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  1. #1
    Trail Cubist
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    Log ramps: Good? Bad? And how best to build them?

    I'm interested both in opinions about whether ramping up to an existing fallen log is good or bad...and if "good," then I'm exploring bombproof ways to build these ramps so they last.

    Here's an excerpt from a page on MTB Resource Homepage...
    Log ramps. A popular but misguided trail maintenance technique is to build a pile of logs to create a ramp up and over an existing fallen log. Our opinion is that these log piles are generally a bad idea. Most trails are shared use, and these flimsy ramps are a big obstacle to horses and hikers. One solution is to cut a gap and make the log pile optional. However, we've only seen three or four log piles out of hundreds that were well constructed. Throwing a bunch of rotting logs and twigs at an obstructing log and calling it trail maintenance is just being lazy. A well built log ramp will use at least 8-10-inch diameter logs. They may need to be fastened in place: use rope or wire, not dangerous spikes. Build them well, take pride in your work, and be sure to leave an easier option.
    Thoughts? Any ideas or experience on building good ramps?

    I agree these ramps can be a pain when people just kick whatever loose logs/sticks are laying around up against the big log, because they inevitably fall apart and just leave smaller logs strewn across the trail on either side of the big log. (Which is why I'm wondering about more longlasting techniques?)

    Scott
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  2. #2
    Trail Cubist
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    Okay, found this thread:
    Building a log trail ramp?

    I understand log ramps aren't good on multi-use trails. And ramping just half the log on dedicated MTB trails is a good option too.

    And of course I also understand the ideal way to deal with logs is PRACTICE getting over them. I'm comfortable up to 12-14"...but higher than that I'm debris, LOL---and just have trouble finding the time to practice crossings that high...but i'll work on it.

    Meanwhile, I think well-constructed log ramps can actually be fun...hence my question about techniques for building them to last...
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. óJim311

  3. #3
    I build my own.
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    logs rot and move, you're better off using rock and/or dirt. There I did the disclaimer. Now, I have log pile ramps all over my trails that have held up for years in the wettest place in Canada, Vancouver Island. I have found that if you stack carefully and use fairly long logs (4' or more) there is not much else required. If your pile is good and solid... kick the crap out of it to test it... it will hold up for a good long time. It's vital to make another path for hikers and horses on multi use trails or risk having your ride-over removed. I put the ride-over as the side trail.

    Oh yeah, we have fallen trees over 6 feet in diameter. Anyone who wants to learn to ride over one of those is welcome to try.
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  4. #4
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    I've used them just fine for years, too. Yeah, they rot and you have to deal with that eventually, but where I've lived, many riders get mad if you cut stuff out that's in a good size range for a log pile. Sometimes I've seen notches cut partially through larger downed trees so the log pile doesn't need to be quite so big.

    Whatever you do, don't haphazardly stack oddly-shaped branches in the process of building one. Sometimes it will seem solid at first, but those irregularly shaped branches move over time and sometimes right when someone is on them. I have been known to entirely disassemble such poorly built log piles preferring to dismount and climb over the downed tree instead of riding that death trap.

  5. #5
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    I have seen several well made log ramps last years. If done properly, the small logs decompose with the tree trunk to keep the ride smooth. I have also seen a few ramps cut from freshly fallen trees by good chain sawers - they have been there for years and still smooth as heck.

    Even if there are no "go-arounds," no one has complained where I live; and besides, it's the woods. The hiker or equestrian should be able to get over without destroying the ramp. Maybe if there are many ramps one after the other, a another user might get mad.

    The trick is to make them wide, and a "go-around" if available.

  6. #6
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    generally I think they're a bad idea. most people will stack anything and think its a sound structure. Theres a few well built one on my local trails but these were built with larger "good wood" from downed trees. IMO a ladder bridge is a better option if an obtacle is too big. We had a huge downed tree that we decided to build a ladder bridge over the tall part a skinny and a go around so you have 3 options.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Log ramps: Good? Bad? And how best to build them?-ladder.jpg  

    Log ramps: Good? Bad? And how best to build them?-ladder2.jpg  

    Log ramps: Good? Bad? And how best to build them?-skinny-2.jpg  

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  7. #7
    Squeaky Wheel
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    Nothing like a good skinny to make riding over a downed tree fun. Split a log, peel the bark, secure the tops, bury rocks in the ground for the ends to rest on, cut some grooves in the face for wet traction.


  8. #8
    Off the back...
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    Can't stand them. Most of the ones I see are piles of 2" - 3" diameter sticks, sometimes only on one side of the log.

  9. #9
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    We have log overs out the wazoo around here. Some are sound and some are downright rubbish. Don't get me wrong, some are fun and some of them have ramps made of burned out half-trunk sections rather than just piled sticks, so they can look and ride a little more interesting.

    To me they are the remnants of a bygone time when trail construction was rogue and rapid, done without tools and built to suit XC riders looking for challenges that would be better avoided. There's nothing more disheartening than getting to the top of a pile of logs to find the far side destroyed by horses and motos. There's that oh crap moment before falling into gaps between logs, trying to do a standing nose wheelie while you unclip and avoid falling off trail into the inevitable uncleared stabbing objects. That is not a challenge; rather a stupidity.

