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Thread: Skills Area

  1. #1
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    Skills Area

    Our bike club is planning on putting in a skills area with obstacles to challenge beginners as well as experienced riders. The area will be layed out more like an obstacle course than a trail, with low-speed, low-penalty obstacles that get more difficult as you complete the course. I'm thinking skinnies, logs, ladder bridges with some small drops. Please share any pics, drawings, ideas that you have.

  2. #2
    Killer of Chains
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    I'd love to see this as well. I often daydream in class about a short, flowing section of increasingly technical stunts, maybe only 200 yards long.

    Another consideration however is where your planning on building this section, as a hill will take alot less work in designing stunts, but alot more time in runoff and drainage control, while building on a flat area will require platforms to get the desired drops or momentum increases.

  3. #3
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    Here is the first thing I built: a platform to get speed for all the features:

    Here is the framing going up:
    <a href="https://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="https://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o24/MKRobert81/IMG_1697.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>

    With the deck and down ramp done:
    <a href="https://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="https://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o24/MKRobert81/IMG_1773.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>

    The deck:
    <a href="https://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="https://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o24/MKRobert81/IMG_1781.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>

    the down ramp (minus a few boards):
    <a href="https://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="https://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o24/MKRobert81/IMG_1777.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>

    A small log dubble (first line off the down ramp)
    <a href="https://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="https://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o24/MKRobert81/IMG_1775.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>
    <a href="https://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="https://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o24/MKRobert81/IMG_1776.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>


    Construction of the on ramp:
    <a href="https://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="https://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o24/MKRobert81/IMG_1782.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>

    On ramp done:
    <a href="https://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="https://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o24/MKRobert81/IMG_1789.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>

    A 25 foot 2 foot wide bridge from the main platform to a drop at the end, and a drop under construction 1/2 way down the bridge on the right (log pile base)
    <a href="https://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="https://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o24/MKRobert81/IMG_2155.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>
    The landing for it:
    <a href="https://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="https://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o24/MKRobert81/IMG_2156.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>

    A wood burm that follows the bridge drop:
    <a href="https://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="https://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o24/MKRobert81/IMG_2157.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>
    <a href="https://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="https://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o24/MKRobert81/IMG_2158.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>

    A few action pics:
    <a href="https://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="https://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o24/MKRobert81/IMG_2162.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>
    <a href="https://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="https://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o24/MKRobert81/IMG_2163.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>
    <a href="https://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="https://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o24/MKRobert81/IMG_2167.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>
    <a href="https://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="https://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o24/MKRobert81/IMG_2168.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a>

    Here are two quick videos of my bro and my friend hitting it for the first time. Nothing huge as they were just getting a feel for it. More vids and pics to come this weekend when we have a better chance to ride. Going to put in a small pump track and a few more jumps as well as more bridge work.

    <embed width="448" height="361" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" src="https://i116.photobucket.com/player.swf?file=https://vid116.photobucket.com/albums/o24/MKRobert81/MVI_2165.flv"></embed>
    https://s116.photobucket.com/albums/...t=MVI_2165.flv

    <embed width="448" height="361" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" src="https://i116.photobucket.com/player.swf?file=https://vid116.photobucket.com/albums/o24/MKRobert81/MVI_2166.flv"></embed>
    https://s116.photobucket.com/albums/...t=MVI_2166.flv




    Peace!

  4. #4
    Don't worry, be happy!
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    Here's a link to the bike park I am working on with our city:
    http://www.fttrc.org/bike-park.htm

    think - progression, low consequence, high reward items. While what mkrobert81 has posted is really cool, it's not all novice/beginner material but look like a great part of a progression.

    I have tons of photos that I will try and post later - I am short of time right now. Family Man, in Post Canyon, Hood River Oregon is a great example of a beginner area. If you go up on a Saturday, there are adventurous first timers, families with kids, exactly the kinds of people you want to be there to grow the sport, and exactly what land managers like to see. One of the reasons we've got such good support for our park is that we are focusing on the beginner end of it for now.

    This youtube video ( of a unicyclist no less) shows the run at Family Man. You've got easy A frames, easy teeters, low consquence ladder bridges, low consequence wall ride and so on.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MWsj8n1ts8
    Last edited by formica; 11-13-2007 at 12:33 PM.

  5. #5
    Killer of Chains
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    I would really suggest not cutting trees if you don't have too.

    Its destructive, and one you chop a tree down, or lop its top, you can rip the structure away, but the tree is still dead.

