How To: Build a Pump Track pt. 2

Let’s continue.

Bumps, Humps and Jumps

So you’ve made it this far, you know 1. that you love pump, 2. that you love tracks, and 3. when you put one  and two put together it fits in your backyard.

As you begin the design stage consider what kind of bike you will be riding on the pump track.  As you can see from the diagram below you don’t want to be stuck with rollers that are too big or too small for your bike.



*While the Penny Farthing does have the highest bottom bracket (because it has not bottom bracket) it is not recommended for pump tracks

Let’s break down our terminology before we continue.  A bump is to small to use in a pump track, it just slows you down. Think of speed bumps, or as James May calls them “sleeping policemen”.  Then there is the hump, also known as the roller. This is the most useful of the three, which you will use the majority of the time.  A hump helps you gain speed while you “pump” off of it.  Lastly is the jump, which is like a roller/hump but with a lip on the end of it.  Observe the diagram below detailing the differences.


Still confused when you should use each of the three. Check out this diagram.


Now that that is squared away pull our you pencil and start drawing is hump and jumps (no bumps) that will help make your track faster, (or if you like start digging and if it doesn’t work move the dirt to the next hump attempt).  A well designed track can be ridden without pedaling after the initial start.  Here is what we did to gain the most speed from our track.


We determined that three rollers across the long straight would help us gain the majority of our speed with just a couple of extra humps through out to keep speed.  The most important thing to consider when implementing a hump is the speed loss to awesomeness ratio.


As you can see the perfect speed loss to awesomeness ratio is 7.

Building the Dream

Your track is all designed now it is time to implement.   Now lets lay down some ground rules before you start digging.

Rule #1 – Always add more dirt.  Not sure if you hump is good enough?  Add more dirt, just remember your speed loss to awesomeness ratio when deciding where to put the dirt. I know what you are thinking, but what if my yard is flat?  I’ve got you covered.

Rule #2 – Make sure your significant other approves of your pump track plans.  If they don’t wait until they are gone, rather to work or visiting family to implement your brilliant plan.  Trust me they will love it once it’s in.

Tomorrow we will cover building and saftey on your pump track in Pt. 3.  Until then enjoy this.


How To: Build a Pump Track pt. 1

Does your backyard look like this?


Boring fancy pants backyard

I know what your thinking. Clean slate at best.  What you really want is this.


Awesome pump track backyard

Lets determine if you heart is in the right place to have a pump track.  Answer these questions.

1. Do you come home longing to get on the bike, but heart sick because you know it will be dark by the time you get to the mountains?

2.  When you are sitting at work do you dream about having your park/bmx bike with you so you could preform tricks in back… by the dumpster… where it’s beautiful?

And finally

3. Do you look out your kitchen window and feel disgusted when you see garden gnomes looking back at you?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions it is time to move on to the the first stage on planning.  If you answered no then enjoy this instead:

Planning to Pump

The first thing to consider when building a pump track is space.  Count off your backyard. Is it at least 50 paces?  If not you are going to have a hard time with the design.  But even small or misshapen backyards can make amazing pump tracks.  Consider ours:


It is easy to see that a normal squarish shaped track will not fit in this spot. But after many toiless hours and lines drawn on the ground we happened upon this shape. 


In our case the “tilted A connecting the ends to the line in the middle” was the only plausible shape.  Once you have the basic shape it is time to move to the next phase, adding pump to your track.

Until then get some snowbiking in.

My First Cyclocross Race

Now this is only a little bit late…. Okay so it is a lot bit late but finally you can see some awesome pics from my first Cyclocross race. So let me tell you about it because I was pretty tickled with my results and how very fun it was.  Jon, I, and my nephew Will came to watch the race but we showed up late so we missed all of our buddies racing in the C class. They all did good, only one threw up afterwards (two is you count Brad who also raced the 11-14 class and hurdled mid way).  So naturally I was considering it.

And they're off

And they're off

After the sand then up the hill

After the sand then up the hill

As you know I wanted to race, but now that it was staring me straight in the face I was feeling a little nervous. So after having a huddle everyone convinced me. Okay. Over to sign up I went, of course by this time the race was only 10 minutes away so I had to run to the car and change (which by the way my windows are not tinted and I’m parked on the side of the street, so yeah I totally changed where anyone could see). The nice thing about racing in 10 minutes is I didn’t have long to fret about it. Thankfully I had talked to Ethan before and he had already prepped a bike for me, just in case.

