Pump tracks are appearing all over the place – in council owned parks, in school grounds, campgrounds, mountain bike parks and some lucky people have even made one in their own backyard. With more interest in recreational riding we have seen the development of a lot more. This means there may be one near you! Making riding one easy and accessible so you too can have fun and improve your riding.
What is a pump track? A pump track is a small man made dirt track built with a looping trail system. They are generally designed with different sized dirt mounds/rollers and corners that have a banked outer edge (called berms).
Why is it called a pump track? Because you pump the terrain. Pumping – is a riding technique that allows you to use the track to keep and generate momentum therefore eliminating the need for pedaling. Ultimately you should be able to ride a pump track without pedaling! What?
OK so that is the ultimate goal or the ideal of pump tracks but there is a lot more to gain from a pump track than being able to ride it without pedaling. Do not let that phase you or intimidate you. If you are anything like me, it is unlikely you will reach that no pedaling goal without a lot of practice.
However understanding the ultimate goal will give you insight on how to get the most out of riding a pump track.
What do pump tracks have to offer ?
- They are full of fun.
- They are accessible
- They offer community. Often there will be other riders there to enjoy, watch and be inspired by. The kids will see and pick up on the skills and techniques that similar aged or older kids are using on the track, and soon enough you will see those skills being used in their riding.
- They offer a great safe environment to improve your riding. Pump tracks allow you to get used to the bike moving under you. You will start to get a feel for how both the bike and your body move to maintain balance as you ride over the terrain, differing slopes and corners etc. The more you ride them, the more you will gain confidence in your riding. If you become quite skilled at pump tracks they teach you how to use the terrain to assist your riding – allowing you to ride on trails with more flow, speed and control.
- They are great for both strength and fitness improvements.
- They suit a wide range of ages as the rider can tailor the pump track to their capability. Finding an activity to suit the different ages of children in families can sometimes be a challenge, the pump track can offer something for every member of the family – especially the adults.
- For the younger kids – they can miss out mounds and corners if they are too hard, or focus on just one part of the pump track. Because they are popping up in park like settings for those easily distracted or the not so riding keen there is often other outdoor activities to enjoy like playgrounds or you can take a ball/frisbee for them to kick or throw around. Also they frequently are void from safety concerns like vehicles but every pump track is different and you will need to assess the safety of the environment.
- The older kids/ adults – can improve their biking skills, their strength and fitness. Depending on your riding experience and capability like the younger kids you get to tailor it to your needs, and can progressively challenge yourself as your riding confidence grows. That can range from completing a lap pedaling, to completing a lap without pedaling or for some even progressing to a jump.
Think about making an adventure out of your excursion to the pump track. If you have one close by maybe biking there is an option. Consider having morning, afternoon tea or lunch there. It can be a great place to enjoy with other families.
Give it a go, get in on the fun, lets see more of us BIG KIDS, more of us GIRLS on pump tracks. The kids will love that you join in and if you do it, maybe you will inspire another adult or female to give it a go.
Are you interested in learning more? Like -what skills to try out on a pump track? Watch out for future stories on Pump Track Skills.
We would love to hear about your local or favourite pump track. See you out there.
Thanks for reading. Used together our stories and resources support you to achieve and develop as a rider.
goRide is a shared journey, so we would like you to assist in guiding it along the way. Contact goRide. Your thoughts, comments or feedback are welcome. Thank you for being a part of the goRide way.