  6. #6
    Gangbusters
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaintPeelinPbody
    I would really suggest not cutting trees if you don't have too.

    Its destructive, and one you chop a tree down, or lop its top, you can rip the structure away, but the tree is still dead.

    WTF? ..........are you a hippy? if you are against cutting down trees, don't wipe your ass with tp. But seriously......make sure you cut down the right trees: cedar will be the most rot proof!

    how are you going to build your skills park withou wood?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkrobert81
    WTF? ..........are you a hippy? if you are against cutting down trees, don't wipe your ass with tp.
    Wow, that's a little inappropriate.

    Any land manager is going to shut you down if you start cutting timber without permission. They generally don't get real thrilled with that sort of thing.

    How to get wood?
    We got a Kona freeride grant for $1000 for our park. Our local utility donated a logging truckload of cedar telephone poles that we are using. You can get downed timber donated.
    Lots of options.

  8. #8
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    I am my own land manager, it's in my backyard....sorry forgot to say that in the post.......I agree with you, if it's not your land...you can't just hack down trees! The OP never mentioned if his skills park would be on public or private land.

  9. #9
    Killer of Chains
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    If its your own land, you could clear cut for all I care.

    However, there are ways of building platforms without cutting trees...at least not the ones you intended to build on.

    The issues of what to build with...however...leaves that a somewhat mute point.

    So uh...yeah. Start making ramps out of recycled plastic bags.

    Sarcasm of course.

  10. #10
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    here are a few lousy shots from Family Man

    yes I know they are really easy. that's the point.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  11. #11
    Killer of Chains
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    Your cutting down perfectly good trees to do that?

    Come on man, if your gonna cut em down, at least make the deck height a good 10' off the ground!

    More sarcasm.

  12. #12
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    Looks like fun to me.
    I like to ride bikes.

  13. #13
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  14. #14
    Don't worry, be happy!
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaintPeelinPbody
    Your cutting down perfectly good trees to do that?

    Come on man, if your gonna cut em down, at least make the deck height a good 10' off the ground!

    More sarcasm.

    not me, Gorge Freeride Association.
    I was just a visitor.

  15. #15
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    Thanks for all the pics. The area we plan to use is pretty much flat with about a 5% overall slope for drainage. The plans are to start with obstacles as simple as riding over logs and skinnies of varying widths. As you get further into it the skinnies will get higher and the logs will get bigger and will include teeters and small drops.
    As for wood, we're fortunate enough to have access to all the black locust we can use. For those who are not familiar with this type of tree, it's one of the most rot resistant kinds of wood around. Better yet, it has no commercial value, grows like a weed in old construction sites where the topsoil has been stripped and along fence rows, and many farmers and landowners are happy for you to come cut them. Back in the day, they were used for fenceposts all over the southeast. I came across an article that said it's not uncommon for a decent sized black locust post to last for 70+ years! Talk about low maintainence.
    Construction should start soon. I'll be sure to get plenty of before and after pics.

  16. #16
    Who turned out the lights
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    Be sure to invest in plenty of replacement chainsaw blades!

  17. #17
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    Be sure to invest in plenty of replacement chainsaw blades!
    Right on. If you don't cut it while it's green, you're not gonna cut it at all. Can barely drive a nail in it after it's dry. I'm considering drilling pilot holes and using screws. I hear it splits as it ages if the nails are too big, board too small.

  18. #18
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    Skookum, is that a interstate overpass you're working under? How'd you ever get the bridge engineers to sign off on that one? Great looking stuff.

  19. #19
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    Skookum, I really enjoyed watching your videos. Thanks for putting them up. In particular I enjoyed how to motivate trail builders and the one with the endurocross.
    Thanks again.
    I like to ride bikes.

  20. #20
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    Those wooden wallrides - are they hard to get the angles right?

    I know sometimes when building a dirt berm once you rail it a few times it doesn't feel right.. you can move a bit of dirt to one side and it feels better. You can't really do that with a permanent structure!

  21. #21
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    Here are some wooden features I helped build in Burns Lake, BC, at a new mountain bike park last year: The skinny is a 4X4 and the fatter line is 24" wide. We built a figure eight to offer two skill levels and the same low risk.













    Three different skill level drops to tranny



    D

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by th29
    Skookum, is that a interstate overpass you're working under? How'd you ever get the bridge engineers to sign off on that one? Great looking stuff.
    Yes it's underneath Interstate 5. The city was looking for something to do with the land since there was a huge homeless tract. Tons of hypodermic needles to be cleaned out. As far as the supports, we've built around them but of course we don't mess the anything below the piling, and we can't attach anything to the concrete.

