Tuesday, November 9, 2010

one more log...

this log across the trail
The log, with rake-ho for scale

had been bothering us for some time, it sat unfinished as the last obstacle in the track, prior to this we have had to lift the bikes over it.  We had been debating if we should construct a wooden up 'n over the log but it's on a in-sloped fast section of trail and I was worried at getting the angle of the in-slope exactly right and interutpting the riders flow.  So, after some debate we decied to build it from dirt,

Toni doing some digging

ride it and then we can easily modify the in-slope and width as necessary.  So after many sweaty hours and 18 wheelbarrow loads, we ended up with this

Eighteen wheelbarrow loads of dirt later

It was great to get it finished as now the track is 100% rideable, with only the "B" line around one obstacle lower down tobe done to complete the layout, then we need to go back and tweak a few corners with berms etc.

On the way back we also did a small maintenance job on a log crossing, where the considerable and continuous rains had damaged the crossing.  We grabbed plenty of larger rocks, making sure this time to do the job properly and not cut corners.

Spring has sprung in the bush, with the rain and warmer weather, plenty of flowers where out, includng this tiny flower, not muchbigger then the size of a match head

After this I plan to take a short hiatus while I build a few dry stone walls around the house and catch up with a few other chores and then get back into extending the trail, probably early in the new year.

Friday, September 24, 2010

benchin' !

We did some tidying up today, there was a part of the trail that had to be aligned underneath a large Spotted Gum, finally got to doing it properly.  We had to drag rocks from afar, as we needed to do some 1/2 bench  and the rocks where to provide support for the fill.

Starting the rock collection !
It's never ideal to align any trail below a tree, you have to contend with the roots when you try to put a bench in, but sometimes it's unavoidable.  After gathering more rocks, then benching and dragging dirt to use as fill, the trail was starting to take shape
Lookin' fine

We continued on further down the trail, where another piece of off camber track needed some benching,

That's some mighty fine pickin' and rakin' !

Little by little we're attending to the finishing of the first part of our trail network.  The only major job left is the construction over a large log.  It's on an off-camber corner, so we will be putting an in-slope on it.  The timber for the bearers has been seasoned, we've scavenged some hardwood for the decking, now we just need to find time to get it done !

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Finished the in-sloped turn

I dragged Toni out to help me finish the in-sloped turn.  She did a superb job and most of the work.  We came down and around a huge spotted gum.  The turn is on an area of with about a 10% sideslope, so we have bermed the outside, with the grade of the trail being sloped back into the inside edge (towards the tree in the pic) of the corner.  While this causes an issue with water not shedding off the trail properly in that spot, it also helps prevent braking through the turn as you can keep your speed up.  Additionally, the watershed for that area is quite small, I don't envisage water being an issue.
"Kookaburra Korner" - under construction

The kookaburra's came out to inspect the trail after we'd finished construction.  Snapping up the few worms etc we had dug up.  We just need a little rain now to help pack the berm down.

Huey, Dewey and Loiue, coming to inspect the track

We also caught up with a fair length of benching, both in the ingress and egress from that corner and further down the trail.

 We still have some more benching to go, about 100m, an up and over to build over a large log and some 1/2 bench with a rock cribbed wall where we had to go underneath a large tree.  The track is 100% rideable, 90% complete.

Several jobs have yet t be done to make the ride flow a little more eg a couple small berms etc.  These will be done as time permits.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Milestone Day

We managed to finish roughing the track in today, all the way through to the fire road.   We'll ride it a few times, see if the lines rides as good as it looks, then come back and bench the bits that need benching, install berms where we think it enhances flow etc, so plenty of work in front of us.

We have also coppiced a tree (Stringybark), that;s curing to be used as the "stringers" on a roll over on a large log we cross at right angles, we'll leave it a few weeks to cure before building the footings and fixing the treads.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

In-sloped turn and more track

More Track
We haven't been doing much to the trails of late, very sporadic but in the last two days we have been out there.

