Building the Backyard “Maim Frame”

Building the Backyard “Maim Frame”


As it stands, we have a great starting point
for downhill trails on Berm Peak. We have a route to the summit, an official
trailhead, and a big roll-in called the Flight Deck. We even have a map of the property, and a
rough layout of what our future trail system could look like. Today, we continue our work on Woodpecker,
the first of our downhill trails. I’m trying to make the most of the land
up here in Stumpthorne, and that means I can’t just choose the path of least resistance. There are quite a few dead trees in the way,
and although they work great for lining the trail, I need to move them all myself. A lot of you have asked why I don’t buy
or rent a machine, like a mini excavator or skid steer. It would make building go a lot quicker, and
allow us to build bike park features like jumps. But I want to become proficient at hand cutting
before we get into any of that. Hand cut trails have great character. They can be built surgically, keeping the
underlying root systems intact. This keeps them narrow, loamy, and beautiful. Not that there’s anything wrong with machine
cut trails…no. Machine cut trails can be awesome, but hand
cut singletrack is quickly becoming an endangered species. I want to give it a chance to flourish here
on Berm Peak, and that means this is going to take time, and sweat. But out here in Stumpthorne, there’s not
much to do besides route the trail, clear corridor, and rake. We won’t need to cut bench or anything like
that until we get to the steeper parts of the property. And that means, we can finish this trail rather
quickly. Woodpecker can now be ridden as a loop, climbing
back to the trailhead by middle and upper Berm Peak Express. The climb only takes a minute or so, and the
trail itself lasts just under 30 seconds. Given the remaining elevation we have, that
means a 1 to 2 minute downhill run is absolutely in our future. Better yet, we’ve completed this loop just
in time for some special visitors. Phil and Hailey are in town, and this is the
first time they’re seeing any of this stuff. Phil is a connoisseur of sketchy features. Last year he visited me at Berm Creek after
I broke my collar bone, and dug some pretty insane stuff in the snow. I guess we’ll just pick up where we left
off. We started thinking of a feature we could
build in one day, and strongly considered an A frame like this one. Instead, we opted for a slightly modified
A frame with a turn at the top. Go straight, and nosedive off the end. This would be less of an A frame, and more
of a Maim Frame. With a little planning and some preparation,
we’d be ready to jump into this project full force the following morning. And that, would require some digging. Aside from some post holes we haven’t dug
much on Berm Peak. One thing I’ve noticed is the total lack
of rocks. This has destroyed my dreams of uncovering
amazing rock rolls, but you never know what’s lurking on the other side of the property. Still, this clay packs really well and will
make for great dirt features down the line. This clay is also great for securing posts. We’re not using concrete mix out on the
trail, so dirt needs to be tamped down really aggressively after each shovel full. If any settling occurs and the feature ends
up being slightly off level, life will go on. And indeed these kinds of projects involve
a lot more guess work than even I’m used to. To make this stuff fit the terrain and get
all the angles right, a tape measure and level can’t do all the leg work. We won’t really know how this thing rides
until it’s done. Some of you may notice that we’re also using
different lumber. Most of the stuff I’ve built outside has
been made of treated pine, which is soaked in this slimy preservative. That helps the wood resist decay, but it also
makes it risky to handle without gloves, and dangerously slippery when wet. So I’ve been experimenting with rot resistant
hardwoods from my local sawmill. These locust planks are from the low grade
pile, so they’re the planks with all the knots, bows, and twists that people don’t
want for building decks. The roughness and inconsistency makes them
cheaper than the appearance grade stuff, and grippier on bike tires. This stuff is hard to work with. It pushes my Ryobi saw to its limits and dulls
drill bits, but it’s very strong and as I said, makes for great traction. Given the safety and environmental benefits,
it’s worth using out here. Between the holes, moving supplies around,
and actually putting this all together. Constructing the maim frame took the better
part of a day. But with a little bit of light to spare, we
were ready to actually ride the Maim Frame. In the future I’ll alter the trail to improve
the approach, but as is, the Maim Frame is really challenging just to get over. Of course, that didn’t stop Phil from tryin
to air it—and attempting to ride it from the other side. In typical Phil fashion, he cleaned it after
a few tries, but for me this would be a slightly bigger challenge. When we last left off with Kevin, he was sending
these huge jumps at Windrock on a cheap used downhill bike. But the Maim Frame is unlike anything he’s
ever ridden before. We can improve the approach to the maim frame
with fairly little work, but in the future I’m going to spend more time focusing on
the approach to features like this. I couldn’t have pulled this off in one day
without Phil, Hailey, and Kevin’s help, so definitely check out their very different
YouTube channels below. As excited as I am about the Maim Frame, I’m
even more excited about having an actual loop on Berm Peak. With each home improvement project, we’ll
add to Woodpecker until it lives up to its name, and then move on to building more trail. Until we break ground again, thanks for riding
with me today and I’ll see you next time.