Guide to Pump Tracks for Children in the UK
Pump tracks are the hidden gems of outdoor excitement, and can give endless hours of fun and exercise to kids across the UK.
More than just a recreational activity, these winding tracks offer a perfect blend of exercise, fun, and skill development.
They are also a great way to get kids outdoors and away from screens. In the UK, there are pump tracks all over the country, we've provided a short list below but you're sure to find one near you.
What are Pump Tracks
Pump tracks are compact, continuous loops of rollers and berms designed to be ridden without pedalling, relying solely on the rider's body movements to generate momentum.
These undulating tracks, typically constructed of dirt or asphalt, offer a thrilling experience for riders of all ages.
As riders navigate the rollers and berms, they pump their bodies up and down (hence the name), generating speed and maintaining momentum. This unique pumping technique not only enhances riders' physical fitness but also develops their balance, coordination, and bike-handling skills.
What is ‘Pumping’?
Pumping is the core technique that drives the excitement and challenge of pump track riding. It involves a rhythmic up-and-down body movement that riders use to generate speed and maintain momentum without pedalling.
As riders approach a roller, they lower their body weight, compressing their suspension and storing potential energy. Upon reaching the top of the roller, they explosively extend their body, releasing the stored energy and propelling themselves forward.
Here's a more detailed explanation of the pumping technique:
Approach: As the rider approaches a roller, their body descends, compressing their suspension and storing potential energy.
Compression: At the bottom of the roller, the rider's body reaches its lowest point, maximising the compression.
Extension: As the rider ascends the roller, they forcefully extend their body, releasing the stored energy and propelling themselves forward.
Airborne: At the peak of the roller, the rider becomes airborne for a brief moment.
Repeat: The cycle continues as the rider encounters subsequent rollers and berms, maintaining speed and momentum throughout the pump track.
Pumping is not just about generating speed; it's also about maintaining balance and control. Riders must coordinate their body movements with the rhythm of the track, adjusting their weight distribution and pumping technique as they navigate different features.
The ability to pump effectively is essential for conquering pump tracks.
Why ride on Pump Tracks
Pump tracks offer a captivating blend of excitement, skill, and physical fitness benefits that make them an ideal activity for riders of all ages.
Develop Essential Skills: Pump tracks serve as a training ground for essential cycling skills. As riders navigate the rollers and berms, they learn to control their body weight, adjust their centre of gravity, and manoeuvre their bikes with precision.
Physical Fitness: Pump tracks provide a disguised yet effective form of exercise, engaging the major muscle groups and cardiovascular system.
Fun for All Ages and Abilities: Pump tracks are designed to accommodate riders of all ages and skill levels, from young children just learning to seasoned cyclists seeking a new challenge.
What your Child needs to Ride on Pump Tracks
Pump tracks offer a thrilling and skill-building experience for kids of all ages. To ensure they stay safe, it's important to equip your child with the proper gear:
Bike: A well-fitting bike is essential for comfortable and controlled riding. For pump tracks, a BMX bike or mountain bike are good choices. Bike Club offers a wide selection of high-quality bikes from trusted brands like Cube, Frog, and Forme, ensuring you find the perfect fit for your child.
Helmet: A properly fitted helmet for protecting your child's head in case of a fall. Choose a helmet that meets safety standards and fits snugly.
- Gloves: Gloves provide protection from abrasions and blisters, especially when dealing with crashes or falls. They also enhance grip and control over the handlebars.
- Long-sleeved shirt and trousers: Protective clothing helps to shield your child's skin from scrapes and scratches. Long sleeves and trousers offer added protection.
- Comfortable shoes: Sturdy shoes with good grip help maintain control.
With the proper gear, your child can safely and confidently explore the world of pump tracks
Pump Tracks in the UK
The UK boasts a vibrant pump track scene, with numerous tracks scattered across the country, catering to riders of all ages and abilities. Here are just a few:
Harrow Pump Track (London): Located in the heart of London, Harrow Pump Track is an accessible and popular spot for both locals and visitors alike. Its well-maintained track and welcoming atmosphere make it an ideal place to learn the basics of pump track riding or practice your skills.
- Skelft Pumptrack (Edinburgh): The Skelft Pumptrack is a popular spot for riders of all ages and abilities. In the city centre at the base of Arthur’s seat, the track is open to all levels of riders, so whether you're a beginner or a pro, you're sure to have a good time.
Leeds Urban Bikepark: The Leeds Urban Bikepark includes a pump track and mountain bike trails of varying difficulty. The pump track is a great place to learn the basics of pump track riding or to practice your skills.
Brunel Way Pump Track (Bristol): The Brunel Way Pump Track is a popular spot for riders of all ages and abilities. This track has around 40 features such as berms, rollers and jumps.
- Bwlch Nant Y Arian (Aberystwyth): Built by Trail Craft the track features a variety of rollers, berms, and jumps, making it a great place to practice and improve your skills. It’s also good to warm up on before riding on local trails.
Pump tracks are increasingly popular and there is sure to be one near you.
Frequently Asked Questions about Pump Tracks
How Do Pump Tracks Improve Kids' Bike Skills?
Pump tracks enhance kids' biking skills when it comes to balance, coordination, and precise control through rollers and berms. They teach pumping techniques, crucial for generating momentum without pedalling, and help refine cornering skills.
Are Pump Tracks Suitable for Bikes of All Sizes for Kids?
Yes, most pump tracks are suitable for bikes of all sizes for kids. It’s best to inquire with your local track to make sure though. Pump tracks usually cater to various age groups and bike types, including balance bikes, BMX bikes, and youth-sized mountain bikes. Smaller tracks suit beginners, while larger ones challenge more advanced riders. Pump tracks offer a versatile and inclusive riding experience for kids of different skill levels.
How Can Parents Ensure Safety on Kids' Pump Tracks?
Parents can ensure safety on kids' pump tracks by supervising closely, ensuring proper helmet and protective gear use, and educating children on track rules. Emphasising responsible riding behavior and teaching basic biking etiquette also helps.