As early as the end of this month, kids and adults alike will be zooming around a series of dirt rollers and berms known within the mountain bike set as a "pump track." It will be the first public outdoor facility of its kind in northeast Ohio.
"There's just nowhere in the whole area west of I-271 and south of I-90 where kids can go out and ride their bikes," says Austin Woolley, cofounder of the driving organization behind the project, East Side Cycles (ESC), and a third year medical student at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). Bexley Park, 4149 Temple Road, in South Euclid will be the site of the track.
"Pump tracks are great because they're a safe course for kids to ride," says Woolley, adding that tykes as young as three or four love the tracks, which are not designed for pedaling, but for managing momentum with your whole body by pumping the bike. "It's safe because the rollers are a foot to foot and a half tall," he adds. "It's very gradual."
ESC has thus far raised $3,000 towards the project's estimated $5,700 cost ($5,000 for construction and $700 for signage) via a donation drive sponsored by the group's fiscal sponsor One South Euclid and a Crowdrise campaign.
Woolley and ESC cofounder Brady Tucker, who is a second year medical student at CWRU, wanted to follow the school's tradition of serving the community in healthy and inventive ways. They started talking about the project in February and enlisted the expertise of South Euclid housing inspector Dan Subwick, who was instrumental in bringing a community garden to fruition. Early talks with Mayor Georgine Welo, other city officials and community members went well.
"Everything we've heard -- and we’ve heard a lot -- has been extremely positive," says Woolley.
The track will be 55 by 85 square feet. Nature's Landscape and Design is the contractor on the job, which is a tricky one, notes Woolley.
"You have to put the whole thing on a grade so that water runs off and doesn't pool up between rollers," he says. "If you do it wrong, it gets destroyed quickly."
Physics plays a large part as well.
"When you start construction, you have to get on your bike and make sure everything flows right and make adjustments." To that end, staffers from Ray's Mountain Bike Park have committed to help out with test riding during the build out.
The track will be free and open to the public during park hours. Woolley sees the amenity as not only a fun place for mountain bikers of all skill levels, but also as a host site for bike clinics and a mecca for cycling groups and clubs.
"Once the track is built, it will be a nice place where cycling organizations can meet up and hold events and feel like they have more of a place in the community."