make a "north shore"

i can’t find out what there called
but i’m work to make a small “north shore” elevated trail but i’m wondering how big the gaps between the decking should be so they will not trip me up (cuz me and my brothers ride 24 and 20 inch unis)

any other tips about “north shore” elevated trail

thank you
colin

Corbin and I have built a number of ladder bridges and such in preparation for this year’s CMW trials comp… see: http://picasaweb.google.com/corbin.dunn/TrialsAtCorbinSHouse

There isn’t any hard and fast measurement for the gap between slats, but a good place to start is to use a slat to measure the gap itself… that is, if you’re using 2x3s for slats, then a 3"ish gap between slats is fine. You may want to use more of a gap to conserve wood… it’s still totally rideable, probably up to 5" or so. Above that, your ride will get bumpier and bumpier.

As for other tips, pay attention to the slope of your “ups” and “downs”. If you make your “ups” too steep you may have a hard time getting onto your bridge… when in doubt, make it more shallow than steep. Also, steep “downs” are rideable, but only as long as you provide a decent transition (to flat) at the end. If you run a steep down right into the ground (w/o transition) that’s a recipe for serious injury.

We’ve found that 2x6s make for great bridge supports that don’t require much bracing. 2x4s work well but get wobbly after some distance.

All the logs we’ve used for supports have been placed into 1-2 ft deep post holes. After compacting the dirt around the log, it doesn’t require any other bracing to remain upright… which means less work! Corbin uses a chainsaw to “square off” the top of each log to allow for attaching the 2x6s.

We’ve used nails throughout the course, and this allows for a bit of flex in the obstacles. To be sure, use longer nails than necessary so that flexing doesn’t cause things to fall apart.

As for designing your obstacles, make sure to put some things up that are a bit too hard for you to ride. As you get better, your course will get easier, and it’s nice to have a few things to challenge yourself with.

Have fun building and riding! Send us some pictures when you’re done.

Have bits that you can rearange or ride from multiple angles, or from one section gaging to another, varying the options and difficulty, some too hard, as maestro8 said.

Another thing to consider is how you plan to bail. If the bridge is so high that you would want to bail onto the bridge, having wider gaps makes it more likely for you to catch body parts in the gaps resulting in bad injuries.