By Carl Siroky, with excerpts and pictures from an article by Jim Harmer
Dirt bikes are built to traverse rough terrain conditions, which is what makes them so fun to ride. One of those trail conditions is logs from blowdown trees laying across the trail. Many of these logs can be crossed by riders with even a novice level of skill. However, some logs across the trail can’t be crossed, even by the most skillful riders (with the exception of maybe Graham Jarvis).
One of the more hazardous trail conditions caused by blowdowns is “The Standing Blowdown Tree”. This is the dead tree that is snagged in another tree beside the trail and is waiting for just the right conditions to come down onto the trail or someone on the trail, in the worst-case scenario.
Some logs across the trail create extraordinary safety hazards for riders when they are located around blind corners, are hanging across the trail at chest or head height, are on steep sidehills, or are just too large or high off the ground to go over. For these types of trees across the trail some riders choose to create new trails around logs. This act of riding around logs across the trail creates unnecessary resource damage.
If you ride trails in the mountains you will encounter blowdown trees across the trail. If you want to ride early in the season you will encounter a lot of blowdowns across the trails. Some riders choose to go to the extra effort to carry a handsaw or chainsaw with them on their dirt bike to clear the blowdowns out of the trail for themselves and do a huge favor for other trail users coming through behind them.
Mounting A Chainsaw
Sometimes, riders will choose to simply strap a chainsaw to the rear of their bike, and while that can work, it can cause the bike to be unstable and add unnecessary risk to riding. If you’re going to carry a chainsaw on your bike it’s important that you get a good mount for it. Chainsaw mounts that are specifically made for dirt bikes will keep your chainsaw securely mounted close to your bike frame. You can make your own chainsaw mount, but there are numerous manufacturers of chainsaw mounts for bikes. The main thing a mount should do for you is secure your chainsaw to the bike and balance its weight properly to not make the bike unstable to ride.
Combine the Best Chainsaw and Mount
Before you buy a chainsaw mount, you’ll want to put some consideration to the size and type of chainsaw you’re going to be using. You’ll want to look for the lightest and lowest-profile chainsaw that you can find. A lot of chainsaw mounts only work with specific models of chainsaws, so pay careful attention to the product descriptions on both chainsaws and mounts.
No matter how experienced you are with operating a chainsaw, it’s a good idea to use protective gear. Also, you should not be out alone when you are operating a chainsaw to clear logs from trails. Accidents can happen and having a trail-buddy to help you in an emergency can be your lifeline.
The USNF provides the “Saw Policy” on the forest service web page. Go there to learn more about the requirements in it https://www.fs.usda.gov/about-agency/regulations-policies/saw-policy