe
A Rideable Piece Of Art


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