Finally, we will leave you with a couple guys who took some leaf-strewn dirt in the woods of New Hampshire and turned it into a work of art. From a lump of coal, they extracted a diamond using a wheelbarrow, a shovel and a whole lot of muscle.
We talked to one of the builders, Phil Kmetz and he shared some of their experience. They’re part of a website called The Mountain Bike Life where they live the dream of biking and write about it almost every day.
Mtbr: How did this project come about and what surprised you the most?
Phil Kmetz: The biggest surprise was how well it came together. The ground was really uneven and tree infested, so conceptualizing a pump track built in that area was rather challenging.
One of the big advantages we found of building a pump track in the woods is that it doesn’t bake in the sun and become dry and dusty. The tree cover keeps the direct sun off it which helps keep the dirt moist which is very important. If you ever go to a BMX track during a race, you’ll see them watering the course fairly often. Also the shade makes the riding more enjoyable.
Another thing that I learned is that sometimes, for no seemingly no reason, a pot hole would develop. This was much more noticeable when the course was dry. The reason the pot holes were forming was the root system below was too close, and even with 6 inches of dirt on top, would give ever so slightly and start go crumble. To counter act that, I would dig out the pot hole, and even a little wider, and remove the organic matter below and fill it in with rocks and good dirt.
The thing that amazed me the most was how much positive interest there was. Since this was built off the side of a road, it started to draw some attention from passersby. For the most part it was all positive, and we were even able to convince a few non-riders to give the course a try. However, there was one neighbor who for some reason, just didn’t like it and tried to recruit every neighbor to get the track shut down (even though it was on my friends private property). Luckily, getting on the good side the other neighbors played to our advantage and the “angry” neighbor was not able to gain any traction.
Next week, we will write a whole lot more about how design and build a pump track or get a contractor to do it for you. And more important, we will discuss how to convince your spouse or town/city to get a pump track built.
If you have more ideas and examples, please leave in the comments below.
Some of our resources are:
Mark Weir of WTB and Bikeskills
Lee McCormack of Leelikesbikes.com
Alex Fowler of Action Sports Construction
Mark Davidson and the “Pump Track Pandemonium” on April 13-14 in Santa Cruz, CA
Phil Kmetz & Rivers Mitchell of The Mountain Bike Life blog