An off-road bicycle “pump track” is being built near the playground area at Whatcom Falls Park, to help young riders learn the basics of mountain biking, a popular sport among area residents.
“It’s a lot of rollers and bank turns. You ‘pump’ your way around and don’t pedal,” said Josh Neyman, parks project specialist for the Bellingham Parks and Recreation Department.
“We really wanted to showcase what one of these is and what it can do. It made sense to put it near Galbraith,” Neyman said, referring to the challenging network of mountain biking trails up nearby Birch Street and off South Samish Way east of Bellingham.
“It’s supposed to mimic what we have on Galbraith. It’s supposed to be a skills-training course.”
Even more than that, Eric Brown of the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition said the dirt course will offer a way to get a quick workout and provide riding space for neighborhood children and members of various school mountain biking clubs.
You ‘pump’ your way around and don’t pedal.
Josh Neyman, Bellingham Parks and Recreation Department
“We wanted to make this one a showpiece,” Brown said, adding the coalition have been working with city officials for a year to get permits and secure a space for the park. Its $35,000 cost is being covered by donations and volunteer labor.
Bellingham Parks and Recreation Director Leslie Bryson said such a park could cost $125,000 to $150,000 otherwise.
It will incorporate native plants as part of its landscaping and is being built by industry leader Momentum Trail Concepts of Colorado, Brown said. Dirt for the project is being recycled from recent construction work at the city’s water-treatment plant, also in Whatcom Falls Park.
Construction began this week after after a year of planning and input from the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition. It will be located on an L-shaped plot that wraps around the basketball court and playground near the parking area off Electric Avenue. The track should be finished by June 1 or before, Neyman said.
Neyman said the pump track will be a circular route of low rises and falls, designed to mimic a mountain biking or BMX course. It will have intermediate and advanced loops, along with a beginner track designed for the strider bikes without pedals for children just learning to ride.
Brown said WMBC is hoping to build more such pump tracks, including one between Birchwood Park and Squalicum Creek Park, an area where he said neighborhood children could benefit from greater access to riding facilities.