What i've been up to


bikey's is cool
Jul 26, 2002
in a bear cave

i've been involved with Colonnade Mountain Bike Skills Park in Seattle for a long time. i was asked by the Project Manager to take ownership of the Novice Trail (which we are currently calling The Learning Trail). When we built what's now known as Limestone Loop (the first phase of the park) we tried to make a trail that would satisfy a multitude of riders on a challenging cross country loop. In order to create sustainable trail in impossibly dry sifty soil we used alot of rock. That along with the steep terrain made some of the trail a little daunting for some folk.

So, initially when i was approached i was a little apprehensive. But after thinking about it for a day or so, i realized that it would be a great extension to the Park, and a necessary addition. There was probably nobody as qualified to do the job. i was familiar with the in's and outs of the park, and was responsible for some of the carpentry work at the park, and ultimately if i chose to do it, i would commit to getting it done.

It was an opportunity to be creative. To utilize my knowledge of what it takes to be a sound technical rider and apply that for basic lessons for a beginning level rider. And to provide an element that is essential to our recreation, bringing in new riders of all ages, encouraging groups of riders and families to ride together, create a trail that will support our clubs Bootcamp program, and provide a trail that people can simply warm up at then go ride some of the more aggressive trails at the park.

So after only a month i'm happy to say work is coming along very nicely.

Feature 1 is a Sand Feature. My thought was to provide a feature that would simulate riding on a loose surface. Similar to a leafy trail or a muddy trail, this is a great introductory feature that introduces persons in the quick realization that trails are not pavement.

We built the decking so that riders can have ample time to advance their speed on the approach of this feature, instead of being forced to tackle it shortly after a climb.

Feature 3 Skinny is included within this feature. Not only does it double as a divider from the sand and river rock feature, it also utilizes space along the center and border of the feature to be ridden.

i'm trying to keep my features well spaced within the trail so as to give the rider ample time to adjust to each transition. However with this feature i made the exception.

Here you can see the easy line includes sandstone pavers to the left, and about 4 feet of sand, the line to the right is 10' of sand. The easy introductory Skinny borders to the right.

As you can see the sand is currently wet. Making it super easy to ride. What can i say, many materials we get for free by scouring Craigslist, and this sand was used to protect a house a few miles away from a flooding creek. We'll see how it reacts when it dries, and we can always add a different sand.

Hey innovation you have to allow for some tinkering.

After the rider rolls through this feature there will be a turn back to Feature 2 the River Rock Feature. Based on the same principle as the first, but now we're taking the rider to the next level by rolling them through a hard loose surface. Much like riding along a riverbed, and slightly simulating loose shale sections of trail.

Again to the left we have the beginnings of an intermediate Skinny, which will run for number of feet beyond when complete. The line to the left is the easy line with sandstone pavers and a 4' section of rock, then the 10' section to the right.

The 2 features are tiered, with the Sand feature having a drainage ditch cut beneath it. We have the sand at nearly 1' deep, and the river rock at about 8" deep.

Rides just a little washy, just like it should. Test run.

i asked Joel and Sarah to build me the next feature. They are doing a bang up job so far, and i'm very excited to see how it turns out. Roller Coaster Corner came from a request by Mike to have a bump structure that taugh riders to get off of their seat. Similar to a pump track, i decided to take the idea to a turn, and add some inslope. This will probably be a feature for an advanced beginner, prior to this feature i will have a mini wall ride and berm with dirt bumps, so it will be something fun to work towards.

Also in this picture you can see the drainage work we have. The space is ideal, covered by freeway deck. However the rain from in between freeway decks, and water from a silly palm tree art feature drains right into the flat where the features are. So after a day of caveman trenching and another day of Ditch Witching we have 120' of drain and catch drain established.

So much work ahead, but it's coming along splendidly in it's first month. With any luck by the end of January we will have 5 out of 17 features completed.


The Official Meat of Ridemonkey
Sep 10, 2001
Portland, OR
That looks awesome!

The best we have around here are city authorized jump parks. They are cool, but a skills area would be so nice.


Trail Rat
Jul 8, 2002
Alamance County, NC
Skooks......I always look forward to your Collonade updates. Your building skills have really sharpened over the last year, and it's always a treat to check out what you guys have been up to. Keep up the great work, and if I'm lucky enough in this lifetime, I'll maybe get a chance to ride it one day.


bikey's is cool
Jul 26, 2002
in a bear cave
My intention to share is to give an idea to folk of the concept of a mountain bike skills park. We were fortunate to get a space that the city had no idea of how to use. Colonnade can and should happen in every major city in the country, if the right people collaborate. It takes years of dedication and hard work by many, but if you can get one, i would hope that persons could use my ideas as a template in order to establish a friendly trail for beginning level technical riders.

