Fat tires plus skinny lines: What could go wrong? Mountain bikers tend to either love or hate skinnies, and ride-around lines tend to be the preferred option, at least on our local trails. Still, elaborate wooden skinnies can be found in some of the most iconic mountain bike destinations like BC’s North Shore.
Tell us why you love or hate skinny trail features in the comments below.
Skinnies have now become a risk-reward statement for me. I used to ride them occasionally, if I was feeling cocky, but after two guys in our local MTB club broke a wrist and ankle on local tall skinnies a couple of years ago, I avoid them. MTB is a purely recreational activity for me. I don’t compete and I’m not ever going to be Danny Macaskill…..I will still “brave” ground-level skinnies now and then. : )
There is good training from precision riding known as a skinny. Being familiar to the point that they are not intimidating reduces the probability of catastrophic events.
I have been known to fabricate a practice skinny of 2×4’s and 2.6’s that are low to the ground for such activity. Keeping in practice is worthy for real world riding.
Don’t let it be difficult or daunting, practice!
I do appreciate what DMac Pat Smage and Chris Akrigg have brought to light of this sport since it is part of mountain biking at the wholesale level. I will not likely duplicate their skill levels but do appreciate their tenacity. The outtakes from Imaginate are awesome and prove that DMac is human after all. Cannot relate to the number of hours those folks invested in their definition of riding however, it is impressive!
I like them as tong as falling off won’t likely result in a bad injury! Good for skills building but I feel more confident in rock gardens than on skinnies.
I’ll have to say they are less involved than they used to be because of age and recovery. I do like riding curbs for the simple fact they are not much more than 8inches tall and are a good skinny builder if you decide to give one a try.I tend to stay away from skinnys in the wet or even after a rain as once I was power slammed on a slimy skinny and learned a big lesson about when to ride them as skill had no part in saving me only good judgement could have helped
I never understood the appeal. I’ll bypass them every time unless they are built for a purpose like traversing an ecologically sensitive section or something like that. A person can get the same training without actually riding a skinny, so I don’t get the training argument some put out there to support them. But hey… Some people enjoy riding skinnies, and that’s good enough for me whether I ride them or not.
I have no desire to ride skinnies that are more than a foot off the ground, but there are such features in the skills park at the main TH of the local trails. It is my routine to ride them in progressive order before each ride to help dial in my balance. There is even a rail that I will attempt if riding plus size tires. Nothing dangerous and the penalty of failure is only having to make another pass. I enjoy the risk free challenge.
There is a 1000’ skinny out on the trail and I joke that I have proudly mastered the first 75’.
I don’t like riding them, but it’s like eating your broccoli. I practice on skinnies that are less than two feet tall to improve my balance in general and so I don’t get stymied by the single plank bridges that are just regular parts of the trails around here.
*Yes, they are fun, when they don’t get more than a foot off the trail…
We used to have one that was made out of a tree that fell diagonally over a dry stream bed. It was about 12″ wide at its narrowest and maybe 18′ long. You were a good 5 or 6 feet off the ground in the middle, but there weren’t any rocks or other obstacles down there, just leaves. Still, being that high on something so narrow was a terrifying thrill. I rode it cleanly my first try and loved it. I’d ride it all the time and never fell, until I tried it at night and rode right off the side. I wasn’t hurt, but after that I fell off it every time I tried. Took me a long time to get my mojo back, but I eventually did. Then, one day I rode up and the log had rotted through and lay broken on the ground – bummer. Really miss that feature, but another tree will eventually fall somewhere exciting and we’ll chainsaw it into some sketchy thing you can ride a bike on.
The skinny is another tool to hone one’s bike handling prowess. But the trials scene can expand one’s skillset immensely.
My left arm is compromised from an accident, there’s no “real” elbow, it’s just a hinge and a little bit “springy.” Because of that, holding a straight thin line is much more difficult than when I used to enjoy riding down the rails of a train track. So, I don’t enjoy them as much as I used to.
Of course…….that depends on the skinny!
It doesn’t have to be minute, radical and lethal to be a good ride……..in spite of what some super-experts may feel.
A decent width, nice widened-out corners and clear jumping-off potential…..and much fun can be had…….
Hell yeah! There’s one on my local trails that’s low to the ground, but crazy hard. It starts as a 4×4, but after 10′ it becomes the edge of a 2×6. My 2.4″ tire is riding on something that’s only 1.5″ wide, and there’s 10′ of that. I’ve made it all the way across 3 times in 10+ years. I love that there’s stuff like that which I can’t clean every time, and that I don’t risk injury when I fail. That’s the only one made of lumber though around me. We often flatten off the top of a fallen tree to make a “natural” skinny. These will last for 6 or 7 years (mostly poplar) before mother nature reclaims the log and another is built somewhere else. This keeps the trails fresh, and I like that we aren’t bringing in anything that wasn’t already there to build them.