Feature: The Backyard Pump Track – Construction

How To
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.

Video: Trail Ninja How To: Pump Track 101 with Mark Weir by EpicTVAdventure

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.

Photo by Alex Fowler

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.

Video: Alex Fowler of Santa Cruz built this pump track for a client in Santa Cruz, CA

So that’s just a few locals getting started. Read on and see what some of the pros can do.

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.

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  • Shannon W. says:

    Just a little ‘woot woot’ for the link to The Mountain Bike Life – way to represent, Phil :)

  • Robert T says:

    Thanks guys, one more thing on my summer project list.

  • Greg Koenig says:

    any way to make it out of cement too so you could skate AND bike on it?

  • UncleTrail says:

    A little advice for the DIY homeowners out there. Don’t bury the sod like he did.
    Rip that sod up and get rid of it. It will not decompose under the dirt and will become a wet, rotten, smelly mess in no time at all.

  • UncleTrail says:

    Also, avoid piling that dirt on top of your tree roots from the trunk to the trees dripline. Big no, no. You will suffocate them and they will become diseased and die.

  • AngryBee says:

    My wife would never approve of a PT in the backyard. She couldn’t give a rats ass if it made me more of a dynamic rider :( I guess I will just be a couch jockey or a static rider.

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