Passing on the left

Passing on the left

Ignore the man with the money

Ignore the man with the money

So to the starting line I went. There were seven of us. Not to mention the wave in front of us and behind us. For half of us this was our first race. Thankfully a couple of girls had pre-ridden the course so they told me about the hairy spots… and off we went. I went off the line in third and was very proud that I never fell behind that. When we hit the hurdles I jumped off my bike, picked it up and passed the girl in front of me. Yep that’s right I passed her running up a hill in between hurdles with a bike on my shoulder, I might be just a tad bit proud of that.  Anyway by the time we finished the first lap I was in first. But of course I went down in some sand and decided hey I have forty seconds to blow I’ll just pedal aimlessly, blow through energy and knock my chain off before I start back up.  After all I didn’t want to win to easy…. Back in third place I decided that I had to win this. You can’t be in first lose it and not win. Ah that would be horrible so I was off again.

And she's down

And she's down

Forget the sand fix the chain

Forget the sand, fix the chain

Surprisingly I passed everyone on the climbs, first over the hurdles, the others all on a long steep climb on road at the end of the lap.  As I started up this last hill, I was still in second but I had passed another girl on this same hill the last time round so here I was hoping to do it again. At first it didn’t feel like I was gaining on her at all but finally a little over half way up I passed her. Then it came time to hammer down. I couldn’t tell how far she was behind me so I gave it everything I could and it completely wiped me out. When I passed that finish line (in first) I thought I was going to fall over. Yep two little laps completely wiped me out. I understood what McCarl was saying about throwing up now. Blah but I kept my stomach. 


Up the hill again *note my nephew cheering me on

Up the hill again *note my nephew cheering me on

Jump jump jump

Jump jump jump

So the moral of the story is, next year I’m going to have to ride B class and that kind of terrifies me because they are a lot better then I am.  Still it’s nice to have a good challenge, one that I plan to win. Look out next winter Hilly’s got 10 months to train. Ride on.

If this was the Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen you would see Mark Cavendish fly by as I start to celebrate to win

If this was the Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen you would see Mark Cavendish fly by as I start to celebrate to win

Happy Halloween

We all carved pumpkins this year.  This is mine.  Cyclists rock!

Have the happiest Halloween.  All treats!

Epic, Era and a Ridiculous Looking Bike

Forgive the jump. Today we are moving forward to Interbike’s Demo Days.

Demo Day’s Jon and I were only able to hit for a few hours before I had to run back for dinner with my French distributor.  So I only got to ride a couple of bikes.  One a Trek Fuel EX 8.something WSD, which I’ll pass over for the moment, the other Specialized’ Era.

Era in front and Epic in back

Jon and I hurried into line after we checked the list.  Stumpjumper, FSR, Epic. Bingo! But what about the girls?  I wanted to ride the Era. But no one ever seemed to have it.  Please, I thought, as I glanced down the line Safire, Era. Yes success.  Now I just had to hope they would have it in my size (I didn’t ride what I wanted at Trek because they only had a large, and that is pushing it for me.)  

So over to the line we went. I love being a girl in the cycling industry.  Sorry to any one who wants to talk about perfect equality of sexes in the job, but your dead wrong if you have never walked into a cycling industry expo.  Here we girls are greatly out numbered.  And you know what?  I’m alright with that.  You can usually get what you want, and if you fall or make a fool of yourself people seem to find you endearing.

Anyway off the subject.  So they took our cards and said just what I was desperately hoping. “Yep we have it.”  Yes! Success again.  So we waited in another line for both of our bikes to be tuned and then sized by the Specialized team.  Let me just say, the half hour or so in line was well worth the wait.  I would have stood in line all day if I could have taken it home. 

The Epic

So Jon and I saddled up and headed out to the course.  I was a little nervous because, of course, I had gone down on the Trek.  Not hard, the only thing wounded was my ego.  But still you don’t want to do that again.  So at first I moved around skittishly.  Wow, did this bike perform.  I have to sing its praise here.  I made it down a steep incline with a technical drop, no sweat.  (I know it seems strange that you could find anything technical in Nevada but my proof is the sign saying beware technical drop ahead, or something to that effect.)  I even made it down and mostly up a steep section.  I would have made it all the way, on the Era it was simple, I didn’t have to pedal till near the top.  My problem was my choice of pants (jeans in fact) to ride in.  When going down the first hill I got way behind the seat to keep stable, as I moved to slid forward I hit my pants on the back of the seat.  Needless to say I couldn’t get back on top of the bike for the uphill so down I went.  Everyone was sweet and tried to make sure I was okay and there I was laughing my head off.  What a great bike!  “Yep, I’m okay!” I yelled as I picked up the bike and hurried on along the course.  

Okay enough about how a loved it.  Here are the tech specs.  The rear and front shock have a brian with the brian fade (which is you read my article about the Safire you already know I love).  The fade worked flawlessly.  I don’t like a squishy bike, but this gave me what I needed when I did.  Front and rear brakes are Custom Avid Ultimate SL Mag., not sure what the custom part is about. Derailleur are Shimano.  M971 XTR front, RD-M972 rear.  Basically it has good product on a excellent bike.

So, if you are a cross country person, you will love both the Era and the Epic bikes.

