Sports

Kid’s vision sparks new South Whidbey pump track for bikers

David Gardner, Blake Deilke Jason Heggenes and Tim Peitsch shovel dirt around the rollers at Community Park’s new pump track. The dirt bike circuit is designed to be ridden with minimal pedaling. Instead riders pump their weight up and down on the rollers and around the sloped turns.  - Photos courtesy of South Whidbey Parks & Recreation District
David Gardner, Blake Deilke Jason Heggenes and Tim Peitsch shovel dirt around the rollers at Community Park’s new pump track. The dirt bike circuit is designed to be ridden with minimal pedaling. Instead riders pump their weight up and down on the rollers and around the sloped turns.
— image credit: Photos courtesy of South Whidbey Parks & Recreation District

RECORD STAFF

Bike riders have a new home on South Whidbey, thanks to an eighth-grade boy.

Blake Deilke proposed and helped build a pump track for bikes at Community Park. The dirt track is scheduled to open with an official ceremony Sunday, May 19. Though that hasn’t kept pumpers from trying the track already.

“It’s effectively open at this point,” said Doug Coutts, parks director.

Working with a host of volunteers under the mentorship of David Gardiner of Half Link Bicycle Shop, Deilke and the parks district maintenance staff built the pump track.

Pump tracks are closed circuits with rollers in between and berms at each end designed to be ridden without pedaling. Though the rollers look like dirt jumps, they are spaced too closely for any effective air to be caught by thrill-seeking riders.

“It is not designed to be jumped.” Coutts said. “You’re rolling over those.”

Riders use their body to pump or push down into the dip after an elevation and pull up before the crest of a mound, doing this throughout the continuous loop. Absorbing and compressing a bike over rollers, riders convert gravitational force and downward thrust into speed.

The track roughly runs the width of Community Park’s skate park. Blake Deilke hits a sloped turn on the new South Whidbey Parks pump track near the Community Park skateboard park.

“It’s not designed to be big,” Coutts said. “It’s basically a workout for people who ride these bikes.”

A grand opening celebration will be held Sunday, May 19 with a welcome and introduction at 2 p.m., demonstration at 2:05 and a trial ride at 2:15.

All the same safety rules and guidelines for the skate park apply to the pump track, with limited liability for the parks district.

Hot dogs and lemonade will be available with a suggested $2 donation going to the parks district. The new track is located next to the skate park at Community Park, 5495 Maxwelton Road, Langley.

“We think it’s a great addition to the park,” Coutts said.

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