    But it's a massive undertaking, the first phase is complete and is fantastic...

    Quote Originally Posted by otis24
    Skookum, I really enjoyed watching your videos. Thanks for putting them up. In particular I enjoyed how to motivate trail builders and the one with the endurocross.
    Thanks again.
    Not my videos. The gif image where i demonstrate an alternative line down the gabions, over the log ride, over the teeter, down the rock chute and to the log rollover. Well i created that,(along with alot of those wood structures you see..) but the guy who's dumping concrete inbetween the log and rock, that's Mike W and he's currently the project manager/trail builder with our local club. He's the one that made those videos.
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  23. #23
    Gangbusters
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    nice!

  24. #24
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    nice stuff

    great ideas there, most are bigger than the area I had to work with (a portion of my backyard). maybe some of these will give you some ideas for your build:
    Attached Images Attached Images

  25. #25
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    Sweet! i've glommed a few ideas from this thread myself. My main contribution is alot of woodwork on the park, and if i can find some time away from work i'll be creating a really really long continuous structure. i like a few things from this thread.
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  26. #26
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    Bombin4X, that's awesome! After seeing that, I'm going to have to build my own backyard paradise. The homeowners' association is gonna be so pissed.

  27. #27
    just a man
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    thanks, it was a lot of fun to build and even more fun progressing the slow-speed handling skills on. we sessioned it one afternoon for 6 straight hours. must've got 10 miles in and the brain workout of a lifetime.

    my advice if you build something like this: either get real good at the skinnies and/or build a beater SS hardtail with vbrakes - we've had no less than 3 rear ders (last week the 1.5" skinny claimed my Coiler's) torn off. Numerous der hangers replaced. Disc rotors bent beyond repair. I just put together a Spec Hardrock SS conversion last weekend that's going to take a good spanking.

    also: mkrobert81's idea of nailing composite roofing shingles is a great idea. it's been raining here the past two days and is way too slick to ride without something like that. cheap. easy. safe. good stuff.
    Last edited by Bombin4X; 11-16-2007 at 11:04 PM.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bombin4X
    also: mkrobert81's idea of nailing composite roofing shingles is a great idea. it's been raining here the past two days and is way too slick to ride without something like that. cheap. easy. safe. good stuff.
    i've used that idea for years, back since all my stuff was pirate...

    A few tips to expand on this idea.

    You only need to strategically apply sections of composition (preferably 3-tab). Meaning where your tire will need to grip for traction. (ups, steeps, turns)
    If you're building a structure right you'll use a bike to see how the turning radius will come out, so you don't build one where a wheel will slip off (unless you're making an advanced trials type structure). Using that same technique you'll be able to figure out where you'll need to put the shingles. Either that or just ride it when wet and crash your way to the knowledge.
    If you have alot to put on you can buy a roll of 30 lb. rolled cap sheet, this will give you tons of granulated material to work with. If there is any kind of roofing job going on you might want to hit up the crew and see if you can scrounge any freebies.(cold beers can go a long way in what you might get)
    Also a cheesy way to get some free stuff is to find out if you can score a bunch of free samples from your local hardware store. Sometimes they have a bunch of square samples of assorted colors meant for taking home and deciding what color you would want on your house... That's only if you need a little bit and are short on cash.
    Make sure you don't overdo it on the application, that stuff works like sandpaper and will rip your skin off if you fall on it right.
    Also apply it with composition nails, your nailing pattern is important. What you want to avoid is the edge fraying or the shingle tearing. If you nail a good pattern and round off corners you should avoid this and not have to mess around replacing it.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bombin4X
    great ideas there, most are bigger than the area I had to work with (a portion of my backyard). maybe some of these will give you some ideas for your build:
    I am so, so, SO jealous. Did you scrounge all the wood for that set-up, or did you have to buy all/most of it? I'd love to build something like that someday.
    NKAWTG

  30. #30
    just a man
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finski
    I am so, so, SO jealous. Did you scrounge all the wood for that set-up, or did you have to buy all/most of it? I'd love to build something like that someday.
    Someone from the local (ID/MT/WY) mtbr board had taken a redwood deck down to make room for the addition he did to his home. He also had a big box of deckscrews and concrete piers. He totally buffed me out. Keep looking for wood, draw out possible construction designs, build it as you go, and make it happen!

