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Call me Andy.
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So I live in the middle of Florida and I have access to a 40 acre wood, which I ride in all the time. I want it to be exciting! Theres no jumps, drops, bridges, or anything of that sort. I am on a high schoolers budget so it makes it complicated. I have access to lots of free wood pallets. Before I use them, I will check for nails, sand them down, and all of that. I just dont know how to make it fun! Since its boring Florida, the ground is all sand, and sadly, the trails are sugar sand. Can you post ideaas, pictures, tips, and other helful things to get me on my way?

Thanks,
Andy
 

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Hermit
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990 Posts
I had a mess of pallets that I used for some backyard features. What I learned:

- First thing - find out if you can get the slats off of the pallets by pounding out the nails. Some pallets you can, some you can't. If you can you'll at least get some long slats, as well as 3 2x4's per pallet.
- If you can't pull the nails you have to cut the slats out of the pallets. This gives you a mess of slats about 18" long, and the 3 2x4's are going to have little chunks of wood still nailed to them. You can pry those little chunks off and then hacksaw off the unpullable nail heads, but keep in mind that if you try to saw these nail filled 2x4's you're in for some serious work.
-The pallets I got were mostly oak, but some pine ones come through occasionally. The long oak slats are pretty strong, as long as you're not actually landing on them they should be strong enough. The pine ones are a bunch weaker - use at your own risk.
- The short slats are good for making narrow bridges & ramps. If you exclusively use the pallet 2x4's for the bridge rails you're going to need a lot of them. Consider buying treated landscape timbers for the rails - they're pretty cheap. I built a mess of 8' long by 18" wide bridges and left them movable so I could rearrange them.

Building with pallets can be a cheap way to get some basic features, but it is definitely labor intensive.

Other ideas for livening up you trail - bring in rocks or logs whenever you can find them. Anytime I see someone cutting up a downed tree I try to get pieces for skinnies or logovers. I also got a mess of rocks from various places and hauled a couple of tons to the house to create a nice rock garden. Check local landscape supply places if there are no rocks around and see if they can supply them at a reasonable cost. Also check out availability of other other scavengable stuff like old railroad ties or phone poles.

Steve Z
 

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log rides and skinnies are fun. can you scrounge enough wood for a teeter totter thing?

There is a place near me that is all flat and pine trees. Made the trails all tight and twisty to keep it interesting , at least for a couple weeknight rides! plus I ride a rigid ss round here
 

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easy: Add Elevation!

I have an acre i'm about to build a weaving track on. I plan on starting at a 10 foot deck as my inital decent, building some burms, skinnys, stuff like that, and then the last thing i'll do is design a hard little hill climb back to the top of the deck. I think i'm actually going to make it big fairly big with railings and gates for the entry and exit points, for insurance reasons ;) OHHH but thats right, i need money for wood, and i'm broooke. So use your surroundings and be creative! It is florida, so remember, pretty much any decent you create, your going to have to climb just as high lol. Keep us posted on what you create!
 

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BM and PQ Trail Rep
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Use as much native material as possible.

In 40 acres of woods, there has to be at least a few usable downed trees. The logs can be used as stringers for bridges, teeter-totters, jumps, and skinnies. Or just pulled across the trial as an up and over obstacle.

While Florida is more known for its sand and swamp, there are quarries there so there is limestone around. If you can find sizable pieces, they can be incorporated into the obstacles as well.

Best part is both of those are free. You might need a way to move them but that would be the extent of your capital outlay.
 

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I have built trails in Fl and understand the problems you are talking about. Flat, sandy, Pine scrub - your main concern will be to conquer the sand. Gravel and mulch will become your friend. Skinnies, rock rollovers and elvated trail is really the only way to add excitement to flat forest: teeter-totters, wall rides, log rolls, dirt humps... All of these can be built of scrap wood. Check out some local construction/demolition sites for old wood. Some contractors will give you scraps - its cheaper than throwing it in dump. Good luck and let me where the new trail is!!!:D
 

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dig in rather than build up

Any jump you build probably turns into a loose sand trap. If you make a pump track by digging dips rather than building up bumps the sand will stay more moist and more firm.Rain water should drain fairly quickly from the dips in that soil. Dig your trail then plant it to a short growing grass so the roots hold the soil together. The limestone idea was a good one if you can get some cheap.
 

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If you can get someone to dump fill and dirt there post some signs and have them start dumping at the furthest point and start building with that. Let the rain pack your new hills for you before you build or at least rough shape your terrain and let it get packed from there. Try to make friends with the managers at the local Lowe's AND HomeDepot to see if you can get all of their scrap wood that they trash once it gets twisty. Check out your local Water Treatment Department as they use a clay sludge to filter the water out and chances are that they have to pay to haul it somewhere and they just might deliver it for free. Its easy to work but needs lots of rain at first to pack it. Be sure to mix your sand in with it to hold the clay together.

Is this YOUR land and do you have permission to build on it?
 
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