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A Mountain Biker rides the track at the Santa Cruz Mountain Biking Festival

Soil is worth a lot. The kind of soil that I am talking about isn’t worth a lot in monetary value, it is worth a lot in community value. Before we built our pump track, I didn’t know exactly how the final product would affect our community. Now that it is finished, it has exceeded all of my expectations. Here are five benefits that this project brought to my community of Aptos, California.

It brought people together (and still does)
Cyclists in the city of Aptos were so enthusiastic about the idea of a new pump track that many of them came together to help create it. Our “build days” created an atmosphere for cyclists of all ages and skill levels to join efforts for a common cause. Friendships were built and continue to be built at this track every day as a wide variety of riders hone their skills on the rollers and berms. This unique social scene includes everyone from toddlers to professional athletes, all having fun and working on improving their skills.

It saved the local government money
Built with donated soil, equipment and volunteer labor; taxpayers didn’t have to pay much to acquire this new community asset. There were no tax raises or massive budget allocations to create this park. The people who wanted to use it took the time to create it. Now, it is available for everyone to enjoy.

It provided a new opportunity for kids to be active

Aptos is home to many outdoor sports such as cycling, surfing, hiking and more. Although mountain biking is already popular, the pump track provides a new way to enter the sport. With quick access and a condensed set of rollers and berms, new riders can easily learn the basics of balance and bicycle control before taking their bikes on single-track trails.

It provided a new way for kids and parents to interact
Many families with little ones who need supervision when on bikes use the children’s section of the pump track to introduce their kids to mountain biking. It is a bicycle playground, providing a small step above cycling on the road and/or other flat surfaces. Also, parents with older children often ride the main pump track together, as all ages and skills levels can use the track to train and improve their riding.

It turned unused land into an attraction
Located behind a commercial center, the piece of land upon which the pump track sits was not the most attractive section of Aptos. Now that the pump track is there, it is a popular destination and an asset to the community which was created without the need to cut down trees or move land.

About the Author
The owner of Epicenter Cycling (with two Santa Cruz Bike Shops), Shawn Wilson is a regular at the Aptos Pump Track. In addition to putting in many hours of labor building and maintaining this pump track, he also has helped organize the Santa Cruz Mountain Biking Festival which features a race at the track. He can usually be found on his bike on the pump track or in the hills of Aptos or managing one of Epicenter Cycling’s two locations; Santa Cruz and Aptos, California.
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