San Diego Officially Opens Its First Bike Park

Of all of the locations within the nation which have group bike parks, you’d suppose Southern California could be close to the highest of the record. With its wealthy driving tradition, vocal path advocacy and year-round driving climate, you’d count on there to be a pumptrack or dust jumps at each nook. But sadly that’s by no means been the case, a minimum of 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 at all times had a vibrant driving scene—however is sparse on group bike parks. The San Diego Mountain Biking Association took be aware of this years in the past—we’re speaking a decade—and wished to do one thing about it. They noticed the driving facilities, pumptracks and bike parks popping up everywhere in the nation and the advantages locations like that had on the driving group. For six years, the SDMBA lobbied and advocated for a motorbike park to be in-built San Diego County with out a lot progress.

Supervisor Greg Cox, a champion of Sweetwater, speaks on opening day final Saturday. Photo: Courtesy of Chris Wellhausen/BIKE Magazine

But 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 turn out 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 think that we, SDMBA, worked really hard to make sure that once we got some champions and we got some momentum that it was going to done correctly,” mentioned Susie Murphy, Executive Director of SDMBA and driving power 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, expertise middle and, in fact, a soar line. Photo: Courtesy of Chris Wellhausen/BIKE Magazine

“Sometimes they’re [bike parks] are built with a lot of enthusiasm but they’re not planned in a way where they’re a quality place that riders will come to over and over and over again. And also sometimes they’re built without a plan for their resources to deal with the maintenance and the ongoing operations,” mentioned Murphy. To tackle the latter hurdle, SDMBA partnered with San Diego Parks and Rec, which is thought for his or her group involvement. This means, SDMBA felt that no matter bike park would finally be constructed would have the backing and sources to achieve success.

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To sort out the previous drawback, they held public conferences to find out what ought to really be constructed—what did folks actually wish to journey? SDMBA wished to ensure that the park wouldn’t be a one-weekend surprise, they wished to make sure folks could be stoked to journey the park for years to come back. With four acres to play with, there was plenty of area to work with. Plans for a number of soar strains, a pumptrack and expertise park took form. The subsequent hurdle was learn how to construct all of it.

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

One of the opposite classes SDMBA realized in its analysis was the significance of discovering the precise contractor to do the precise shifting and shaping of dust. Due to 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 precise one, and Devin Schneider of Schneider Grading was employed to construct Sweetwater Bike Park. Schneider is thought in San Diego County for his personal pumptracks and different bike-related builds, and appeared to be the right particular person for Sweetwater. During the construct, Schneider and his crew introduced their bikes together with shovels and machines, and after every function was made the crew rode it to ensure it really labored. If it didn’t, they bought again within the diggers, adjusted issues and rode it once more. Build, journey, modify, repeat.

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

bike parkLike to nook as a substitute of soar? There is a pumptrack and berm path for that. Rachel Strait (left) and Guille Orantes (proper) lean issues over. Photo: Courtesy of Chris Wellhausen/BIKE Magazine

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

bike parkBut if you wish to soar, you are able to do that too. Kyle Strait boosts the massive line. Photo: Courtesy of Chris Wellhausen/BIKE Magazine

Looking to the longer term, 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. Both the bike park and county park might be managed by the county; staff might be accountable for day-to-day duties at Sweetwater like trash elimination, parking, climate closures and fundamental upkeep. SDMBA volunteers may also take two-hour shifts by the Bike Park Ambassador program to greet riders, reply questions and ensure everyone seems to be sporting 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 just a few 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 won’t solely be handled to at least one bike park, however we would additionally simply see them begin to pop up everywhere in the space. To that we are saying, it’s about time.

This article initially appeared on and was republished with permission.

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