Health & Fitness

San Diego, CA Formally Opens Its First Mountain Bike Park

Of all of the locations within the nation which have neighborhood bike parks, you’d assume Southern California could be close to the highest of the listing. With its wealthy using tradition, vocal path advocacy and year-round using climate, you’d count on there to be a pumptrack or filth jumps at each nook. However sadly that’s by no means been the case, no less than not in San Diego.

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San Diego County, which begins alongside the Mexican border and extends as far north because the Camp Pendleton Marine Base, has all the time had a vibrant using scene—however is sparse on neighborhood bike parks. The San Diego Mountain Biking Affiliation took notice of this years in the past—we’re speaking a decade—and needed to do one thing about it. They noticed the using facilities, pumptracks and bike parks popping up everywhere in the nation and the advantages locations like that had on the using neighborhood. For six years, the SDMBA lobbied and advocated for a motorbike park to be in-built San Diego County with out a lot progress.

bike parkSupervisor Greg Cox, a champion of Sweetwater, speaks on opening day final Saturday. Photograph: Courtesy of Chris Wellhausen/BIKE Journal

However that’s to not say no person was listening. About 4 years in the past, Supervisor Greg Cox of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors took discover of what SDMBA was making an attempt to make occur. A vocal advocate of biking in his personal proper, Supervisor Cox turned a champion of SDMBA and of what would later grow to be the Sweetwater Bike Park, which celebrated its opening weekend in Bonita, simply east of San Diego, on January four.

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Working alongside the county and San Diego Parks and Rec, the SDMBA began slowly placing plans for the Sweetwater Bike Park into place. “I believe that we, SDMBA, labored actually onerous to guarantee that as soon as we acquired some champions and we acquired some momentum that it was going to executed appropriately,” mentioned Susie Murphy, Government Director of SDMBA and driving pressure behind Sweetwater. Creating a motorbike park isn’t so simple as bringing in machines and carving out some jumps—SDMBA did intensive analysis to study what had labored, and extra importantly what had not labored.

bike parkAll ages welcome, there’s a pumptrack, abilities middle and, after all, a leap line. Photograph: Courtesy of Chris Wellhausen/BIKE Journal

“Typically they’re [bike parks] are constructed with numerous enthusiasm however they’re not deliberate in a manner the place they’re a top quality place that riders will come to over and again and again. And likewise generally they’re constructed with no plan for his or her assets to cope with the upkeep and the continuing operations,” mentioned Murphy. To handle the latter hurdle, SDMBA partnered with San Diego Parks and Rec, which is understood for his or her neighborhood involvement. This manner, SDMBA felt that no matter bike park would ultimately be constructed would have the backing and assets to achieve success.

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To deal with the previous downside, they held public conferences to find out what ought to truly be constructed—what did folks actually need to experience? SDMBA needed to guarantee that the park wouldn’t be a one-weekend marvel, they needed to make sure folks could be stoked to experience the park for years to return. With four acres to play with, there was numerous area to work with. Plans for a number of leap traces, a pumptrack and abilities park took form. The following hurdle was construct all of it.

bike parkOver a thousand riders confirmed up for opening day. Photograph: Courtesy of Chris Wellhausen/BIKE Journal

One of many different classes SDMBA realized in its analysis was the significance of discovering the fitting contractor to do the precise transferring and shaping of filth. As a result of this, San Diego County used a two-step bidding course of when hiring a contractor—step one of which was a pre-qualification to make sure that the contractor had expertise constructing bike parks.

This lengthened course of turned out to be the fitting one, and Devin Schneider of Schneider Grading was employed to construct Sweetwater Bike Park. Schneider is understood in San Diego County for his personal pumptracks and different bike-related builds, and appeared to be the right particular person for Sweetwater. In the course of the construct, Schneider and his group introduced their bikes together with shovels and machines, and after every characteristic was made the group rode it to ensure it truly labored. If it didn’t, they acquired again within the diggers, adjusted issues and rode it once more. Construct, experience, alter, repeat.

The results of Schneider’s efforts has been likened to a rideable sculpture park.

bike parkWish to nook as an alternative of leap? There’s a pumptrack and berm path for that. Rachel Strait (left) and Guille Orantes (proper) lean issues over. Photograph: Courtesy of Chris Wellhausen/BIKE Journal

The superbly formed jumps and berms are coated with Soil Tak, the identical packing materials used on BMX tracks to make them ultra-compact and easy with out utilizing concrete. Whereas it does require ongoing upkeep, like several dirt-based construct, the Soil Tak provides the Sweetwater Bike Park a glance and experience high quality not often discovered elsewhere.

bike parkHowever if you wish to leap, you are able to do that too. Kyle Strait boosts the large line. Photograph: Courtesy of Chris Wellhausen/BIKE Journal

Trying to the long run, Sweetwater has fairly the backing for ongoing upkeep. The park is constructed on an unused lot owned by the county, which occurs to be located subsequent to Sweetwater County Park. Each the bike park and county park shall be managed by the county; workers shall be chargeable for day-to-day duties at Sweetwater like trash removing, parking, climate closures and fundamental upkeep. SDMBA volunteers also can take two-hour shifts by way of the Bike Park Ambassador program to greet riders, reply questions and ensure everyone seems to be carrying a helmet. For upkeep tasks, volunteers undergo the county in addition to SDMBA, which covers the volunteers with the county’s legal responsibility insurance coverage.

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SDMBA aren’t stopping at Sweetwater both, there a number of different areas within the north a part of the county which are bike parks as nicely, mentioned Murphy. By the sounds of it, San Diego County may not solely be handled to at least one bike park, however we’d additionally simply see them begin to pop up everywhere in the space. To that we are saying, it’s about time.

This text initially appeared on and was republished with permission.

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