How to rule at the pump track

Not only are pump tracks tons of fun to ride but they’re great for developing skills and fitness

Pump tracks are great fun and are also an excellent way to develop bikes skills.

How far can you pump and manual around a track without pedalling? And have you mastered doubles yet? See our tips below and you'll soon be having even more fun.

1. Pumping

Generating speed over rollers is the key to not needing to pedal around a pump track.

Use your arms and legs to push the bike into the transition. As you come over the crest, unweight and let the bike feel light. Then, on the downslope, extend your arms and legs, and push down into the bike to gain speed.

2. Doubles

It can be quicker to jump tightly spaced rollers.

Coming up the take-off, compress your legs. Allow the front wheel to unweight as you leave the lip. As the back wheel gets airborne, shift your weight forwards to level the bike out. Spot your landing and let the front wheel drop to meet the curve of the transition.

3. Corners

Use corners to generate even more speed.

Compress the bike into the middle/apex of the turn. Then unweight, pull up with your arms and straighten your legs as you exit to accelerate you into the next straight. Looking where you want to go is essential — don’t stare at your front wheel.

4. Manualling

The theory of manualling and pumping through rollers is similar, only this time when you reach the crest, push your hips forward and straighten your legs to get the bike onto its back wheel.

The tricky bit is maintaining the balance point as the bike hits the downslope. Nail this and you’ll be the envy of your mates!

Advanced tips

Got the basics sorted? It’s time to mix things up!

You’ll be amazed how much fun you can have on even the shortest pump track

  • Line spotting: Once you’ve got the track nailed, it’s fun to start looking for new ways to ride it. Challenge yourself and your mates to see if you can manual a whole section, gap double or triple rollers, or even jump between straights if you’re feeling brave.
  • Go backwards: Everyone favours riding either left or right-hand berms, so it’s good practice to switch things up and try riding a track backwards. Remember to let people know what you’re doing before you drop in, to avoid collisions!
  • Training: Pump tracks are a great workout. Even though you’re not pedalling, it takes a lot of muscle to push and pull the bike through the transitions. Try seeing how many laps you can do before you keel over from exhaustion or dizziness.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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