How to build a pump track

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QUINCY — The construction of a pump track begins with the study of the configuration of the land.

Shawn Lorenz of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, North Bend, designed the pump track currently under construction in East Quincy Park and said the design started with a photo of the park.

“The design of the Quincy track was an aerial image set precisely at a scale of 20 feet per inch. And then (the design process) uses an engineering ruler to measure the spacing of the elements and see what suits the terrain “Said Lorenz. “The type of design of the forms itself – I guess organically would be a good word to use.

A pump track, for those who have never ridden one, is all about momentum. The Quincy track has a starting ramp, and the goal is to get the bike, scooter, or skateboard moving forward without pedaling or pushing.

“Instead of pedaling to build your momentum, you pump your arms in an up and down motion on the rollers to build your acceleration and speed,” Lorenz said. “Hence the name pump track.”

The pilot must work with the track to continue.

“If you just come in (with a) stiff arm (and a stiff leg), not much is going to happen on the track,” Lorenz said.

The track currently under construction is the first of two phases. Quincy City Council members approved a proposal from city officials to begin negotiations for a second-phase design at the May 17 council meeting.

Although it starts with measurements and math, Lorenz said he also draws on his previous experience, both as a pump track designer and pilot.

“A lot of metrics, and it’s just sort of based on features that I’ve piloted in the past, or built in the past, and working on those metrics,” he said. . “See what goes where and where the turns need to go to allow you to travel in the right direction to get you back to the starting ramp.

“I use a pencil so I can erase at will and edit and change things if necessary. And that’s how I put down the trail that’s kind of in my brain,” he said.

City manager Pat Haley said East Park had plenty of room for a pump track, so city officials asked designers to take advantage of it. It is actually constructed with two loops.

“The smaller west loop is meant to be more of a beginner-intermediate loop, and the east side of the trail is kind of an intermediate-expert level,” Lorenz said. “Still, in the end, it might take you a few tries, but even a beginner who can start to carry some speed should be able to get through this eastern track.”

The lane is built to encourage one-way traffic to avoid the risk of collision. Haley said his grandchildren are pump track runners, and one of the challenges he’s seen is more experienced runners pushing back less experienced runners. The East Park site was big enough to give everyone room to ride.

Of course, once there is a design, there has to be a build. After the rollers and flat sections, called tables, were built, a layer of rock was needed before the asphalt could be laid. And that required wheelbarrows – and wheelbarrows and wheelbarrows – full of pebbles for the base layer. The base layer was removed on May 6.

Evergreen is a nonprofit organization with chapters throughout the state, including one in north-central Washington. Evergreen volunteers provided some of the labor, going up and down the rollers with loaded wheelbarrows. City employees made up the rest of the crew.

Haley said the rest of the current track will be paved when asphalt becomes available. The asphalt needed is a different mix than that used for paving the roads, he said, and therefore city officials don’t know when the paving will be complete and the track open. Haley said the track is expected to open this summer.

The first section of asphalt was laid on May 13. Haley said 10 Evergreen volunteers helped place the asphalt, all but one on the west side of the state. Much of the interest in Quincy’s pump track is coming from the west side, Haley said.

There are pump tracks in Wenatchee, East Wenatchee and Leavenworth, and Haley said people come to the West Side to go horseback riding, the same way golfers swing through different parts of the State. Quincy will be able to add her lead to that list, Haley said.

The pump track is the result of a public-private partnership, which has helped keep development costs low, Haley said. He estimated that the cost of the first phase will be less than $200,000.

The second phase of the project would be a more compact design, more like the existing tracks at East Wenatchee and Leavenworth.

“Phase 2 will be more of a scooter component,” Haley said.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached at [email protected] and welcomes any topical advice sent to her.

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