Wim Cycle has been building DH trails in the mountains around Surabaya, Indonesia, and has a BMX track near the city center.
This is what the land looked like before we started the project. One of our first obstacles was to level the ground before building our hill. That meant filling in a meter deep 50 meter by 50 meter pond. The dirt supplier estimated it would take a week just to fill in the pond.
The first load of what would be thousands of loads of dirt arrived on the 6th day of being in Indonesia. None of the trucks had automatic opening gates, an assistant in flip flops or barefoot would use a hammer or rock to open the latches on the doors. He would then use his lightening quick reflexes to get out of the way of falling dirt and rocks. Sam was stoked when the first truck arrived. As more trucks came we kept wondering if we could get some dirt with our rocks.
Trucks were slow coming as it was a two hour round trip to bring dirt. Our bulldozer operator didn't waste any time pushing the dirt into the pond. It wasn't long before we had a peninsula jutting out into the pond.
With time ticking away Sam and I decided to shuffle the layout of the park around so that we could be more productive. The pump track was moved so that we could be building it while the site was being leveled and our hill was being built.
A lot of what we wanted to do was lost in translation, we used a lot of hand gestures and drawings to try to explain what we wanted to accomplish.
After a couple of days of solid work with an excavator and a couple of labourers we had an operational pump track.
After a couple weeks of being stalled, re-planning and setbacks it was awesome to finally ride something we built in Indonesia.
The winter months are the rainy season in Surabaya; daily rain storms became a problem and we had to adjust our work schedule and plans because of this.
As the rain kept coming and our hill kept growing it was apparent that we underestimated the rain and elevation of our pump track. Once again we were back to the drawing board.
Progress was being made on the hill, it was being built in terraces, meeting after meeting we tried to explain to the contractor that we wanted it to be build into a continuous slope to avoid water pooling at the lower level. We eventually gave up on trying to communicate with the contractors and started talking to the excavator and bulldozer operators. With a series of drawings drawn on my hand I explained that we wanted a continuous slope and not terraces. Things started moving in the right direction after this.
We finally had a hill and some momentum behind us. It was time to rebuild the pump track and start building jumps. And then the dirt stopped coming, we started to shuffle dirt around so that we could rough in all of the features we wanted to build.
We started stealing dirt from other areas with the bulldozer so that the excavator was constantly working.
With our 30 day visa running out, Sam and I had to be willing to change things on the fly. We were constantly drawing and writing directions to the operators to keep things moving.
After 25 days filled with delays, planning and reworking we finally had something to show for it. Everything was in place and we just needed to shape the jumps and place the North Shore bridges.
Better quality dirt arrived and I started moving dirt and shaping lips. We were hoping for the help of a Bobcat, but we had to settle for 5 guys with shovels and wheelbarrows. It slowed things down considerably and we had to push hard to get things done.
Days were spend shaping, testing, reshaping and testing. The goal was to make everything safe before leaving Indonesia.
Three days before my flight home things were looking great. I had ridden all the lines and everything flowed together. That night we had the worst rain storm since arriving in Surabaya. Arriving at the factory the next morning was heart breaking. The water had damaged almost everything, I would spend the next two days getting everything fixed before leaving.
Some clean up left to do, but the ladder bridges are looking like a good time. It's a shame I did not get to test them.
Once grass is planted the park is going to look great. It was an awesome experience and I hope to go back to Surabaya to ride soon.
Big thanks to Joni Saputra for helping us translate and to everyone at Insera/Polygon for the build project of a life time.