  31. #31
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    Thanks for the quick reply. I'm sure I can scrounge up enough wood over the winter to build something that hopefully ends up half as sweet as your set-up, and what do you know, I just bought a new Pitch Comp to replace my Hardrock, so I'll have to take your advice and ride my beater on it.

    Did I mention that I'm still jealous about your set-up?
    NKAWTG

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skookum


    Isn't that in the newest edition of BIKE magazine. If so, congrats on great publicity. If not, sick trail.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by ntekrony
    Isn't that in the newest edition of BIKE magazine. If so, congrats on great publicity. If not, sick trail.
    Yes it is. It's under interstate 5 in Seattle. I'm thinking when I hit whistler this summer I may need to drop by my Grandma's in Seattle...

  34. #34
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    Nice work Dburatti, Skookem, Bombin4x and Formica. We are building a few sklills areas next year but will be limited to natural features. No dimensional lumber or fasteners.

    Through limitations comes creativity....I guess.

    Keep the pictures coming...it helps get the creative juices flowing.

    We built a skills area in NYC's Highbridge Park last year but someone didn't get the memo that we were allowed to build this stuff and they tore out everything we built. We were able to put back about half of it before we had to move on to the next project.

    Another reason why we are not pushing for wooden structures is that the local derelects that use the park will most likely burn whatever we build.

    Question for Dburatti...is that regular douglas fir? Doesn't seem to be pressure treated. What's the life expectancy and inspection schedule for maintenance?
    Michael Vitti
    CLIMB President
    www.CLIMBonline.org
    www.IMBA.com
    NY State Trails Council Member

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by sick4surf
    Question for Dburatti...is that regular douglas fir? Doesn't seem to be pressure treated. What's the life expectancy and inspection schedule for maintenance?
    I've forgotten what the wood is, as the project was well over a year ago. I do know that whatever it is was donated by a community mill that was harvesting wood locally in Burns Lake, BC. It was probably pine now that I think of it b/c they're racing against the devastating mountain pine beetles. I'm pretty sure it was pressure treated to withstand the weather up there.

    Here's a picture of a TTF we built with Nat and Rachel of IMBA. A large oak fell across the trail, and as an optional line, we constructed a skinny over it using a large branch from a juniper tree that was crushed under the fallen oak. Since we couldn't use a chain saw on ACoE property, we used a hand saw to make cuts across the log and then used a pulaski to chip away the pieces leave a smoother and more level surface. I have more detailed pictures if you need them.



    D

  36. #36
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    This is my backyard. I use these for balance pratice. The large log is 40 feet long and almost 2 feet high on the fat end. The others are between 4.5-6 inches wide. The taller ride that goes between the trees is nice and bouncy when you ride it.
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  37. #37

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    [QUOTE=dburatti]I've forgotten what the wood is, as the project was well over a year ago. I do know that whatever it is was donated by a community mill that was harvesting wood locally in Burns Lake, BC. It was probably pine now that I think of it b/c they're racing against the devastating mountain pine beetles. I'm pretty sure it was pressure treated to withstand the weather up there.

    Yeah Dewayne, there's a local sawmill with a pressure treatment plant. They've been incredibly generous to the BLMBA, offering low prices or even recently donating all their trim ends from the power pole plant to the club. Its all pine wood, nearly all of it has been killed by the beetle infest. Not much old pine left in the forest still growing.

    Everything wood on our trails starts with treated wood for anything touching ground at minimum. Decking is also from the same sawmill, oversized rough cut non treated makes for really grippy surface and as long as it sheds water quickly it doesn't weather too badly.

    Resurfacing a stunt with new decking is one thing, but if it rots from the ground up you're pretty much scrapping it and starting over.

    The treated stuff doesn't work too well with decking, tried it on a couple of small stunts. In the rain it gets greasy and causes a hazard.

    "WaterLou" is a new trail on Boer Mtn, about half built by snowfall 09 that is entirely wood. Donated treated timbers, and treated 4x4 stringers with rough cut decking. Going to be 1.5km of uninterrupted wood with option lines with discombobulators, teeters, log skinny lines (we use standing dead pine), and the like. This brings you to an incredible cliff top viewpoint.

    Wood has its place, but is a maintenence concern down the road. Kind of like the cedar shakes of the BC coast we use what is in abundance. Fortunately for us we have an abundance of treated wood, but cedars offer long life as well if you happen to have plenty on hand.

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