What exactly is a pump track you may ask yourself?
A pump track is a circuit or track, consisting of rollers, berms, jumps, or other momentum generating features whereby the rider makes their way around the track by "pumping" up and down over the features creating momentum and speed. Originally used by BMX riders, pump tracks have made their way into mainstream riding circles as a great way to build endurance and riding efficiency. A well designed track can be used by riders of all skill levels and ages safely. As your skills progress, new "lines" can be taken by turning small rollers into doubles or triples as well as transfers to and from previously unconnected zones are possible.
What makes a good pump track?
While this is a highly subjective answer, we believe a good track consists of a few key components - safety, resilience, and rideability. A well designed track will be inviting for riders of all skill levels and as such, it should be built safely using proper techniques and materials. We like to use dirt for many reasons, but because we can shape it into nice rounded edges, and create rolling contours that help transfer energy safely if/when a rider crashes, we feel it's the safest choice for track surfaces.
Resilience is critical when using materials like dirt or gravel. Since these materials can be washed away or manipulated by mother nature or aggressive riding, it's important to consider how this will impact the track over time. Building a beautiful track that gets washed away in every rainstorm is a major bummer. Nobody wants to rebuild rollers and berms before every session, so we focus on properly compacting the subgrade and features in "lifts" to ensure erosion is kept to a minimum. Tangentially, drainage is important to allow water to flow away from the track helping to prevent water related damage. A large portion of design time is spent on understanding the existing terrain, grading and proper water flow.
And perhaps the most important aspect is rideability. What good is a track if nobody can use it or successfully make their way around without pedaling? We believe in creating a track that has a lot of variety, line choices and unique features to keep riders coming back for more. By using the existing terrain, we design our track to fit the space and need requirements of our clients, while maximizing our area to include as much as possible. While a small track can be fun for awhile, often people find them monotonous over time, so we challenge ourselves to bring the most we can to each site. We want riders of all abilities to enjoy it and be rewarded for their efforts. Mastering a pump track can take time but in the end it's all worth it!