Gypsum mulls bike park improvement as it launches 2018 budget talks | VailDaily.com

Gypsum mulls bike park improvement as it launches 2018 budget talks

Locals worked to build the existing Gypsum bike park on the IK Bar property near Gypsum Creek Middle School but the town will consider funding a professionally planned facility as part of its 2018 budget.

GYPSUM — Gypsum is looking at an upgrade to its bike park, located at the IK Bar park land near Gypsum Creek Middle School.

Last week, Matt Thompson, of Momentum Trail Concepts, the company that built a number of bike trails around the Eagle area, launched a discussion with the Gypsum Town Council about bike park options at the site.

Gypsum Town Manager Jeff Shroll noted the community has enjoyed the current facility, which was built by a group of locals, but ridership at the site has dropped off.

"We are at the point of looking at what we can do to get more use out of it," Shroll said.

Looking at the amenity, and how it fits into biking options valleywide, Thompson recommended Gypsum consider different facilities than what's available in the neighboring community.

"Gypsum does not necessarily need a BMX race track. Eagle has a well-known one. That percentage of the population is already being served," Thompson said.

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However, he said the community could benefit from a facility that includes a pair of pump tracks — one for beginner and young riders and one for older, more advanced riders — in a series of dirt jumps.

Making sense of the space

Thompson said use at the current space likely declined because users "probably don't understand what they are supposed to do with the space." He said a professionally designed bike park would make more sense to riders.

He also noted that an irrigation plan for the facility would be a necessity for the dirt surfaces and the surrounding landscaping.

As he looked at the current bike park area — which comprises a roughly two-acre area separated by a split-rail fence — Thompson said it is large enough to accommodate the upgrades he envisions. He proposed the pump track as the first improvement.

"They are designed to be fun and challenging for riders of all skills," Thompson said.

Future development at the site could focus on skills areas, where riders can learn the techniques they will need to ride in the backcountry — areas focus on dirt jump or slopeside features.

Dirt Jumps

Thompson said the creation of dirt jumps could set the Gypsum park apart from other local bike parks.

"There are not dirt jumps, to speak of, in the valley," he said. "It would be a really good amenity."

Thompson said dirt jumps consist of a series of ramps and mounds designed so that riders' wheels leave the ground. He noted that these jumps are typically designed, built, rated and posted with signs to designate difficulty from beginner to expert.

"In a typical bike park setting, jump lines are situated adjacent to one another such that beginning riders stage right next to those advanced in skill," noted Thompson's presentation. "This creates a sense of community, support, encouragement and camaraderie amongst riders of all levels and ages."

Thompson noted he would be willing to submit a bid for the work and said a bike park plan could cost anywhere from $35,000 to $100,000, depending on what the town wants.

"They (bike parks) vary in size and purpose. There is a $1.2 million park in Boulder," Thompson said.

Gypsum Town Council members encouraged Thompson to come back with a bid for consideration during budget discussions.

"I would be curious to see how big this could be and how it fits in with our plans for the parcel out there," said council member Pam Schultz.

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