Pump track dirt: Import or excavate?

Lee…I noticed from your pics that your pump track is cut a ways down into your yard. Did you do that to save money on dirt? I was thinking about digging into my yard here in Oklahoma to save some money but I am afraid of water collection problems. Does your track collect water? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks for writing the ebook, it has been a great help.

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Hershey Moose appreciates good drainage.

Hi Ray,

I dug down to make it easier to un-do the track in case I have to move. As a matter of fact, I’m moving out today, and I’m gonna have to flatten the track. That bums me out.

My track does not collect water.

– We dug trenches in all the low spots, along the edge of the track.

– We filled them with gravel.

– We capped them with concrete and mesh drain caps.

– Rain drains into the holes and seeps into the ground.

This works with all but the heaviest rain. Even then, the track drains within an hour or two.

If you dig down, you MUST pay attention to drainage!

Good luck,

— Lee

11 replies
  1. Justin Brown says:

    I speak from experience when I (and Lee) say “You MUST pay attention to dreainage.” I just bought a house with 7 acres of land. Great right??!! Not quite, it’s basically flat, but it’s clay and HOLDS WATER better than a Camel. I just installed Curtin Drains (also called French Drains) and they drained my wallet if you know what I mean, but the lawn SHOULD be free of water…hopefully. I’ll keep you posted. Good luck with your trails.

  2. Scott says:

    Drainage is easy to do yourself, but you have to think about it before you start digging. The first thing to consider is where you want the water to go. That will determine how low the rest of your soil can be. After all, it doesn’t do you any good to install trench drains or gravel traps if the water is going to flow the wrong direction. Find the low point first, then work back uphill.

    Lee, I’m scouting track locations in Berkeley. With any luck, you may have a track to ride the next time you’re in the hood.

  3. m-dub says:

    I dug out my burms without drainage and when it puddles you just have to keep your form and rail-um to stay dry:) It doesn’t rain in California much:)Thanks to this site and your book, Northern Santa Barbara (Lompoc)is rockin a pump track (small but fun). Our yard it always open to you Lee and friends of site.

  4. m-dub says:

    Mine is named Kona (Black lab) and its just another way to learn bike skills. I never knew I could jump off in the middle of a burm, twist, rotate and roll. It all worth the licks on the face as you laying in the dirt:)

  5. Steve says:

    My lab is named Roper and this dude will chase any bike on the pump track. He is actually fast enough that he jumps from bump to bump and rails berm with the best of us.
    I have actually seen him case the bumps ona few occasions.
    I’m not sure who has more fun. Him running the track or us watching him and trying to get away from him. Trust me, you cannot outrun a lab. My heeler is fast to, but she stays low to the ground.
    Dogs are the best! labs especially!!!!!
    Actually all of our dogs run the trails her on our ranch and I would like to think are some of the happiest dogs alive. Well loved and exercised to the maximum.

  6. leelikesbikes says:

    Back when he had all four legs, my guy Rufus was the master of all singletrack. He would not let you lead; he’d do whatever it took — cutting the trail, taco’ing your rear wheel — to get in front.

    Good times. These days I carry him up a lot of stairs, but he’s still the Alpha.

  7. Dave says:

    Please give more details on the concrete and mesh drain caps. How much dirt goes above them. Can you just put landscape fabric on top of the gravel and then dirt, or is it not stable enough.



  8. leelikesbikes says:

    The trench is on the inside edge of the track. I do not cover the concrete or the cap.

    The cap is slotted plastic, the kind you put on the end of a pipe.

  9. Dale says:

    Ok, it’s obvious that dogs love pumptracks, too. But let me give a shout out to our cat, Momo. Me and my sons were headed to our backyard track and were surprised to find our cat in the middle of a session, cruising down the long straight in purrfect form. As soon as we rolled onto the track to get a train going, he hit the next berm and popped out of the track, headed to the house for some cool refreshment. Maybe you should start a new thread for animals that love pumping, too. Good luck to Chris.

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