Friday, November 4, 2011

98% finished

After an aborted overnight rafting trip, which we never managed to get started, we decided to do a few hours working on the trial instead, a sorry consolation prize for us but a good result for the trail network.  We managed to get the Mossy Log Ride finished, it's "B" line and the B line for the Grizzly Bear obstacle as well as the rest of the trail benched.

The Mossy Log Ride is, we think, another sweet obstacle on our trails, the log was quite hollow, so I used  rocks to fill the void, and we used rock for the sides of the ramps.  The ramps were subsequently filled with rock and the tops "shaped" with dirt.
Log ride, hollow end, looking E to W

The log required a fair amount of rock inside to both fill it and offer support from the weight of the riders, it should last man many years, hopefully.  I had done 90% of the western ramp a earlier in the week,
Started earlier in the week, W ramp partly completed.

so we just needed to finish that little bit off, then start the eastern ramp, plenty of rock close by made the job easier then just trying to use dirt or cart rock in from afar.

When using dirt fill laid on rock, it's important to tamp the dirt down between the rocks to ensure there is minimal or preferably no subsidence as time goes on.

Toni tamping the dirt in tight amongst the rocks

Completed Mossy Log Ride !

We used dirt from cutting the benches for the trail surface, cut and fill is always the most economical method if it can be used.

Finished Mossy Log Ride, looking E to W, "B" line on left

We think the new obstacle came up looking sweet !  Of course the proof of the pudding is in the riding, so hopefully we'll get a chance to do exactly that tomorrow !

"B" line on right for the Grizzly Bear log ride obstacle, looking  W

Grizzly Bear "A "line, completed last week
Earlier in the week
Earlier in the week I had managed to get a fair section of trail benched, 90% of the western approach of the "Mossy Log Ride" done as well as finish the berm, it looks sweet

Forest entrance berm

 but it needed a bit of moisture to allow me to pack it down nicely, low and behold the "God of Trail Building" gave me 20mm the next day.  That worked a treat !  Now I just need another 10- 20mm or so to settle the new construction... send 'er down !

Thursday, October 20, 2011

more work then "Bob the Builder" could do in a day !

Had a couple smaller days of trail work by myself and a huge day today with the both of us out there.  The other day involved clearing the trail and getting it ready to finalise.  Plenty of clearing to do but it is coming along nicely

The trail takes shape after detritus has been cleared !

We accomplished a fair bit today but never enough in my eyes !  We started on "Grizzly Bear", Toni has named this obstacle as it has a nasty bite if you make a mistake !  This is what it looked like before we got going

The new trail obstacle, "Grizzly Bear", au natural !
Looking  East  to West

We need the chainsaw to cut a flat bit into the top of the log and to cut up the dead logs all around it to use in the construction of the ramps to get over !

"Grizzly Bear", part way through construction
Looking West to East
and then we came back out after lunch to finish it, SWEET !

All finished, looking East to West

To celebrate, we decided to keep going and do a whole heap of benching

Plenty of benching with this steeper side slope
all full bench, half bench is half baked !

up to the next obstacle. The "Mossy Long Ride of D'eath !"  Hopefully we'll get back to that some time next week, it and the berm on the corner are the last two obstacles to be constructed.  Although we are considering adding something (who knows ?)  further back to enhance the flavour of the trail !

Still plenty of track to clear though but it's fairly flat so no benching needed !

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sustainable Trails !

Sustainable Trails

The philosophy I employ in all design and construction reflects a system of trail design and building as put forward by the IMBA.  There system of trail building works and I would encoyrage everyone building trails to adopt something similar.  Here are a few interesting links,

Anyone serious about trail building should buy their books on trail design, and in particular the "Trail Soultions" book, and use it as their bible.

I particularly like this simple 10 step process to avoid the most common mistakes some trail builders employ some or all of  them when building trail !!!

