Super flat land. Any ideas?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Super flat land. Any ideas?

    I've began work this week on a trail in a city owned park. Right near my house, so I'm excited. Trouble is the park is reclaimed farm land, and is flat as a pancake with a few areas of woodland. I don't want to make a super twisty squirrel trail, that just seems lame to me. Any Ideas for features that could make a trail like this more fun? I am working with about 1000 acres.

    The parks and rec director has been very open to ideas, but at the same time he doesn't want a totally dangerous situation, nor do I.

  2. #2
    JmZ
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    A few thoughts:

    Would a pump track work for parts? How about some entry level structures? You can work micro topography and make the most of the few hills available. How many rocks?

    Just a few random thoughts. It sounds like you have some land to work with, just time to scout it out and look carefully.

    Good luck,

    JmZ
    JmZ

    From one flat land to another.

    Advocate as if your ride depends on it...

  3. #3
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    I've worked on trails in some pretty flat areas, but nothing quite as flat as reclaimed farmland.

    Use whatever elevation you've got to the greatest extent possible. Locate controls (positive and negative). What features do you want to use...what do you want to avoid? Scout the terrain in the absolute nastiest weather possible. If water pools somewhere, you want to avoid that location. If it pools there with no trail, it'll be 100x worse with a trail. Observe where the water flows. Route the trail perpendicular to that direction.

    If you have extensive swampy areas, you might have to build a boardwalk-style trail over them. Such a feature can be an interesting part of a trail, but avoid doing that all over the place or it'll get dull really fast. Be prepared for a LOT of maintenance work. You will probably need to spend a lot of time on the trail dealing with mud as the trail tread gets compacted (and ends up being lower than the surrounding terrain). You may need to haul in fill dirt to raise portions of the trail above the surrounding ground.

    Entry level obstacles are going to be almost necessary to get much elevation change. These could potentially be wooden structures, but they could also be built from fill dirt hauled in, depending on what the land manager will allow you to do.

    Pretty much the only way to make a trail on flat ground interesting is to make it technical. If you have some elevation, use those places for speed, but make the trail techy in the flats. Routing the trail between trees that are very close together is a viable way to do this. It forces riders to slow down and think about what they're doing. Don't provide too many long straightaways because long straightaways on flat ground are boring. You will have to make it at least somewhat twisty, although the degree to which you make it twisty depends in large part on what terrain and other features you have available to you.

    In many areas that were formerly farmed (especially in areas that were formerly glaciated), you'll find piles of rocks that the farmers discarded. Burchfield Park in MI has a large number of these piles of rocks (mostly rocks the size of your fist with a couple larger boulders tossed in) and they make fun techy trail obstacles that change every time you ride over them (the loose rocks move around on you)

    Utilize downed trees as much as you can. Depending on what you're allowed to do, you could turn them into log piles to go up and over, build longer wooden ramps over them, or even turn them into balance beams of sorts. It's not really worth it to turn them into balance beams unless they're at least a foot in diameter, though.

    Since it's a city owned park, check to see if you can do some earth moving. The HMBA (Hoosier Mountain Bike Association) got permission to do some earth moving at Town Run Trail Park to build some stuff in the skills park section. Consider hauling in some rock if there is none available on site. Farmers usually have rocks they need to get rid of, and will often let you take them for free.

  4. #4
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    I'm sort of in the same situation...BUT I own the land. The land happens to be in Nebraska, so yea...it's very flat. I have access to a tractor with a bucket and I'm pretty handy with wood working.

    The trail will be for me and my family. There all pretty good. However we won't put anything huge in till later. I'm thinking a few good banked corners, whoops, some small wood ramps.(wide but not high).

    good luck on your project!

    Zero

  5. #5
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    Harder than it looks

    Quote Originally Posted by fatso
    I've began work this week on a trail in a city owned park. Right near my house, so I'm excited. Trouble is the park is reclaimed farm land, and is flat as a pancake with a few areas of woodland. I don't want to make a super twisty squirrel trail, that just seems lame to me. Any Ideas for features that could make a trail like this more fun? I am working with about 1000 acres.

    The parks and rec director has been very open to ideas, but at the same time he doesn't want a totally dangerous situation, nor do I.

    I think NateHawk has it pegged. No matter how flat it looks, water will pool in places. It's just much more difficult to visualize on flatter ground. Routing around your micro hills to get side slope for drainage is going to be a challenge.

    Walt

  6. #6
    Builder of Trails
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    The most important tool you can use when laying out any trail is the clinometer (aka inclinometer.)



    If you have slopes of 3-5%, you can still get the trail to undulate, which helps keep water of the tread.

    Dewayne

  7. #7
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    There are a couple singletracks I ride occasionally that are pretty flat, but fairly twisty as they weave through trees and brush. One trail is an alternate to a pretty straight fire road, and has more turns than absolutely needed, but required almost no plant removal, just pruning. The other trail is just a short closed loop off a longer through trail; kinda pointless if you are going somewhere. But they both are really good skill builders as far as bike handling, and not bad for fitness training either.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    Since it's a city owned park, check to see if you can do some earth moving. The HMBA (Hoosier Mountain Bike Association) got permission to do some earth moving at Town Run Trail Park to build some stuff in the skills park section. Consider hauling in some rock if there is none available on site. Farmers usually have rocks they need to get rid of, and will often let you take them for free.
    Also, if there is any major construction work going on, they often need to remove large amounts of rocks and earth that gets in the way of the new building. If they can dump it somewhere for free...

  9. #9
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    Flat land fun is just a circular saw away .




    We are adding trestles and log crossings on a flat section of the trail to add some fun . And while the teeter looks a little rough it holds up fine to this 300lb Clydesdale .

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