A Different Sort of Bike

Now I know many of you have asked yourself this question.  I know I have.  What would it look like if you mixed a bicycle with a snow-shovel?  Well wonder no more!  Introducing.  Drum roll please…

Snow-shovel Seat Bike

A bike that I have no idea the name of or the brand.  So we will fondly refer to it as Snow-Shovel Seat Bike. Look at those lines, and the seat! Now you might be wondering, “But won’t my fat A’ slide off?”  Never fear I can’t believe you will be able to pick up the speed for it to hurt anything around you to much when you topple.  Okay so I had to stop and take a picture because I could not believe how ridiculous it looked.  Pass along my way if you know the actual bike company and bike name.  Until next time hit the trails before the snow moves in.

Diaries from Germany

I recently found my stories I wrote while in Germany, I figured now is as good a time to throw them up for your reading enjoyment.

Tuesday Sept. 2/ Wednesday Sept. 3 (they blurred together because of the time change)

The landscape comes slowly into sharper focus.  It was beautiful, the fields were a patch work quilt with to much batting stuffed in.  White houses with red roofs dotted the hillside.  “The hilllls are alivvvve with the sound of muusiccc…” (shakes head confused) sorry I was having a Julie Andrews moment there.  I think breaking into song may have freaked out my fellow passengers.  So I cuddle in closer to the window and watch as Germany slips by.

We made it out of the plane and to Freidrichshafen smoothly enough.  So now it’s time to set up the booth.  Of course none of the three of us had set it up or tore it down while we were in the States (we had seen it, that’s good enough, right? Right?…)  Some how we seemed to be missing quiet a few parts, not to mention that we didn’t think to put a step ladder, drill or stools in at all.  Of course here is the nice thing about being a girl in an industry full of guys.  “Hey I’m just next door, do you have a drill I could borrow?”, “Yeah I’m just over there, do you think I could borrow your ladder?”  

In the end I got to meet our very nice neighbors and we made due with what we had for the booth.  I met Blue Seventy,  They are “open water swimming specialist”, they make a very good looking wet suit.  I asked Ben, my new buddy from Blue Seventy, what made them good/different from other suits.  “Let me tell you,” he had tons of good reasons that made perfect sense at the moment, but I simply don’t remember them.  What I do remember is that it came down to where the seams were placed.  Because of the shapes they followed on the body it actually effected how you moved through the water.  

I find it crazy how much attention to detail we give every product in the industry.  We are now so far along you can’t just put something on because it looks good.  Louis Sullivan first coined the term, “form follows function.”  Meaning that nothing is done without thinking on how it effects the function of a product (buildings in Sullivan’s case).  I believe that is true of the biking industry.  

I was glancing at Blue Seventy’s site (which is in english by the way) and their product was on the winner of the 10K at the Beijing Olympics and on a bunch of athletes at Kona’s Ironman.  Great work guys!

We made it through set up in fairly good time and headed out to our hotel.  And of course, the moment I take over on directions, something goes wrong.  I mean how hard can it be getting from Freidrichshafen to … someplace I can’t actually remember the name of.  Yeah trouble from the beginning.  It started out well enough.  I mean I was able to get us un-lost and onto the 30. But it went quickly downhill from there.

You see all you have to do is get on the 30 and take it till you hit the 32 then stay on that until said unknown city.  Well the 32 was further then we expected, “hey the 32, ah crap we missed it.”  Okay, simple enough, U-turn get on the 32 and good to go.  Or not so good.  24 km later, and not recognizing a single city, I had the horrible realization that we were in fact heading the wrong way.  Turns out we were almost to Austria by that time.  So I happily relinquish the map to Brad, while Brian went into a gas station to get proper instructions. Total travel time 2 hrs. 45 min.  Welcome to Germany.

The Bag of Choice? Basil.

Eurobike, and all expos for that matter, are great. Why? you might wonder. Well I’ll tell you, it’s the free stuff. Sure we all like meeting new people and seeing the latest and greatest inventions. But what we really want is swag.

For three days I watched as everyone walked by free bags in hand. Of course I didn’t have much time to wander so instead I looked at everyone else’s bag so I could just go to the booth of my choice and get my own awesome bag. There was one that stood out. The Basil bag. It was so beautifully ridiculous. Brad and Brian that it was hideous, but they were dead wrong. It was the bag to have.

So I finally made my way over to Basil before the show started on Sunday (the last day) and what did they tell me? “Sorry we ran out yesterday.” Oh how devastated I was! But my natural feminine instincts/sales background kicked in. “Well do you have a business card? Here’s mine. I really love you stuff.” Well he went in back to get me one of his business cards and what did he come back with? A bag, my very own, personal, basil bag. “We only have six left,” he said. He made me promise to leave right then and tell everyone that I got it yesterday at 10am. So I did. But I figure that now that Eurobike is over I can share. So check them out, because seriously their bags rocked. Cheers.

Basil Love

And more Basil

And more Basil