WATCH: Video of the PCEI Pump Track in action
What is a Pump Track?
A pump track is a continuous loop of multilevel dirt that allows cyclists to generate speed without pedaling. The pump track derived its name from the pumping motion of the upper and lower body used by cyclists for balance while they bike on such a track!
Why a Pump Track at PCEI?
Besides being a fun activity that gets kids outdoors, riding a pump track is an excellent form of exercise that can be performed by anyone on any non-motorized bike. A pump track can be used recreationally, as cross training for other sports, or as a way for youngsters to increase bike-handling skills away from traffic.
Construction of the PCEI Pump Track
In 2012, we were approached by Palouse Bike Racing (PBR) about building a pump track at the PCEI Nature Center. Both PBR and PCEI promote bicycling as a healthy and lifelong activity, particularly for school-age children, however there are limited opportunities for recreational road biking within city limits. The PCEI Pump Track is the only public one in our area. The next closest public pump tracks in Idaho are in Boise and Ketchum, between 5 and 8 hours away.
The PCEI Pump Track is located in an accessible corner of a former horse pasture near the parking lot of the PCEI Nature Center. The site was chosen because it had already been disturbed and was largely hosting a “weed forest.”
Volunteers committed to expanding biking experiences in our community put in nearly 500 hours of their time in 2013 to build the pump track. Donations were made to rent a bobcat to do the major earth moving and the rest of the shaping was done with hand tools. A local contractor was hired to do drainage work, but more work needs to be done for drainage and erosion control.
Current and Future Needs
While the track is currently useable, the surface is less than ideal and the area is not aesthetically appealing. An improved pump track experience will increase ridership, allow for more safe outdoor exercise time for users, create an enhanced viewing experience for spectators and demonstrate the connection between land stewardship, environmentalism and fun. Plans for improvements include:
- creating a better riding surface that can be easily maintained
- planting native or xeric plants and shrubs in strategic places within and around the track to create visual appeal
- making a comfortable shaded viewing area with benches
- building a small covered shelter for our Bikes for Tikes to increase their lifespan and reduce the need for maintenance
- adding a bridge or boardwalk to the loop trail that surrounds the field containing the pump track so that cyclists stay on the trail and don’t venture into adjacent wetlands
The basic pump track we have now is already a valuable asset to our biking community. Improving the track in 2014 will allow for classes to continue to be taught through the City of Moscow Parks and Recreation Department. More kids will have access to Palouse Bicycle Racing, more community members will be taught about the value of outdoor experiences and Moscow’s children will have another safe place to play outside.
Want to help improve the PCEI Pump Track? Donate today!