Despite the forecast for rain (35% chance…), I needed to get out on my bike for a bit of trials riding. Apparently I was pretty “lucky”, the 1 in 3 chance was a “winner”. It started out mostly sunny and warm, but we had several showers, resulting in my wooden features becoming all wet, slippery, and muddy. But honestly, it wasn’t that bad and it was great to be out riding, since I have not been doing nearly enough of that for the past several months.

It turns out you can do some pretty cool lines with just some pallets and skinny beams, even when you want to keep it challenging, yet simple. Though on this particular ride, I was wishing that the slots between the boards on the pallets were much narrower, as they messed with me multiple times and in multiple ways – some annoying, some a bit scary. Maybe one day I’ll add more slats…

I started the ride off without even warming up. I just hopped on the bike and did a small drop gap. The first challenge was a drop gap followed by a skinny on the side of a pallet. It was tougher than I expected since getting onto the skinny meant keeping the rear wheel from falling through the slots in the pallet.

After nailing that line at least three times, I mixed it up by doing a skinny to rollup onto some pallets, and then a small drop gap. I had to hit that a few times to stay on the rear wheel after the gap. Next I modified that line by replacing the drop gap with a rolldown onto a skinny that turned 90 degrees. During this line it started to rain pretty good, making everything slippery. And one of the damn “nubs” of wood on the beam caught me up whenever I got almost to the end.

Several people have asked me, “why don’t you just get rid of the nubs?” Yeah, I know, I know, I complain about them every time I ride the skinny beams. In short, it’s because the T-nuts are rusted to the bolts. When I disassembled the playscape, I just cuts the boards with a chainsaw, leaving the nubs. Using a hacksaw would take too long (for my level of patience, at least) since there are so many and I don’t yet own a reciprocating saw. I guess I could probably borrow one from a neighbor in the meantime…

Anyway, after quite a few attempts on this line, I finally had to say enough is enough and try something different. I hate doing that, but I was getting tired, my riding was getting worse instead of better, and I needed to switch gears.

I ended the ride with a couple simple drop gap lines. The first one used a long, narrow pallet atop a stack of pallets, making a slight incline up to the drop. That line had a little surprise for me that was somewhat terrifying, but I managed to ride it out somehow. Not that it was very high (it’s only 3 pallets), but it was still scary.

After that I scrapped the narrow pallet and left the rest as it was. Here I found another surprise that nailed me a couple times: the slats on the top pallet are fairly widely spaced, so my rear wheel sunk a bit into a slot and got hung up on the last slat when I tried to launch. Fortunately this was a low gap, so it was just annoying. After moving to the edge, things went much better. And again, the goal was to stay on the rear wheel the whole time after the gap.

Overall I was pleased with this ride. I didn’t have any huge moves and struggled a bit, but I still had a fun time and even had some successes.

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