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  1. #1
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    LeeLikesBikes

    As I have posted earlier, I am working on a mtb training track for my school team around our athletic field. I'm considering including a "pump-track" section and ran across Lee Likes Bikes book. Has anyone here used his "Welcome to Pump Track Nation"?

  2. #2
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    I got his e book in 2009 or maybe earlier for the pump track and bike park we started in 2009. Quite a bit would still hold true. Rollers and berms still work the same. Still start at the outside.

    You better know how much upkeep is required. I am not sure what you mean about school team but if that means racers, in my area most (not all) of the racers have not been good about the building and maintenance efforts. We've solved the getting racers to help and keep up a fairly happy bike community by tapping the racers for fundraising where they're good about attending fun events and contributing to the financial side. When we have a fundraiser we do a lot to get the racers of all ages there vs think we'll get lots of help working with dirt.

    We have two pump tracks in our area. They're only really good when the small group of people who know how to pump and care for then have the time and help. That said, a whole bunch of people have fun riding over pump tracks. They get grandkids and grandparents. That keeps is a fan of them and now looking at pre-fab and permanent pump tracks.

    The really good racers know how to pump so you should have some features by your school to teach that.

    Good luck.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by bitflogger View Post
    You better know how much upkeep is required....

    We have two pump tracks in our area. They're only really good when the small group of people who know how to pump and care for then have the time and help. That said, a whole bunch of people have fun riding over pump tracks. They get grandkids and grandparents. That keeps is a fan of them and now looking at pre-fab and permanent pump tracks.

    The really good racers know how to pump so you should have some features by your school to teach that.

    Good luck.
    I built and maintain a pumptrack for my town and couldn't agree more about the build and maintenance time involved. I find most MTB trail riders will roll around a couple times and then head off to the trails, while it's mainly the young kids and their parents along with the BMX/DJ peeps who are a lot more likely to pick up a shovel or broom and help out. Still, 95% of the work falls to a couple people; I easily put in 150+ hours a year down there, most of it working solo.
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  4. #4
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    Thanks for the responses.

    This is part of a training track at the school that we use 3 days a week for my middle school MTB club. It is being created by and will be maintained by the riders as part of practice.

    One of the criteria for the track is limited need for maintenance. You have both reinforced my impression that a dedicated pump track is a maintenance hog and making me rethink my plans.

    At this point, the track is simply a roughly rectangular track around the athletic fields. "Building" has simply been riding it in. We added some turns that run up and down the two sides that have a bit of elevation change. That has been very challenging to ride in, but they are getting quite skilled at riding in loose moon-dust . Now that some of the sections are packing down, they really enjoy the added challenge and interest of the turns and actually ask to ride the track now, where before, without the turns, it was seen more as punishment I think the fact that they made it themselves is motivating as well.

    The next step is to actually build some features and they have been bugging me to get on with the plans, thus the interest in Lee's books. I'm not certain the focus of his books are a good fit for what I am after though. The goal is a skills track that will prepare them for our rather challenging desert mountain bike single-track. I think pumping is a good training tool, which is why I'm considering adding a pumping section, but the focus is not a "Pump Track" per se.

  5. #5
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    Sounds like you're on point with the skills course with pump features vs. a pump track. I've read through Pump Track Nation and it's mostly focused on pump tracks as a system. There's a lot of information that won't apply to your situation (how to ride pumps, history, dealing with neighbors, waivers, etc). About half the book is dedicated to design/construction information and it's pretty basic at that. Also a few track layouts with dimensions. You could definitely get by without it if you're just building a few rollers. Some trial and error is going to be involved to get features that flow well anyways. Maybe tag in the local BMX scene for ideas and to get things dialed.

    I recently built a section of 1 ft high rollers spaced at 10' (crest to crest) on a slight downhill and they feel a little too tightly spaced. Roller spacing around 10 ft for flat ground is probably about right though for something "pumpable." Keep transitions smooth; think sine wave profiles.

