Watch Out Johnson and Stowe, there's a new park moving in! The Waterbury Bike Park in Vermont has been a little known local secret, but with minimal upkeep the Bike Park left much to be desired. Now, a new out look and face lift, this park is shaping up to be quite a ride! More details inside
,Waterbury, a wonderful, medium sized town in Vermont, has a newly developed interest in biking. All different kinds of biking including road biking, street and BMX biking and now with help from the state, Mountain Biking. Waterbury is host to some awesome trail riding for everyone and now boasts it's very own Dirt Jump Park. A few years ago this park was merely a couple piles of dirt molded into what looked like possible jumps. There was even a small circle/pump track, but more looked like a walking path in the grass. With some help from local businesses and local volunteers, the bike park has grown and is now one of the popular places to ride in town. While it is no where near finished, it is headed in the right direction.
After riding this park myself for a full summer, I decided that maybe I should find out how I would be able to contribute to the park. After all, there really was no one spear heading the project, it was simply left up to people coming down with shovels and changing things and digging whatever, when ever. I thought often how great a place this could be, but with no direction or motivation, the park would become stale and eventually lose its character. Of course this poses a problem for many. The jumps were too big, too small, to steep or to shallow. How could we possibly bring all this to an end so we can all be a part of this park and have a little bit of everything we all want? Along with a few friends, we all got involved!
The day started rainy. May 8th, 2010. It was cold, windy and very uncomfortable. With my barn boots on and extra pair in the back of my 98 Forester with tools for work, I headed into town to Meet Mr. B at 12, but ended up being a tad late picking up Ty at his house. We grabbed some tools from his house as well then headed out. As we left I could hear Ty’s mom shouting at us, “Remember what your father said, don’t come back covered in Mud!”
Mr. B, Ty and I walked the park to discuss once more what the overall plan for the day was. Simple; move dirt. Then move it some more. We all grabbed some tools and started working together filling in holes, covering up mud spots and puddles.
Then we moved over to track clean up and building up some of the pumps. Long overdue for repair, some of these pumps were merely worn flat and seemed more like Earth had a minor Acne break out in its earlier years. Adding dirt to some of the pumps, and raking out the corners of the berms, things seemed to clean up nicely. Ty and I headed to the start point.
This mound of dirt has been sitting since time began. Old, huddled and worn, it was almost a mini replica of Camels Hump. We both started sculpting after Mr. B mentioned he would like to see it somehow, where people can ride their bikes up on it and not have to balance at the top, and then a place on the side for kids to drop in on the pump track. We agreed to cut out the sides, slope the front of the mound and flatten the top out for more “parking” space.
Jack and Tyler came out to play about 2:30pm to help us dig even more dirt. We moved a useless pile of dirt sitting in front of the new start point and added that dirt to other parts of the pump track. Before long we already had new growth and development to the park! Funny though, as we all dug into the same pile of dirt; Ty with no shovel but standing as if he were supervising prisoners, Ty M with a shovel, Jack with a shovel and myself with a pick axe, I felt we were some part of chain gang forced to do hard time in town moving dirt. I started singing “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”, but no one got it. Kids!
We all put in some good time here and grew tired of lifting dirt, but not long later, Mr. McCullough came through for us and had his tractor ready for action. This brought inspiration to continue working into the afternoon.
With berms moved, dirt scooped, mounds shaped, we were on a roll. The new bike park started to take shape somewhat like Joan Rivers face over 21 years, but in one hundredth of the time. It felt so refreshing to see our ideas come to life! We were designing the bike park for all to enjoy! We had new lines drawn for our bigger jumps, new areas mowed out so we could build elements like teeter totters, wall rides, step ups and drops! The puddles were filled, the bumps and stones were smoothed out.
Our excitement grew as we worked and soon the sun came out and before we knew it, the Waterbury Bike Park had its shining moment. It was like Christmas, except we didn’t get any gifts.
The day wrapped up at about 4:30pm as the clouds moved in again to prepare for an attack on our heads. Mr. McCullough had no rain gear and little fuel. His odds of beating the rain would be greatest by leaving before any of it fell. We left the park in better conditions than when we arrived, even though it is no where near completion. Now, we are all waiting for the newest additions! So nicely has the Sticks and Stuff lumber/Hardware/Tool/ all home needs store owner donated a pile of lumber- so big in fact, I dropped him 25 bucks to load it onto one of the trucks he has and deliver it to the park on Tuesday morning. We are not far off on our building a great park, and with some help from other sources, we soon shall have logs to work with and some fresh top soil to build even bigger and better things.