Those who are pumped to catch some air on their bikes this summer, well good news: the Bike Skills Park will be officially unveiled to the public at the SEAPARC this upcoming Saturday, March 28.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony will start at 12 p.m., with an opening speech from SEAPARC Chair and Juan de Fuca Regional Director Mike Hicks, Sooke Mayor Maja Tait, followed by a blessing ceremony from the T’Sou-Ke First Nations. There will also be food, kids’ activities, a DJ, and of course, cake – all of which will run until 2 p.m. in the afternoon.
Since the project began in July 2014, there have been multiple updates to the track, including the revamp of the already-known “pump” track, the section of the course more appropriate for less-experienced riders. And while the bike park is, technically, completed, Steve Knoke, SEAPARC Manager says its actual opening to public use has been delayed due to recent heavy rain.
It’s not May or June yet though – and while the weather may change its mind, the goal of the Bike Skills Park remains the same: get your bike out there and have fun.
“It’s a great opportunity to get kids outside and get them active,” Knoke said, adding that while it’s a right of passage to provide the kids with a learning venue, it’s also important for parents and guardians to keep in mind that there is risk associated with this – after all, it is a dirt jump, not a balloon castle.
“People do fall off, so it’s important to ride within your own limits,” he said. “We provide a controlled environment, but kids and parents need to understand the risks and know to follow the rules.”
The rules for riders are pretty simple: wear a helmet and watch out for others. The rest, SEAPARC’s got it handled, says Knoke. There will also be a maintenance crew coming in to maintain the park to make sure that it’s not unsafe, such as a tree falling down or if any of the ramps are damaged in any way from the elements or extended use.
For those willing to try something new but haven’t got all the skills yet, there’s the ‘green line’ – a course that allows novice riders learn the fundamentals of riding a bike through minor jumps – before they progress to the real gravity-pushers.
Then there’s the pump track itself – a lighter version which is not only good for all ages, but for all levels of skills too.
“The neat thing about the pump track is that it’s good for all ages – seniors to kids can use the pump track,” Knoke said. “Dirt jumps are more focused on adolescent youth, for the ages eight to adult.”
While the track is not set up for BMX-style tournaments, it is, impressively, designed with dual-purpose in mind; meaning you could ride dirt bikes and as well as BMX bikes on it.
Which also happens to go hand in hand with the new multi-use trail that runs right down from the school and to the bike park.
“The vision is that we have a multi-use trail that comes through here – we’re connecting the school to SEAPARC, then we’re connecting the bridge to this trail, so you don’t have to ride your bike up,” he said.
Knoke mentioned that if the weather is bad for extended periods of time, the bike park will be closed for safety reasons. While the unveiling on Saturday will go as planned rain or shine, the bike park itself won’t be open until after things dry off.
For regular updates on the track’s schedule and accessibility, visit www.crd.bc.ca/seaparc.