Software for diagramming tracks, Part 2

Hey Lee –

The Colorado School of Mines cycling team recently gained permission to build a ds course, pump track, and stxc on a fairly large patch of land owned by the school. I need to present them with a diagram of both the ds and pump track prior to construction. A diagram similar to those you put together would fit the bill perfectly. What software do you use? Any tips?

I really appreciate the help,

– Brandon

Sample layouts from Welcome to Pump track Nation.

Hey Brandon,

Right on! That is awesome.

I use a graphics program called Macromedia FreeHand. It is a lot like Adobe Illustrator. Both of these are serious professional tools, and they take some knowledge to operate. I’ve been using FreeHand since 1989 — back then it was version 2; now it’s version 10.

There are several consumer/beginner graphics programs that might be easier for you to mess with. You do not want a “raster” program like Adobe Photoshop, in which the images are made of pixels. You want a “vector” program, in which the images are mathematically generated shapes. Vector programs are easier to edit, and they hold resolution at any size. Perfect for that huge poster.

A reader recommended Google’s Sketchup. You can download the basic version for free.

See also: Software for diagramming tracks

Remember: It’s not about the tool; it’s about the brain running the tool.

For detailed advice on building pump tracks, check out the ebook Welcome to Pump track Nation. I did the layout and drawings in FreeHand.

Very cool. Tell me how it goes,

— Lee

6 replies
  1. Wylie says:

    Also, a Vector based program will not rasterize diagonal lines (i.e. a berm or lip in section)… This way your diagonal lines will be smooth and wont show any pixels.

    SketchUp is super easy to use but your lines will print rasterized…. I’d use Illustrator

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