The Waterbury Bike Park – New and Improved

There’s nothing like a successful grassroots effort to get us stoked. Whether it’s occupying Wall Street or noshing lettuce from a local community garden, the fact that a small group of regular Joe’s came together to create something awesome is, well, awesome. Take the Waterbury Bike Park for instance. Founded by Jason Bahner and Dylan Conti, the park began as a simple hand-dug track with a few piles of dirt, which is all the town would really allow at that time.

Now, thanks in part to the labors of James Bordeaux, the park has stepped up to the next level. MTBVT got in touch with James recently and quizzed him about his experience and what we can expect with the new Waterbury Bike Park.

Above: park grounds before and after
What sort of features does the new park have?
By next month we should have the park done – the big line should be molded out, the pump track should be finished and possibly we will have some “challenge elements” – a balance beam, small bridge-type things and maybe a rock garden. Something that everyone can practice on for trail riding. It’s a park for all, not just dirt jumpers.

How big is the park now?
Big enough to have a good time and still maintain it. Actually it’s pretty small in comparison to, say, Stowe or Johnson. Because of State regulations and other stipulations we needed to make sure we followed the environmental impact laws, so rather than design some huge park and destroy the area, we made it smaller, which for right now, with a limited amount of volunteers to help maintain the park, is a good thing.

How has the experience been for you?
Seriously, to build this park has been like constructing the Death Star. Except they had more help. It’s been slow and daunting at times but with the help of such local riders as Brandon, Ty and Kyle, kids from Wheels Around Waterbury and some muscle (Bob Cat and his Loader friend), the bike park has grown from its tiny switchback trail with knee-high jumps to what it is today. We also received lots of good tips from Patrick Kell and his contacts from Whistler. It’s all about safety, safety, safety. Build it safe and everyone can ride. That’s our motto. The design reflects this I believe. It’s been carefully laid out and is quite progressive with the ability to host numerous riders and keep everyone safe.

What kind of fundraising have you done?
We started by making some donation cans and placing them all over town. We have four cans right now collecting coins. We then decided to design a T-shirt and sell those. (Thank you Cris Jones at Factotum Designs.) We did quite well! Over the summer in just coins and a few shirt sales we came up with more than $500.

When will the new park open?
As soon as it’s ready. We still have some final touches to do before we completely unveil the park. Our big push right now is the pump track. That will definitely bring more riders to town. If we can get that finished, people can start packing it in! So there should be some riding available at the very end of the season, like the beginning of November, which still gives us some ride time. Just wear long johns and thick gloves.

For more info?
Log on to www.waterburybikepark.webs.com or e-mail me, James Bordeaux, Head Developer of WBP, at waterburybikepark@gmail.com.

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