Bikers take to new pump tracks
Former professional mountain biker Ali Zimmer was excited to see more kids and adults get a chance to get on their two-wheelers and pedal around a new “pump track” that was recently constructed on the Bristol Recreation Field adjacent to Mount Abraham Union High School. A pump track is a dirt trail on which mountain bikers roll up and over little hillocks and banked turns designed in such a way as to enable the rider to create momentum by pumping their body up and down and thus keep forward momentum with little pedaling.
“A pump track (offers) a way to work on gaining and maintaining momentum on a bike without pedaling,” said Zimmer, who was project coordinator for creation of the track. The Bristol Recreation Club track’s construction was completed in early May, and before it was even officially kicked off with a popsicle party this past Saturday, it had already become a gathering place for local kids and adults looking to work on bike skills, the Lincoln resident said.
Pump tracks seem to be growing in popularity in these parts. Goshen also saw a new one installed this spring.
On June 2, the Addison County Bike Club hosted a barbecue to celebrate the grand opening of the Moosalamoo Flow Trail and Pump Track, located at the Moosalamoo Campground in the Moosalamoo National Recreation Area. According to Jacob Grossi, director of events and outreach for the Vermont Mountain Bike Association, 28 volunteers turned out to put the final touches on the trails with rakes and mountain bikes.
Holly Knox, recreation program manager for the Rochester and Middlebury U.S. Forest Service Ranger Districts, said the project was funded by revenue from use fees collected at other recreation sites.
Addison County Bike Club President Eric Berg said his organization hopes to build a 1.5-mile connector trail between the new 1.5-mile-long flow trail and pump track and the existing Leicester Hollow and Chandler Ridge trails near Silver Lake.
“This project is a tricky area and one we have explored before to try and find a connector trail that is not exceptionally wet or requiring significant infrastructure such as a large bridge,” said Knox of the site where the connector trail has been proposed. Knox said any proposed new trail on National Forest land is subject to a review process, with opportunity for public input.
For now, the Addison County Bike Club will maintain the new trail and pump track, both of which were constructed by trail builder Tom Lepesqueur of L&D Trailworks in Canterbury, N.H. The project had been in the works since 2016 and took about a year to build.
The pump track back in Bristol was built by Kyle Ebbot, a Vermont-based trail designer who co-designed Burke Mountain’s Knight Slayer Trail and the Catamount Outdoor Family Center Bike Park. This project cost about $4,400 and was funded almost entirely by grants secured by Porter Knight of the Bristol Recreation Club. Among the grants was a $1,500 award from Burlington’s Outdoor Gear Exchange. Additional funds were supplied by Ben and Jerry’s, Neat Repeats and the Bristol Recreation Club.
Grossi of the Vermont Mountain Bike Association cheered the arrival of the new pump tracks in the area.
“This is huge for kids or anyone who wants to learn about mountain biking,” he said. “In terms of mountain biking, these pump tracks are like the BMX track of today,” he added, referring to the pre-mountain bike form of outdoor racing on dirt roads and tracks.
The Forest Service receives numerous requests for new trails or alterations with Vermont’s National Forests every year, Knox said. She offered a set of guidelines her agency distributes to groups who want to propose new trails. The document points out that the Forest Service relies heavily on volunteers to maintain existing trails. Any new trail or facility has to be maintained, and the agency will be more likely to approve a proposed new trail or facility if a user organization steps forward and demonstrates a willingness to take on responsibility for its upkeep.
“We are interested in trail connectivity and developing projects that serve the greater good if we can balance resource protection in a sustainable manner,” Knox said.
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