I don’t know why this is a trend in trails, but building knife-ended landings like this should be officially banned. Like, ankle-socks-on-downhill-bikes banned. So, basically by law.
This is not a new development in trails, either. I remember staring, repeatedly, at the cover of the 2009 DigBMX trails issue trying to figure out how or why this objectively awful jump made it onto the cover. And this was supposed to be the “trails issue,” too, whatever that means. It would be like putting a picture of me riding my brakes down the hill with my knees buckled crying to myself in Hafjell last year as the cover story on Dirt with the title “WORLD CUP SPEED!”
When you move a whole bunch of dirt to make a massive landing, you have two big objectives:
1. Use as much of that dirt as possible every time you ride the landing. It took a lot of work to move that dirt that far up, so you want to land at the tippy-top and get as much totally nasty, badass speed as you can for the next jump.
2. Avoid moving more dirt later.
Building a knife-edged landing accomplishes neither one of these objectives.
When you have a scary-sharp, un-caseable landing, your sphincter tightens up and you overjump that landing EVERY TIME so you can avoid the bone jarring, ankle breaking thunder case that awaits on even the slightest mistake. Plus, if you’re living in AWhale’sVagina, California, as the guy in the top picture is, and your dirt is 90% sand and 100% bullshit, you’re going to have to fix wheel-sized case marks every time you ride. Basically, if a landing is built pencildick thin, guess what?
Thundercase > pencildick thin landing
And this is not up for debate either. This is not subjective, this is not based on your feelings, these are documented facts and this is hard science:
Besides the fact that it actually looks better, it rides better, too. You don’t build a nice, big, forgiving case deck so that all the squirrels feel comfy the first time they hit your trails. You build it so that when you ride there every day you have a little room to get stupid when you’re seeing how high you can boost, what you can three and what you can’t, and whether or not you can do that crazy switch-footed thing Ollie Wilkins or some little-wheeled lobsterback did in Earthed 3. When you’re trying dumb shit on your own jumps, it’s actually more fun when you’re not playing a game of “Operation” trying to land at the top of your landing.
And while we’re on the topic of trail building, if you were spending your time today reading about riding instead of actually doing it, then you probably saw this:
There are so many things to say that the robot algorithms need at least two months to process the level of stupid that surrounded the online discussion of this photo today.
I’ll revisit this topic soon, but let me start by saying this:
In the BMX trails world, trail builders hunt down, kill, and bury people who mess with their trails. I’ve been to spots where I’m not allowed to talk or make eye contact with the builders, where I’ve had my sidewalls cut for skidding, and where I’m not supposed to ride because it’s a privilege just to look at the jumps they’ve built. This is healthy and normal, and a sign of a good trail system.
No, that’s not “a little elitist.” It’s completely elitist, and it’s awesome.