I finally had a chance yesterday to visit the Grand Rapids Bike Park which opened this summer. Located near Burton and Buchannan nestled between some industrial buildings, train tracks and US-131, this is truly an urban bike haven in progress.
Even though it was still a little muddy from last week’s rain, the hubby and I started by checking out the mountain bike trails. The first part of the loop is a frighteningly close course with narrow passes, tight curves and steep rises. I don’t know if it’s meant to be ridden on smaller bikes or what, but I felt too large to maneuver and basically kept one foot unclipped in case I needed to put it down.
Then, the trail opened up into three wider tracks each with a higher level of technical difficulty. There were a number of stream crossings, small logs and the edge of Plaster Creek to contend with. I even saw – and promptly avoided – a trench about two or three feet across that it looked like you’d have to jump somehow to ride across.
After getting lost on a bordering, sandy ORV track and exiting the park at the back of some business driveway, the hubby and I rode around the block and back to the park to check out the pump track.
The pump track is not finished yet, but it’s coming along. There is a series of large humps, some smaller hills and tight curves to test your bike handling skills. I didn’t make a run at it this time, because the hubby had endo-ed off his bike back in the woods, and he was sore and ready to call it a day. But I’m interested in trying the pump track another day.
Clearly the most established and well developed feature of the GR Bike Park is the BMX track. It looks really nicely done. But not being a BMX rider myself, I did not ride it this time around. Maybe next time!
So, overall I’d say that the Bike Park is still young and developing, but it is becoming a fun, challenging place for a variety of dirt and trail bike lovers to ride. It was great to see a bunch of kids from the surrounding neighborhood out getting exercise and honing their skills on the pump track. Though the park does still need some work. Check out http://www.grbikepark.com/ for details on trail days and other ways that you can volunteer to make the park even better!
(I also got to try out my Goodhope Bags hydration pack for the first time. More on that coming later!)