Update: April 10
Dan Milner of EpicTVadventure paid a visit to to Mark Weir’s backyard pump trump track to get a primer on how to ride pump tracks with style and authority. Well, maybe getting around without a pedal stroke is a lofty enough goal for us mere mortals.
Dan hails from the UK and is one of the greatest bike photographers in the world. He travels the world for images, adventure and now video.
A few years ago, my friends Mark Weir and Lee McCormack started raving about pump tracks. They talked about how much fun these tracks were and how they helped their mountain bike skills. A pump track is different from a BMX track or a dirt jump track as it is designed with undulations and berms to keep speed without pedaling. “Bah, that’s just for pro downhillers,” I dismissed. What they like has little relevance to me since I am more of a singlespeeder and XC rider.
But as I traveled around to ride, I got exposed to more styles of riding and a whole different level of riding. In my press events, designated photographers would tend to gravitate towards the riders who flowed through the trails with style and confidence. These folks looked very active on the bike and seemed to pump their way through the trail. Several times, I found myself in places like Bend, OR and BC, Canada which had a ton of public pump tracks maintained by the city. And as I spent more time riding with my 12-year old son, we spent a lot of time at a local dirt jump park and I was slowly introduced to the magic of bike parks and pump tracks.
Then my buddy who is a local cyclocross racer invited me to his tiny backyard for a pump track party. I said, “Wait a minute. You’re an XC dude. And your backyard is too small and…” He handed me a beer and told me to take a few laps. My son and I took turns as we laughed out loud and thus began our fascination with the backyard pump track.
Video by Hans Kellner: This is the first time for us and my cyclocross racer friends on any pump track.
The first time you do a couple of laps without a pedal stroke and really commit to a berm is quite magical. We get the kids, the wives taking turns on the track and it all starts to come together.
I then started paying attention to my circle of friends and discovered that quite a few have pump tracks already in their backyard and many more are thinking about it. In the SF Bay Area where cities and trail councils are restrictive with access to fun trails, this concept starts to hit home. And with families and busy working schedules, the convenience, accessibility and safety of a backyard track make a lot of sense.
We then discovered that one of our good friends has a real back yard and a significant pump track. There is even an enclosed trampoline nearby and a Gazebo that doubles as a DJ booth and launching pad.
So that’s just a few locals getting started. Read on and see what some of the pros can do.