Yesterday I cleared and realigned more single track

In Sloped Turn
Today we were both out there, doing the same, as well as starting construction on what we hope will be a spectacular in-sloped turn around a massive Spotted Gum Tree.  Here's a pic of Toni at the top entrance to the turn, that part has been finished

That's some mighty fine benching !
of course the bottom side is were the most work is and we'll be attending to that next.  Two older trees that were partly rotted need gaps chainsawed through them, which was done and one large felled tree needs a ramp built over that... a project for another day.

Wood Pile
On another note, I finally remembered to take pic of the  pile were we scavenge wood for our trail features.  This pile is about 5 km from us and we drive right past if we are going to Grafton.  We have managed to find all the decking we need from here.  The wood is mostly hardwood dumped off cuts from a local mill.

Hopefully they keep dumping there as it's an excellent way for us to recycle timber and put it to good use.  We also gather smashed bits to use in the fire place, the next size up from kindling.  The wood is seasoned and burns well !

Thursday, July 8, 2010

More Single Trail

We have been working to extend the single track with much more single track having been built, and we've marked the end of stage 1, where the single trail joins the fire road.  Now we just have to go build the final few hundred metres to link it all up. 

After that there will be a few jobs to come back to on the trail, to make it a sweeter ride, including the construction of a few berms etc

Saturday, May 8, 2010

another trail feature finished

up an' over the big log

Starting the job, looking East along the trail

Part way through and looking West,

trimmed and touched up.

The approaches where then finished, as well as the "B" line built, if other riders find it a little tricky.

We have also cleaned up around the old hut,
This was used in decades past as a place for Loggers and Stockmen to use, back when it was part of a cattle property some 30 years ago, so we want to keep that point of historical significance and we made sure the trail went right past it.

We've also managed to add more single track, as well as mark the trail network out in it's entirety, to where it joins the state forest.

More work to do ...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Log ride

While building the trail, I managed to link it to a LARGE log that had fallen in the forest some time ago.   For some time this project had been sitting unfinished as we built track up around and past it, planning to come back and finish it when we had time.  (See the log bridge ride section of this post) Well we decided to finish it over the last two days.

I had already trimmed the lumps and branches off with a chain saw, so the only thing that remained was to construct the on / off ramps.

This is the ramp on the  eastern side.

and on the western side

There were a few tricky bits that required some finesseing, here you see Toni with the wood chisel, notching a level platform for one of the treads to be screwed to
and the final product...
Now all that remains is to test it by riding it !!!

Coppiced tree regrowth

Went for a walk on the trail the other day.  It was good to see some of the trees we'd cut down early on for use on trail structures, starting to regrow.

As in the example above, near the first bridge constructed a few months ago, the regrowth looks great and it adds weight to my argument about using local materials, sourced at the point of construction if possible for the lowest ecological damage possible.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

More Trail

continued working on the northern trail.  The layout of the house and land lends the property itself to having two trails, one north of the house and one south. It is slowly coming together.

Spent some time marking some more trail out and constructing it.   A beautiful stretch through a patch of forest has been added

This has been benched and winds between many trees, including several Tallowood trees

We have managed to go past the old hut, used in yesteryear when they used to log and run cattle and the property was part of a much larger one.

We have added a nifty new feature, by coppicing a few trees, Toni busily stripping the bark off the trees

Using the chain saw to notch a tree fall to add the stringers

Digging in the supports on either end and mounting them on rock

and bolting the stringers to the fallen trees 100mm batten screws used

It is slowly coming together

a test run after the decking has been added

rides well !

and then trimming it all up, making it nice and neat

the finished product, looking good !

We have also started on a big log ride.  We managed to get the trail to come to a large log, taking advantage of that fact, we have decided to build a ramp onto and off it.

Had to trim bits off it first to make i rideable.

It is scary being up there, took Toni about 20 mins to find her mojo the first time she rode it

but ride it she did, you go girl !

Yes, I had to pause before I had a go,

We still have to finish it but hopefully in the next couple weeks we will get back to it.