    Why someone would think a log over on a 15% downslope, 5m from a dodgy, skinny bridge, or a series of them through blind corners, so that the only successful riders are the ones who built and know they are there just escapes me. If you want to prove you can build and ride tech trails, then build something sound, sustainable, something all riders can attempt with basic safety and not just something that makes you look like a big man because you are the only one who even attempts all the features.

    Oh and Pascale - does your dog have patches of lemon yellow fur?

  10. #10
    Trail Cubist
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    Interesting points. If I build any log ramps, they'll definitely be on flat sections of trail, and definitely built with good (sometimes green), large logs, at least 4-6 feet long. I'm not gonna take the time to build any that won't a) stay put, and b) last a long time.

    I like the idea of making log skinnies over other logs...will have to look into that.

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. óJim311

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ridnparadise View Post

    Oh and Pascale - does your dog have patches of lemon yellow fur?
    Thats Fozzy, he's a labradoodle. He's my buddy's dog. He actually dyed him orange last spring so he was yellow for a bit, now he's back to his white coat. Awesome dog, he comes out with us when we build and just hangs around. Wish I could find a dog like him.
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  12. #12
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    You dyed your dog orange? For hunting season? What?

  13. #13
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    he's a hockey nut, so he dyed his dog orange. We're Flyers fans in south jersey. personally I'd never dye a dog, kinda crazy.
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  14. #14
    I build my own.
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    A windstorm dropped over 200 trees on the school trails. We started just cutting them out and tossing them off the trail. Then we got a little creative.

    Log ramps: Good? Bad? And how best to build them?-feb8073.jpg

    Log ramps: Good? Bad? And how best to build them?-feb8074.jpg

    Log ramps: Good? Bad? And how best to build them?-cyclone_log_ride1.jpg

    Log ramps: Good? Bad? And how best to build them?-p1010003-4-.jpg

    Log ramps: Good? Bad? And how best to build them?-p1010002.jpg
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  15. #15
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    Nice work!!

  16. #16
    I build my own.
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    Just a couple more.

    Log ramps: Good? Bad? And how best to build them?-p1010012-3-.jpg

    I dug down about 2' and you have to duck a little for this one.

    Log ramps: Good? Bad? And how best to build them?-wildwood.jpg

    The 6 inch gap is a real confidence builder for a 10 year old rider. You could roll it, but they don't know that.

    Log ramps: Good? Bad? And how best to build them?-wildwood1.jpg

    A whole log on the ground and then a log split in half placed round side down on top of that makes a smooth "ramp" and holds together very well with no nails or bolts.

    Log ramps: Good? Bad? And how best to build them?-p1010011-4-.jpg
    I have a device that can access the total knowledge of man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and argue with strangers.

  17. #17
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    Looks like you guys used split fir for your tread/decking? How does that work? Typically have seen cedar used.

    What part of the country is this?

  18. #18
    FloridaKeys Fishing Guide
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    Good job!

    That is some awesome use of materials at hand and makes for very nice riding too! I'm impressed..
    Current ride(s) 2011 Santa Cruz Blur LT

  19. #19
    Hoopy Frod
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    We have a lot of them on our local XC loop. It's called the Tree Farm for a reason... never a lack of fallen logs to fix them with.

    It's singletrack... some jogging but no one complains (myself included.)

    Rarely are they filled in... just logs in a pile and go.

  20. #20
    zrm
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    Umm, why not just cut the blown down logs out ?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    Umm, why not just cut the blown down logs out ?
    Hell, why not just ride on concrete

  22. #22
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    When mother nature provides gifts, the trail gnomes are expected to get creative and make good use of them.

  23. #23
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by driftincowboy View Post
    Hell, why not just ride on concrete
    If there's a point being made here I'm not sure what it is.

    Cutting out blow down on a trail is part of normal routine maintenance, whether the trail is totally rad brah AM or buffed out lycra racer XC.

  24. #24
    I build my own.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    If there's a point being made here I'm not sure what it is.

    Cutting out blow down on a trail is part of normal routine maintenance, whether the trail is totally rad brah AM or buffed out lycra racer XC.
    That's definitely trail specific.
    Like Summit Ridge Guy says. Some folks see the downed trees as an opportunity rather than an impediment. The pictures I posted are on middle school trails and are ridden by beginner riders as young as 5 years old. The trails are designed to teach skills to new riders and to instill confidence.

    I have other trails in regional parks where every downed tree would be cut out and removed as would every stump, rock and root.

    I had to remove this bridge because a fellow got his cane stuck between the planks. Even the parks director thought it was stupid considering the rest of the trail was way beyond the abilities of someone walking with a cane but a complaint is a complaint in a regional park.

    Log ramps: Good? Bad? And how best to build them?-moosetracks3-2-.jpg
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  25. #25
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Ninja View Post
    That's definitely trail specific.
    Like Summit Ridge Guy says. Some folks see the downed trees as an opportunity rather than an impediment. The pictures I posted are on middle school trails and are ridden by beginner riders as young as 5 years old. The trails are designed to teach skills to new riders and to instill confidence.

    I have other trails in regional parks where every downed tree would be cut out and removed as would every stump, rock and root.

    I had to remove this bridge because a fellow got his cane stuck between the planks. Even the parks director thought it was stupid considering the rest of the trail was way beyond the abilities of someone walking with a cane but a complaint is a complaint in a regional park.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Saying you're going to keep a trail free of trees that fall across it is a lot different than saying you're going to "remove every stump, rock and root".

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