Creating a destination for cyclists

Published 3:11 pm Friday, June 21, 2019

Tuesday night at the Bainbridge City Council meeting, the Council approved a bid to begin construction of a pump track, created by Tom Ritz Designs LLC for $58,600.

During the 2016 planning retreat, Roy Oliver had discussed making the Bainbridge parks system a destination course for the international mountain biking association and other off-road associations. Oliver had suggested they do this in a three-phase system, the first of which being a pump track.

A pump track can be ridden by cyclists of all ages, he explained.

“It’s a track you don’t have to pedal on,” he said. “You just roll and pump your way through. It’s a beginner course for what would eventually become a BMX course.”

Oliver said these courses are common because these tracks have features that riders need to practice on before they get on a mountain bike or BMX bike trail.

The pump track is being proposed at the old Cheney Griffin Park tennis courts. The current light installations are not working, but that would be fixed. The track would include a regular pump track, along with a tot track for even younger children.

“As soon as they get off training wheels, this would be a safe place for kids to ride their bikes,” Oliver told the Council.

Oliver knows biking is a big part of Bainbridge and he is ready to implement these phases so residents can make the park a biking destination.

The pump track would be funded by SPLOST dollars, which they are hoping will build interest and help build community partnerships. For this first phase, the City has partnered with Pump Track USA, who has built pump tracks all over the world, including the one for the Olympics.

The company is currently concluding a project in South Dakota, but upon completion will begin work in Bainbridge. The company does everything from drainage to design; all the City is required to do is provide dirt.

Once Pump Track USA begins work, City Manager Chris Hobby said they could complete the project in two weeks. The company will also provide training to the Parks Department on how to shape the course after serious rains or other weather related incidents.

Hobby concluded by saying how excited the City is to start this project.

“We always hear about how there aren’t many kid friendly activities, but this is certainly something geared towards kids, and it will go along with the fitness court geared towards adults and really make it a family destination,” Hobby said.

The Council adjourned by approving the construction and reviewing the renderings.