Pump track sustainability

hi Lee, i purchased the ebook Welcome to Pump Track Nation a while back and am now scripting a proposal for our local parks. one concern is of course sustainability. i know that tracks treat their dirt with something to harden it up. do you know that is and have you used it?
thanks, john

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A beautiful track built by Mozaic Landscape Design in Norcal.

Hey John,

A lot of tracks use magnesium chloride. I have not applied it myself, but I’ve seen it in action at Keith Darner’s ranch. It makes the dirt very hard-packed.

You still need maintenance. Be sure your proposal includes a plan for volunteer upkeep.


– It all starts with good, clean, homogenous dirt. Clay loam is awesome. The dialed track in the photo uses compacted base rock fines.

– Make sure your track drains well. Drainage should be an integral part of the track design.

– Make sure you have access to water. The ultimate track includes sprinklers.

– Rock the three P’s — Planning, Prep and Packing. The more of these you do, the longer your track will last.

– More details in Welcome to Pump Track Nation.

Good luck,

— Lee

5 replies
  1. robyn@ProExotics says:

    i am lucky enough to have a great pump track, but i am SUPER LUCKY to have a riding buddy that loves to dig, shape and improve. he puts in ten times more work in our track than i do, he is out there perhaps 4 days a week, 2-4 hours a day, always digging, maintaining, and repairing. and riding, of course.

    having a track is a blast, but it is definitely a good amount of work to keep it in great shape.

  2. Kevin Stevens says:

    Hey Lee,

    I’m finally starting on my pump track as well. Where can I find the magnesium chloride? Is it spread on top of track or mixed in with the soil? I too have thought long and hard about packing the soil so it maintains a hard base. I’ve had several loads of dirt hauled in (5) to build large berms but I would like for these to be as hard packed as possible so they will drain and keep there shape.

  3. Geert says:

    Hello John/Lee,

    The UCI has a BMX-track building-guide on their site.They recommmend normal (80% clay, 20% sand mixture= ideal) soil used for the basic shapes (starthill, jumps and turns), and thereafter a 15-20cm thick topsoil of high-quality soil that packs in good. The topsoil of the track should be able to become very hard after being watered and packed in.The topsoil should be a gravel-like material, with a size 0/16 (rocks no bigger than 16mm).


    When you have the money I think that will be very good for a pumptrack also…

  4. leelikesbikes says:

    The standard Welcome to Pump Track Nation specs should work fine. If you open up the spacing just a bit, that might be even better.

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