Local bicycle and skateboard enthusiasts have reason to rejoice this year.
The largest pump track in the country had its grand opening on June 24 in Dardenne Prairie. The 33,000-square-foot track was built inside St. Charles County’s 25-acre Youth Activity Park, located off Hwy N, and has already stirred local excitement and gained national attention.
The idea of a pump track for the park was presented several years ago by members of the local biking community. As a response, in 2018, the county had planned to install an in-house designed dirt pump track, but due to a hard winter, the project couldn’t be completed.
“This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it allowed us to look again and see if what we were doing was truly what we wanted. During this discussion, it was pointed out that a lot of our local bikers would go out of town and out of state to ride trails and pump tracks. The question became, ‘How do we keep our local biking community here, and how do we bring in riders from other states?’ The answer was an asphalt pump track designed by Velosolutions, the world’s premier
The goal of bringing in riders from other states is already materializing. The county recently learned that a family moved from Colorado to Dardenne Prairie solely because of the new pump track and their son’s passion for biking.
Ultimately, anything with wheels can be used on the new pump track, including bikes, scooters, skateboards, strider bikes, BMX and inline skates. The course has beginner, intermediate and advanced bowls, street courses and snake runs scattered throughout with ramps, banked turns, gaps and hubbas (a ledge that angles down a set of stairs). The special track allows the rider to get momentum by “pumping” – creating momentum by moving their body up and down – instead of pedaling or pushing when going over the bumps and around turns.
Monday through Friday, Leslie Boyce brings her 6-year-old grandson, Austin, to ride his bike for two hours.
“Everyone here is really nice. They do a great job. [Austin] can interact with other kids without being too close to them. It’s been a lifesaver for us this summer. We are so happy to have this,” Boyce said.
Hannah Eberhardt, 16, is learning to skateboard and was on her second visit to the new park when Mid Rivers Newsmagazine met up with her.
“There are so many different things to do on the track,” Eberhardt said. “I’ve never been to a park like this before and it’s really fun.”
Because the track is made of asphalt, it is ideal for all types of weather and can be used year-round. While plans are already in the works to add more amenities to the park in the near future, like splash pads and an updated fresh new look, everything is ready for visitors to enjoy the new track right now during daylight hours.
The county hopes the installation of outdoor lighting will be completed by the fall so that the track can be used at night.
Noah Williams, 19, has been riding trick scooters for over eight years and was excited about the new track, especially since there are limited places to ride safely during the pandemic.
“It’s been really hard to find somewhere to ride right now because there are only about three parks open [due to COVID-19],” Noah explained. “So, I have been coming [to the new track] since it opened. I’ve never ridden on anything like it before and it gives me the motivation to ride more.”
Youth Activity Park is located at 7801 Town Square Ave. in Dardenne Prairie Admission to the park is free through 2020.