Bike track hits local park
A former professional bike rider is helping in the design and construction of Mitchell's first pump track course.
Since Tuesday, Randy Spangler has been spending much his time at Kiwanis Woodlot Park, located off Indian Village Road on the south side of Lake Mitchell, to help build a pump track.
A pump track is a continuous loop of dirt berms and mounds that are ridden on a bike, mostly with having to pedal. Cyclists of all ages and skill levels can ride a pump track using BMX bikes, mountain bikes, kids bikes or scooter bikes. A bike with knobby tires -- which have extra grip -- and a helmet are all that is required for the course.
"Pump tracks have really blown up the past four or five years," Spangler said this week. "They are really family oriented. It's just a great place to come to with your friends and learn skills as you go."
Construction on the new pump track course began early Tuesday and is estimated to be completed June 13. Spangler and others constructing the course are asking for volunteers to help build the track at 9 a.m. Saturday. Work will consist of raking, smoothing dirt, picking rocks and packing the track. A demonstration of the pump track will be at 4 p.m. Wednesday, contingent on construction progress and weather.
The track's estimated cost is $20,000 and is being partially funded by Mitchell Telecom's "Project: Do Good" program and local service groups.
President of the Palace City Pedalers Bike Club Dwight Scott -- who oversees the bike trails near Lake Mitchell -- received a grant from "Project: Do Good" worth $3,500 for the project. Funding is also coming from the Palace City Lions Club with a $10,000 donation, Kiwanis Club with a $4,000 donation and Palace City Pedalers Club with a $2,500 donation.
About two years ago, a path of bike trails around Lake Mitchell was completed. It was at that time Scott learned of pump tracks and started thinking about bringing one to Mitchell. He soon realized the difficulty of building one correctly.
He then traveled to Minneapolis, Minn., to take a class on pump track construction by the Minnesota Mountain Bikers and International Mountain Bicycling Association.
Scott signed a deal with IMBA to get a contractor to Mitchell to help build a pump track.
That's how Spangler got to Mitchell.
Spangler, of the International Mountain Bicycling Association, has created pump tracks throughout the United States. He has five years of professional experience building tracks and was brought in to assist in designing and building the course. Spangler has built pump track courses in China and the Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, Colo. Spangler specialized in freeriding -- or tricks and style riding -- as a professional.
Scott calls the pump track a natural fit for Mitchell's Kiwanis Woodlot Park.
"Here, we don't have mountain bike trails and everything," Scott said. "This was new, and pump tracks are supposed to be the fastest way to build the type of skills you need to ride these types of trails. They're supposed to be really fun and we wanted to get young people involved."
For a better experience, Spangler suggests a bike without suspension, as it's easier to coast around the track. Spangler said he wants to give back and help get younger people involved.
Spangler describes riding the course as a "full-body aerobic workout" that will translate over to riding mountain bike trails.