Video: Manon Carpenter Trails on Trial

“Riders the world over have developed a language of love for trails. Be it seasoned shredders or newcomers to the sport, we all understand the feeling of entering the elusive “flow state.” Often, this is how we interpret the trails we love to ride—they’re defined by their nuanced, unique traits, like gnarled set of roots or perfectly poised berms. They’re memories and moments we all cherish.

But behind the layers of soil, rock, and cambers lie ingredients that are integral to the trail​’s being. We might not even understand their role, or existence, but the combination of hardy people, little-understood laws, and collaborations between builders and land managers are crucial to the very soul of the trail. Without them, trails sit on the knife’s edge between continuation and destruction.

In this documentary, the former World Cup downhill and World Champion, Manon Carpenter, undertakes a journey of discovery. Visiting riders and builders from across mainland Britain, she uncovers what it takes for mountain biking to become an accepted, thriving part of communities. Along the way, managers of large swathes of land where trails are situated share their point of view about why trail existence, and management, is a complex undertaking. When tensions arise, they share how they can be diffused, and eventually transitioned, into collaborations for the benefit of all.

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