South Lake Tahoe Bike Park to open in late September
Work on the highly anticipated Bijou Bike Park is entering its final stages this week in preparation for its grand opening Saturday, Sept. 19 — part of the City of South Lake Tahoe’s 50th anniversary celebration. To help finish the park, members of the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association (TAMBA) are calling on area volunteers for a trail work day this Saturday, Sept. 12. The group will offer food and drinks to those in attendance. The work session will start at 9 a.m. and continue into the early afternoon. Prior sign-up is not required.
“It’s the community’s park,” TAMBA president Ben Fish said of the collaborative project between the city, the mountain-biking association and South Lake Tahoe BMX Association. He added that the trail work day is an opportunity for area mountain bikers to get out and “put [their] fingerprint on the park” and meet other riders.
The approximately 4.75-acre, $200,000 project was originally proposed in 2011, but it was met with a number of delays. It is now on track to open as scheduled Sept. 19, Fish said.
“It’s been four years of a labor of love,” he said, explaining the lengthy approval and funding process. “The reason I’ve stuck with it is my son.”
A landscape architect by trade, Fish volunteered his time to create the initial design for the park. Elite Trax Inc. — a bike company responsible for designing Olympic BMX courses — then won the contract to build the park in association with their affiliate PumpTrax USA.
Fish and his 5-year-old son Max were on site Wednesday evening with a handful of volunteers working on portions of the slopestyle course.
In addition to the scheduled Saturday work session, TAMBA volunteers and city workers will be on hand through next week in order to finish the project.
“We need to get stuff dialed in,” Fish said of the remaining work.
Much of the park’s larger features have been completed; smaller features and infrastructure like jump ramps still need to be put in place. Crews will be fine-tuning features through the week.
While trail work volunteers and TAMBA representatives may test features prior to opening, the park will remain closed to the public until Sept. 19.
The finished park will include a BMX track, two pump tracks and three slopestyle courses, all with an emphasis on skill progression.
“There’s everything in here,” Fish said of the nearly completed project, emphasizing that the courses are designed for everyone from experts to beginners and young children. “It’s going to be a huge asset to healthy lifestyle and peaking interest in mountain biking.”
With progressive biking features and a central location, the park will be a good alternative for beginning mountain bikers to get a feel for the sport without being off on a backcountry trail.
“You can get over your head quick out there,” Fish explained of the prospect of a beginner rider tackling a singletrack trail for the first time.
By contrast, the new park will provide a less intimidating option close to town. The park is located near the existing skateboard park across from the Lake Tahoe Basin U.S. Forest Service office and Lake Tahoe Community College.
To celebrate the opening of the park, South Lake Tahoe city officials have decided to reroute next Saturday’s 50th Anniversary Parade to finish at the new site.
“I’m beyond excited about it,” Fish said. “It’s going to be really cool to have that many people there to showcase the park.”
He added that the venue has the potential to host a variety of competitions and events going forward.
More information is available at http://www.tamba.org.