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  1. #1
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    Backyard Pump Track

    Background: We have an ok size back yard that is relatively unfinished. 1500 sqft of grass that looks like crap half the year due to improperly installed irrigation, 2 trees, some crappy lantana, and a bunch of rocks. We have 3 kids: a 3.5 year old who has been riding with no training wheels since 2.5 and twin 1.5 year olds. They all love being outside and exploring everywhere. My little girl is already picking up the Strider.

    Issue: What to do with the backyard? Doesnt look all that great. Dont have the $$ for a pool nor do we want one even if we could afford it due to our kids ages right now.

    Possible solution: Pumptrack

    So my wife has signed off on this idea which is awesome but I dont want to get in over my head. If Im going to do this I want to do it right. Does anyone know, someone who could possibly come over as a consultant who has done this before? Anyone else with input? Ive heard insurance and potential legal issues if neighborhood kids get hurt as an issue. Logistics? Is it a much larger undertaking than one would assume? Im new to this and Im looking for advice from those in the know. Here are the dimensions of the area we can use for the track (not that I need to use all of it.) Thanks.


    Backyard Pump Track-pumptrack.png
    Last edited by Douger-1; 04-03-2013 at 01:45 PM.
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

  2. #2
    SamuraiBunnyGuy
    Reputation: longhairmike's Avatar
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    in the end, you're always liable if a neighborhood kid or adult gets hurt in your yard, whether it be from a structure you built or not.
    (maybe a sinkhole suddenly swallowing them would be an exception) its just easier for them to tack on punitive damages if its something you physically built.

    check with your exterminator,, digging down could void a termite warranty,, and you'd probably want to get the area retreated after completion.
    digging into a subterranean hive would suck balls too.

  3. #3
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    Dont plan on too much digging. More like a couple dump truck loads of dirt I will need to move into the backyard.
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

  4. #4
    SamuraiBunnyGuy
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    if you alter elevation, you want to make sure you dont affect drainage,,
    if you make hills that cause rain to runoff into a neighbor's yard during monsoons, that could be daily zoning fines until you remove it

  5. #5
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    Point taken. My drainage already sor of sucks and I already planned on using PVC or instaling a Frenched drain to deal with water issues.

    I guess these types of isses dont concern me much. Its just dirt. I obviously dont want to have to rip down a burm after building it up but adding some drainage here or there wouldnt be too hard Id imagine. Its not like Im puting in a large concrete patio. Worse comes to worse I plow it all down, regrade and plant new grass. Again maybe Im mistaken.
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

  6. #6
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    Have you been able to get out and ride some of the tracks in the Valley? Just seeing what can be done will really help with the design. The track at Rage is more jump oriented while the "Fishbowl" is all about flow and speed (his is one of the best examples I've seen anywhere btw...). The track at McDowell is fairly large but you can get a feel for the spacing and shape/size of rollers.
    Desert Sunset Calls/Upward, Pain, Perseverance/Welcome Solitude

  7. #7
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    I have a buddy that built one for his son. It might be more BMX oriented? I can pass your number to him. He is West side, but might stop by for soemthing cool like this.
    I would be happy to help you a bit. I have acccess to a wheel barrow.

    Where is Fishbowl? Sounds like fun.
    Last edited by SugarHigh; 04-04-2013 at 01:05 PM.

  8. #8
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    Fishbowl is a backyard track (at Fish's house). Invite only kinda place but they did host a TON of pumptrack nights for quite a while.
    Desert Sunset Calls/Upward, Pain, Perseverance/Welcome Solitude

  9. #9
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    Oh F@ck liability and any stupids that get hurt riding there uninvited; that's what home owner's insurance is for. Do what you want.
    Nice KOM, sorry about your penis.

  10. #10
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    This is what Ive come up with so far. Track is 5 feet wide. Dont want to use the entire space so we can keep some grass etc. Basically rollers and table tops along the outside with jumps of different sizes crossing in the center.

    Backyard Pump Track-pumptrack_2.png
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

  11. #11
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    Backyard Pump Track

    Backyard Pump Track-pumptrack.jpg

    Here is my current and everchanging plan. My backyard is just dirt right now..unfortunately, its the wrong kind of dirt....so I am looking around for some loamy, higher clay content dirt to import on the cheap (share the hookup for dirt if anyone knows someone).

    Most of the rollers will probably be 12in high, 10ft apart peak to peak and maybe a 3ft high double on the long side in place of two of the rollers. You could probably narrow your track width a bit. Track width for the above is 3ft. 5ft wide is pretty wide and would require more dirt for the rollers and berms

    I plan on primarily riding a 24" cruiser bmx for this track (for adults), but any bike (minus FS) would probably work

    Right now if our estimates are right this layout will take about 44cu yd of dirt. with the good dirt primarily used for the berms and rollers only.

    this brought back my desire to do this...
    Brian Lopes GoPro mini PumpTrack - YouTube

    I used this book (probably the foundation for pump track knowledge) to plan mine out.

    Lee Likes Bikes

  12. #12
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    So Im gathering that just going to the local landscaping materials place and getting whatever dirt they have wont fit the bill?
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Douger-1 View Post
    So Im gathering that just going to the local landscaping materials place and getting whatever dirt they have wont fit the bill?
    landscape material places will probably have what you need, just tell them you need some loamy, high clay content dirt. Any landscape materials place worth anything can mix clay, sand and other aggregate to meet your needs.

    Fill dirt or ABC dirt will probably not work. The screened fill dirt I've checked out (Im in NE Mesa) has too much sand in it and will not hold its form.

