Mongoose Pros Drop Knowledge: Pump Track 101 Etiquette and Growing Your Bike Skills 

Whether looking for a place to grow your skills or just to have a blast on two-wheels, look no further than your local pump track. A pump track is a looped sequence of banked turns (berms), rollers and tabletops. By learning to carry momentum, riders can effortlessly navigate a pump track without even needing to pedal, and master the skill of ‘flow.’ The pump track is also an awesome gathering spot for riders of all ages and ability levels. Push your limits or simply get some fresh air with your friends and family at the local pump track. 

For seasoned riders like the Mongoose Pro Team, the pump track is a place to train and hone technical skills using the pre-planned course. It’s also a place to unleash your creativity by making and linking new lines. But above all else, the pump track is a place for community, fun and good vibes for all who ride it. 

We talked to a few Mongoose team riders to hear their thoughts on pump tracks along with some of their pointers to pass along to aspiring pump track shredders. 

Mongoose BMX Pro Mykel Larrin 

Mykel Larrin Mongoose Pump Track Q&A

Why would you encourage new riders to hit a local pump track?

MYKEL LARRIN: Aside from pump tracks being a great form of exercise, they also provide an amazing space to build community, develop skills and be creative in a safe environment.

What are a few tips you’d give first-time riders?

ML: If you're visiting a pump track for the first time, here are a few helpful tips. There will be a few features that make up the track to become familiar with. The more comfortable you become with these, the more fun you'll have while navigating the track. A pump track consists of rollers, tabletops and berms. You can approach any of these features as a means to either increase or decrease your speed.

When going over rollers, maintain a neutral stance to keep your balance as you make a decision to either increase or decrease your speed. If you're increasing speed, pump the backside of the roller. If you'd like to decrease speed, absorb the energy on the face of the roller.

Tabletops work similar to rollers with speed and balance but offer an option to either jump, manual or roll over the feature.

Finally, you'll have the berms to have fun on. Less is more when starting out on these. If the berm turns left, you want to favor your left shoulder, leaning it slightly towards the ground while allowing your right hip to lean slightly upwards towards the sky. This will help maintain traction inside the turn. Same method applies for a right turn. You will favor your right shoulder leaning towards the ground/left hip towards the sky. Once you get comfortable with lower speeds, you will find your groove in adjusting to the G forces of higher speeds.

What pump track etiquette do you abide by?

ML: Pump track etiquette always makes the experience better for everyone. Tracks are engineered in a way that provides a certain flow of traffic to avoid collisions similar to the way roads are for cars. If a pump track doesn't have arrows specifying which way to go, look for lips and landings on certain features, and that should help give some direction. As always, sharing is caring. Although it might be fun to see how many laps you can do; be mindful of letting others ride as well. Lastly, be sure to pick up after yourself. A clean track is a fast track, and that's always more fun to ride.

Team Mongoose at the Pump Track

Do you have a surface preference (dirt or asphalt)?

ML:  Different surfaces provide different types of fun. I don't prefer dirt or asphalt over one another. Each has their own benefits. Asphalt is always great for consistency, but once it's built, it's difficult to change. Dirt, on the other hand, is a little less consistent, but that makes it fun when learning to adjust to conditions. In addition, it wouldn't take an enormous amount of effort to change the track like asphalt would. 

What is your favorite thing about a pump track?

ML:  My favorite thing about a pump track is that it offers an opportunity to have fun on wheels with community while also building your skills and creativity.

Check out the Mongoose Freestyle Collection.


Mongoose BMX Pro Payton "P-Nut" Ridenour

Payton Ridenour talks pump tracks

Why would you encourage new riders to try out a pump track?

PAYTON “P-NUT” RIDENOUR:  Pump tracks are an awesome way to get more people on bikes! You can roll over all of the jumps (no gaps) and can ride any type of bike--in fact anything with wheels works including skateboards, scooters, and in-line skates. It's a great starting point for novices, yet can challenge riders at the pro level too.

Do you have any tips when going to a pump track for the first?

P-NUT: The two best bike set up tips I have would be to throw on some flat pedals and lower your seat. Riding on flat pedals helps build the fundamentals needed to progress, and I've seen it too many times where people on mountain bikes show up but can't get low enough to pump over the rollers because their seat is in the way. Also, wear long sleeves, a helmet, and gloves--crashing on asphalt hurts!

What pump track etiquette should new riders consider?

P-NUT:  I love seeing new riders have fun going around the pump track, but it's always good to pull off and take a break after a lap or two. Everyone at the pump track has a different skill set and speed, so make sure everyone can get a turn without catching up to someone else. Also, looking before you drop in is a big one. Some riders are going pretty fast around the track, and one second you may not see them before you drop in and the next second they may be crossing paths with you. So, just be aware of your surroundings and mindful of all of the riders. 

Do you prefer dirt or asphalt pump tracks?

P-NUT:  I prefer asphalt pump tracks over dirt because the surface is super grippy. You can ride the asphalt in rain or shine conditions and the surface will never get messed up. 

What is your favorite thing about a pump track?

P-NUT:  My favorite thing about pump tracks is that there's always something new to try whether it is trying a new jump, manual, or transfer. You can get creative and find new lines all while continuing to progress.

 Payton Ridenour Q&A on Pump Tracks

How does riding a pump track help your racing?

P-NUT:  Catching good backside is a key part of making and maintaining speed in BMX racing. Pump track helps me keep those skills sharp because even one mistake can make or break your race. 

Check out the Mongoose BMX Race Collection.

Mongoose MTB Pro Greg Watts

Greg Watts Talks Riding the Pump Track

Why should people check out their local pump track?

GREG WATTS: Pump tracks are seriously the most fun on a bicycle for all skill levels. They help develop skills for all aspects of bike riding, and give riders a great understanding of how ramps, transitions and corners work – and how that translates to you on the bike. 

What are some good tips when riding a pump track for the first time? 

GW:  Most importantly, start slow. Get to know the track a little while you loosen up your body. The most common mistake with beginners is to stiffen their bodies up, which leads to being bucked off the bike or the track by the obstacles. The idea is to try to keep your head relatively stable while your legs, arms and torso absorb the bumps. Kind of like a human shock absorber. As you get better at this, you can start pressing down into the troughs or transitions to gain speed (that’s pumping). 

Tell us a little about pump track etiquette.

GW:  Observe the track for a few minutes before jumping on. See who else is riding, where they’re standing, how often people are going, if they’re going in turns or following, etc. Always allow people to take a turn, to the point where you may actually need to encourage some more shy or younger riders. 

Improvement is good, and by all means try get better, but try not to be aggressively competitive. It kills the vibe for everyone. If you’re going to veer off the normal route that people follow, make sure other riders are out of the way or aware. 

Do you prefer dirt or asphalt pump tracks?

GW:  Asphalt for sure. They’re super consistent and rideable, even in damp conditions. 

What is your favorite thing about a pump track?

GW:  The feeling of getting a super smooth and fast lap. Also, using them to find weird and unintended lines. 

Check out the Mongoose MTB Collection.