I feel like many people take bike parks for granted. Not to say that everyone does, far from it. I know there are many people out there that contribute countless hours to their local bike park, but the majority of people just show up and ride with no thought to how the park came to be. Bike parks don't just spring out of the ground, mostly they start small and they grow with the endless labor of a few tireless people.
Truckee Bike Park is such a place, and this spring I had the opportunity to check it out the during the Little Big Festival, a one day bike event at the park that includes skills clinics and some fun contests and races for kids and adults alike. The weather was cool and cloudy with a few more rain sprinkles than I would have liked, but in spite of that the park was packed with people of all ages; and not just locals, I spoke with a few people that had driven more than a few hours to get there. Cortney Knudson introduces the coaches at the beginning of the Little Big skills clinics.
I was there with Kirt Voreis and I took the opportunity to sit down with him and the park's founders, Brooks McMullin and Cortney Knudson, and discuss how the park came to be.
Brooks had been working on trails for quite a while, but nothing official, nothing really legal or sustainable, and he wanted to contribute something lasting to his community. While they were on a riding vacation in Sun Valley, Brooks and Cortney spent some time at the pump track in Hailey, Idaho and came away with an idea. "We need to have a pump track like this at home!" That was seven years ago, and the park now includes several dirt jump lines for all skill levels, an awesome dual slalom track, a straight rhythm course, and a pro jump line as well as that original pump track. They've put in thousands of hours not only digging but also lobbying the local government for permits, even starting a non-profit to help make everything easier. The park relies heavily on funding from sponsors, both in the local community and also in the bike industry, and fundraising is an ongoing process.
They haven't built everything themselves, instead, they've hired many different reputable trail builders with the intent of building a world-class park, and if the crowds at the Little Big festival are anything to go by it seems they've succeeded. If you're going to be at Interbike in Reno this year it's definitely a place worth checking out, and there will be an invite-only jump jam on September 15th at 5:30PM.The Truckee Bike Park features all sorts of features of varying sizes and difficulty, perfect for learning and progressing your skill set.
With several different pump tracks of varying sizes it's easy to start small and build up.Kids are the future, it was awesome to see so many families with kids of all ages at the park.The larger jump lines were closed due the to rain while I was there, but people were still throwing down in the jump jam.
The new Dual Slalom features a pneumatic start gate and the course is awesome!
Unfortunately, every city has a long labarynth of policy and permits to even get something like this started.
I was told that Truckee was totally on board to get the park started and the initial phase was open in just 1 year.
When our (not so) secret pump track was bulldozed for the final time, I contacted two neighboring city park departments. And though ammenable to the idea of a bike park, it was going to take several months just to get a audience with the planning commission.
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