Isn’t it great how fast dirt bike riding can touch your heart once you gain some experience? Building your own backyard track will greatly improve your riding skills, even though it doesn’t compare to a large motocross track, those few piles of dirt are all you need. If you’re willing to spend some time planning the project and some days of hard work, you’re going to be building your backyard motocross track in no time. Don’t get confused with all of this, people do it all the time, and if you have enough space you can do it as well.
First things first
Now, before you do anything, do you live in a crowded neighborhood? Are your neighbors close to your backyard and home? If so, you will first have to talk to your neighbors, and for that, good communication is key. Noise can and will be an issue for your neighbors, especially if you are riding a four-stroke motocross bike. It will be mostly fine if you have a trail bike, but there will be overall noises, so before your neighbors complain, maybe it’s wise to first talk to them and tell them about your plan so they’re not surprised when the project is done.
What I’d recommend doing is to put up a fence or a buffer of trees around your area, both of which can help with diffusing noise and dust during the dry summer season. Either way, you should first talk to your building department to see if you’re allowed to put fences and what the requirements are, all of that information will help you with planning the project better and accordingly. Aside from that, not everyone will have their place surveyed, so in case you’re one of those people, pay to have the property surveyed otherwise stay well away from the perceived property line.
You have to take in mind that if you are planning to ride with friends at your own track, you should first talk to your insurance agent to see what the homeowner’s policy covers. It doesn’t count as full practice until you practice with friends, especially if you are planning of riding competitively in the future.
Riding with friends on your own track means that you will be practicing how to pass and get through a turn with other riders nearby. Anyhow, accidents can happen, so make sure you first consult with the insurance about your home policy rules to find out what happens if a person gets hurt on your track. Despite the fact that they’re your friends, you will most likely have to have them sign some sort of document.
There will definitely be trespassers no matter if your track is near your home or somewhere located far away. It will be difficult monitoring your track if it is not located near your home, so if by any chance that trespasser gets hurt in your track, some people will blame it on you for not securing the perimeter of the track properly. Of course, you can always tell your side of the story and say that it’s not your fault, it was his fault for trespassing, but usually the fault falls on the owner.
If you approach the situation the right way, it won’t come to that at all. So, the solution for this is to set up posted signs all over the track, they aren’t even expensive and you can find plenty on Amazon. The Tyvek Posted signs are a perfect example of what you should put around your location. These rolls even have a place where you can put your name and address there, and plain “No Trespassing”. The reason that there’s a blank spot for your name and address is that it is mandatory in some states for those two requirements to be included in the posted sign. That’s not the case in every state though, and some other laws will let you know exactly how far apart the signs need to be.
What I’d recommend you to do is to do some research on your state’s trespassing laws, it’s pretty easy to do just use the search phrase “trespassing laws [and the name of your state]”. In some states, you won’t even be required to use a specific made post sign, you can use paint to do it just so you let the trespasser know it’s a private area. Here’s an example of what trespassing laws on the internet look like:
This is the search results you get from typing your state name followed by the phrase “trespassing laws”. It’s important that you read all the sections that have to do with trespassing so you know exactly what your state’s requirements and penalties are, and does the fault fall to you if a trespasser gets injured, and is it necessary for you to put post signs all around the area.
As a tip, what I’d recommend to do is to put surveillance cameras here and there and also some signs that indicate that the property is under surveillance 24/7. You can find plenty of budget-friendly surveillance cameras on Amazon. The MECO 1080P Rechargeable Battery WiFi Camera is an excellent option which is widely being used for outdoor businesses due to its incredible features and Wi-Fi functionality. It’s highly rated on Amazon and I doubt that you’ll encounter any problems with it or whatsoever. From what I have gathered, the camera can be installed very easy and for the most part, you’ll like the fact that it has a rechargeable battery of 6700mAh, which means that it will last up to 5 months when fully charged.
It has a motion detection alarm that keeps you notified if movement occurs in your property. Invalid alerts are not going to be a problem since the manufacturer has made sure to improve the technology compared to its last products, you will only be notified when an action is detected. Anyhow, you can also use Dummy Fake Simulated Surveillance if you are looking for an inexpensive option to notify the trespasser that the property is under surveillance.
This is probably the most important aspect of building a backyard dirt bike track. You will need to make sure that you drain water properly because otherwise, the water will take the path where the lowest point is and there will be no resistance to stopping it to get there. Thus, this will cause erosion ruts, and it will be double the trouble in case you’re building the track on a hilly terrain. It’s a good idea if you call up a friend who knows a bit about drainage control before you start this whole thing, that way you can find out how to get the water where it needs to be without sacrificing your precious dirt with it and ruining everything you’ve done every time that it rains.
You will probably need to add drainage pipes on the most vulnerable areas. There are lots of inexpensive pipes such as corrugated plastic pipes, but take in mind that you will need to cover the pipes completely with dirt due to the fact that plastic isn’t made to withstand a dirt bike landing on it. Try to do a good job with coverage because plastic pipes will easily get cracked or punctured if you repeatedly land on them. There are a number of other reasons who you should completely cover a plastic pipe with dirt, one of the most important being their slippery construction which can change your tires direction as you ride and result in an impact.
