How to pump a flat surface


How do you pump on a flat surface???


Hey Ariel,

Awesome question.

I won’t go into the details right now, but I will show you this:

If you can do this drill smoothly — dude — it’s GAME ON!

Pedal-free flat-ground Braaap!!!

— Lee

Know more. Have more fun!

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27 replies
  1. Keoni says:

    Please go into detail soon! Is this technique the same as pumping singletrack turns in MMBS? By the way, nice whitewalls.

  2. Jeff says:

    That’s interesting AND ABSOLUTELY super useful on a trail!!

    How could that not be such an awesome skill to have?
    The video even shows that it works uphill… I used to think that to go uphill, the only way to move was by spinning the pedals – pumping changed everything.

  3. Tyler says:

    Can speed actually be generated by pumping on a flat surface, or was your speed in the video simply from your initial pedal strokes? I was trying this on our driveway (packed dirt/gravel) and could only get slightly farther by pumping compared to just coasting (using the same number of pedal strokes and starting point). Of course it is very possible this was due to my poor technique. I understand how pumping increases traction on flat turns, but I don’t understand how it can generate speed.

  4. Chris says:

    Tyler, try a very large concrete or asphalt schoolyard or empty carpark and try different radius turns (Lee’s are quite advanced). You do need to get going first, but you will see that your speed will increase and you will be able to maintain a cruising speed until your lungs or legs burst i.e. MUCH further than momentum alone will get you.

    This is much harder to do on dirt, even grippy dirt. Rear suspension makes it harder still.

  5. Chris says:

    Lee, I gotta say that is very inspiring. I think it is the first time I’ve seen footage of you riding.

    I don’t want to cast my opinion on this because I do not know Lee, but I think we should all remember that this is part of Lee’s livelyhood. Sales of lessons, books and DVDs put dinner on Lee’s family’s table.

    Great teaser Lee. Can’t wait for the DVD!

  6. Josh says:

    it is definitely NOT just the pedal strokes. You can even gain speed with it. The motion is weird, but with practice you’ll get used to it.

    Yes, skateboarders do this ALL the time, and the motion is very similar.

  7. Simcik says:

    Focus on keeping your head on a single plane like Lee does. The bike extends away and to the side then back into you.

    You can build a huge amount of speed by pumping flat and even up hill. This is great for learning 3 dimensional pump to learn to pump while cornering.

  8. Nate says:

    >>Thats intresting, not useful on a trail but still cool.<<

    The cool thing is that I had a riding buddy that was about as fast as I was through a certain trail. Then all winter I practiced my pumping technique. The next spring it really didn’t make a huge difference on the straight a ways but it helped (they were more XCish would have helped if I had more terrain to work with). But when I pumped the corners which gave me more speed and traction I couldn’t even see him in the rear view mirrors(Figuratively speaking) actually I had to stop and wait for him. The corners I pumped weren’t even bermed. The rest of the ride was a teaching lessons from me. For pumping the corners he was a natural because he was a hard core skier, kept on saying something about moguls or something like that 🙂 .

    To stress the point even more! Two or three years earlier that same buddy was showing me his cornering skill because they were superior to my own (squaring off corners and such).

    This whole pumping thing does bring your riding to a whole new level. I didn’t even realize what I was getting into when I started pumping terrain. So go forth and pump.

  9. Ariel says:

    Wow, that’s impressive.
    Obviously y need to practice way much more…
    How can I buy your book? (I’m in Argentina)

  10. Tyler says:

    Thanks everyone for the great insights. I tried this on pavement rather than dirt and did indeed make it farther than by momentum alone. Lots of improvement still required to match you ‘pump masters’ who are going uphill and doing figure 8’s without pedaling!!!

  11. Paul says:

    lee darren was going through berms it is useful ther but how many wide flat trails do you ride?

  12. Paul says:

    lol disregard what i said I thought you ment to do this in leiu of pedaling on a flat straight

  13. Marcus says:

    Chain broke about a mile from home tonight. First I thought crap, time to start walking, but no, I can pump it home.

    And so I pumped the ol’ P2 all the home, not much faster than walking pace, but still faster.

    Damn good work out too.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] then I discovered MTB coach Lee McCormack‘s blog posts about pumping a flat surface (here, here, and here) where there are lots of pointers and helpful discussion.  He links to a video but […]

  2. […] then I discovered MTB coach Lee McCormack‘s blog posts about pumping a flat surface (here, here, and here) where there are lots of pointers and helpful discussion.  He links to a video but […]

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