DIY Back Yard Single Track

Senior Marketer Austen is recounting how our Novato staffer, Austin "Dobby" Dobbs brought mountain biking to his own backyard.

When the Shelter-in-Place order began to affect the option to drive to trailheads and parks for mountain bike use, drastic measures had to be taken. Sports Basement Novato’s rentals and Backcountry pro, Austin Dobbs came up with a solution that was downright brilliant…

NOTE: The following events very likely did not happen as described but this author is taking creative freedoms because this is how I like to think it happened.

Austin was sitting on his couch listening to “Careless Whisper” by George Michael and reminiscing on all the single track he used to take for granted, a single tear slowly rolling down his cheek. He looked out his back window on his lush (and heavily sloped) backyard in Napa and an idea hit him like a ton of bricks. (Legend has it the red handprint on his forehead still radiates heat.) The rule requires that you can only access open parks or trails if you can get there without driving. Well, if he built his own single track in his backyard, he'd be doing one better: staying home!

Check out the steps below for how to build a single track.If you are blessed to have a large backyard (or even a small one) that you can set up a loop, track, drop-in and burm, now is the perfect time to do it.

Step 1: Enjoy a beautiful day

The next day was a beauty and Austin got to work… As you can see from the photos he had ideal space to work with.

View of Austin's backyard.

Step 2: Grab a cold beverage

This is very important… cold beverages are a MUST when getting to such hard work, both to cool you down and to really enjoy the breaks. A four-legged companion doesn’t hurt either!

Austin holding a beer and his dog.

Step 3: Trace your line and start digging

Now this is when the real work starts, once you have eyed out the best line available to you, get digging. A metal shovel is best but you could even use a hoe to lay out that perfect line (you only need six to twelve inches of width).

Step 4: Light landscaping

Now you might have some pesky rocks or larger bushes in the way. You may need to toss a few of these out of the way or pull some bushes out by the roots. Always be careful and if you find that boulder just won't roll, make it part of your course!

Step 5: Add Roller for extra steez

This is key, it is YOUR single track so you can add whatever features you want, Austin decided on a roller to start but a kicker was in the works shortly afterwards.

Small dirt hill on a trail.

Step 6: Drop in and shred!


Now you may be tempted to show off your sweet new private single track and we don’t blame you. But for everyone’s sake, do it virtually (and don't forget to tag @sportsbasement when you do!)


  • Rick R says...

    #love I want to go to there. :)

    On April 08, 2020
  • axman says...

    looks fun – jealous of that backyard

    On April 08, 2020

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