Building and Riding the Backyard “Flight Deck”

Building and Riding the Backyard “Flight Deck”


Last week, we built a mountain bike trail
in my backyard, the Berm Peak Express. We built it wide and flat, so it could double
as an access road to the trailhead at the summit of Berm Peak. Naturally the summit is where all our downhill
mountain bike trails will begin, and today, we’re making the summit even higher. The plan is to build a large 6 foot tall platform
to roll in on. This will allow riders to get up to speed
almost instantly, making better use of our limited space. This platform will be the largest wooden structure
I’ve ever built for a video, and if you don’t believe me, just ask old Ridgy. Any wood I use on Berm Peak will need to be
hauled out here by hand. In the Pacific Northwest, rot resistant species
like Cedar can be harvested on site and used to build features. Not out here. In the Southern Appalachian mountains, very
few trees would be considered rot resistant, and so treated lumber is the most resilient
option for outdoor projects. But the chemicals in this stuff are nasty. So, I’m working on obtaining some rot resistant
lumber from a local mill to experiment with in future videos. Still, it’ll all need to be hauled up here
too. Like the bike wash station, we’re building
what is basically a deck. But this time we need to dig much bigger holes,
and contend with roots. This reciprocating saw has been a lifesaver
in these tight spots where swinging a machete just isn’t possible. Since continually exposing this saw to dirt
and moisture may shorten its life, I’m interested to see by how much. Since we’re on a slope, it’s very difficult
to map these holes to my plan. So digging them wider than needed is important. Wide holes allow for adjustment later on,
and this is crucial since I don’t know what I’m doing. You would think that building a rectangle
would be simple. But this is a rather large rectangle on an
uneven surface. I’m using temporary braces to hold everything
in place, while trying to position 12 foot 6×6’s to a reasonable degree of accuracy. With each adjustment, we get closer to this
structure bring square, level, and plumb. Okay, so we’re installing joist hangers
again, but it’s going a lot smoother this time. In the bike wash video I expressed how difficult
these were to install and a bunch of you guys pointed out that there’s an easier way. Just position the hanger, bang on the tab
near the top, and then install your fasteners. That’s how the hanger was designed to be
used, but I never took a close look at it. Thanks to you guys, I get things done quicker
and have leftover time for things like shovel cannons. With all our joists installed, it’s time
to turn this thing into an actual platform. These deck planks are a lot like the ones
from the bike wash, but way cheaper. They have warps, bows, and knots in them,
that make them undesirable for pretty home improvement projects. But for the flight deck, nobody will know
the difference. I waited to get this far in the build to prune
this tree because I couldn’t reach it before. But, it’s nice to have the rest of it encroaching
on the deck just a little bit. Since the plan is to build ramps off this
thing in every direction, it may be hard to find a way around this tree in the future,
but we’ll try. With a proper surface for standing and riding
on, the Flight Deck is now officially a deck. You know what that means. Some trials skills would have made that huck
to flat a tad easier. Now, let’s move on to making this thing
usable. You may have noticed these posts extending
much higher than the structure. They’re for a railing. To stiffen the railing, we’re adding another
post in the center. That’ll get fastened to the beam with lag
screws, and we’ll cut a hole in a plank so it looks like it belongs there. Now given the purpose of the flight deck,
it may seem pointless to add a railing to it. But with multiple riders congregating up here
I want something for them to back up against. We can assume they’ll be facing the ramps,
so this reduces the risk of someone slipping backwards off the platform. But there’s another reason for the railing. All our trail building tools will be stored
right here, at the trailhead, so we’re building a rack. These pipes are made from leftover material
from the shovel cannon. But in this much smaller configuration, they
can only shoot gardening trowels. But we’re not finished with the Flight Deck
just yet, we still need an easy way to get bikes on top of it. This 12 foot ramp will be as long as the flight
deck itself, so it makes for a really mellow climb to the top. A lot of ramps like these contain nubs to
use as footing when hiking up, but this ramp needs to be smooth so we can use it for riding
down to a future trail. Of course that will require some landscaping. For now, we’re using the underside of the
flight deck to store some lumber, and the Endurbarrow Version 2/AKA the shovel cannon. But I may do a little more with this spot
should the need arise. And with that, I think we’re off to a pretty
good start with the flight deck. It’s tempting to point downhill and start
cutting trail tomorrow, but this is the only acreage I have. We need to get it right the first time and
make the most of this space. So next week, we’re going to summon the
brain trust, take a serious walk through these woods, and come up with a plan to turn this
place into a mini bike park. Thanks for riding with me today, and I’ll
see you next time.

17 thoughts on “Building and Riding the Backyard “Flight Deck”

  1. Cut 1" slits down the pipes on the tool rack so you can pull them straight out instead of having to shimmy them up and out

  2. His videos inspire me to do stuff like this. Except i build a platform out of rotten 2×4's and attempt to drop off of it on my walmart mountain bike. And eat absolute sh*t.

  3. "And this is crucial, since I don't know what I'm doing…" – ha ha ha. and that's the exact reason to do it… for the experience! πŸ™‚

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