Pump tracks are everywhere, from skills zones to city centres — here’s how to give yourself a workout, pump up your trail riding skills and generally whoop it up
A pump track is a looped circuit of berms and rollers, where the idea is to pump and jump round with as much speed, style and fun as possible… without pedalling
Single roller – pump it
This skill is all about weighting and unweighting the bike — approach the roller and load your bike into the dirt. Let your front wheel then back wheel go light and rise up as the whoop passes underneath you.
Then, as your front wheel crests the roller, put all your weight through the bars onto the front wheel, before leaning back to weight the rear wheel and driving forward through the pedals with your heels down. It’s really all about timing.
On the trail Natural trails and man-made singletrack alike are full of little crests and banks that are just begging to be pumped for more speed.
Single roller – Pop it
Lean back, pick up the front wheel, clear the roller with it, then aim to land the front wheel on the backside.
On the trail Ride up to a crest, bank or roller at high speed and you’ll have a tough job getting the front wheel back down in time to pump the downslope.
Ideally you want to harness that free speed, so aim to pick the front wheel up into a manual before it gets to the roller and bring it down onto the downslope.
Remember, don’t pull with your arms, move your hips back and thrust your feet forward with your heels down to initiate the manual.
Double roller – manual it
First up, you don’t have to be an ace at manuals to tackle a double roller; the first roller gives you a helping hand in getting the front wheel aloft, and then there’s often no need to find — and stay — at the balancing point; the front wheel can start dropping down soon after taking off, so long as it clears the second roller.
On the trail When there are small bomb-holes or a shallow ditch, this method can let you stay in greater control, and as a result, maintain your speed.
Double roller – jump it
Turn two rollers into one by doubling them up — take off the first, and land on the second.
On the trail Any two lumps can become a double — try using a root as a take-off to land on a downslope further along the trail. Rocks can also form natural doubles and definitely add an extra element of fun to a trail as well as improving speed and flow.
Pump track options
Pump tracks are rarely arranged in terms of single and double rollers, instead it’s up to you to decide on the best combination.
You might decide to pump the first roller and manual the next two, but perhaps the first roller is a bit too much of a lump and the front wheel takes off, so you change your approach and manual into the first and then jump the next two.
This is where you can start challenging yourself; once you feel like you have the pump track dialled, step back and look at how you can change your line.