Before the other Saturday, I didn’t know what a pump track was. But I was at Lee Valley Velopark in Stratford, London: I was there for a velodrome session (I used to use the Manchester velodrome regularly), and to have a go at BMX.
The hour in the velodrome was fun, as always. I’m sure I could pitch it as a metaphor for life – going all-out, hurtling around in circles, making the most of your time before it’s up!
However, the highlight of my day was the BMX track. I’m sure I’ve ridden a BMX or two, and I have to confess to owning a mini BMX, but I’ve never ridden one on a dedicated track… A pump track!
The pump track consists of multiple bumps and banked turns, and the name comes from the ‘pumping’ action you do with your body to even out the rises and falls in the track to keep your momentum up.
I had started the day thinking I would only enjoy the velodrome, but I was wrong. I was surprised that the coach let a bunch of complete novices race each other, but he did! Being competitive, I didn’t hold back on the pump track, and was one of the faster riders. I did pay for it by eating dirt on one lap after getting a bit too much air and landing badly, but going on the track was a most enjoyable experience!
I think I might be a bit too old to start learning how to throw myself down steep ramps and over jumps, but I’d highly recommend having a go!