Pump Tracks are a worldwide phenomenon that allow cyclists of all levels and ages to experience the thrill of bicycle riding in a relatively small area, and in so doing promote whole-family and community involvement in healthy exercise and leisure activities. They typically comprise a looping trail system, with a series of whoop sections, contoured jumps and steeply bermed corners all strung together to allow for almost pedal-free cycling. The name Pump Track is derived from the pumping motion of the cyclist’s upper body, used to keep up the momentum on the track with almost no pedalling, and the origins of these tracks can be found in the BMX tracks of the 70s and 80s, combined with the extremely popular freestyle riding in events like the X-Games.
Eduplex is a private, inclusive, parallel medium (English and Afrikaans) mainstream school in Queenswood, Pretoria, offering both pre-, primary and secondary schooling to nearly 800 students. They include a small number of deaf children in every class where they learn alongside their friends with normal hearing. Nearly 50% of all the deaf children in Eduplex are from previously disadvantaged communities and dependent on bursaries.
Sport is undoubtedly an important aspect of education, allowing students to really understand teamwork and enjoy the many benefits of a sporting attitude and lifestyle, and as such, is very high on the Eduplex School’s list of priorities. After speaking with the school’s cyclists and a cycling professional, it was clear that a Pump and Mountain bike track would best suit their immediate requirements, and with the high value placed on sporty extra mural activities at Eduplex School, the decision to invest in a state-of-the-art Pump Track was cemented.
State-of-the-art meant just that, and they turned to one of the world’s leading cycle track consulting and construction firms, Velosolutions of Switzerland, to undertake the project.
As the foundations for a Pump Track are earth-shaped, track features like rolling whoops and berms, a tough and durable top layer is required to ensure that the track is not only easily maintained, but also keeps its design and shape for years to come. Asphalt is the material of choice for this top layer, and it goes without saying that asphalt compaction is critical on the many ramps, steep turns and complex shapes used in the Pump Track design. After using another brand of machinery, the Velosolutions team were not happy with the quality nor finish of the asphalt. As they had used Wacker Neuson products on other similar projects across the world, they got into contact with Wacker Neuson’s affiliate office in Johannesburg to find the right solution for their needs.
Velosolutions needed a machine using high-frequency compaction to ensure a consistent high-quality and smooth surface finish of the asphalt, and together with this, the machine also needed to have enough power to ensure the minimum amount of passes were required to achieve optimal compaction. The machine also needed to be light enough to be easily manoeuvred around the track, as well as having adequate traction for the many steep gradients designed into the track.
The Wacker Neuson VP1550 met all of the client’s requirements, and with a reduced width plate engineered by the team at Wacker Neuson, the machines would be a perfect fit for the construction process of the track.
The track has now been completed, and is almost 5000m² in size. Together with the skills mountain bike track, this development is one of the biggest inner-city developments of its kind in the world. The track is not only going to be used for cycling, as even skateboard lovers can give it a try.
“The Wacker Neuson team knew what we needed and wanted, they understood our deadline, and they simply got it done! I was extremely impressed with their professional and customer-oriented approach” says Mike Stolk, the Eduplex property manager
“The team from Velosolutions tried another brand of machine, but they really struggled. The machine could not climb the gradients, and left a lot of lines in the finished asphalt. This result was definitely not up to their very high standard, and we went ahead and got them the right machine for the job. The Wacker Neuson VP1550 was that machine. We also need to maintain our mountain bike trail and the Wacker Neuson’s range of products is just what we need for the maintenance.” concludes Stolk.
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