Further along the trail we have a nifty little rolling log ride, the logs at either end are fixed, the logs in the middle roll as you ride over them

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Social MTB Ride

We have been out building more trail, finsally organised a social MTB ride on the trail  Had riders from as far away as Coffs Harbour come ride the trails for the day.

 We had about 20 riders show up, as well as a few spectators, a good day wa shad by all.  Luckily for us thew weather held off, just.  It has been raining a fair bit lately, so the timing was perfect.

Plenty of extra pics here


We finished up riding to the Coffee Shop in the Nymboida township to finish with.  Teh view from the coffee sho is great and it was good to chat to everyone at the end

The extra trail we have built has some nice features, a rocky ridge, a big log crossing

and a nice little dip into a berm but the majority is winding single trail through the forest.

We have also started on the next section, more to come on that...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

More trail, bridge finished

We finally finsihed the bridge, screwing the decking down last week. 

There has been nearly 2 weeks of rain, with the only clear days being the last two, so things slowed down a fair bit, so we started adding the decking in the rain.  Here it is half way thorough.

and finished
It was all too much for Toni, so she had a jump, to celebrate and check the integrity of the construction !

We have also added another 400m or so of single track, with only one large log crossing to finish to make it 100% rideable.  The new trail comes off the old part, winds it;s way through the forest, over a rocky ridge, then back beside the creek through the forest.  It makes a sweet addition that's fun to ride with a few interesting bits to make it fun, like a log you need to duck under.

This little berm is at the bottom of a small downhill section, allows you to not lose any speed as you come through the corner and minimises braking, avoiding erosion.

We will be adding more over the coming weeks but will also spend some time grooming the trail we have built in preperation for a tentative upcoming social ride.  

The next bit of trail goes back past an old historical hut that was built several decades ago on the property.  More to come.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bridge Construction & Clino

Bridge Construction

We felled (11/1/10) a small tree to use for the bridge we need to build.  It needs to sit for a few weeks after debarking to allow it to dry out.  I feel this is is a much more sustainable approach, coppicing a tree that's close by, rather then using a CCA treated log of unknown provenance.  The tree will regenerate and live to fight another day, we used only our sweat and an axe to fell it.

I was getting impatient awaiting the logs to finish drying, and talked Toni into digging the footings and placing the logs on Australia day, ready to go for the decking.  This pic shows the logs prior to moving into place, they were surprisingly heavy but with a bit of mechanical advantage from the leverage of the star pickets we managed to get them into place easily enough, only need a little more sweat, some cursing and some muscle work.

and now they're in place, sitting on masonry blocks as footing, with rocks from the creek piled in around them to hold then in place.  They have been levelled and awaiting the decking, at least another week of drying, unless I get really impatient.

We managed to scrounge some old hardwood tongue and groove timber to re-use as bridge decking, this will be the sturdiest MTB bridge in Australia at this rate.

The decking has all been cut to size (600mm) and is ready to go, all I need now is to go to Bunnings to get the 50mm fastners I need.

Bit the bullet and ordered a clino yesterday, $250 (ouch) but it's the most necessary tool in sustainable trail construction, and the next stage of our trail network is contour trail across a steep(ish) sideslope, where a clino is a MUST have to avoid building an unsustainable trail.

Should arrive in the next few days, so no excuses for not starting to mark out some more trail I guess, aside from the 1000 other jobs I have to do :) and then plenty of digging !

Saturday, January 16, 2010

In the beginning...

In the beginning...

The trail network started in the new year of 2010, on the 45 acre property I purchased near Nymboida, in the Northern Rivers district of NSW.

The area has some side slope and a small perennial creek running through it.  The Creek has a near temperate rainforest microclimate, perfect for building trial...  and so it starts

This shows the  first trail mark out, before any thing commenced, this is about 100m from the back of the house.

The first part of the trail will loop around near the creek to let riders enjoy the beautiful and varied trees growing there and to hook into the dirt road at the front of the property.  The start was easy going, raking away the leaf litter. even the chickens loved it and they followed along behind me, eating the bugs as I uncovered them !

There are creek crossings

and log crossing galore