    For the skills portion, mimic the kind of features you have at local trails. I'm guessing these are rock ledges/steps, loose trail, chunky rock sections, switchbacks, steep sections, etc. Make features progressively more difficult and/or with alternate lines of various skill level so people can improve without feeling overwhelmed. Throw in a few corners of various radius and camber to be ridden at different speeds. A section to teach proper breaking techniques would also be good with loose soils and help keep user caused trail erosion down. Recommend using a lot of rock armoring on features that have steep grades if they will be heavily used and you want them around for a while. A little more work up front is going to pay off later in reduced maintenance.

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    Hi Aero, I was hoping you'd jump in I can tell you understand exactly what I want to do.

    Your comment about the rollers just gave me a great idea for a section I had no clue what to do with. There is an 800 foot long section that is sandwiched between a wall and the field. This serves as a spectator seating area for games. To avoid conflicts, I have the trail as tight against the wall as possible, which is working out, no complaints so far. Is there any reason that narrow rollers don't work? I always think of pump tracks having very wide tread, but can't see that it is essential. Pumping next to the wall will add extra challenge, but challenge is the point, right?

    At this point, I have tacit approval from City and School with no restrictions, but the moment I go beyond just riding in a trail, I expect that things are going to quickly get more complicated. I'm dragging my feet a bit, afraid to jump in. I don't want to start until I have a formal plan to present, and finding time to get a plan to paper has been a challenge. I've got it roughed out in Sketchup, and I think it will present well because it has the details of a professionally done design, shows buildings, trees and fences as they are, but in actuality, the details of the trail are non-existent.

    Got to go to work...

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    Trail width is often used to control rider speed (narrow=slow, wide=fast). If there's nothing constraining riders close to the wall, and they feel it's too close, the trail will migrate away from the wall. How narrow are you dealing with? I'd say at least 3 ft roller width and another 3 feet of buffer next to the wall to give riders room if something goes wrong.

    A plan doesn't need to have everything accounted for initially. State in your proposal that changes through the construction process will be likely as features are built and test ridden. Mention the types of features you want, throw in some photos of similar existing features, a general idea of where they will go, and that will probably be enough for most people in charge. If you've never built a skills section before it's very likely your plans will change as you learn what does/doesn't work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aero901 View Post
    ... How narrow are you dealing with?
    Here's a pic
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails LeeLikesBikes-20180508_114454.jpg  

    LeeLikesBikes-20180508_114410.jpg  


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    Wow, that's even closer to the wall than I was expecting. Are these trails going to be used a lot when people are spectating at the fields? If not, claim a 6 feet corridor. There looks like plenty of room.

    I've seen quite a few inexperienced people get into trouble riding rollers by failing to keep bars straight. Result is they shoot left/right unexpectedly which wouldn't be great when that close to a wall.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by aero901 View Post
    Wow, that's even closer to the wall than I was expecting.
    We use it to train them to not flinch from a hazard, in preparation for riding exposure. They do a great job keeping the trail close.

    Are these trails going to be used a lot when people are spectating at the fields?
    No.

    If not, claim a 6 feet corridor. There looks like plenty of room.
    I'll have to give that some thought. Its a good idea, but here in the desert, that wall provides essential shade for the spectators. I might get pushback if I try to claim it and right now I have no resistance. I have been trying to think of ways the trail work could provide places to sit (big rocks) and such so to gain support from the other users, coaches and players. I already have people walking it, which I find very surprising with the nice big flat surface right next to it. I know having people sit and walk on the trail isn't ideal, but the crowds are small and the walkers have actually helped pack down the moon-dust.


    I've seen quite a few inexperienced people get into trouble riding rollers by failing to keep bars straight. Result is they shoot left/right unexpectedly which wouldn't be great when that close to a wall.
    Good point. I just had a rider get hurt last week and safety is even more in my mind because of it.

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