Modernization Hub

Modernization and Improvement

Backyard MTB Trails with “Sicknic Table” – Berm Creek Upgrades

Last May, I built some singletrack in my back
yard. The trails were ridiculously short, shoddily
built, and kind of pointless as viewed from an outsider. Nevertheless the trails had names, there was
shreddy little berm at the bottom, and we managed to have fun there. I dubbed this mini trail system, Berm Creek. A few months later I visited the Pacific Northwest,
and came back craving wooden features. Thus, the North Shore drop was added at the
very top of Berm Creek. We named it the Drama Drop, after Drama. The North Shore drop quickly became a big
part of the channel, as I used it any time I tested a new bike or part. But despite using the North Shore drop fairly
often, the rest of Berm Creek has been somewhat neglected. Today, that’s gonna change. For starters, I cleaned up the landing to
the North Shore drop, making it a bit wider and more consistent. There were also a few drainage issues starting
with this pipe that empties directly on to Berm Creek. To solve this problem I dug a trench across
the trail, extended the pipe about 15 feet, and buttoned it back up. Later this spring, there should be some wildflowers
in the spot I dug up. My weed whacker has become one of my favorite
trail grooming tools, as it cuts away vegetation effortlessly and does a good job of marking
sections of trail I want to cut. I used it to mark this turn after the drainage
pipe, making it wider and swoopier. We’ll get back to that. I had some other repairs to do like the widening
of goodman ledge. And some adjustments to this switchback. Although it’s not technically a switchback. As a result of all the adjustments and repairs
I made, there was a fair bit of extra dirt to work with. So, I used it to make a new berm after the
drainage pipe. The berm that comes after the North Shore
drop is small and shreddy, just how I like it. After that, you need to slam on your brakes. This new berm would help to rectify that problem. I started by roughly piling up the dirt along
the section of trail I had marked. I then used the shovel to cut into the ground,
and the rake give it some shape. Compact, rinse, repeat. A berm was born. Another thing I’ve been meaning to do is
move the trailhead sign into the back yard. It attracts too much attention in the front,
as if a North Shore drop wasn’t bad enough. Also at the new trailhead is a place to keep
my tools organized. Yes I leave this stuff outside, which is what
a lot of trail builders do. It’s gonna rust and I don’t mind. With all of berm creek’s drainage issues
solved and the addition of this berm, I could focus less pressing issues, like the lack
of any good place to hang out here. I find myself sitting in the dirt, and putting
my stuff on the ground here. Berm Creek needed a picnic table. I wanted to build something high up on Berm
Creek so that it would overlook the rest of the trail. With a lack of any level surface to build
on, I’d need to be creative. So I began construction on the Sicknic table,
the sickest picnic table ever built. I started with two 4×4 posts that would support
the higher side of the table. Naturally, I dug them into the ground and
used concrete mix to hold them in place. I used lag bolts to fasten the cross supports,
which would hold the bench and table top. From there, I got to work leveling the supports
on the other side, which would sit directly on the ground with a 4×4 anchoring them in
place. I’m sure there’s a quick and easy way
to do all of this, but my method was to keep adjusting things little by little until they
were all level. Welcome to panda slopes picnic area, a picnic
area on a 45% grade. It’s a place to take a breather, where pups
can walk directly on to the surface you eat on. The next morning I needed to get the shop
and the trails in tip top shape, because company was on the way. The new and improved Berm Creek was about
to get put to the test. For a place called Berm Creek, the berms sure
are small, but that’s how I like ‘em. Small berms are more challenging. They require precision to ride at speed. With each change we make to this berm it can
be ridden faster and faster, without making it big, wide, and boring. As for the rest of Berm Creek, it’s a work
in progress too. With limited space, steep slopes, and the
fact that it has to sort of resemble a back yard, my trails are constrained in many ways. But that only results in more creative solutions
like the sicknic table. This has changed the entire feeling of berm
creek, giving it a central location where everyone hangs out and puts their stuff. With the latest changes to berm creek, I’m
more inspired than ever to put time into it, but for the next month I’ll be working on
a different project: Alexander’s Van. We’re going to convert this into his full
time living space, which means we’re gonna be building a lot more stuff in the coming
weeks. Make sure you subscribe to the singletrack
sampler to follow this build, and of course, stay tuned on my channel for van build videos
as well. Thanks for riding with me today, and I’ll
see you next time.

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