From left, Falmouth High School students William Johnson, Griffin Marley, Quinn Hackett, Cole Gorsuch, Jacob Hurtubise, Ben Rosenbaum and Jack Turgeon are studying the feasibility of creating a pump track mountain bike course in Falmouth and plan to help build it. Rachel Vitello / The Forecaster

A group of Falmouth High School students has created an independent study group to explore building a pump track and encourage more kids to get outside and enjoy mountain biking.

“Mountain biking is a big thing in Falmouth,” said Will Johnson, one of seven freshmen and sophomores who came up with the idea. “Having someplace where everyone who bikes can come together and talk and be on the same level would be really interesting.”

Lawrence Kovacs, a teacher in Bath, rides the popular pump track at Bath Middle School in this 2019 photo. Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Portland Press Herald

A pump track is a short, looping course with bumps and turns that mountain bikers traverse by pumping their bike with their upper body rather than pedaling.   

“We had our first meeting about a month and a half ago to get together and share ideas of what we hope to create in this town. Everybody had a great time and was really invested and liked where we thought this was going,” said student Jack Turgeon. “We all said we would do an independent study for this semester, which started three weeks ago.”

The group hopes to work through summer break and ideally get started on construction then or by fall.

The closest pump tracks to Falmouth now are in Gorham and Topsham, the students said, and they wanted one in their own community. They hope that building one will encourage more in people in town to start mountain biking.


“I think having it around the school would be a great idea because all the kids would see stuff going on and be like, ‘Oh, maybe I should get a mountain bike and go here’ and then the (biking) community just keeps growing,” Griffin Marley, another participant, said. “I think it would be a pretty cool landmark for the school and get people more interested in the sport.”

The students’ work so far has included researching the estimated cost of their plans and brainstorming ways to raise money. A similar project in Keene, New Hampshire, cost about $78,000, including costs to design, prep and landscape the site.

To offset the cost, the students hope to do as much of the groundwork themselves as possible and are discussing whether they want to build the track from dirt or cement. Cement would mean less maintenance and attract a more versatile crowd, including scooter riders and skateboarders, but it would be more expensive.

“We’ll definitely be putting our work into it and helping out. Whether that means putting in our own materials like shovels or reaching out to our other friends who want to volunteer. I think we’ll get a lot from the community as well,” Johnson said. “If we can get a vision of what we want to do, we can make it happen.”

Since the project is still in the early stages, neither a fundraising goal nor a timeline has been set. A GoFundMe page to help with fundraising will probably be created and in-person ways to make money, such as bake sales, will be considered.

They hope to build the track on school grounds – preferably at the high school – and are setting up a meeting with the school board to discuss the next steps.


Falmouth School Superintendent Gretchen McNulty said the district is always supportive of any interactive initiatives and she’s glad to see students pursuing projects they’re interested in and passionate about.

The independent study course, for which the students will receive credit, is supervised by Steve Chabot, the principal for grades 3-5 in Falmouth, and Darcy Dyer, an educational technician at Falmouth High School.

Dyer said the twice-weekly class “is the highlight of her week” and that the project has been largely student-led.

“They’ve done a wonderful job,” Dyer said. “I look forward to coming here for this hour and getting to know them, listening to what they have to say. The emails they’ve sent out they’ve done all on their own.”

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