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Still surfin in my 60's.
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138 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I live on a 46 acre farm, no longer in production except for a large garden. I started working on a trail back in the fall, then the weather got bad and schoolwork piled up. I am incorporating part of an old wagon road (as in horse and wagon) in my trail. After riding for about 200 yards, I turn into the trees for a "single-track" type ride. I am mostly just looking for a good line through the trees with clearance between trees. I took a leaf rake and raked a trail that makes about a 400 yard loop. I plan to extend the trail this Spring. Should I put lots of turns and curves in? I'm in a hardwood forest with almost no undergrowth so I'm not having to do much clearing. The trail is also starts on flat ground until the first turn then to the side of a rather steep hill, so should I run up and down the hill to put in some climbs and drops? Having never been on a "real" MTB trail, I'm just wondering what makes for a good trail. I also turn 62 in April and not in the best of shape so I want something I can ride without killing myself. I'm open to suggestions and advice.
 

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trail rat
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7,825 Posts
Start with the IMBA Trail Building and Design page. Look to the left and you will see all the topics available.

Trail building is a science and an art. It can take years to understand it and get good at it. Sorry there is no easy answer to your question, but that link will tell you enough to get started. Proceed with caution - it you make the first simple mistakes, it takes 10 times as much time and effort to repair them.

Also browse this forum. Your question gets asked almost every week or two and there are many good answers here from long time trail builders, amateur and professional, but typing the same answers over and over takes us away from our trail work. ;)
 

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Still surfin in my 60's.
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138 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
slocaus, thaks for the link. I've already had to make one correction. On my downhill, my first turn was too sharp, first time I blew right through it, 2nd time, tied to make the turn and ended up on my a**.:D
 

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local trails rider
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12,300 Posts
It does help if you have some experience riding a trail. At least it helps in knowing where to put the turns and how tight to make them.

- avoid the wet spots: you don't want water to run along your trail or to collect into puddles there.
- turns make the trail interesting. So do ups and downs.
 

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perttime said:
It does help if you have some experience riding a trail. At least it helps in knowing where to put the turns and how tight to make them.

- avoid the wet spots: you don't want water to run along your trail or to collect into puddles there.
- turns make the trail interesting. So do ups and downs.
Good advice above. There's a fun little trail near where I live that is built on a sideslope. It's overall a loop, but weaves through trees and around downed logs, plus works it way up and down the slope several times each lap. There are fast and slow corners, such that you can work up to a pretty good speed, then have to shut down for a tight corner and start back up. It makes for a good workout and keeps it interesting, all on a piece of ground probably not much more than a couple acres.
 

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Still surfin in my 60's.
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138 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
pertime, harry, appreciate the advice, walked through the woods this morning trying to envision additions to my present short trail. The trail is pretty much on a side slope so drainage and standing water won't be a problem. As I walked I saw where I needed to put turns in the trail to break up the feeling of riding a loop, more Watkins Glen than Daytona if you know what I mean.
 

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local trails rider
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12,300 Posts
Some of my favorite pieces of trail are on sideslopes, managing to do a sort of a rollercoaster. It is never exactly straight and the bends at the bottoms are wide enough that I maintain momentum to coast uphill too :) Even on sideslopes, it is possible for water to accumulate, but it helps if you make enough turns or bends to help the water get off the trail.

Where I live, we don't generally "cut" a trail. Just using it seems to work fine here, packing all the organic stuff into trail surface too.
 
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