Photo by Joel Reichenberger
Stu Hassell rides on a pump track he built next to his home in Oak Creek.
Oak Creek A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers site review nixed the first choice for a new bicycle pump track in Oak Creek, but the idea is far from dead.
Stu Hassell, a town Public Works Department employee and the main proponent of the pump track, said last week that the proposed site behind the Oak Creek Motel will not work because of wetlands and steep grades. Rather than giving up, Hassell said he’s looking at other sites that would allow the project to continue.
His next choice is the water treatment ponds at Williams and Arthur streets. The town no longer uses those ponds, and Hassell said he’d be willing to donate the time if the town provides the equipment to clean them up. If the town agrees, Hassell said very little funding would be required to build the pump track.
“It’d be a perfect spot if you can reclaim it and flatten it out,” he said, adding that the town will have to reclaim the ponds at some point.
Plans for the pump track were delayed in April and May because the town’s insurance carrier initially said it would not cover such a facility. After additional discussions, however, the insurance carrier agreed to cover the pump track. Oak Creek Town Clerk Karen Halterman said the insurance comes at no additional cost to the town.
Hassell said he became interested in bringing a pump track to Oak Creek after he rode one on his way to Winter Park.
“It’s not challenging,” he said. “There were kids 8 years old and professional downhillers” all using the same track.
Pump tracks are typically designed to have low rolling bumps, or rollers, in the middle with banked ends. The tracks are designed so riders don’t have to pedal, but can use the momentum of the rollers to keep moving around the track. The rollers are usually small enough that beginning riders can handle them, but big enough for experienced riders to jump off them.
Hassell’s initial plan was to build one in his backyard, but he’d rather make one that can accommodate the entire community.
“If I’m going to build it anyway, maybe I can build it for everybody,” he said. “Everybody can come out and play, the whole town.”
Because of the delays getting a town pump track approved, Hassell went ahead and built one in his backyard anyway. He has already invited neighbors over to test it out.
“Once I get it dialed in, I’ll probably have a ‘Pump 101’ day and have people come up and see what it’s about,” he said.