Volunteers revamp Ventura ‘PumpTrack’

See volunteers upgrade this unique off-road bicycle track, located in the Hazelwood neighborhood’s Ventura Park …

Dozens of volunteers help in the effort to revitalize the Ventura Park “PumpTrack”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Under the stewardship of the Northwest Trail Alliance, the “PumpTrack” at Ventura Park is now in its third iteration.

> See our May 3 story,
PumpTrack 2.0” readied at Ventura Park

“Before we started working here this morning, the PumpTrack was totally covered by weeds,” remarked Northwest Trail Alliance Board President Kelsey Cardwell, during the October 11 volunteer work party.

Northwest Trail Alliance Board President Kelsey Cardwell pauses for a moment during the cleanup of the PumpTrack.

“The volunteers had to first shovel down to take the weeds off, so they can go all the way up to the track,” Cardwell told East Portland News.

One of the benefits of an earthen track is that it can be reshaped relatively easily. “Volunteers first used a ‘trail machine’ (it’s like a walk-behind bulldozer), and then shovels, to completely reshape the track,” Cardwell pointed out.

After some mechanized grading, it’s all hands-on shovels, as volunteers rework the PumpTrack.

As a result of the latest work, Portland Parks & Recreation can mow up to the track’s edge, keeping it neat and tidy. “Also, there were a many mud puddles on the track,” Cardwell added. “But now we should not have as much water buildup.”

The shape and contours of a PumpTrack are important, she said. “It does take practice to learn how to ride a PumpTrack,” Cardwell pointed out. “The idea is, by shifting your weight; one should be able to keep riding around the track – without pedaling. It will be easier to do this with the new contours.”

Ventura PumpTrack’s chief builder and Trail Steward John “Dabby” Campbell test-rides the newly contoured and reconditioned track – without pedaling.

Even though the day was dark, and rain occasionally fell, a total of about 40 volunteers – who came in two “waves” – helped rebuild this unique outer East Portland off-road bicycle facility.

Visit their website to learn more about the Northwest Trail Alliance: CLICK HERE.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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