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  1. #1
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    pump track maintenance

    Hey guys,

    We are in the proposal stage of building a skills area and pump track at one of our local trails. I had one of the trail leaders ask me about the amount of maintenance a pump track requires. I've never built one before, so i was kinda clueless on the answer. I do help out at the bmx track and it is a ton of work. We basically have to rebuild the place after every heavy rain. Is a pump track going to be the same way? The trail leaders won't support the pump track part of the proposal if it will require constant maintenance. I was assuming if the bumps/berms were built and packed in properly, that erosion would not be a big problem.

    Thanks for any help!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by buconine
    Hey guys,

    We are in the proposal stage of building a skills area and pump track at one of our local trails. I had one of the trail leaders ask me about the amount of maintenance a pump track requires. I've never built one before, so i was kinda clueless on the answer. I do help out at the bmx track and it is a ton of work. We basically have to rebuild the place after every heavy rain. Is a pump track going to be the same way? The trail leaders won't support the pump track part of the proposal if it will require constant maintenance. I was assuming if the bumps/berms were built and packed in properly, that erosion would not be a big problem.

    Thanks for any help!
    It will require maintenance replacing dirt every year or so. But it won't be as much IF you build one right.

    Most important things are drainage and dirt.

    Standing water is your enemy, you want to the base of the pump track area to be built on a slight slope, so water sheds and doesn't puddle inbetween the bumps, and berms. Then if you can get some good soil. You want some good soil that packs up firm after grabbing a fistful. When you create the pump track you're working with wet soil, after packing it down with tools you need to keep bikes off of it for at least a few days to dry, otherwise you'll get ruts.

    If done right, every time it rains it will help the pump track, if it get's too dry the dirt will eventually erode. Pump track maintenance requires water and dirt. And since the bumps and berms are on a smaller scale than dirt jumps it shouldn't scare off people for maintenance.

    The pump track at Colonnade has special problems half of it is exposed and half of it is dry. Best and worst of both worlds. But it get's HEAVY use and people love it. If something get's used alot, even though it requires maintenance people will come out and give it love.
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  3. #3
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    Our pump track requires almost no maintenance, mostly because of the material it was made of. The material was excavated from a road construction project, and it's a mix of clay, gravel, and limestone. Once packed and wet, it's very solid. The down side is that any tweaks or shaping work requires a pickaxe.

    We've had this in place for a couple years now, and I don't believe that we did any maintenance this year aside from trimming weeds next to the track.

  4. #4
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    As said, depends on how it's built. Make it drain properly and it'll be fine. Rollers will likely need touch up from newbs dragging pedals and taking out chunks but other than that...Usually sweep, water, repeat. Is there water nearby? Provide brooms, buckets, and watering cans and the riders should do it themselves BEFORE riding.

  5. #5
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    Pump tracks require much less work than jumps.

    Make sure your drainage is dialed but the type of soil you choose will be the deciding factor in how long it will last between maintenance days. Make sure you choose a soil type that has a high clay content. We bought the same type of clay they use for baseball diamond infields for one pump track and the other we were lucky that the native soil was a high clay content.

    Also make sure you get all the rocks out of the top 6-8 inches of soil before packing or the rocks will raise up as the soil gets packed around them.
    Michael Vitti
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    www.CLIMBonline.org
    www.IMBA.com
    NY State Trails Council Member

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the info guys. We have some decent soil and can add some fine rock from a city parks project. The trail is going to be in the middle of a urban park, so the only water we will have access to is if we pull it out of the nearby creek. With the project starting in the spring, water shouldn't be an issue. We will just have to wait for the ground to thaw to get started.

    All we need now is approval from the city. Considering we just had a huge meeting about making the city more cycling friendly, i hope this will be a slam drunk.

    Thanks!

  7. #7
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    Very little work once you get it built as long as you can keep people off when it gets muddy. Our track is rock solid these days and sees herds of people on it every weekend. We tied two pump tracks toegther to make one large track that has smaller berms and rollers in one half and larger berms and rollers in the other half.

    We also have a hose bib right next to the track so it easy to water down.

    Might be worth it to swing a flight out to a larger bike park to see it on the ground.

    We are working on the plan for phase 2 of our park and looking forward to more lines.
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  8. #8
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    Consider using a little bit of cement-mix in the soil you're using for jumps and berms. . . mixing it into the dirt and spraying water on the finished product will help preserve the shape of the jumps and berms.

  9. #9
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    I'm also looking a building a pumptrack at a local park that has a little twist. We have an elevated area that was covered in a deep layer of big chip mulch from the many trees that were downed almost 3 years ago and it was covered by a layer of white clay that made up one of the parks old bigger climb features. That material was relocated and capped this mound of deep mulch and my idea is to dig the low spots of the berms to the top of the mulch layer and mound the diggings to make the berms and humps to get 2 to 3 feet of height difference throughout and use the mulch below as drainage. We have other exposed areas of the mulch and it is pretty stable. Soil/water percolation is very good throughout the area otherwise. We'll see how it goes when we get online for the build.

    We also have some a local BMX track that have used a product called Soiltac to good effect. It's a rubber based spray on stabilizer.
    IF YOU CAN READ THIS, YOU'RE NOT RIDING (or building)!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtb777
    my idea is to dig the low spots of the berms to the top of the mulch layer and mound the diggings to make the berms and humps to get 2 to 3 feet of height difference throughout and use the mulch below as drainage.
    i'm not sure i would do that. After a while the mulch is going to stop being porous and you'll eventually be built over a big pile of organic sludge, which i'm not sure is going to continue draining well.
    i may be wrong, but i know i'd feel alot better in your situation, going over the top of a pile of river rock.
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    .\....FAILBOAT..../

  11. #11
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    We have a very porous limestone base and it all drains very well, besides all of our trails are lakeside for the most part.
    IF YOU CAN READ THIS, YOU'RE NOT RIDING (or building)!

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