There are more reasons to get people better at technical skills in mountain biking than there are reasons against.

i'll probably post a monthly update, and encourage anyone with any bike park specific questions to look me up on the Advocacy and Trail Building forum on eMpTy BeeR, as i don't really check here that much anymore.:monkey:


bikey's is cool
Jul 26, 2002
in a bear cave
Progress has been great, have been helped out everyday i've posted work for the trail.

Was going to wait for the middle of February to post another report, but there is enough progress to share the current status.

Finished grooming dirt for entrances for features and this round about. We'll look to define the trail with this extra granite. Not many places where this will be necessary, but using the tight twisty model to maximize trail distance, it's a necessity in spots.

Finished the intermediate skinny, i wanted to extend it a bit further. It stretches to about 15 feet before you're atop the log round, and exit off the split log runoff.

And from the prior picture you can see the Teeter Totter Feature. You can have a peek under the hood so to speak. Reinforces with 4X4 blocking, 2X8 stringer 1X4 treated runner, with a 1" steel pipe axle made from plumbing fittings. Neighbors rightly complained that it hit too loud, we fixed it with some 2" backing rod wrapped in some pvc roofing material. First teeter totter is 27.5" wide with a 15" apex, more difficult one is 18" with a 17" apex. Both are a few inches over 10 feet long.

And we have completed the Roller Corner Feature. It came out a bit more difficult than first envisioned, but it's an outstanding practice corner. It's an undulating insloped corner with bumps. It's perfect for practicing turning fundamentals as you need to pre steer toward the corner on the approach, then steer wide as you round the corner. Otherwise your wheels fall off the structure. It requires balance, and forces you to maintain an even momentum in order to clear the bumps. You can't take it too hot or cold.
It was a little bit of a mistake, but to me it's the perfect mistake.

Another angle with a new trail we scratched. We don't have much water above but it does get a bit. So we got it dialed with proper drainage, but a little more aggressive on the slope, because we can get away with it.

This trail will be the approach to the Log Rollover Feature. The trail will split into 3 trails each will have varying levels of difficulty. Finished the first level to the right. Rounds are 6"-7"-8" rounds. Spaced at 13' then 10' from each other. To the left have ample space, difficult lines will have log stacks aka log pyramids as well as wider logs placed at angles, and spaced closer together.

Treated 4X4 some concrete, you could use rocks instead, Simpson tie with some wood screws. Easily maintained, and or replaced. If the logs get chain ring wear, you can turn them before you replace them.



Dec 14, 2005
Work on phase 2 has started to go really fast, on saturday there were 3-4 groups of people working on various lines.

Me and my bros have started to build the 3rd jump line. This will be like the bigger jumps at sst, only no gaps, and the added bonus of wood stunts.

We need more free wood and dirt to build this line, I have seen some stuff for free on crags list but I dont have a truck. If you know where free wood/good dirt is please msg me or just bring it to the bike park.



Cru Jones

Turbo Monkey
Sep 2, 2006
Hell Track
Me and my bros have started to build the 3rd jump line. This will be like the bigger jumps at sst, only no gaps, and the added bonus of wood stunts.
About time something worth riding is being built, but why no gaps? They're going to be tables?

And did I miss the 1st and 2nd jump lines somewhere?


bikey's is cool
Jul 26, 2002
in a bear cave
Time for another report.

With only a few more technical trail features complete the month of February seemed to come and go, quickly yet with good progress. The trail is taking shape, working out a few minor kinks, and anticipation that March should bring the project into the halfway mark where we can see the other side, a trail in working completion.

Work underway on Wall Ride Feature, or what we're calling Wall Ride Jr. Setting posts in concrete, that make up the framework. With luck we should have it done next weekend.

Mark of the trail workers.

Minor adjustment was to reinforce the intermediate skinny by sistering a couple 2X4's along both sides. If someone per chance has an elephant tucked in their back pack it should hold. As i also widened the track towards the end of the skinny, allowing for more riders to have better luck completing the feature.

