You have a new bike, here’s where to ride it - at some of WA’s best bicycle pump tracks
Pump tracks are a mess of lumps and turns designed to give a rider an upper body workout and the legs a rest.
And, they’re perfect for children who may be intimidated by dirt jumps but still want to push themselves on two wheels.
Bike enthusiasts Travis and Jane Deane have recently published the third edition of the Western Australian Mountain Bike Guide Book. There are lists of top spots to go mountain bike riding, enduro riding and, of course, details about prominent trails such as the Munda Biddi.
For young riders keen on circuits the book has listings for BMX tracks, dirt jumps and pump tracks.
Mr Deane says inside the cycling community they are three distinct disciplines but in the wider community the terms are used interchangeably.
A pump track is a collection of humps and bumps that rely on the body’s movement and a pumping of the arms for propulsion.
“A rider can absorb the up and, pushing on the down, can use the track to maintain their momentum,” Mr Deane says.
“So rather than pedalling, they often can just pump with their arms and maintain their speed and have turns and corners to ... build speed over time.
“Although we started with dirt tracks, some of them are now being built with bitumen.”
Mr Deane says scooters are not suitable for dirt tracks but pump tracks constructed from other materials allow a wider range of users.
“In our guidebook that’s why we differentiate between sealed and unsealed trails. If you’ve got a kid with a bike and a kid with a scooter, the kid with the scooter won’t be able to use certain trails.
“They’re really appropriate for people riding smaller bikes — a smaller mountain bike or a BMX-style bike.”
Mr Deane said he’d also, on occasion, seen skateboarders at pump tracks though it was a harder task.
“A pump track is fun, whatever your skill level. And that’s the attraction.”
Adults and more experienced riders find this style of riding gives a new training dimension.
“Apart from it being fun, it brings a body workout,” Mr Deane says.
“You’re not going to work out your legs, it’s not the same as a 20km bike ride. It’s quite an aerobic activity, you’ll get your heart rate up.”
Mr Deane says some of the best pump tracks for children are adjacent to playgrounds, including the Village Park pump track in Wellard, which also had skate facilities.
Another promising venue was a track in Baldivis residential development One71.
HOW TO RIDE A PUMP TRACK
“The great thing about pump tracks is that you get instant feedback from the bike or the scooter if you’re doing it right or wrong,” Travis Deane says. “Because you’re not pedalling, you’re not overriding the feedback from the bike.
“So if you’re not absorbing the ups and pushing on the downs in the right way, you’ll feel that straight away. It’s all about momentum.”
TIPS AND ETIQUETTE
For kids, have the seat down. Pump tracks favour smaller bikes.
Helmets and other protective gear are always a good idea.
Everybody tries to go in the same direction – it reduces the chance of an interaction.
The Western Australian Mountain Bike Guide Book is available in good bike shops, selected bookshops and at mtbguidebook.com.
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