    If you grab a hand full of the dirt you are looking at, squeeze hard and open your hand and if the dirt doesnt reasonbably hold the "squished" form, the dirt is probably not good enough.

  14. #14
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    Ok good to know. Im in NE Mesa too. Just called Pioneer and got a quote for $14/ ton for fill dirt and a $375 delivery charge. Said to start with 24 tons.
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

  15. #15
    parenting for gnarness
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    Quote Originally Posted by Douger-1 View Post
    Ok good to know. Im in NE Mesa too. Just called Pioneer and got a quote for $14/ ton for fill dirt and a $375 delivery charge. Said to start with 24 tons.
    Fish's track, while taking his whole yard, has a nice grass space in the middle. I'd do it that way - gives the kids and adults somewhere to play around the track.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by chollaball View Post
    Fish's track, while taking his whole yard, has a nice grass space in the middle. I'd do it that way - gives the kids and adults somewhere to play around the track.
    I agree

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Douger-1 View Post
    Ok good to know. Im in NE Mesa too. Just called Pioneer and got a quote for $14/ ton for fill dirt and a $375 delivery charge. Said to start with 24 tons.
    OUCH! $14/ton for FILL DIRT?!?!? PLUS a $375 delivery charge?!?!?

    If you are going to use fill dirt, go on craigslist..........I was looking a while back on there and there were guys giving the stuff away..At one point I almost had a guy deliver 18 tons of fill dirt for $100.........until I found out that fill dirt probably wouldnt work for the pump track........

  18. #18
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    Current design still allows a 35ft x 27 ft space of grass plus our patio. My largest hesitation is getting rid of so much grass. I hate taking care of it and watering it but I know the kids will love it. Not sure if 35x27 is enough.
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

  19. #19
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    Would it really not work? My guess is all the dirt out at NRA is fill grade dirt and that place seems to be holding up well.
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Douger-1 View Post
    Would it really not work? My guess is all the dirt out at NRA is fill grade dirt and that place seems to be holding up well.
    I think it would still work, but it depends on where they get the fill dirt from. NRA I dont think was a fill location(at least on the upper and mid sections), so the dirt that is out there may be o'naturale.

    If I knew that fill dirt I was going to pay money for (especially @ $14/ton) was coming from way out mountainside away from civilization, I would probably be ok with it, but only if I got to check it out first.

    A friend of a friend is a soils analyst in AZ and he said that most dirt on our side of AZ does contain a higher clay content than say peoria. You just cant tell where there are houses because of all the grading that goes on to build.

    Dirt quality for a pump track affects before and after build maintenance/longevity/build difficulty. Building the track with loose "non-sticky" dirt takes more dirt, labor, and water. I also dont want to have to water the pump track every day to make sure it doesnt dry out even if Im not riding it. Nor do I want to have to build up berms or rollers before each ride just to have them disintegrate as I ride them because the dirt just doesnt hold up. But thats just me.

    If you go with fill dirt, just make sure it's screened fill dirt. Big rocks/debris are no fun to pick out by hand.

  21. #21
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    I by no means have any idea what Im doing. What you say makes sense. If Im going to purchase an move several tons of dirt into my back yard I only want to do it once. I did wonder about monsoon and if Im going to have a mud pit in my backyard when it rains. As easy of an idea it seems on the surface the logistics are getting complicated.

    Oh and the guy said screened dirt was $24/ton
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Douger-1 View Post
    I by no means have any idea what Im doing. What you say makes sense. If Im going to purchase an move several tons of dirt into my back yard I only want to do it once. I did wonder about monsoon and if Im going to have a mud pit in my backyard when it rains. As easy of an idea it seems on the surface the logistics are getting complicated.

    Oh and the guy said screened dirt was $24/ton
    If you build good drainage, monsoons will do minimal damage to a well built track.

    You are correct, building a pump track is no easy task. It can be made easier with heavy machinery or more people, but that costs more money/beer. My project has been on and off for 2yrs because I have a job and bills. My biggest hurdle has been motivation for sure. I'd rather play than work on the weekends. But, all the pins are in place now except the dirt. So we'll see if this thing gets up before summer.....if not, I'll revist AGAIN in October..........

    @ $24/ton, go elsewhere man. there is a quarry off Red Mtn 202 and I think val vista, my buddy has an email to them for a quote on some good dirt (mixed to our needs). My buddy talked to the guy on the phone and he seemed to understand what we were asking for. I'll post up results when/if I get them.

  23. #23
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    phone freaked
    Last edited by Kyron; 04-05-2013 at 04:36 PM. Reason: phone freaked
    You need a Thneed

  24. #24
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    The dirt at NRA is very much a mixed bag. Some spots have decent stuff while you move 2 feet over and it's total crap. There's also a LOT of fill material inside those jumps, rocks mainly. Jump lines are a bit more forgiving than a pumptrack though. Any spot that won't pack in smooth and solid is just gonna rob your momentum and make the track feel slow. I've worked on a few tracks and it still amazes me just how difficult it is to get things just right...
    Desert Sunset Calls/Upward, Pain, Perseverance/Welcome Solitude

  25. #25
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    Just talked to you on the phone,

    Definitely get that book from "Lee likes bikes" it really helped me.

    I bought one of those rollers you fill with water from walmart for A LOT cheaper than from Lowe's or HD ..... you cant live with out it!!


    My pump track has morphed into BMX jumps so I really cant ride it anymore on my 26" dj



    **HI SUGAR

    This thread needs pics.....



    Last edited by Kyron; 04-05-2013 at 04:53 PM.
    You need a Thneed

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