When motos ruin your dirt jumps


Me and my friends found an abandoned DJ spot in a clearing in the middle of a public park. We worked really hard to turn it into a sick DJ/pump track/free ride park with a wall ride ladder bridges and everything.

The problem is these fat kids on dirt bikes (with engines ya know) keep crushing down all of our lips…even filling in our gaps turning them to stupid table tops so they can ride them.

Is there anything we can build or do to prevent or discourage electric or gas powered dirt bikes?


Hey Charlie,

This is a tough one.

– On one hand, it’s your spot and you found it first, and you built it, and those jerks should stay away.

– On the other hand, they have a right to ride too, and open spaces like this are a rare commodity. Bike riders and moto riders are in the same boat. I experience this on both sides. We should find a way to coexist.

Here are some options:

My man Tony — athlete, artist and visionary — solved the same problem with Quickcrete.

The law
Chances are motos are not allowed on that land. You can call the authorities and get the moto riders kicked out, but you run the risk of the authorities kicking everyone out. Once public land managers knows about a dirt jump spot, it’s their legal obligation to make it safe or get rid of it. You know which they’ll choose.

If you get your spot closed, you’ll have to find another, and you’ll run into the same problem all over again.

As uncool as this is, intimidation is the most common form of dirt jump law. Basically, if you mess with our jumps we will kick your ass (or at least make things unpleasant for you). This requires a certain personality type — a person I wouldn’t want to hang out with. Do you have any skinhead straight edge hardcore dudes in your crew?

The bully approach has kept me away from a couple DJ spots, and once it almost turned to a fist fight.

We’d been having problems at our local spot for months. This guy was claiming the whole area, and he was actually taking dirt off our jumps to make his own. Once, he dug up a lip while we were riding it. On one Tuesday he was being an extraordinary jerk. It was just the two of us out there. He was blaming me for messing up his jumps (ridiculous), and he said if he found out I did it, he would kick my ass. That was it. I told him, Let’s work this out right now, just the two of us. I was relaxed and smiling, but I was ready to tear the guy apart, and he knew it. He backed down, and I haven’t seen him since.

I am by no means a Tough Guy. Shoot, I don’t even have tattoos. But bullies are used to pushing. When you push back they usually back down.

You don’t have to go all Straight Edge on the guys, but you should be firm. It’s the only way to set boundaries and get what you want.

Tony’s jumps hit perfectly, but they were intimidating. That kept some of the bad apples out of the orchard.

You have to make friends with those guys (you might have to start by being tough), and work something out. Maybe:

– They help maintain the area.

– You set up different lines for different machines.

– If you are really serious about this site, try paving the takeoffs and landings. My buddy Tony Santoro had the same problem in Las Vegas, and he solved it with many bags of Quickcrete: Protect your jumping paradise

If this situation continues to devolve, nobody will get to ride.

Be strong. Be friendly.

8 replies
  1. Chris says:

    Charlie, during my many years as a digger/jumper (90% digger, 10% jumper), I spent more time dealing with trail politics, secrecy, deception, sadness, frustration, anger… I can’t begin to explain. It hurts to think about it.

    Since I am a wimp, I suggest the passive/aggressive approach. Try building hard-core rollers leading into the jumps that are the wrong ‘frequency’ for motos. Motos can’t pump rollers like dirt jumpers can. Dig these rollers INTO the ground so that they cannot be torn down. Use the dirt elsewhere (far away so it isn’t used to fill the rollers in). Make the rollers wide enough so that they can’t just bypass them, the last roller will lead into the pit of the first jump. The rollers won’t be fun and the motos will go. If they wreck the rollers, make them again. The laziest group will give up first. So which demographic set is laziest? ‘Hard Working Young Mountain Bikers’ or ‘Fat Kids On Dirt Bikes’? You know the answer. Take control. KEEP control. It WILL be hard work that one day WILL be crushed by a dozer.

    I have seen BMXers use rollers to great effect against all but the best MTBers (with a BMX racing background).


  2. brett says:

    Lee, is your buddy Tony stomping some DJ action in full-on work boots, or is that just my imagination? Work boots and concrete jumps…. damn!

  3. The Wang says:

    Chris can use this passive agressive style of trail law because of his trail building counterpart. I, however, prefer the agressive intimidation(til my conscience takes over) and shred in their face style of law. Add some technical entry and make the jumps too big for 50s. If that doesnt work. chase em with your shovel!

    no dig no ride.

  4. Mossy says:

    We have a guy that comes when we build and says ‘make them so i can do it on my crosser’ (so he can roll over them) when we are making doubles.
    in the past he has ruined a berm, then when we re-built he told loads of people he made it by doing doghnuts… guess he doughnutted the wood up the back aswell.
    he hsnt ruined the double yet, but its only been there a day so far.
    he is 20 and he doesnt do anything exept hang around 15 year olds to look ‘hard’ so we can’t really intimidate him, also we dont want to make friends with him as he is a chump.
    what can we do!?

  5. leelikesbikes says:

    All of my ideas are uncool and probably immoral.

    I guess you gotta ask yourself, what would Jesus do?

    Keep building your jumps. Kill him with kindness.

    Everyone will figure out what he’s all about, and eventually he’ll either become cool or implode in jerkness.

  6. Chris says:

    Mossy. Again, the entrance to the jumps is key. His tires are very narrow. Some slightly spaced diagonal ruts or logs should do the trick.

    Mossy, don’t be obsessed with gaps. Dirt street-spines (spines with a super-short table on top) can be great fun and teach you a whole lot. You can build the lip and landing as vert as you want but still roll the lip if need be. The same jump will teach you how to handle vert lips and landings (pushing the front wheel down to match the angle of the landing) making you the king of steep drop-ins. They also are harder to wreck as they have support on two sides. And if you build them juuust right, someone with a long wheelbase and a big chain ring won’t be able to roll them (hint, hint). If you build three in a row, you can 180 the last one and head back the way you came, making three jumps into five. Make sure you build them a decent length apart because as you progress so will your speed (and height over the spine). The hang time on a spine is good enough for plenty of tricks, just watch any street bmx DVD for proof. You can practice foot-plants, stalls… The only downside is that the more vert you want them the higher they have to be (so you can take-off and land straight). If you want vert, then that height is about 5 feet. In a year or two when you and the spines have progressed to ‘hugeness’ you can convert them to doubles big enough to scare everyone else away. Get diggin’!

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