One of my favorite memories growing up is riding over to an open field with a handful of picks and shovels, shaping berms and framing bike jumps. All day, rain or shine, digging and stacking, flying over the handlebars, dirt in our pockets, knees in our mouths. Every day was a new project or conquest in which my friends and me pushed ourselves to go bigger, ride faster and be more creative with our technique.
Permanent parks, however, were sparse and in most places nonexistent when I was a kid.
The Tahoe-Reno area is blessed to have a variety of convenient options to keep our wheels in motion year-round. With its panoramic scenery and mountainous topography, it’s no mystery why the Tahoe-Reno area is a renowned destination for bicycle enthusiasts. With many of the local trails still covered under snow and wet from melting snow, avid bikers have been faced with finding other means to satisfy their souls. Enter the bike parks.
Truckee Bike Park
Construction of the Truckee Bike Park began in 2012. Starting out as a small pump track, it has since evolved into a miniature bike mecca, hosting some of the most expansive terrain in the region. Sitting next to the Riverview Sports Park, it can be accessed via Highway 267 by car or from the Legacy Trail by bike. It is home to pump tracks, BMX tracks, cross-country trails, wooden drop platforms, rhythm lines and dirt jumps of all shapes and sizes. The park is free to ride for all; it operates on donations, offering skills clinics for all ages and experience levels of riders who want to take their biking to the next level. There are also low-income coaching scholarships for children.
I found Brooks McMullin and two others, already well into their work day, grooming the grounds before I had even finished my coffee. McMullin co-founded the park with Courtney Knudson and Mark Featherstone.
“Traveling up through Whistler, we found that there were several of these bike parks being built in beautiful places and [he and Knudson] wondered why couldn’t Tahoe have something like this,” Brooks said, adding his inspiration behind the evolution of the park was “seeing everyone out there, every day having fun.”
On May 27 and 28, Truckee Bike Park is hosting the Little Big Bike Festival, a fundraising event for the park. There will be skills clinics, races, jumps and jams both days for all ages (see Events in this issue for details). For more information, visit truckeebikepark.org.
Bijou Bike Park
If you find yourself in South Lake Tahoe, be sure to ride over to the Bijou Bike Park. It offers terrain for children and adults alike, a BMX racetrack, several slope-style lines with smooth jumps and prefabricated wooden features. There’s a pump track, as well as a strider bike area for young kids. The park team is already in full swing building and hosting community-park maintenance days. Bring gloves and a shovel and help get the park tuned up for the season. You can find out more and keep up to date with the latest schedule at bijoubikepark.org.
The Biggest Little Bike Park
Nestled in the desert sage high above Reno is a somewhat hidden, hand-built wonderland that took more than a decade to make. The Biggest Little Bike Park is adjacent to Sun Valley Regional Park and hosts a maze of tracks that weave their way down and around the desolate hillside. Fully funded and made possible by the hard work of local riders, the park is always improving and expanding. Stay connected with the latest news and information about the park at facebook.com/biggestlittlebikepark.
Incline Bike Project
There are currently two other parks in the area well into their planning stages, the first of which is slated to be built by the recreation center in Incline Village. The park has already had its build site and proposal approved and has received $20,000 for planning and another $50,000 for construction. The project is expected to get under way this year. To get involved and stay up to date with the process, visit inclinebikeproject.com.
From golf course to bike park
Work is also beginning at the 200-acre site of the old Northgate Golf Course in Northwest Reno. Plans are set in motion to transform the former golf course into a city park for the public, eventually featuring a system of bike trails for all skill levels, as well as pump tracks and cyclo-cross courses. For more information, visit tamba.org/sierra-vista-park-reno.
With beautiful weather on the horizon, it’s a great time to grab a bike and roll around in the park.