10 Most Common Trailbuilding Mistakes

For as long as humans have been following trails, we've been making mistakes on trails. Still, our missteps - whether they left us in the digestive tracts of saber-toothed beasts or wandering the intestinal roadways of trail-encroaching suburbs - usually only affect ourselves. When trailbuilders make mistakes, however, they affect everybody. Trail users, land managers, vegetation and wildlife all feel the sting of the well-meaning but inexperienced trailbuilder. In our travels, we often see the same mistakes again and again, but the good news is they can all be avoided. In an effort to bury them alongside dinosaurs in the evolutionary graveyard, we bring you the top 10:
  1. Not Getting Land Manager Approval
  2. We know, we know: you just want to build trails. But believe us when we tell you that nothing - not a single darned thing - more important before starting trailwork than the approval of the land owner or manager. In our experience, a failure to secure permission is the single biggest cause of trail closures. When it comes to building trails, to ask for forgiveness is not better than to ask for permission.
  3. Falling for the Fall Line
  4. Put simply, fall line trails are erosion nightmares. They turbo-charge natural and user-created erosion, exposing rocks and roots and generally living short lives before becoming loose, wide, ecosystem-damaging disasters. To build trails that last, use the Half Rule: trail grade, or steepness, shouldn't exceed half the grade, or steepness, of the hillside; and the 10 Percent Rule: overall trail grade should be 10 percent or less.
  5. Guessing the Grade
  6. Nobody, no matter how masterful their eye, can guess trail grades right every time. Trust us, we know. Sure, it's fun to try, but use a clinometer to confirm the grade whenever you're laying out trail - it's worth a regiment of self-powered, Fantasia-style Pulaskis, because no amount of trailwork can fix a trail built on an unsustainable grade. If you don't have a clinometer, we highly recommend an investment in this indispensable tool.
  7. Going Against the Flow
  8. Not even race courses - which are sometimes designed with erratic flow to throw off a racer's rhythm - should make this trailbuilding faux pas. All trailbuilders should make "smooth transitions" their mantra. Bad flow, especially fast sections leading into sharp turns, is a primary cause of user conflict. When you are building, think flow - it's the key to an enjoyable trail.
  9. Half Bench is Half Baked
  10. The only time you should ever skimp on a fully bench cut trail is (1) when the sideslope is so steep - 80 percent or greater - that the backslope exceeds six feet in height, or (2) when your trail design forces you to build close to the downhill side of a large tree. In both cases, a proper crib wall should be built to support your partial bench, and, as in all trails, the tread should maintain a five to seven percent outslope.
  11. The West Virginia Climbing Turn
  12. Our friends in West Virginia affectionately gave this name to some of their steep, fall line turns, and while they've gotten away with it in a few locations because of the soil and user types, most fall line turns will erode badly. If you want your climbing turns to endure, build them on sideslopes with no steeper than a seven to 10 percent grade.
  13. Building Houses of Straw
  14. Remember the little piggy who built his house with straw? He got chowed by a wolf. Using shoddy materials when building trail structures leaves you and others similarly vulnerable by reducing the structure's safety and longevity. This opens the door to things like pain, guilt and even lawyers. Build it right. Keep the wolves at bay.
  15. Finishing a Line Before Its Time
  16. We heartily support on-the-trail training, but some new trailbuilders are so eager to keep building more! new! better! trails that they don't devote enough time or care to each new trail section. Resist the temptation to move forward. Don't finish a line before its time, and always patch past mistakes.
  17. Building a Pathway to Grandma's House
  18. This is what we call some trailbuilders' obsession with lining trail with logs. A properly constructed trail shouldn't need them. In fact, lining a trail with logs can trap water and increase erosion.
  19. Ignoring Old Wounds
  20. As mountain bikers we may think our scars are cool, but scars on the land left by closed trails are damaging wounds that need to heal. Always reclaim eroded areas with check dams - natural obstacles like logs or rocks that divert the flow of water and soil - and reclaim all closed trails with transplanted native vegetation that conceals the old corridor. Shine the spotlight on the great trails you've built, not the ugly scars that have been left behind.

moving along nicely

The track keeps moving along nicely,  another two weeks or so should see the first stage of the southern trail network finished, I hope.  I was sidelined with a 6 day hospital stay so that crimped the plans slightly.

This afternoon saw the track progressing and about 50 meters of this section will need to be benched, it should make a sweet bit of riding through the forest.

Forest Section construction started

All going to plan (does it ever ?), Friday should see some of the construction projects on the trail started.

The plan is to have it finished and open to ride in about two weeks !

Saturday, October 15, 2011

rollin', rollin', rollin' !

We've been out for a couple working bees, progressing the track along nicely.  Clearing the top of the Dam was great, we have never been even able to walk along there.  There was a very thick lanata patch, and waist high Bladey grass to contend with.  No more, Toni LOVES to whippersnip, so she went to work on the Dam wall !
Attacking the Bladey Grass !

