Build a Backyard BMX Bike Track


When I was 11 years old the county was doing some work on the street near our house and my dad somehow persuaded them to take a couple hours and use their backhoe to dig a racetrack in the desert along the side of our house. This was a multi-purpose track that I used to race my RC cars but was also great for riding my BMX dirt bike in. With banked turns and a long straight away I spent hours building ramps and imagining myself racing as I pedaled through turns.

It turns I’m not alone as many people have built homemade BMX bike tracks and there is even a book by Lee McCormack called Pump Track Nation where he shares the secrets to building a great track. Popular Mechanics asked Lee to share some backyard BMX bike track tips and here are his favorites.


The Track

DESIGN: Avoid flat spots. “Every square inch should tilt up, down, or sideways, to keep momentum going.”

SITE: Build on a 3 percent slope to avoid flooding. Got a flat lot? Dig French drains at the berms.

CONSTRUCTION: Pile dirt 50 percent higher than the final dimension to account for compaction. Then carve out the contours.”It’s almost impossible to get a nice shape by adding dirt. It’s easier to move it.”

MAINTENANCE: Run a sprinkler to lightly soak the track before each ride. Let it nearly dry, and then pedal like crazy to “burn in” a line.

RIDING: Ratchet the pedals in short quarter-turns and push down with your arms off the backsides of rollers. Don’t pedal continuously.

WORKOUT: The top priority is fun, but pump tracks also build MMA-worthy core strength and balance skills.


The Tools & Materials

THE DIRT: Clay loam or topsoil mixed with clay is best. A 40 x 30—foot area takes 27 cubic yards.

HAND TOOLS: Wheel-barrow, shovels, string and dowels for layout, a soil tamper.

THE MACHINE: Yes, this counts as an excuse to rent an earthmover.


Read more: How to Build Your Own Backyard Bike Track – Popular Mechanics

Photos: I Hate Bikes

As seen in
Built by Kids Press - New York Times, Webby Awards, Real Simple, Popular Mechanics, InStyle

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  • fgf
    24 Nov ’12 at 5:54 am