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Demo'ing the Flow

On a recent ride at Soquel Demo Forest (SDF) we took the opportunity to ride the first two sections of the Demo Flow trail. We had a blast!

SDF, or Demo, is always a fun ride. We have been there several times and know the trails pretty well. This was one of our first opportunities to try the first available sections of the new Demo Flow trail. We were pretty interested in seeing the new trail at Demo after riding the Endor flow trail at Tamarancho and having a ton of fun.

Unlike many of the trails at Demo, flow trails are not steep, rocky or super technical. Instead, they are intentionally designed to traverse across a hillside with a slight downhill grade and a few short uphills rather than the steep downhill trails that characterize most other downhill trails at Demo. The slower traversal and descent allows the trail to be built with a series of bermed turns and rollers that bring out a different style of riding. These high banked turns can be ridden by riders of different skill levels, making the trail "friendly" for a wide range of users.

At Demo, the plan is for a long flow trail to replace Tractor Trail. It will be built in 5 sections, but currently (summer of 2014) only sections 3 and 5 have been completed. To get to the Flow Trail (section 3), head down Tractor Trail for 0.6 miles and look of a signed trail entrance on the right side of the trail. This looks like a fire road and isn't the Flow Trail itself but a short climb will bring to you to the unmistakable single track that is the top of Section 3. Head down and to the left and you will be on the trail and the first bermed turn will be coming up shortly after crossing a small log bridge. This loops back and forth until it returns to Tractor. Head down Tractor for another 0.16 miles and you will find the signed entrance to Section 5 just across a small log crossing over a small gully. This begins another single track flow section until you get back to Tractor. If you haven't had enough (quite likely!), you can head back up Tractor to top of Section 3, which is a 430 foot climb in 0.5 miles. The ride up was quite manageable the first time when I didn't have a feel for how far or how steep. Once you have had your fill of the Flow Trail, you can head up or down Tractor depending on how much more riding you want to do.

Once completed, the Flow Trail will be a replacement for the existing Tractor Trail which is essentially a fire road used for logging operations. This area was recently forested (as per the CalFire plan) but they did a remarkably good job of harvesting timber without destroying the forest.

It is quite obvious that a lot of work went into conceiving and then building this trail.  Hats off to:

  • CalFire for allowing and supporting the building of the trail. They are demonstrating that land managers can successfully coordinate with user groups to achieve something great. They also did a great job on the timber harvest, taking some trees but leaving the majority and preserving vibrancy of the forest rather than leaving a clear cut "bald patch'.
  • Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBOSC) is the local chapter of the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) that has spearheaded the effort to actually fund and build the Flow Trail.
  • Stewards of Soquel Forest for their longstanding efforts to lead responsible use of the forest and their trail building efforts.
  • The local and national corporate sponsors and individuals that have donated funding or prizes to support building the Flow Trail
  • All of the riders that have contributed labor or other skills to make this trail a reality

Finally, it is obvious that trails like this don't magically spring into existance. If you have a bike, you can probably afford at least a small contribution toward funding the remaining sections of the Flow Trail. If you mountain bike, you also have the ability to do some trail work. This project and other like it will depend directly on you since they aren't going to be funded by the state or other land managers. Donate now!

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