by James Carlton
Special to Official Kids Mag
Are you an expert at riding your bike, or are you just starting out? Maybe you’re somewhere in the middle like the rest of us? Well, even pros need practice! Lucky for us, the third and final area of the Runway Bike Park at The Jones Center just opened to the public. The three areas are the Skills Course, Pump Track, and Bicycle Playground.
The Bicycle Playground is where you’ll want to be as a true beginner. If you’re just getting the hang of riding a bike on flat ground, this area will really blow your hair back. Mostly younger kids are going to be hanging out here, getting the feel for a slightly elevated experience on two wheels. It has a few ups and downs, but that’s mostly it for this beginner track. If you’ve been on a bike for a while, or you’re just a little too big for the Playground, maybe think about getting your start on the Pump Track.
Recently the host of RedBull’s Pump Track World Championship, this specialized asphalt track is nothing to scoff at. The main idea behind the “pump” is to propel yourself along the track with minimal pedaling. Less pedaling doesn’t mean less work though; just different muscles. You’re using your chest, shoulders, back, biceps, triceps, quadriceps, glutes, abs — pretty much the whole body; but its gentle slopes allow riders of all skill levels to give it a try. This track alone may be enough for a lot of people. You can go out and ride trails all day and, if you want a little something extra, the Pump Track is there to round out your day on the bike. Some may not be ready to hit the real-deal trails out in the wilderness yet, or maybe they just don’t feel like it today — whatever the reason for skipping the natural trails, rest assured: there’s a place for everyone in the park’s newest addition.
With three distinct trails, there really is something for beginners and pros alike on the Skills Course. Obviously, beginners aren’t going to want to start on the advanced portion — just like the advanced riders probably won’t have as much fun riding the beginner portion. If you’ve grown comfortably bored with both wheels on the ground, maybe it’s time you took on the challenge of the Skills Course intermediate trail. It’s got a little bit of everything the advanced line has, but you are less likely to injure yourself just trying it out for the first time.
Whatever your riding style or skill level, you will find a track (or two) just for you at Runway Bike Park at The Jones Center in Springdale. Open from sunrise to sunset all week. Make sure you check the weather before you go, and visit thejonescenter.net/bike-park for more information.