What is a pump track? 

A pump track is an infinitely looping bike friendly track that features rollers, banked turns called berms, and jumps. It is most often built out of dirt and is designed to help riders improve their bike skills in a safe environment.  A basic oval pump track would have two straights and two turns - one on each end - connecting the two straights together creating a closed loop. 

Pump track building Steps

Step 1 Clear the land

Start with a clean slate

Clear and rake the land to help give you a better sense of what you’re working with. This will get your brain going and help you visualize the potential of the land.

Step 2 Brainstorm

Create a rough mental note of where the course is going to go.  I like to build courses with only two berms because berms are resource and labor intensive to build properly. 

Step 3 Prepare the foundation

Never use organic material as fill.

Remove organic material. It’s important to remove the organic material from the footprint of the course before building the foundation because organic material does not pack. Underneath the organic material there is  good usable soil which we can use to create the foundation of the course and as base layer for berms. 

Step 4 Drainage

Once the foundation has been roughed out we can identify potential drainage issues. For drainage, I like to use 4inch corrugated pipe which come in 10 foot long increments and only cost about 7 bucks a piece. For this project we used 4 pipes. Once installed you want a minimum of 4 inches of packed soil on top of the pipe. 

Step 5 Move Dirt

Nothing is set in stone; it’s just dirt.

Start with the area that is the hardest to access which is often the furthest point from the piles of dirt. As we place dirt, we sketch out feature we think we will want there, but will return later for the final shaping. Having a rough idea as to what feature will be in it’s place helps me visualize and build the rest of the features in its proximity. 


A few notes:

I can be indecisive about building features and the course layout. Like a rough draft of a paper, I'll deviate from the original script and refine as I go. Don’t be afraid to admit that a feature does not work, and start from scratch. It's not set in stone, it's just dirt. Granted that is much easier to say when you’re working with a machine.

If you run into nasty weather, take opportunity to check to see if the drainage works and also check and see how different soils behave when wet. Clay can be a royal pain the behind to move when wet while soil that is more sandy dirt is quite malleable.

For the  project  featured in the video we used about 75 cubic yards (5 tandem truck loads) of an imported Clay fill mixture. We also were able to use about 30-50 yards of native soil.

The elevation between the top and the bottom of the of the building zone was roughly 4 feet.

It took 6 about 6 ~ 8 hours days to complete with two experienced builders and a machine.

The dingo has a bucket width of 36 inches