Tag Archives: Trail Building

More Visual Motivators

The last post talked about my visual motivator while on the trail.  But I find visual motivators at home as well.  Think back to being a kid and plastering the walls of your room with pictures of whatever you were totally into at the time.  I’m sure it still happens – that growing collection of cycling magazines I have is kept primarily for the pictures, not the articles.  When was the last time you heard that excuse?  But these days, riders are just as likely to scour the internet for an inspiring desktop background or sweet video.  I’ve been on a documentary kick lately and stumbled across a trailer for Pedal Driven, a “bike-umentary” about the future of trail building,  often done illegally on public land.  The conflict between freeride trail builders and the US Forest Service results from differing ideas of how the US population ought to be able to enjoy public land.  Since Pedal Driven is still in production, I only have the trailer to go on, but I am definitely looking forward to the finished product.  What are your thoughts?

Backyard Building

On Friday I spent a little over 2 hours working on a tiny trail that winds its way up the hill behind my house.  I’ve been living here for over 2 years and I’ve always wanted to build something that is rideable in both directions; up to build endurance and down to work on technique.  The going has been slow so far because of two primary reasons: mosquitoes and the soil.  Or lack thereof on the soil part.  A majority of the hill seems to have a ton of roots in the first inch of “soil” and a ridiculous amount of rocks buried about an inch below that, which makes any real digging on the trail almost impossible.  I’ve mostly just cleaned off the fallen leaves from the area I want to ride and packed down the loose loam with my feet or my bike.

I’m sure my trail building technique needs more refinement.  I know enough not to try to run my trail straight up or down the hill, but I’m trying to find a happy medium where the uphill part isn’t impossible to ride and the downhill section doesn’t leave me yawning.  I also know that it’s sometimes better to work with an obstacle rather than remove it.  A fallen tree about 2 feet tall caused progress on the building to slow a bit, until I was able to find enough fallen logs to ramp over the tree on both sides.  I’ve also set up a line that allows me to ride off the tree without a ramp on the other side.

As it is, I have to walk up the first 50′ of trail, because of a drop that happens right after a ladder bridge that I made out of monkey bars from an old playset.  I’m sure someone like Hans Rey could ride up it, but I prefer that section coming back down.  There is a line that could make it ridable, but that’s going to wait until after my trail makes it to the top of the hill. Because of the drop, and a hard-packed path on the last little hill, I get to fly around the last corner with my rear tire skidding like I’m some crazy DH racer.  The wife says I should end my run further away from the house, worried for my sanity as I drift through the off-camber turn.