I’ve been hearing talk about the building of a bike skills park from city trails manager Nathan Burrell for months. It looks like this really cool concept will soon become reality. The below is a press release from Richmond MORE (Mid Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts). Click here to see a slide show of the conceptual drawings for the soon-to-be park.
Richmond MORE is announcing today the planned building of an Off Road Bicycle skills area on Belle Isle in the City of Richmond, Virginia’s James River Park. This skills facility will be in addition to the 18 miles of urban single track trails nestled into the James River Park, Forest Hill Park and Byrd Parks located in the city. This entire system of trails has been built by volunteer labor and donated funds side by side with the City of Richmond Trails Division. Like the trails, this skills area will be built in collaboration with the following volunteer groups: The Friends of James River Park, JROC (James River Outdoor Coalition) the City of Richmond Trails Division, the James River Park System, Richmond MORE and IMBA (International Mountain Bike Association). This facility valued at $100,000 will be located under the Lee Bridge on the south east corner of Belle Island. This area is an unused portion of the island that was used for staging of mulch and materials. Construction will begin in April 2012 and the grand opening is scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend.
The concept for the skills area was formed by a committee of stakeholders: Richmond MORE, The Friends of James River Park, JROC, IMBA, James River Park and The City of Richmond Trails Division. The goals for this area are to enhance the park and embrace the sport of off road cycling. The skills area was endorsed and recommended by the Mayor’s Bicycle Pedestrian Commission. The learning curve for mountain biking is steep and this area will help beginners and intermediate cyclists practice new skills in a safe and controlled environment. The design features will mirror the existing trails to aid in learning how to navigate the entire trail system. This area will be accessed by bicycle from all parts of the city. The key features of urban trail design are access to trails and natural areas to all city and local residents without getting in a car to enjoy them. This skills area will expose citizens to a lifetime sport and a mode of transportation that is not only fun, but also cost effective and environmentally conservative.