Stay on budget
Don’t get over your head when you start planning your backyard dirt bike track. What I’d recommend is to keep your costs as low as possible, you will want to work more with natural terrain, create some single jumps and a whoops section, that will be enough for you to practice and improve your riding skills. Another thing to bear in mind is to try not making the ramps too steep, and don’t use the whoops spacing that pro tracks have, professionals have their suspension set up differently and the bikes that they’re riding are very advanced.
Unless you don’t have those and the experience of a pro, then three whoops or four is a decent number to start with. If you build 7 or 8 whoops right from the beginning, later on, you will figure out the proper height and distance and that the spacing is wrong, which means that you will need to change them yet again. What I’d recommend is to start with a whoops spacing of eight feet and a height of two feet.
Now, it’s time that you put your design on paper. Some people will tell you that it’s not really necessary, but I still recommend you do it to keep things more organized. Planning always helps, try designing some projects and see which one looks more decent. You are not required to have designing or architecting skills to do this, just draw the layout on a paper as simple as possible, that way you can notice what areas can be a problem when you start building the track.
Aside from that, the basic drawing that you’re going to do will also help in cost estimation. You can also check out some pro tracks on the internet such as the Spring Creek MX or the Unadilla MX, that way you can get ideas of what you can do with your backyard track.
Also, before you dig, if you don’t know if the property has a secondary or main utility transmission line underground, you can call local agencies that deal with such stuff. As an example, here’s a link Call Before You Dig that might give you the answers you need. Such areas usually have metal signs, so if you’re sure that there isn’t a sign that shows about transmission lines underground, you are good to go.
If you are not confident about starting without asking, you can also ask locals or people who might know, but the best solution is to call the above-mentioned company. Underground utility location services are free, so it will cost you nothing to get the information you need.
What kind of dirt to use for your MX track
Eventually, you will need to bring dirt for jumps and whoops, and you will have to estimate those costs right from the beginning. Try doing some research on the kinds of dirt that are available, for instance, there is clay soil which holds its shape better than sandy soils, while on the other hand, sandy soil drains better than clay soil. There are other factors to consider but I am not really a professional in this matter, so you’d be better off doing proper research on the kinds of dirt.
However, what I do know is that Loamy soil is more preferable for dirt bike tracks, but from what I have gathered, it’s the most expensive when you compare it with the other types. For your information, dirt is sold by the cubic yard, so you will need some math skills when trying to figure out how much dirt you’ll order. You can find cubic foot calculators online if you don’t feel confident in your math skills.
What I’d recommend is to over-order a certain amount of dirt just in case you need a few more yards to cover, because if you order less than you need, you will be paying for delivery fee two times. Apart from that, you will be using extra dirt every now and then since the track ends up getting compacted by bikes the whole time, so eventually, you will need to top off some of the areas.
Also, do not buy unscreened dirt because you will end up with punctured tires often, which will increase the cost to how much you would pay for screened dirt. Unscreened dirt is basically filled with submerged pieces of concrete blocks, wood and even sometimes metal, so don’t go for unscreened dirt just because it will save you a couple of dollars. Most accidents that happen on tracks happen because of the dirt quality, the tire slips in such buried debris or even gets blocked sometimes, which results in an unpredictable impact.
The next quest is going to be finding with what you will move the dirt. There are a couple of options available to do that, you can either use a wheelbarrow and five-gallon pail, or you can rent a machine or call up someone to do it for you. Although, if you are planning on carrying unscreened dirt with a wheelbarrow and five-gallon pail, you have to consider the fact that unscreened dirt is a lot harder to shovel, and it doesn’t quite fit in five-gallon pails. This is yet another reason why you should go for screened dirt.
Lastly, if you built the track at the back of the house, make sure there’s enough room for the dump truck to get close to the location in order to minimize manual labor as much as possible.
Well, I can’t give you accurate answers about this because it depends on the size of the track that you want to build. There are some options which might be useful and effective for what you want to do, you can either rent a mini-excavator, but you will probably need it for at least three days. But there’s a downside to this, if you don’t know how to operate it properly you can complicate the job even more.
It’s important for the rental guy to go through the safety procedures as many times as possible until you understand exactly what you need to do, and how to start the machine. If you don’t know the proper regulations of how to start the machine, it won’t start which is why it’s important to follow the proper procedures.
I don’t think that I need to tell you about this, but keep your kids away from the machine and from the working area. As a tip, try checking how the weather is going to be like those days that you plan on renting the machine, because even if it rains and you’re not able to work, you are still going to pay for the rental. Even though checking the weather on the internet is not always accurate, it might still help you.
Converting cubic feet to cubic yards
I am not that good at math myself, so I am not even going to do research on how to convert cubic feet to cubic yards because you can always use google. Simply go to google and type “cubic feet to cubic yards converter” and a box will pop-up where you will put the number of cubic feet that you want to convert, and it will appear on the other box that is labeled cubic yards.
I hope this article was helpful to you, and if by any chance I left any questions that are related to this topic unanswered, make sure you contact me and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible. Before we end, I recommend you also watch some youtube videos of people building backyard dirt bike tracks. You will see that a lot of people are doing it, and it isn’t that hard and frustrating once you get into it.