Riders looking for a challenge will be happy to learn that the Free Ride Park in North Saanich is being upgraded this year.
Work crews are busy completing phase one of a multi-phase plan to update the park, fixing jumps and adding new trails. The effort was made possible by a recent $3,000 donation made by the Sidney by the Sea Rotary Club and contributions from the Victoria Airport Authority and GNE Rentals.
Lawrie Robb, a board member with the North Saanich Mountain Bike Park Society, says those donations and a lot of hard work from volunteers will have the site ready for the season.
“These upgrades have been in the works since around September, 2013,” Robb said. “The building committee meets regularly, once or twice each month, to discuss the design and layout of the track.”
Input from people like designer Alex Vos and Kyle Mitchell, a champion BMX rider and course builder, has been invaluable, said Robb.
“Everything goes through Kyle,” he said. “He does most of the machine work and signs off on the designs.”
The park, located on Littlewood Road behind the North Saanich municipal hall, will see some higher jumps for more advanced riders, as well as a connector added between two pump tracks. Robb added the society has plans to make more additions but those will depend on approvals and funding.
“It has taken a lot of planning,” said Vos. “When designing it, we had to think of the variety of skill levels and follow the land contours and work around existing trees.”
Volunteers have been putting in a lot of work, Robb added, noting that they hope to have this phase complete by the end of this week, weather permitting.