We still get excited when we think about how life changed the day we started working with all round mountain bike trail design guru Dafydd Davis MBE. The multi–award winning founder of Trails Wales was working on the design for Northern Ireland’s first purpose built mountain bike trail in Rostrevor and Castlewellan Forest Parks in Co. Down back in 2012. Back then, we were lucky to get an opportunity to sit down and discuss our range of boardwalks.
Daffyd explained how trail boardwalks were often slippery due to damp weather conditions. Timber was always going to be a problem as over time it rots and disintegrates. Recycled plastic was always going to be a viable alternative but it got us thinking. Could we make our boardwalks even more slip resistant? As part of our ongoing innovation process, we developed “Ecogrip” decking, a version of our slip–resistant boards that aren’t just rot–proof but maintenance free. We then coat these with our unique road–tested polyurethane aggregate to create an ultra–slip resistant surface. We presented this innovation to Dafydd who describes the profound effect the product had on his work:
“Ecoplastic’s Ecogrip Mountain Bike Trial Boardwalks have changed the way we think about Mountain Bike Trail design. In the past, timber boardwalks on Mountain Bike Trails were such a major maintenance issue, due to their slipiness and tendency to rot, we only used them when there were no other alternatives due to ground conditions. Ecoplastic’s rot–proof, maintenance free and environmentally sound boardwalks combined with their ultra–slip–resistant Ecogrip decking boards changed all that. We’re working with Ecoplastic to design boardwalks that incorporate recycled plastic’s unique durability, strength and flexibility to maximize interest and challenges for riders and we specify Ecogrip boardwalks as actual trail features now, not just when ground conditions force our hands.”
The first of Dafydd’s trails to incorporate Ecogrip was at Barnetts’ Demesne in Belfast. Designed by Dafydd and built by MTB Trail experts Euroservices Contracts, the trail features boardwalk and bridges made from our 100% recycled plastic and decked with Ecogrip. The trail also features two rolling berms that swoop over natural log features and make use of Ecoplastic’s natural flexibility and strength to create extra interest for riders.
“We hadn’t worked with Ecoplastic boardwalk before our work at Barnett’s Demesne Mountain Bike Trail.” Says Sean Callan, Contracts Manager for Euroservices. “Right from the start we found using the material to be very straight–forward – cutting, drilling and installing. Ecoplastic’s construction guidelines were also very helpful. We’ve now installed a number of Ecoplastic’s Ecogrip boardwalks as part of Mountain Bike Trails all over Ireland. It’s a great solution for crossing very wet and boggy sections of trail. As well as being highly slip–resistant, Ecoplastic’s material is flexible enough to allow the creation of unique trail features as well as offering a maintenance–free boardwalk solution.”
Ecogrip has now been installed in 10 other Mountain Bike Trails throughout Ireland including Ballyhoura, Blessingbourne and Davagh Forest Trails.
Pictures courtesy of MountainBikeNI.com