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Been wondering when you can ride the new bike pump track on the Bellingham waterfront?

The Port of Bellingham’s new mountain bike park, which includes a dirt pump track, has opened on the waterfront and hundreds of riders already have checked it out.

More than 300 people rode at the park on its first day on Monday, Sept. 2, according to Mike Hogan, spokesman for the Port of Bellingham.

The bike park can be accessed from Granary Avenue as well as Laurel Street in Bellingham. Look for it across from Waypoint Park, known for its iconic acid ball.

The park and its features are geared toward riders of all ages and different skill levels.

“The biggest thing is to show up, ride everything and look at the different lines,” said Eric Brown, executive director of the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition, also known as the WMBC. “There’s lots to explore.”

The nonprofit WMBC provided oversight of the park project while Shire Built, a sub-contractor, constructed the pump track.

Shire Built also has worked on well-known local mountain bike projects that include the Mohawk Trail on Galbraith, the dirt jumps at Civic Athletic Complex and the Burlington Indoor Bike Park.

“It’s looking really good. I think people are pretty excited to have something fun down there,” Brown said of the new park.

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Bellingham’s waterfront pump track opened to riders on the old Georgia-Pacific property in Bellingham, Wash., Monday, Sept. 2, 2019. Lacey Young The Bellingham Herald

Ride the pump track without pedaling

A pump track is a looped circuit made up of berms, banked turns and rollers. The goal is to ride without pedaling but by pumping your body up and down to gain momentum.

There’s been excitement around the mountain bike park, according to Hogan.

“The Port has received extremely positive feedback from a wide range of interest groups — from parents who appreciate the new mountain bike park as a fun and healthy activity for children, to professional mountain bike riders who see this as a terrific complement to the over 65 miles of mountain bike trails on Galbraith,” Hogan said to The Bellingham Herald.

Galbraith Mountain, just east of Bellingham, is a renowned mountain biking playground that is also popular with hikers and runners.

Hogan said that positive feedback included “downtown business owners who view the mountain bike park as a regional attraction and an economic development opportunity, to community members who are excited to see continued progress on the downtown waterfront redevelopment project and improved public access to water.”

The mountain bike park includes the 20,000-square-foot pump track, a single-track trail and a skills section, which will be completed in early winter.

The pump track is in front of the two orange-tiled tanks that were once used to store pulp.

WMBC is a trails and mountain bike advocacy group that is involved with efforts to build bike pump tracks at Cordata Park and Birchwood Park as well. It also built the bike pump track at Whatcom Falls Park.

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Bellingham’s waterfront pump track opened to riders on the old Georgia-Pacific property in Bellingham, Wash., Monday, Sept. 2, 2019. Lacey Young The Bellingham Herald

Another step in waterfront redevelopment

The mountain bike park is at the former Georgia-Pacific property, which the Port of Bellingham is redeveloping as a 237-acre waterfront district.

The redevelopment is expected to take decades, and Port officials said they wanted to bring the public to the area sooner rather than later.

“The Port built the waterfront mountain bike park to improve public access to the water and encourage the community to use the downtown waterfront as it gradually develops over time,” Hogan said.

“The mountain bike park is located in an area which will eventually be developed into a large city park extending through the middle of the downtown waterfront,” he added. “The timeline for building this permanent waterfront park has not been established and will depend on the pace of development, but will likely be at least 10 years.”

A grand opening celebration is set for 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28, at the bike park. The event will include pump track races, bike demonstrations, a beer garden, food trucks and a DJ.

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Bellingham’s waterfront pump track opened to riders on the old Georgia-Pacific property in Bellingham, Wash., Monday, Sept. 2, 2019. Lacey Young The Bellingham Herald
Kie Relyea has been a reporter at The Bellingham Herald since 1997 and currently writes about social services and recreation in Whatcom County. She started her career in 1991 as a reporter and editor in Northern California.
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