2 Jan 2015

The First Concrete Pump Track in North America

For a few years now, our crew at Alpine Bike Parks has been inspired by Claudio Calouri's concrete pump track work in Europe and finally we got the opportunity to build our own here in North America. 

We had our little test rider Eli Shostak take some laps in another torrential storm. It was a beautiful thing to see a kid carving turns in the rain!

Riders in Powell River, BC are the stoked and lucky crew to get a new bike park this winter that includes a concrete pump track, a kids downhill trail and multiple slope style trails. The project was funded by a grant from the Powell River Community Forest with support from the Powell River Cycling Association. When combined with the nearby skate bowl (old school for sure) and new skate plaza by Spectrum Skateparks, it makes a great actions sports facility. 

This is the concept plan for the facility:

By the time we got to design development, we changed the pump track design to the design you see below. The layout is symmetrical and allows head-to-head style racing starting from a slanted start gate. This design was inspired by the SRAM/Adam Billinghurst/Kenny Smith creation at this years Whistler Crankworx. Being based in Whistler is awesome because it allows us to garner inspiration from all the incredible builders in town. For those who are not interested in head-to-head racing and are looking to get creative there are tons of alternate lines for cruising. No need to get stuck in a rut! 

There is also drainage to install if you want to do it right. Professional grade all day long:

The prep process prior to the final surface of concrete is extensive and more expensive than even the best possible dirt. Multiple lifts of highly compacted road base allowed us to build up the design, even in wet weather. Originally we were going to surface the track with asphalt but we were concerned about whether the shapes would be right. It turns out that your features need to be shaped differently so that they work well once concrete is applied. 

Here is the track with drainage installed and the road base fully compacted:

Here's the sub base prepped with wire mesh and rebar with the first truck rolling up:

Once it comes out of the truck it goes into a line pump and then gets spread out before being free formed. Lucas Fulgham of Earth Ramp Bike Parks (Vanier Park in Vancouver/ Kush Trails) has been working with us for two years now and we are proud to have him shaping dirt and here screeding concrete:

Late night finishing work from the boys at Creative Concrete:

Here's the finished pump track. The concrete surface is ever-so-slightly rougher than a skatepark, which maximizes the traction in the berms. By hiring concrete shapers with skatepark experience we were able to get the shapes we wanted. Thanks to Brian from Radius Contracting, Creative Concrete of Comox Valley, BC and Mike and Matt for getting this done in a pinch:

The bike park also includes some pre-released 2015 FlowForm Bike Ramps like the new Up Bank, designed by Cam McCaul. It's modelled after the one the boys put up at Post Office, but it's engineered for 85 psf:

Here's the truck leaving the FlowForm Ramps manufacturer:

All the new FlowForm Bike Ramps have extendable legs, which make angle adjustment and installation a breeze. This allows builders to more easily fine tune the features to fit into the trail and provides adaptability to future bike park upgrades. Feet are also on a hinge so that you don't need to level the foundation blocks as carefully. Each leg is connected to between 1,000 and 4,000 lbs of concrete: 

BMX is big in Powell River and the riders were vocal about what they wanted in a dirt park. As such there are some custom BMX features that we engineered into the slope style trails, like this handrail and grind ledge:

There is also a big log cannon. This assembly was literally around 12,000 Lbs:

And some neat landscape elements that reflected part of the cultural landscape of Powell River:

We had some torrential rainstorms over the past couple weeks and so we have decided to let the trails dry out before putting the final surface on the trails in the spring. Alpine Bike Parks will come back for a spring tune up when drier weather allows us to get the trails running. Once we are able to test ride all the trails, we will make any changes to get the flow just right throughout the spring of 2015. Alpine Bike Parks would like to thank the City of Powell River, the Powell River Cycling Association, the Powell River Community Forest and everyone else who has helped to make this project a reality.

We care about the future of bike parks and want to design and build the highest quality parks possible. We would love to work with your community to make your bike park dreams a reality. Alpine Bike Parks is a licensed contractor in the USA and Canada and we are insured to work globally. Mountain biking feeds our families so please reach out to us and see what we can bring to the table.