Now for the completion of the sixth feature out of 17. Log Rollover Feature which is a feature emulating a common occurance of deadfall or blowdown of trees in the forest on our local trails. It was a feature that i wanted to do on the first phase of Colonnade but like other features it never came to fruition.
So the ability to create this feature is special, and was a very slight motivator initially when i decided to take on the project. If i didn't do it, it wouldn't get done...

Left line (advanced) has 2 diagonal logs. With borders so that the biker is forced to ride them honestly, and the third log is larger and off camber. Middle Line (Intermediate) has 3 logs spaced relatively close unlike the right line (beginner) which has ample space to set up. Second log in the middle line is a fatty.

Log Stack awaits riders completing the Intermediate or Advanced line. Riders completing the Intermediate Line can choose the lower or middle tier on the pyramid. Riders completing the Advanced line can choose the middle or upper tier of the pyramid.

Seventh Feature complete. Bumps! Yes bumps, they're not as easy as they look, and are great practice for people to get out of their seats and learn how to push their bikes, much like riders learn from riding pump tracks. We've got 4 of them created, 2 of them can be done then a beginner can defer by taking an easy out to the right, or the rider can continue to complete all 4 and then into the Roller Corner Feature.

Bumps are retained with a post and some treated lumber, cobble rock base with crushed rock. Soil/Clay mix with a top off of thick sand.

Some bordering with small logs, and adding some mulch for aesthetics, a cushy fall zone, and keeping the dust down. Building more inslope on the corner, and adding some crushed rock and sand that should mix in well with existing silty soil.

Enjoying some well deserved ride time after a productive days work.



crooked smile
Jul 10, 2002
Slacking at work
That looks really awesome! You should get the city to fund a trip for you to Ray's MTB Indoor Park in Cleveland. Your stuff looks a LOT like Ray's stuff.


bikey's is cool
Jul 26, 2002
in a bear cave
That looks really awesome! You should get the city to fund a trip for you to Ray's MTB Indoor Park in Cleveland. Your stuff looks a LOT like Ray's stuff.
That's not gonna happen, we don't charge for admittance, the budget is tight, i'm working for absolutely free, all volunteer work. The grant money we get isn't even provided by the city.
i'd love to check out Rays someday, but i'd like to ride everywhere, even Rochester. But unless i start playin the lottery...

Anyways no, none of this stuff was inspired by Rays, but it doesn't surprise me that builders there are coincedentally on the same page. i'm drawing on stuff i've seen and experienced on the trail. For instance the first teeter totter i experienced was on an XC trail called Tapeworm, over 10 years ago.

i'm sure there are similarities from Rays and Colonnade, but there are huge differences as well. Colonnade is a city park, created by the Backcountry Bicycle Trails Club-IMBA affiliate. It's a skills building park, and a showcase for mountain biking and a shining example of what postive things advocacy can bring when many things work right.

But stepping back from being preachy, it's cool to have the comparison. There are so many positives that are being realized from this park for mountain biking in so many ways, it really neat to be a small part of it.


bikey's is cool
Jul 26, 2002
in a bear cave
Welp i can safely say we're halfway through the trail build. A major push with some very productive weekends with good volunteer turnout, it's good to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And we're at a point where it's starting to look like a trail now, and people are starting to understand what's been in my head all this time.

3 more features for a total 10 out of 17 complete

Wooden Berm Feature complete. After setting the foundation we finished the frame with Doug Fir logs as stringers. Split Cedar for slats.

We filled in the base with dirt and a layer of crushed rock. Hidden we have a drain of cobble and crushed rock to prevent any puddling at the base.

Also complete the Log Ride Feature. Again i wanted variable levels so we have 3 ways of riding. Lower is 10 inches from ground, Upper is about 18 inches, and combining the 2 we added a connecter. The connector is set where your wheel radius is such that your wheels barely make the connection.

Of course you can ride it backwards the transitions are a tad different. The upper and lower log are the same as they are 2 halved cuts of the same round, although the perspective of the picture not show it. Nice beginner level log ride as the width of the tread is around 15".

Next we're on to putting on the finishing touches of the trail. Whenever you're holding to a tight twisty trail you need to define the trail in order to keep people from creating rogue paths. And blazing in mach speed to surprise a rider from the opposite approach. Of course i expect this to happen at time, but with the introduction of rocks, logs, and mulch you greatly minimize this from happening. And introduce nice aesthetics as well.

The correct path rolling Roller Corner clockwise.

