Do you have an up-and-coming cyclist in your life? Take them to a local pumptrack and boost their skills!
by Katy Poniatowski and Jack Haight, Santa Cruz Trails
A pumptrack is akin to a skate park but is built for cyclists of all ages — even the littlest ones. It’s called a pumptrack because, instead of pedaling or pushing, you generate momentum by pumping your body up and down. Pumptracks are a great way for young riders to build their skills and confidence, and provide hours of fun for the whole family.
Here in Santa Cruz, we’re blessed to have a multitude of pumptracks throughout the county. To figure out which ones are best for kids, we chatted with our friends over at Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Stewardship (SCMTS). They’re the local nonprofit trail stewardship organization behind popular outdoor experiences like the Harvey West Pumptrack and Emma McCrary Trail in Pogonip, and gave us the inside scoop on the best places to get in some laps with the kiddos.
SCMTS built and opened the Harvey West Pumptrack in the City of Santa Cruz’s Harvey West Park (directions here) in 2016. Their team worked closely with the city to design, build, and maintain a world-class pumptrack right in the heart of Santa Cruz.
Since its opening, the pumptrack has transformed a portion of the park that had previously been a hangout for transients into a thriving community resource. Harvey West is a great spot for riders of all abilities to build confidence and push their skills. The track includes multiple line options that allow riders to choose small or large features.
Pro tip: Bring a picnic lunch with you when you visit the Harvey West Pumptrack! There are some picnic tables right next to the track that are perfect for mid-ride snack breaks.
In March of 2020, the SCMTS Trail Crew led groups of dedicated volunteers and gave the Chanticleer Pumptrack in Live Oak (directions here) a major makeover. The track now has rebuilt berms, rollers and jumps that are suitable for both beginner and expert riders.
During the 2020 rebuild, the SCMTS Trail Crew also installed advanced drainage and a larger starting area to reduce maintenance and increase the fun. The Chanticleer Pumptrack is a great spot for the whole family to enjoy—check it out next time you’re in the Live Oak area!
In conjunction with the City of Watsonville, Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Stewardship recently opened the largest (and only paved!) pumptrack in Santa Cruz County. Riders of all skill levels can enjoy nearly 20,000 square feet of pristine rollers, berms and jumps at the just-opened Ramsay Park Pumptrack (directions here).
The Ramsay Park Pumptrack is currently open to cyclists from sunrise to 8 p.m., seven days a week. The north side of the track features larger technical rollers, berms and jumps, while the south side of the track hosts smaller features that are more accessible to youth users or pumptrack novices.
This latest centerpiece of Ramsay Park complements the existing ball fields, skatepark, picnic area, and community center to appeal to a wide range of user groups of all ages. The Ramsay Park Pumptrack brings critical outdoor recreation infrastructure to South Santa Cruz County, and offers a COVID-safe opportunity for users of all ages to get outside, build their skills and exercise together.
Check out this awesome video about the Ramsay Park Pumptrack, courtesy of Bell Helmets.
Build a New Westside Pumptrack. Win a Kids’ Bike. All for $5.
Support development of the all-new Westside Pumptrack and get a chance to pump up your little one with some new wheels. Enter: santacruztrails.org/wspt
Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Stewardship (SCMTS) is currently constructing an all-new outdoor pumptrack for cyclists, skateboarders, scooterers, and more on the Westside of Santa Cruz. Their team is replacing an old, loved-to-death track with a fresh, kid-friendly design and upgraded features, but are still a little short of their fundraising goal.
To help keep the project on schedule, Trek and Epicenter Cycling are donating THREE Trek kids’ bikes for SCMTS to give away. For as little as $5, folks can support their work at the Westside Pumptrack and earn an entry to win the Trek kids’ bike of their choosing. Check out the project page for all the details, then grab your entries!
Scotts Valley Pumptrack
The Scotts Valley Pumptrack is located in the Skypark area of Scotts Valley (directions here), and has a little something for everyone. This traditional dirt pumptrack is regularly maintained by SCMTS staff and volunteers, and includes features that are suitable for beginner cyclists. Check it out next time you’re in the Scotts Valley area!
Bonus: When the kids start getting tired, there’s a beautiful field, rest area and playground just across the park.
McGregor Pumptrack & Skateboard Park
The McGregor Pumptrack & Skateboard Park is conveniently located right off Highway 1 (directions here) and boasts tracks perfect for both cyclists and skateboarders. With a multitude of features ranging from small to large, all members of the family are sure to find some fun out at the track!
Get in the Dirt with the SCMTS Team
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