Building & Riding a FAST wooden berm


The Kevin jump is lookin pretty rough. It’s been raining, snowing, freezing, thawing,
and just being winter. But all things considered, we have it pretty
good here, and on a nice day like today I can get these features running again in not
too much time. But the wooden lip we built requires zero
time to get running. And every time I perform a task like tuning
up this berm, it makes me wonder how we’ll keep this place running when I have 5 or 6
of them. And it just so happens that we do need another
berm, or something. If you can make it to the landing of this
iconic testament to sketchiness, there’s a 90 degree turn which of course requires
heavy braking. You then need to sprint to make it up the
next grade reversal, and that’s not so efficient. But if we’re gonna build a berm here, its
definitely going to be made of wood. The only problem is, I’ve never built a
wooden berm. Of course, the other Seth just built an incredible
plywood berm on his wooden pump track. We could just copy his plans, but plywood
won’t have the traction we need with dirty tires. Our berm will need be made from planks. Or in the case of our model, popsicle sticks. Since I’ve never built a wooden berm before,
this is a good experiment for working out the bugs. And it’s already apparent that we’ll need
to make some changes on the real version. We’ll need to anchor it to the ground, and
find a secure way to fasten the planks—Unless someone has a giant hot glue gun. One thing I did learn from building the model
is that the radius of a berm increases as you move from the inside to the outside. Based on the measurements of a rough survey,
I’m cutting the inside radius 10.5 feet, and the outside 11.5. This tape measure makes a much better compass
than our old string method since it doesn’t stretch. Whenever we cut these transitions, we’re
left with these seemingly useless off-cuts. But with the addition of the table saw, we
can easily rip them down and use them as stakes to anchor the berm to the ground. Unlike a dirt berm, our wooden berm isn’t
going to curve from bottom to top. It’ll be flat, kind of like a wall ride. But unlike a wall ride, it’ll be angled
at 45 degrees. So that’s the angle I cut these supports
at. To join the transitions, I’m simply lapping
them and securing them together with lag screws. This won’t need to be too strong since the
berm will actually get its rigidity from the supports we place behind it. To keep the berm from sliding backwards, I’m
hammering in the stakes we cut behind the lower radius. To keep the berm from tipping backwards, we’re
using the bigger stakes and securing them to the supports in the back. Our stake solution ended up working incredibly
well, but I was about to run into some design errors that would end up making the project
a little more difficult. So the planks would sit flat against the upper
radius, I beveled the entire edge at 45 degrees. That’s when the hacking and murdering began. On future berm projects, I won’t be overlapping
the transitions as it creates havoc when trying to get planks to sit flat. Instead I’ll miter and scab them together
so they run in a straight line. Now that the tweakery and botchery is complete,
we can install the planks. The planks did not go on as easily as they
would on a bridge, or a lip. This was another learning experience and in
the future I’ll lay out every last plank before securing any so that it looks more
even in the end. But I still got it done, and they didn’t
look completely terrible. After just a few finishing touches, our berm
is complete. And it’s solid. But we have yet to find out if it actually
works. As usual, I tried to get a little too woodsy
and leave that rhododendron on the end. But for reasons which I hope are obvious,
it had to come out. This berm feels amazing. Everything about it is fun, functional, and
addictive. The only thing I would change about it dimensionally,
is to add another plank or two to the end to really blast off to the other side of the
trail. But, it’s still great. In fact I’m coming out of this berm so fast
that I’m brake checking the next turn, and it needs a berm now too. But the real test is to see if we can make
it from the first berm to the log jump without a pedal stroke. We just barely made it, but that was with
a brake check on the third turn. If we add a berm there, we’ll have enough
speed for a hip jump before the log. In the meantime, Berm Peak is finally starting
to live up to its name! You can now white knuckle this berm and carry
crazy speed down the trail, well if you can make it that far. And I guess my friends had better practice
a little so they can enjoy all the cool stuff we’re building further down the trail. Thanks for riding with me today and I’ll
see you next time.

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