Bikers jump into summer

After years of planning, countless man-hours and tens of thousands spent, the bicycle skills park at Mt. McIntyre has reached completion - at least in terms of shovels, hammers and nails.

After years of planning, countless man-hours and tens of thousands spent, the bicycle skills park at Mt. McIntyre has reached completion – at least in terms of shovels, hammers and nails.

While mountain bikers and BMXers can now ride on the completed park – free of charge – it still needs a name.

“The Name the Park (contest) is still going on, so names can still be dropped off at Icycle Sports,” said Contagious Mountain Bike Club president Devon McDiarmid. “At the opening ceremony we will unveil the name.

“A panel will pick the name.”

However, that leads to another matter. An opening celebration is also in the plans – and will probably take place in July – but no date has been firmed up yet.

Construction of the park began last year with the erection of various dirt apparatuses, such as a pump-track and dirt jumps, which held up well over the winter months, said McDiarmid.

“The good thing about them is they held up really well over the last year,” he said. “So that was a good sign, as far as design, materials – there was very little erosion.

“The pump-track held up really well too. It’s been a favourite of everyone riding up there.

“We tried to use the existing ground as much as possible – we tried to use the lay of the land as much as possible as well,” added McDiarmid. “We tried to keep as many trees in as possible – at actually looks really nice.”

The finishing touches have been applied over the last few weeks with the installation of the wooden structures. Skinnies, teeter-toters, long rides, a drop zone, and a 20-foot wall ride are just some of the apparatuses that can now be enjoyed.

The skills park, which was the brainchild of the Contagious Mountain Bike Club and the Yukon Cycling Association, was designed by Jay Hoots, owner of the BC-based company Hoots Inc., a mountain bike clothing and safety equipment manufacturer.

Hoots, a mountain bike coach and professional rider, has built more than 24 community skills parks through out North America and is a member of such organizations as the North Shore Mountain Bike Association and the International Mountain Bicycling Association.

Under the guidance of Hoots, the skills park has been built to International Mountain Bicycling Association standards and offers activities for all levels of cyclist.

“We have everything for beginner beginners, so wooden ladders on the ground – like wooden bridges,” said McDiarmid. “There’s a cool little rock feature, which builds your skills to turn left or right on rocks. And they’re all graduated from easy to hard.

“Everything is built so you can progress – it’s a progression park. So if you’re a beginner, there’s stuff for you, but as you get better, there’s stuff to move on to.

“It’s quite a substantial park.”

The park received financial support from the city of Whitehorse and local sponsors – a total of which is still being calculated – but construction cost were kept below the estimated $80,000 cost thanks to volunteer efforts.

“I don’t know exactly how much money went into it,” said McDiarmid. “If we had to pay for everything, it would be well into the $100,000 range. But because of the sponsorships, the volunteer work and everything, we were able to keep it down to, probably, $50,000 to $60,000.

“The city of Whitehorse was a huge supporter.”

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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