Old York city’s pump track has been revamped and reshaped
Pancake-flat geography doesn’t usually lend itself to mountain biking, but York has still managed to do something for its knobbly-tyred citizens by rejigging an extensive new pump track.
Lying just north of the city centre in Rawcliffe Bar Country Park, the new warren of berms and jumps has enough action to satisfy experienced riders as well as encourage the next generation.
Since 2012, the Rawcliffe site has been home to a well-used, fairly basic Architrail-built pump track loop, but the site has really ramped up its appeal in the last 12 months. Thanks to local volunteers, and Yorkshire trail building charity SingletrAction, a huge matrix of more flowing rollers, berms and tabletops have been designed, surfaced and sculpted in adjacent woodland.
The ambitious layout provides a maze of options to switch lines or mix up loops, and offers more scope for advanced riders. It’s been a work in progress for the last couple of years, but after a few setbacks (like some of the biggest floods in years), the track is now riding sweet, with a further ‘Phase Three’ in planning.
We reckon pump tracks are one of the fastest ways to build mountain biking skills for taking out into the wilds. Not only do they get you incredibly fit, the repetition is key to drumming in essential techniques like managing weight transfer, gaining speed from the terrain and learning to handle small amounts of air-time.
Since the new Rawcliffe track blends a skills loop area with the more advanced pump track and tabletop lines, you can get some jump practice in or use the series of small rock drops and steps as stepping stones that will translate well to natural trails or trail-centre singletrack.
We’ve talked to plenty of local riders who simply hadn’t heard about the Rawcliffe pump track, and some who visited previously and decided the easier, more basic pump track wasn’t enough to warrant repeated visits.
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The new additions are a different proposition, though, and the site is now worth a look for all local riders. It lies just 10 minutes north of York city centre by bike, adjacent to the National Cycle Route 65, and there’s also a huge (free) Park and Ride car park on site for those from further afield. Pump track entry is free and it’s always open for access.