History of Flow Country
The concept of ‘flow’ has been at the core of mountain bike trail design since the sport became popular. Since the early days, trailbuilders inherently recognized the importance of this idea and incorporated it through various techniques to create the best possible trail experiences. Learning from these pioneers, IMBA is bringing this knowledge to the greater mountain bike community, providing a way to speak from a universal language that will inspire the future of mountain bike trail development.
The phase 'Flow Country Trail' was coined by Hans Rey in 2008. Together with accomplished trailbuilder Diddie Schneider from Germany, they have promoted this particular kind of bicycle-optimized, flow style trail to a broad spectrum of the industry including IMBA, other established trailbuilders, and the media.
Flow Country Trails already exist in some places eventhough they aren't necessarily labeled that way. With this in mind, it's quite apparent that 'flow' is both the essence and the future of our sport. However, it's necessary to distinguish between different types of 'flow' trails. This is where Flow Country Trails set themselves apart.
Hans and Diddie realized early on that they would need to get the whole industry behind The Flow Country concept. To do so they approached IMBA to not only support the idea, but to also help them define the standards and guidelines for the certification of future trails. Flow Country is and intends to be a global movement with quality ensured worldwide.
The idea was partly inspired by Welsh trailbuilder Dafydd Davis and the UK Trail Centres he helped develop in the 1990s. The first official Flow Country trail was built by Diddie and Hans in Livigno, Italy, the heart of the Alps. Since then Diddie has also built a Flow Country trail at his MTB Bike Zone Park in Bischofsmais, Germany.
In 2010 Hans and Diddie, together with IMBA, hosted the first Flow Country Conference and Workshop in Livigno, where trailbuilders and advocates from across Europe discussed Flow Country guidelines and implementation strategies.