Dam Wall, lookin' sweet !
Track across the Dam wall was cleared, and we also completed from Glenns Ck Rd to the southern end of the Dam wall.

Clearing the line on the southern side of the wall,
towards Glenns Ck Rd

Work on the Northern side of the Dam will start as soon as we can.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Under starters orders !

We tried to head out yesterday to do some trail work but alas, rain it did but we managed to get out today.  Cleared the Lantana on the dam wall as the first order of business, then started trail work proper.  We decided to start at the end and work backwards, the treat being when we join to the currently constructed section, it will be completely open to ride, instead of teasing ourselves by extending the old section each time.  Now it's all marked out and cleared, I hope work on building the trail accelerates, as long as my momentum continues !

Link section from Dam wall to Glenns Ck Rd 
The trail "splits" on the other side of the Dam wall, one "arm" of the trail heading south east towards Glenns Ck Rd, the other heading south west to eventually be the main trail loop itself.  We have started on the SE section ! WOOT !

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

All marked out

The section of track we have been clearing and building has been marked out all the way to it's terminus.  We wanted it to end at Glens Ck Road, this allows a nice bit of single track to ride out on when heading to "town" on the bikes and also allows us to integrate the forest fire trail at the back of our property into a loop.

The last bit was marked out today, crossing the Dam wall.

Standing on Dam Wall, looking across, wall goes to L

hopefully none of the fearsome yabbies that I seeded the dam with will have grown big enough to pull a rider into the Dam !

All your mountain bikes are belong to us !

There are a couple interesting features in the bit of trail coming down through the forest, a mossy log ride presenting an opportunity to ride along it for a short way, before dropping off to the right, where the blue tape is
Mossy log ride
There is some nice rock just out of the picture to the right, so we might be able to use that to make the ingress and egress ramps off the log hopefully.

The trail descends down through the forest at about 6%, with a 22% (average) crossfall on the land.

Trail marked out through the forest, can you see the trees ?

This log
The "third" bear !
presents another nice obstacle, we'll try and use the excess logs, cut to length with the chainsaw and make an interesting feature to ride over.  The problem is it will be like the other tow we made earlier and Toni has named each of these features Little Bear and Big Bear and she consequently decided to tenatively name the track "Two Bears", I am not sure if this will throw a spanner into her naming convention or not !  We'll see.

if it doesn't rain tomorrow, we'll restart trail construction !

Thursday, September 29, 2011

a minor update and a major breakthrough

For what seems the longest time, we have been clearing a line for the new Southern Trail through some of the thickest lantana on the property.  It seems to have taken forever but we finally broke through yesterday, back into the forest which is clear of lantana and we can start trail construction proper again.  Several times I had considered adopting another line, simply because of the sheer hard work involved in clearing the line BUT one of the projects we have is a 5 year plan to rid the property of lantana altogether, so this makes a nice start to clearing a patch of some of the thickest growth on the property.  Toni has done an outstanding job helping out and any help clearing lantana is appreciated.

The forest area has a nice sideslope, with some massive trees that are interesting, combined with a couple new innovate features we can build into the trail, that will make it more interesting to ride.

Now we have broken through, hopefully it will reinvigorate me to get some more trail meters constructed.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Busy little bees

We have been beavering away busily, making new trail, new trail features and clearing lantana for the trail corridor.  We went out for a ride this morning and took a couple photos showing off the new trail
Riding the new log crossing
We made the log crossing smaller then initially intended, thinking it might be too intimidating, now I regret it and we should have kept it as we originally planned as it's a little easy.  It is "nifty" though !  We just used a convenient dead tree and our trusty chainsaw to fill in the gaps between an already fallen tree, no live trees were killed during this construction :)

Me on the same crossing
Here's what it looked like before

This crossing is a little further along

Another crossing, after.


and the current end of the trail
Current end of the trail
The trail winds through the grove of trees in the background, right where the large log on the ground can be seen.  Need the crowbar to move that sucker aside !  We can ride out to our properties driveway where we are, so it allows us to nicely link back onto the "Footbone" section of the northern trail network.

