Back yard tracks and trails

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by ajmozer, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. ajmozer

    ajmozer n00b

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    I'm look at getting 5-10 acres in Michigan and was looking at making some trails in the back. I was wondering if anyone had any pics of their setups and any advice about neighbors and city ordiances.
    #1
  2. Bucho

    Bucho Long timer

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    I have a postage stamp backyard so no personal pics, sorry.

    But I back when I was first learning to ride dirt I had a friend who had a small dirt oval track. One corner was flat and the other was banked. He had 2 Yamaha TTR125s shod with dirttrack tires. It was a lot of fun getting lapped by him. I learnedalot about sliding and traction.

    I know another guy who is into trials and he has a bunch of random crap in a little trials play ground area.

    5 acres isnt much property for single track enduro trail system. You might be better served with a small track or trials playground along with a few little trails.
    #2
  3. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

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    Do it.

    I started a trail last fall. With just 7-some acres (and my house in the middle) there's not much room, but the neighbors are all up front so the rest is not right next to them.

    I started clearing a short route that needed the least preparation. Then made it longer and over ground that needed more work. Then longer. Then . . . The ground is very soft mossy-needly duff interspersed with granite poking up through.

    I could have saved myself a lot of work by planning the biggest track that would fit and committing to whatever work it took. The work has paid off. My goal was to come back from any random errand on the road and have a few minutes of work on my own n00b-level slow-speed skills. (There are plenty of fast gravel roads near here.) The end track is under 1/4 mile, but it does provide some practice. The current track starts down the driveway a bit and goes around to the back of the property and back to the front of the collection of buildings.

    It's under snow at the moment.

    EDIT: Trail far shorter than the "nearly 1/2 mile" that I had originally guessed.
    #3
  4. jules083

    jules083 Long timer

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    I don't really have any pics, and there's too much snow to really see anything right now, but here's what I did. Granted I have a lot more ground, but the concept is the same:


    1. Maximize your land use. Don't just make a loop of the perimeter, but do kind of a 'weave' trail to make it as long as possible.

    2. If you have a hill or hard section, make a few lines to go through it. Maybe start out with an easy section, then later on clear a different path so you have options.

    3. Buy one of these: http://www.baileysonline.com/itemdetail.asp?item=GC+330LH&catID= I can't stress enough just how good that thing works. I was skeptical until I got it. Trimmed every tree in the yard the first day and ordered 2 more for christmas gifts. When I clear trails now I normally don't even bring the chainsaw. Anything under 4" is quicker with the hand saw. A 4" tree is about a 20 second job to cut. I've cut 8" branches before, takes maybe 2 or 3 minutes.

    4. Ride around in the woods a bit, and when you think 'that hill looks fun' clear a path on that hill. I'm always opening new sections, moving sections, making bypasses, that stuff. I do kind of a halfway clear at first then try it before investing a ton of time though. I have a few sections that looked fun but ended up being way too hard, so I never finished clearing.


    No help on the city ordinances from me, I have no idea. With the neighbors it depends, but real mufflers tend to help. For me almost all of my neighbors either ride or used to ride, so they don't say anything. When I have the XR650R out everyone knows though. I generally only ride in 'normal' hours here. No midnight runs through the trails except on the ATV, which is as quiet as a normal car, or the girlfriend's TTR125.
    #4
  5. Jordansdad

    Jordansdad Jordansdad

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    We have six homes in my "subdivision" covering 86 acres. There are rules and a contract that you sign when you move in. About three years ago a cop moved in and decided he would clear the property around his house and put in a motorcross track. We talked to him and he basically said it was his property and he would do whatever the fuck he wanted. We had to sue, it got ugly, but he no longer rides dirt bikes behind his neighbors house.
    I would check really carefully before you decide to do this. I have 5 bikes but I also really love my quiet as do the other "good" neighbors here.
    #5
  6. randyo

    randyo Long timer

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    +1 here

    I do gotta add, make a perimeter trail your first trail even if it won't be your main trail, it will define your limits to you and to others who may want to encroach on your property

    before you buy, check for any deed restrictions, check local ordinances, if there are neighbors close by, meet & greet with them, get a feel if its the neighborhood you want to move in to, starting out in a Hatfield/McCoy situation isn't the best way to live

    I also agree you can do a lot with hand tools, my weapon of choice is the [URL="http://www.baileysonline.com/search.asp?PageNo=1&skw=brush+axe]Swedish Brush Axe[/URL]
    #6
  7. pbarmy

    pbarmy Long timer

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    My club is in lower Mich,just over the line.We've been there since 49.We just went thru a lawsuit with a neighbor who built there 10-12 yrs ago.He let us park cars for our races.He let us use his woods for our races.Then he got a case of the ass.I think electric bikes would be great,if not for the cost.Maybe in a few years?We're restricted on when we can ride,how many bikes at once,etc,except for our 3 races in the fall.The Irish Hills group went thru a ton of lawsuits before getting the right to ride 5 times a year..Its a pain in the ass.:deal
    #7
  8. 243Win

    243Win Been here awhile

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    Meet-n-Greet with the neighbor's is a great idea. I've got several bikes and a couple of acres, but in my neighborhood, I'd never ride in my yard, just wouldn't be the good neighbor thing to do. Folks live here for the peace, quiet and privacy.

