A carefully crafted 5,000 sq. ft dirt track with banked curves and rapid rollers known as a “pump track” was recently completed. It is Santa Cruz’s first official bicycle pump track.

The proposition was steered by Another Bike Shop (ABS), and with the help of the mountain biking community, ABS was able to push the idea through to City Council during fall 2012.

Mauro Garcia, Santa Cruz parks superintendent, said the track’s creation was successful because of the mountain biking community’s resolute grassroots efforts.

“The community came in and asked if we thought it would be a possibility and if we’d like to partner with them on building the pump track,” Garcia said. “We shared the idea with councilmember Hilary Bryant, [who is] now mayor, and the leadership in the Parks and Recreation department, and we said, ‘Hey, yeah why not, if you can make it happen we’re in support of it.’”

Over 40 volunteers investing around 1,200 hours digging and molding the track designed by longtime pump track builder Kyle Jamieson made the construction of the Westside Pump Track possible. While a pump track may seem daunting for a beginner to tackle, Jamieson said the track was built for anyone who could ride a bike.

“The track is tailored for every kind of user [and accommodates] beginners, intermediates, experts and pros,” Jamieson said. “I wanted to have something to the side for younger kids, so we built an area where kids can still have fun while not getting run over by an adult who’s going faster.”

More than half of the most popular mountain biking trails in Santa Cruz are considered illegal. The Westside Pump Track is a step in the right direction for the promotion of the mountain biking off-road sport, Jamieson explained.

“There’s something to be said about the mountain biking population riding illegal trails,” Jamieson said. “Santa Cruz is a huge mecca for mountain biking, and we should have more of this legal mountain biking and promote the sport.”

Chris Wagner-Jauregg, ABS owner and leader of the movement to create the track, credits the vibrant biking community as being a vital part of the track’s creation. ABS raised the necessary $25,000 from sponsors such as Santa Cruz Bicycles, Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBOSC) and Fox. The funding was spent mostly on civil engineers and fencing, while the land was leased by Ow property.

The idea to build a pump track in Santa Cruz began after Wagner-Jauregg said the nearest track in Aptos was too far away for his children.

After talking to other parents about bringing a pump track to Santa Cruz, Wagner-Jauregg quickly realized there was a consensus and groups such as MBOSC helped spread the word.

“Any skill set can learn from [the track],” Wagner-Jauregg said. “It’s a really good work out too, and it’s crazy how fast you can get leg burn from only a few laps.”

The Westside Pump Track not only provides a good workout but also promotes an increasingly bike-friendly and environmentally-friendly city.

Mayor Hilary Bryant will attend the official opening ceremony of the Westside Pump Track this upcoming Saturday, where community members will gather to appreciate this new gift to the city.