Monday, July 18, 2011

More southern trail work

We have been hard at it with many working bees on the southern trail.  This area is particularly heavily infested with lantana, so the going is slow but there is the added benefit of clearing the lantana as we go.  We hope to have the property totally cleared of the stuff one day, what a joyous day THAT will be but enough of the day dreamin' .  I have been out working on the trail nearly every day, with Toni helping out when she can.  I had a day off to go race mountain bikes in Grafton at the Bom Bom BOMB , a great event thanks to the awesome work of the guys doing the trails there and to Sue and Trev from Graftons iconic bike shop, Grafton City Cycles

Built Trail
Some of the trail has been built but it's still virgin, not having been ridden at all, we plan to ride tomorrow morning hopefully !
Log crossing near the trail head
Trail winding through the forest

A log crossing - after
and here's what it looked like before the trail was built but after the lantana was cleared

Log crossing - before !
The area is very heavily wooded, making it great to ride through but often tricky to build, follow IMBA Trail building principles and miss all the trees !

Coming out of a corner, between a Stringy Bark (L)
and a TallowWood (R)

A problem ? or an opportunity !
This presented me with an opportunity to do something different.

Trev's Trapezoidal log obstacle (I hope !), "B" line on the left

 I am going to try some chain saw "architecture" and use a large fallen tree, cut to suitable lengths to fill in the gaps between these logs.  Hopefully I will be making it a trapezoidal shape, something like below albeit with easier approach and departure angles then shown in the image

We will be able to ride over, made out of logs, about thigh high.

We'll see how it goes !

Speaking of Lantana
I was saying how thick it is, here's a photo, I tell no lies !

Lantana to be cleared !

Sunday, June 26, 2011

and the Great Southern Trail begins

Well, I finally got of my arse and have been doing some lantana clearing and reconnoitring for the next trail section.  Like it's northern cousin, it too starts near the shed where the bikes are stored, but then heads south.  We have been in a couple times clearing through a particularly thick bit on lantana in order to scout the land to enable the best use of the land as well as to make a sustainable trail

Cleared line for the trail though the forest, looking North
After several working bees clearing lantana, we now have a cleared line suitable for the trail to start, it doesn't look like much, yet

same trail, looking South
but we have to start somewhere.  One of the benefits of pushing the trail into new areas infested with lantana is that it breaks the seamless patch of lantana up into more manageable parcels.

One of our goals is to have our small 45 Acre block one day lantana free, building trails to allow access is a side benefit of the riding experience.  Of course that doesn't negate that it's very physically demanding work to clear ! especially as we are eschewing poison simply in favour of pulling it out.

and so we continue...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Social Ride done and dusted.

About thirty riders turned up for the ride.

Everyone !

Thanks to everyone that did come out, it was heaps of fun.

Here are a few sample pics
Geeze Dave, you're scaring me !

Juniors showing us how it's done !

S-moothhhhh !

Love the smile Lara !

and plenty more photos here

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

benchin' and buildin'

Toni was mountain bike racing on Sunday at the track at Grafton, I was dobbed in as the event photographer

Toni racing at Bom Bom Forest
She did well, coming first in her category.

and now back to our regular programming
I managed to get back up to the track while Toni was at work the other day and get some more benching done
More benching done

and I managed to drag her out to help me build our final obstacle on the new trail.  There was a large tree that had fallen, the "Y" where a large branch came off the trunk presenting an opportunity to fill with logs and provide a platform to drop off the downhill side.  We needed to build a ramp on the other side. The logs to be used for the stringers had been curing for some time

Logs curing
We roughed in where we wanted them, then dug the footings
Ramp footing
These are set on rock and kept in place by rocks, to minimise contact with the soil and help stave off the stringers rotting.

Final alignment check
Then a final alignment check before we chainsaw and chisel the notch for the other ends to sit in

Chisel work
Toni finishing off the notches after I had used the chainsaw to rough them in.

Ready to attach the decking
Then sit the logs in the notch, countersink a hole about 1/2 way through the stringer, screw in some 100mm batten screws to hold them in place.  Attach the top and bottom decking planks, attach the string line to keep one side even and screw down all the decking.  We managed to source a supply of recycled hardwood tongue and groove flooring, so we use that for the decking.  We discussed using a couple widths, from 300mm through to 600mm and settled on 400mm as a good compromised between too narrow and too easy, we think it's a nice width to use for the decking for this ramp.

straightening the outer edge
Decking is all laid, then use a chalk line to mark the other edge, and trim up with a battery operated circular saw.... and voila

Looking from the approach side
the ramp is finished, the middle of the "Y" has been filled with logs to provide the platform

Looking up
Looking up the track.  The proof of course, will be in the riding !

The ascending line and the "B" line for the descent, off to the left.

"B" line
where a piece of the tree was cut out to allow riders through.