    I'd love to live somewhere that allowed me a track and a gun range (but having a high-tech career, that is unlikely anytime soon). But in my neighborhood now of 2-5 acre lots, they are all too small to contain the noise either of those activities would produce.

    If you happen to find a place, with neighbors that don't care tho', go nutz! :D
    #8
  9. Bucho

    Bucho Long timer

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    Noise is going to be the biggest factor. Spending the extra money on a quiet tip for your exhaust.

    Trials bikes are generally pretty quiet as far as dirtbikes go.
    #9
  10. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

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    Noise can be a big issue. It depends on the purpose and kind of use the OP is looking for.

    If you're planning to go round and round every evening or weekend day it'll take a extremely quiet exhaust to make it neighborly. If your neighbors all run their lawnmowers then a quiet exhaust might fit in.

    Mine is more the long way to the bike shed and I doubt that the neighbors know it's there. A snowshoer has discovered part of it.
    #10
  11. buls4evr

    buls4evr No Marks....

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    2 huge problems for you are noise control and an even bigger one, the litigious nature of MI riders/people. You better have a huge personal liability bond. The people in that state think everything is someone elses fault. I would post it no trespassing and only let in good friends there. And have a release made for them to sign...:deal And don't advertise on the internet. Michigan is not Maine:deal.
    #11
  12. Ceri JC

    Ceri JC UK GSer

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    I am looking at moving in the UK and have been wondering the same thing. I would love to get around 3 acres or so (land is hellaciously expensive here compared to most of the states). A smallish field to make a grass tracking ring, with a small Trials course in the middle would be great and realistically, all I will likely be able to get and still have some sort of drive/garden.

    One other option I've been looking at is buying 5 acres of woodland (possibly with a couple of riding buddies) and making a small technical Enduro course in the woods as well as being able to camp there.

    So I'll be...
    :popcorn
    #12
  13. viverrid

    viverrid not dead yet

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    For OP: I have 11 acres and some trails, but never did lap after lap after lap for hours, never had "events" or groups of riders "practicing" or racing. Trails, not a track. No provision for passing, nothing high speed. I would only use my own trails for a few minutes, mostly before heading out for a ride, or after coming back from one. Not as a substitute for going out to ride.

    Oh yeah, and every bike that I've ever run on my property has/had a factory stock exhaust system.

    OTOH, in a different town in my county, there was legal intervention by the town to stop use of a "practice track" that the family of a nationally ranked youth MX racer had build behind their house. Just too much riding, too many riders, too much noise. The neighborhood complained.
    #13
  14. SRG

    SRG SRG

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    One of the few (only?) things that might work is a 4 stroke trials bike and a course w/ obstacles - there is a thread in the trials section on "backyard setups". You won't be going much over 10mph, but you will have allot of fun and become a better rider.
    #14
  15. 243Win

    243Win Been here awhile

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    This!

    And keep in mind, even with a "quiet" bike you are making noise and unlike the noise from say a lawn-mower which is noise everyone makes as part of property maintenance, noise from a bike is recreational, no different than a loud stereo. So fussy folks will take issue with this over time.

    Good luck on your property search. As to noise and shooting on my property, it has now become legal for suppressors in my state! So soon I'll be able to shoot on my property with properly suppressed firearms without bother to my neighbors. The sound of the slide cycling on my 10/22 is unlikely to cause any unrest. :clap

    Riding a motorcycle around, not so much,... Other than a lap around the lot to see if a carb adjustment is good.
    #15
  16. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Been here awhile

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    Did it on my few acres.

    Most of it didn't go the way I'd planned, standing there looking at things. Glad I didn't put too much work up front into things.

    By riding I ended up placing trails in spots that I rode through, instead of attempting to force myself to ride on trails that were misplaced or misshaped. Not that there wasn't some work done to clear brush and such, just that by riding the grounds I found the places I would ride a bike over and through.

    You can add jump ramps and berms and whoops later.
    #16
  17. luxlogs

    luxlogs Been here awhile

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    You don't like the sound of my motorbike?

    Well, meet the leaf blower.

    No in answer to your question, I don't play well with others.
    #17
  18. ajmozer

    ajmozer n00b

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    I originally wanted to make a rally course in my back yard since I was real young. I figure a motorcycle trail would be more realistic. I would do my best to keep everything quiet and possible plant trees to prevent neighbors from being disturbed. I like the trials idea though. That would be something I could do easily and wouldn't take up too much space.
    #18
  19. J Lewis

    J Lewis Numb Nuts

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    You don't need much room, just be creative!

    <iframe width="853" height="480" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/6ybPk-90HhQ?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    And sound is the biggest enemy. Usually if they can't hear you, they don't know you are there.

    JIMMY
    #19
  20. KG6BWS

    KG6BWS Been here awhile

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    No pictures, but when I was a kid I talked my dad into letting me build a few little obstacles to play on. My parents have 2.5 acres, and my dad had an underground construction company. He brought a few scrap pieces of storm drain pipe, some left over cribbing lumber and a couple truck loads of rock. Wasnt much, but it was fun to play on if I couldnt get my mom to let me go out in the desert.

    20 years later, the rock and pipe is still there and Id like to get a trials bike one of these days. I only live a half hour from my parents so itd be easy to go setup a little bit of a practice area at their house.
    #20