Having the benefit of watching people ride my trail i could see where they would bushwhack the trail. So bordering and making obstructions with some fencing and some strategically placed log round prevent people from blazing right into the Roller Corner to do it counter clockwise.

Of course i don't expect people to not ride it backwards, but let's make them come in a starting a little further back on the trail. That way their approach is staggered and you won't have somebody hogging it over and over again.

Again some more bordering we scratched out a nice S corner for our Beginner Switchback. Still needs a few tweaks with bordering and artsy definition, but it's come out nice.

Onto a sneak peak at the 2 feature currently under construction. Climb Feature we're making 3 stair stepped spinner out of Sandstone Pavers. We dug out the bottom and flipped it up to build up the top, to get the desired transition.

Pedal Pedal Pedal!!!!

And finally we've got the start of the trail. Bridge Feature will be the first feature in the trail that will tie into the Sand Feature. So the connection will finally be made to the bridge approach which was one of the first things created on the trail.

When i first started the project i would tell people what my plans were, and they would nod their heads in a somewhat vacant glazed stare, haha. i'm really happy to see that change now as stuff is coming together and i can demonstrate in physical form what was just rattling around in my skull prior.:)


Turbo Monkey
Jan 7, 2005
What is the current building situation? I have put some time in a while ago with Mike (the entrance to the shoot was all mine..a good chunk of the following wall ride..etc), but school takes 150% of my time while in session. Starting wednesday, I have lots of time for about a week and a half and want to put my tools to work....

give me a shout if you have plans for a certain day/project. I will contact Mike as well and check his plans.


bikey's is cool
Jul 26, 2002
in a bear cave
What is the current building situation?
i'll be there every Sat/Sun through April maybe into May. Others are there sporadically.

Joel has just started his Elevated Structure line, but already has a ton of forms made.

Bobs Skinny Log Ride is almost there, but needs alot of retention and dust control work.

Chuck and Tanya's Rock Waterfall line is halfway done, they're working on the lower half and have tentative plans on continuing further down.

Zebs Trials area is done

Mike Wads Pump Track in nearly done.

All Jump Lines are always getting active work, there are now 3 lines. Kim has come in and worked on an Advanced Jump Line.

Dirt is staged at the Bottom of Holy Chute, plenty of work left for it.

The Shleyer Drop at the bottom of Mike Westra's line is still being worked on.

So yeah there is going to be plenty of work, and still plenty of areas to pick from.


bikey's is cool
Jul 26, 2002
in a bear cave
Skooks!! Looks like great Stuff!!! Job well Done!

I've seen a couple of Articles in a Some of the Bike rags about it . Really helps our inmage all over the country.

Yeah it really is doing a hell of a lot of good in that regard. i still haven't seen the mag but it i believe it has Justin Vanderpol? He's a key player in what we've been able to accomplish here.

But yeah on the topic of being a showcase. It brings in riders who haven't been riding very much and get's them excited to get back in the saddle. It brings in people who've never seen mountain biking in action and let's people have a front row seat in some of the cool things we do. It allows mountain bikers to stop and chat with folk, many times on the trail we cruise on by. With personal interaction people don't assume we're a bunch of dickheads.

On the freeride area there are people that show up and watch riders hit big air. Most are fascinated by it. We've taken ourselves out of the woods and now there is a place where people can see it. That just by itself will advance Downhilling to an exponential amount, and make it legit.

And today on my trail i saw a mom and 2 kids. They were riding some of my stuff. The mom did both of my teeter totters. She told her kid she did it, so she had to prove it. Of course she crashed the second time around, but it's just one example of how cool this park is. Families getting together and overcoming challenges in a fun way together.

It's very very satisfying to see the positive impact playing out in front of your eyes.

i mean personally i enjoy riding way up in the high country myself. But i'm glad i've been able to be a part of Colonnade because i knew the impact it could have. And when i talked with some guys who drove up from Eugene Oregon talking about their own park under the freeway, having Michael Vitti from NY IMBA club come out and check things out and even spend a little time moving dirt.

i could go on and on about the positives. It's been a great investment, and we're looking for the ripple effect, hoping that we not only benefit locally, but we'll get a hell of kick seeing people benefit abroad as well.


skin cooker for the hive
Dec 6, 2001
Witness relocation housing
Hurry up and get all that work done so when I get my next "once every 6 months" free day, we can go rip Green Mountain for old times sake....

Killer work BTW.