Inside the DDS
DDS DIG CREW
For those of you that know what DDS stands for then sweet, for those of you that don't then the mystery will unfortunately have to continue until somebody tells you. Not to be clouded in mystery or secrecy it's just a way of helping keep the spot the way it is and for it not to be flooded with people who will neither respect it for what it is or people who just want a place to ride without giving anything back. I guess both those things go hand in hand within the riding community but I'm not going to spend all my time writing this blog documenting the lack of respect local spots and trail builders get. Maybe a little bit of it i will but for the most part it will be about shining the light on to the unsung heroes who without them there would be no insane trails to ride.
The winter has really struck home this last month here in the UK and with it has come a mixed bag of positive and negative results. The dirt has become saturated with water making it so much more pleasurable for trail builders to work with but at the same time the crazy winds have had detrimental effects felling trees on to trails leaving the DDS even more work to deal with alongside revamping old trails and building full freshies to be enjoyed come the dusty dry season.
I can take great pleasure in saying that I am part of the DDS, a relatively small group of committed individuals who at least every sunday ( plus mid week day and night digs) practice their religion of slinging dirt come rain, shine, sleet, snow or whatever else mother nature throws at us. A small band of brothers who all share the passion of working hard to create something that will hopefully stand the test of time and be enjoyed for years to come with like minded individuals. For anyone who has rode at the DDS HQ you will know how good the vibe is up there, a real community place where respect is the currency, no chest beating individuals just hard working lads who enjoy riding bikes on trails they've slaved over in the winter beforehand.
The beauty of spots like this is that it's built with nothing but love and passion for the shovel, no one gets paid to do it, therefore everyone works together freely to create trails that we all love to ride. The progression of the trails comes from the progression of the crew which has slowly grown over the years, founded back in 2016 by Rob and Broad to where it is now in 2022 it's clear that they started something beautiful and it has grown way bigger that they could have ever imagined. The DDS are legit, maybe a biased opinion but the proof is in the pudding the knowledge and experiences i have gained in the last 3-4 years is magical and a true testament to what a good local spot with a good crew can achieve when doing it right.
So why do trail builders have an issue with none trail builders? i think to tar everyone who doesnt trail build with the same brush is pretty stupid as peronally i know people who dont dig but show the correct respect that is deserved at local spots. The recurring problem that the DDS face and i'm pretty sure is the same at most local spots that have a dig crew is just the almost " i'm owed this" attitude. What I mean by that is when riders just turn up to the spot and treat it with zero respect. They litter, they destroy trails, they drop tyre pressures to 12 psi to get an insta reel of shralp compilation to tag their favourite corporate companies in, they drop the location on their post so anyone who follows them and get a rough idea of where the spot is. They are happy to sit there and watch the locals sweep out the trails untarp and water the jumps and then as soon as one of the locals picks up his helmet and bike they think it's their god given right to just get the first laps on the immaculate trails.
Again to reiterate i know its not everyone who doesn't trail build that conducts themselves like this but unfortunately when you've been out in all weathers battling the elements for months on end to build something you take pride in all it takes is one or two individuals to show that lack of respect that makes the trail crews "salty" towards people. I mean if you are that disrespectful guy then FUCK YOU basically and i say that on behalf of the DDS you are the guy that is ruining it for everyone else.
Anyway, The DDS wow!! insane group of lads coming from all types of professional backgrounds, Butchers, car Mechanics, bike mechanics, Pig farmers, Lorry drivers , Retired 60 year old keith. KEITH .... WOW... Let me tell you something about Keithy boy, 60 years old getting that shit at least 3 times a week within his own section of the woods. A true inspiration and dare we say it potentially the oldest trail builder in the UK?? potentially the world ? We don't know but what we do know is if Keith's out getting it at 60 years old lugging a spear and jackson long handle shovel about making it happen then there's no excuse for anyone else. The bond that is formed between this group is something that can only be fabricated when youre all in it together, when the wind and rain is smashing you in the face mid february as you continue to fill the barrows and stack the dirt high its in these times that the mutual respect is subconsciously built and the bond of the group becomes bulletproof.
As with every other local spot we have issues, theft is always a big one where people will happily take tools out of the woods freely. To think that if it's another rider who could have taken from the spot it's certainly disappointing and if it's just somebody who has stumbled upon the trails and found the tools then equally just as shit if they cannot recognise that the tools they are stealing are the ones used to create this dirt paradise. If your nan's flower bed needs that long handle more than the woods then fair play mate serves us right for leaving them in the woods. Littering is beyond belief to the point that someone has actually dragged our settee out of our shelter (which has been burnt down untold times) had a BBQ with veggie sausages ( instant insult when you're main man is a butcher) then proceed to leave all their litter scattered everywhere and leave the settee out to get piss wet through as it later rained that day.
Just little things that we have to battle with week in week out, if you're not battling the weather in the winter you're battling all the idiots in the summer so the actual amount of time we get to ride our own spot decreases by the week. But does it stop us from doing it year in year out? Fuck no it doesnt because when youre high fiving after laps of blues or KFC or silk road or carlsberg then the long cold wet days and hours of cleaning up after wankers fade away instantly. It's early summer and it's game time for the lads to enjoy the fruits of their labour.
It goes without saying the pros outweigh the cons for the DDS. There's just something special about sharing your hard work with like minded people it creates a great community and makes for some of the best times of our lives. When the hammocks are erected and the BBQ is on, when the riders are floating through the air, the music is pumping, the atmosphere filled with good vibes and smoke makes you appreciate everything that much more. Taking your sweaty helmet off and retiring into your hammock to enjoy a beer or a smoke or both or none whatever it is you like doing there's just something wholesome about it knowing you're part of this great little tribe of people that made it all happen. It's right there and then in those short lived single moments you can take pride in what you've achieved.
In my eyes to me the DDS and dig crews alike are the real heroes of the MTB community, The dirty underbelly that no one really acknowledges, so many laps have been had worldwide on trails built by these select bunch of like minded people with no respect or even a thank you for what they do. We don't do it for the thanks, we do it so everyone can see it's possible and with the hope that people will want to help give back to their local spots. Most people won't ever do that so a small "thankyou" is better than a kick in the dick at least. I feel like most people who will read these blogs will probably trail build in some shape or form but if you don't then please consider helping where you can, thanks.
BANANA BOYZ ..... and the DDS x