By Mark Langton
If a demonstrated need in the community is the main criteria for building a bike park (pump track, jumps, skills area), then the City of Thousand Oaks should be at the top of the list. Jumps and mini-pump tracks are all over the place, yet they keep getting bulldozed because the community has not supported the youth who are putting in the effort to do something constructive. THE TIME IS NOW!
Unidentified jumps in Newbury Park
This is of course my local perspective because I see kids every day on mountain bikes and BMX bikes riding around our neighborhoods, trails, and yes, unauthorized dirt jumps. And I know a lot of parents who’s teenage kids go riding with them. I bet you know people just like that in your neighborhood.
The Socal High School Cycling League built a pump track in Riverside recently with CORBA’s help. The city of Glendale is considering a bike park and pump track in their trails master plan. There are parks and tracks all over the state. IMBA has had success in several cities including New York, Seattle, and Golden, Colorado. We’re not reinventing the wheel. Click here for the the Bring the Riding To the People project.
A bike park can be as simple as a pump track (rollers, bermed turns, table top and gap jumps), but can also include skill test features similar to what might be found on a trail. A supervised environment similar to a skate park, the Conejo Recreation and Park District (CRPD) already has an infrastructure to deal with this kind of facility. Bike parks encourage volunteerism and stewardship. They provide an area for adult mountain bikers wanting to improve their skills and also help their kids learn, and an athletic/exercise outlet for youth who do not participate in team sports. And they’re just plain fun! Not only that, they do not require the same kind of space, materials, or costs associated with ball fields or other conventional recreational facilities.
Watch a video of the Stowe Bike Park pump track in action.
Representatives from CORBA have discussed the possibility of a bike park with the CRPD. CRPD managers are amenable to the idea, but stress that the only way something can be done is through community support and commitment. This would require attendance at CRPD board meetings by kids as well as parents and other interested parties to provide testimony and petitions, and other community support (such as bike shops, YMCA, teen centers, schools, etc); not to mention supporting testimony from such organizations as CORBA citing the success of tracks and parks in other cities. This process typically takes 3-5 years, so strong parental involvement is key. Again, CRPD is open to the idea and there are several possible locations, we just need community involvement! We could also use people with expertise in landscape architecture.
The author circa 1972.
If you are interested in becoming part of a team to bring a pump track to Thousand Oaks, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org .