‘PumpTrack 2.0’ readied at Ventura Park

Take a look, and you’ll see how volunteers are renovating this unique urban off-road bicycling place …

No, massive gophers haven’t been at work in Ventura Park. These mounds of dirt come from the volunteers who are rebuilding the “Pump Track” there.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Ventura Park, in the Hazelwood neighborhood, became the site of the first, public City of Portland bicycle “Pump Track” when it was inaugurated in July, 2012.

> To see our coverage of that event,
Bikers ride without pedaling – at new ‘Pump Track’”,

Volunteer Jordan Norris rakes and packs a new dirt berm.

Taking a break from building a dirt berm on May 3, Jordan Norris – a nearby outer East Portland neighbor, and a volunteer through Northwest Trail Alliance – recapped the concept of a “pump track”.

“You use your forward momentum, the corners, and the berms, to propel yourself around the track, so you do not have to pedal,” Norris told East Portland News. “You can actually ‘pump’ your way around without pedaling. It takes some skill, and that’s the really fun part about it.”

They’re calling it “Pump Track 2.0”, Norris said, because they’re revising the layout.

Driving this small-but-powerful Mini Skid Steer, John “Dabby McCrashalot” Campbell from Northwest Trail Alliance nimbly moves large loads of dirt, as part of the effort to rebuild the Ventura Park Pump Track.

“We’re expanding it so there will be two raised tracks next to each other,” Norris explained. “There’ll be transfers – joining the two tracks, like a Figure-8 – that will allow riders to cross between the tracks.”

They’re adding more large outer berms and two inner berms. “When it’s completed, there’ll be some bumps in the middle that are fun to ride over.”

Rebuilding the track is hard, dirty work, but it’s worth it, Norris declared.

“It’s important to have this track here, because it provides a fun bicycle park for kids, and grownups too, to ride. This kind of track is a good place for kids to perfect their riding skills.”

While it is challenging, Norris asserted that his three-year-old daughter learned how to ride the pump track. “It helps kids learn the ability to balance – a critical bike riding skill.

Dad Howard Grattan says it won’t be long until his son David, who’s helping to shovel dirt, and daughter Sophia, in mom Jennifer’s arms, will both be whizzing around the new Pump Track.

And, it is a safe place for kids, he added. “If you fall down, you just get a little dirty, and you can brush yourself off. It’s a nice extra amenity here in Ventura Park.”

Go check it out for yourself! Ventura Park is located at on the north side of SE Stark Street, between SE 113th Avenue (where there’s a parking lot) and SE 117th Avenue.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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