Westside Pump Track Officially Open

Keep reading if you like mountain biking, Santa Cruz pump tracks, Another Bike Shop, Santa Cruz Bicycles

by Hanae Armitage

Nov. 25, 2013—The Westside pump track was born out of chit-chat. While standing around on the sidelines of a youth soccer game, Another Bike Shop owner Chris Wagner-Jauregg, real estate developer William Ow and Mayor Hilary Bryant proposed an idea that sparked the beginnings of the city of Santa Cruz’s first pump track. “Sometimes when the kids’ soccer games get a little slow on the sidelines, some good things can come out of it,” says Bryant, reflecting on their initial pump track thoughts.

The idea is now a popular reality. With a snip of the comically giant scissors needed at any official ribbon-cutting ceremony, Mayor Hilary Bryant declared Saturday, Nov. 23 Westside Pump Track Day in the city of Santa Cruz at a well-attended ceremony. Afterward, while parents watched from the stands, kids of all ages crowded the gates and patiently awaited their turn on the track, which lies on an empty lot across from Santa Cruz Bicycles headquarters in the old Wrigley building.

“There’s a huge demand, especially in the youth demographic. It’s just incredible how many kids are using it,” says Wagner-Jauregg.

The Santa Cruz Pump Track Boom
A Bike Park for Santa Cruz

A pump track is a series of dirt mounds meant to build momentum and allow bikers to “carve” and flow through the track without pedaling. Kyle Jameson, Santa Cruz Bicycles employee and emerging professional mountain biker, designed the track, perfecting its ebb and flow.

“When you talk about a track, you talk about flow. This pump track has great flow. There’s really a science, an art even, to finding the right height of the mounds of dirt and getting the ratios just right,” says Wagner-Jauregg, original instigator of the pump track. “The first time I jumped on it, I did five laps in a row without pedaling. This kind of flow is great for the kids using the track.”

The Ow family is lending the land that the pump track is built on for $1 a year. Between city officials, parks and recreation leaders and local biking businesses, Wagner-Jauregg recruited the help of both private and public sectors of Santa Cruz. The collaboration and the overwhelming support of the community sparked the transition from idea to reality.

Santa Cruz Bicycles representative Jon Forsberg was immediately drawn to the idea of the track. “We’re really psyched about it. When we found out about it from Chris at ABS we were super energized to take part in it,” Forsberg said. “The second I heard him mention a pump track by the farmers market, I had to ask how we could get involved.”

Santa Cruz Bicycles is taking on the role of pump track caretaker, monitoring the maintenance of the park and the opening and closing times. The contributions Santa Cruz Bicycles made was all about making it happen for the community. “We’re really trying to lend support as a Santa Cruz manufacturer that has some weight in the cycling community so we can give back to Santa Cruz,” Forsberg said.

The pump track accommodates all ages and skill levels, as riders pick and choose the lines within the track that fit their comfort zone. The design even incorporates a mini track for the little tykes, which the youngest pump track enthusiast—just 3 years old—took full advantage of on Saturday.

Kelly Detro, a mountain biker and student at UC Santa Cruz, is especially excited about the westside pump track. “It’s literally across the street from my house. It’s convenient and a good way to de-stress after being on campus all day.”

Judging by the turnout opening day, the Santa Cruz community is in full support. As Bryant cheered on the riders, she commented on the pump track’s effects on community. “I think it’s a wonderful addition to the Westside, and I think you’re going to see kids out here every afternoon. It’s going to be a place for our youth to gather. I love the fact that we have so many little guys and girls who are ready to ride this track.”