Pump Tracks ‘R’ Us

Sweet pump tracks, made to order. Here’s our first out-of-state project:

Dear Lee,

I am a neurologist with more money than time. I’d like to hire someone to come out to Tennessee and build a “pump track” in my back yard. How much would that cost me, and who might be available to do it this winter or spring? That is, do you know any nearly broke mountain bikers who need extra cash and have the requisite design skills?

— Julie

Do I know any broke mountain bikers? Hell yeah!

And I knew two perfect guys for the job: Steve Wentz, our local pump track genius, and Chris Herndon, a North Carolinian racer, builder and nice guy.

In four days they:

– Build the track by hand — including underground drainage in the berms. “That was the hardest I’ve ever worked,” said an exhausted Steve.

– Went to a rodeo.

– Taught Julie to ride the track. She could barely get through a berm at first, but she was soon pumping her entire track — even the uphill sections.

Super cool!

If you want a custom track of your own (including pro riding lessons) email me at lee@leelikesbikes.com

Steve and Chris test their creation.

Julie experiences the dual thrill of riding your own pump track and doing so on Chris’ SX.

The layout is a figure 8 with one straight side and a fun cross-over. Crossovers add mucho versatility.

Crossover Challenge.

Steve, Julie, Chris.

From the horse’s mouth. Steve knows a bit about pump.

Steve Likes Pump Tracks.

You too can pay these studs to hang around your back yard.

Photos by Doug Ferguson. Thanks Doug!

20 replies
  1. Courage says:

    Great work! Are these boys available for other work too! I have money, time and am real lonely.

  2. Justin Brown says:

    How about some words on the berm drainage system. I am in the process of making my own little section with 3-4 berms and would love some advice.

  3. Steve C says:

    I too would be a bit interested in the drainage system they put into the berms.
    I own my own company that installs quite bit of different drain systems for various purposes.
    I also have a pump track that when it does rain it floods the berms ( 2 of em’ anyway)
    I have a stockpile of perforated pipe that I was going to put into the ground.
    Just curious as to how these two did it.

  4. Steve C says:

    Not to pile any more work on Lee’s desk, but schematic drawings of the pump tracks would be really great to see. It would be cool to compare tracks from around the country.

  5. leelikesbikes says:

    Steve is back in town, and I’ll get the scoop on his drainage. … Sounds like a medical condition.

    I would LOVE to compile drawings of all known pumps track then publish them in PDF form. Add that to the list. Right now I have something like 9 jobs. … All good stuff though!

  6. YetiDH says:

    Hi Lee…sweet website, i’ve been saving money to get ur book since….well since i saw it but u know how it is with students downhillers…we can only afford our bikes…and i mean only that, if not it s only cheap lasagna and tuna salad most of the days. but it s all worth it. we re in the middle of a fight with the city to get us a legal place to build our dirts and maybe a pump track between the dirts. here in zürich it rains a lot so i m really interested in the drainage system, some simple and most importantly cheap solution…oh and props for all the excel calculators..they rock and would love to somehow be able to discuss them with someone who understands physics and mountainbiking, but…no one around. cheers!

  7. Steve C says:

    I may install the drainage on my track and take photos you can post. Even if it’s not the same way Steve does it, if it works, it may be a viable option for others. Choices are good.
    I am going to finally send in some photos of my track here in AZ. Hopefully I can get them sent to you by tomorrow evening.
    Another thing that struck me as kinda funny today. I think it was Lee who said that “pump tracks are the new backyard swimming pool” odd that there is above ground , and in-ground pump tracks too. Mine is an above ground, but the pool is in-ground. If I could just find a way to set up a ramp into the pool without my wife interfering I’d be set. great way to end a pump track session by jumping into the pool. Bad for the bikes though.

  8. leelikesbikes says:

    Regarding drainage: I got the scoop from Steve.

    The track is built on a slope, with about 4 feet of elevation change. They dug really mellow, shallow drains to funnel all of the water to the downslope berms. They set up 4″ pipes at the low spots, then ran pipes under the berms to the hillside. Every drop of surface water gets channeled off the track.

    You can see the drains in the photos, but they’re subtle.

    – Look at the shot of Steve talking with Julie. One of the pipes is to the left of her.

    – In the wide angle shot with Chris really small in the background, you can see the subtle drainage channel in the left foreground. They sprayed water all over the track to make sure it goes where they want it.

    – Look at the shot of Chris watching Steve in the berm, and you’ll see the pipe next to Steve’s bike.

    This is really slick.

  9. Steve C says:

    Lee, Looks to me like tyhe drainage would work well like that.
    My idea that I am going to put in is 4″ perforated pipe ( flexible ) that will follow the contour of the berm on the inside line. Cover the pipe with a swath of lansdcaping fabric, and then top off the fabric with small rock. The rock is already there and is serving as the border wich defines the outside edges of the pump track. I have tons ( literally tons ) of rock.
    I realize my idea sounds like a lot more work, and I may curse myself once it’s underway but I’ll give it a shot on one of the berms and see how it goes. I’ll get those pictures taken tonight and hopefully get them sent to you as well.
    this pump track thing is addicting. I’m constantly thinking of new stuff and wanting to expand. i’ve got a few drawings of my current track with 2 additional tracks built off of it which I hope to start on in the next month or so as soon as I get a tractor up here.

  10. julie says:

    Dear Lee,

    Terrific piece on my new pump track. I can already go around twice with good speed maintenance, and don’t have to grunt or make faces anymore to do it!

    It’s great fun and even greater exercise. Everyone should have one, and two hunky guys to build it! Thanks to Steve and Chris, my new favorite pro downhillers and pump track builders extraordinaire.

    Tell your readers what B.J. Cramps says….

  11. leelikesbikes says:

    Hey Julie!

    B.J. Cramps, the famous pro bull rider, says your track is better than mine — at least that’s what it says on the autographed photo Steve brought me.

    What an awesome gift — thanks.

    If you can ride a bull, a pump track is easy. I’ve done both, and let me tell you: bull riding is way more terrifying! But also exciting. Best days of my life …

    Julie, keep pumping.

  12. Steve C says:

    Just out of curiosity , what’s the going rate to have a track built?
    Nobody has to be specific, but a generalization. Just curious.

  13. leelikesbikes says:

    A fully designed and built track might cost $1000-$3000, depending on complexity. It really pays to have experienced builders.

  14. Steve C says:

    1-3K seems reasonable. After building one ( actually two ) the price is justified.
    It’s an awful lot of work. It’s actually a steal when ya’ get right down to it.

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