Time To Ride

Ok, so it’s not officially open yet, but it is in good enough shape for you to ride.

Time to ride the bicycles

Time to ride the bicycles!

A few things to think about when you’re visiting the skills park:

  • Helmets are mandatory when riding the skills park. Yes, this means you.
  • Unless you’re on your bike and ready to ride, please stay off the start mound. It’s getting clogged up there.
  • Parents, try to encourage your kids to keep moving around the track instead of standing on the rollers. If they’re new to riding, maybe let them loose on the beginner oval first to develop some confidence and familiarity with how the track works.
  • Signs are coming!
  • Feel free to pick up your trash – there is a garbage can right in front of the washrooms by the parking lot.

2016-09-26-19-34-16To answer some of your frequently asked questions:

How does it work?

  • The Skills Loop is singletrack trail with challenge options here and there, especially the rock gardens. The outer loop is easier than the inner sections. This is an ideal spot for riders who are brand new to mountain biking and need to get used to riding on dirt. You will need to pedal in order to get around the loop.
  • Pump tracks are different. The idea is to get all the way around without pedalling. To do this, you need to push down on the backs [far side] of the rollers to drive yourself forward. Push down on the bars, and then push down on the pedals as the back wheel gets to the back of each roller. Time it right, and you’ll feel yourself moving faster.

Which direction do I ride?

  • The Skills Loop rides best in a counter-clockwise direction. It can be done clockwise, but it doesn’t flow as well.
  • The pump tracks can be done in either direction, the beginner track in particular. HOWEVER, if there’s already somebody on the track, it’s best to go the same way they did. This will help avoid collisions.

I keep sliding down the berms [banked turns]. What am I doing wrong?

  • You need to lean the bike toward the inside of the turn. The faster you go, the more you need to lean the bike. If you’re really good, you can treat the berm like it was a roller and pump it!

  5 Replies to “Time To Ride”

  1. Jason Feltham
    October 7, 2016 at 11:49 AM

    It’s hilarious that my kid is in both of these pictures. He and I have been watching this space for years and he jumped right in as soon as there was a completed pump track. I guess we’ve been there a lot since, hoping to get as much use before the snow… Damn. Spoke too soon.

    The park is great, we probably don’t know enough about this type of biking to truly appreciate the subtle details but it is FUN. So happy to have something like this nearby for my son. He’s already demanded full face helmet and body protection… And I threw in a new Spawn Dirt Jump bike for him, what the hell.

    Thanks very much for seeing this to completion, if the last couple of weeks are any indication this is going to get a lot of use. Generally other advanced users have been very accommodating, so even when it’s very busy we still get some time to try out the “big track”. Noticing many teen users without helmets… Trying to explain to them that if this becomes a PIA for Park Admin/Officers it will get bulldozed but teen brains aren’t wired for longsightedness or risk management.

    Would love to see some bike skills clinics or day camps for a park like this, for various ages. If you have any leads please let me know.

    Thanks again!

    • David Mills
      October 19, 2016 at 1:47 PM

      Hi Jason, there should be skills coaching available in early 2017. Alberta Parks wants to reduce the number of people operating in the park without permits/insurance/certifications, and we’re working out the permit details with them now. We’ll post the names of authorized instructors once all that is worked out. Cheers!

      • Jason feltham
        November 9, 2016 at 7:53 PM

        Wow that is awesome to hear you’re working on something! Thanks and good luck!

  2. Dana Cornea
    October 28, 2016 at 9:21 AM

    Made a visit from across town with the kids. It was great! Thanks so much for all the work you folks did to get it done. The size of the crowd (on a sunny late October weekend day) indicate that this place will be very (too?) popular in the summer. Any chance we can organize one for the NW? If so, we’d love to help out getting it done. Feel free to email me.

    • David Mills
      October 31, 2016 at 4:30 PM

      Hi Dana, we’re glad that you and your kids enjoyed the skills park! You are correct – it is BUSY, and will only get more busy next year. The Fish Creek skills park is in Alberta Parks land, and can’t be expanded much. Thus, we have been in contact with the City of Calgary over the last few years, working toward getting more skills parks in other parts of the City. I met with some City representatives last week and toured them around the site. It was clear that they liked what they saw. I asked how we could get more skills parks built in Calgary, and “contact 311” was the reply.

      We’ll post some guidelines soon regarding what to ask for when you contact the City, as well as our thoughts on a potential structure for how the City, community associations, and the CMBA can work together to make more skills parks a reality.

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