Volunteers took to work on Saturday to spruce up Red Deer's mountain bike park. Jesse Houghton

Bikers work to revitalize neglected park space

Dedicated mountain bikers turned their muscles and skills to sawing lumber, pulling nails and clearing garbage from a Red Deer city park that has fallen into disuse.

Dedicated mountain bikers turned their muscles and skills to sawing lumber, pulling nails and clearing garbage from a Red Deer city park that has fallen into disuse.

They want people to use it.

Members of the Central Alberta Bike Club, the young hands have volunteered their time to rehabilitate a mountain bike park located off the Northlands subdivision, uphill from the city’s sewer treatment plant.

Too many people don’t even know the park exists while there hasn’t been a great deal of support for its maintenance, said organizers Rod Rysavy, Vince Leckie and Cody Howitt.

“There’s been no one looking after it for the last two or three years,” said Rysavy.

The park is owned by the city and available to the public under an agreement with the CABC, which is responsible for its upkeep, he said.

“(CABC) has been more of a road club, so there hasn’t been a lot of interest in mountain biking and downhill biking,” said Rysavy.

“There’s a lot of kids in town that ride here. It’s a very well used area, just not very well maintained. It’s time to take down the dangerous stuff and build stuff properly,” he said.

Included at the park is a variety of wooden obstacles that have fallen into disrepair. Among their tasks on Saturday, members of the club were tearing down some pieces and rebuilding others to ensure that the park is safe.

They have also started clearing trail and cleaning up junk that had been abandoned in the park, including a rusted bicyle frame attached to a mangled wheel.

Even the signs at the two entries to the park are in need of an upgrade.

Howitt has been leading the charge for the last few years to build more obstacles for single-track riders, whose extreme techniques include riding along narrow strips raised above groundlevel.

“I’ve got a 12-year-old and a nine-year-old, and I want them to be able to come here,” he said.

All three said the moutain bikers within the club could use more help to improve the park and raise the level of opportunities it is able to offer, including potential for competitions.

Existing club members also want more people to be aware of the park to help encourage riders to come there to develop their skills rather than damaging other city parks by building illegal obstacles and riding off the trails.

They seek volunteers to help out as well as sponsors and donors to help cover costs of lumber, insurance and other expenses that go with maintaining a safe and enjoyble bike park.

Open 24 hours a day, the park can be reached from either of two entries — one on the hillside across 77th Street from the SPCA and the other at the curve where 49th Ave. flows into 79th Street, kitty-corner from Home Hardware and along the south fence of Wheels On Ltd.

Learn more online at centralalbertabikeclub.blogspot.ca

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com

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