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Yearning for a Pump Track in Monterey County

Before reading the original post here about pump track dreams, with regard to Toro Park specifically,  see “Toro Park trails at crossroads” by Jim Johnson in the Monterey County Herald.  I am not a mountain biker, so my use of Toro Park has been limited to hiking, not biking, its trails. I urge anyone who bikes Toro Park’s trails to educate yourself and make sure to: (1) Only bike trails legally designated for biking. (2) If biking trails shared by hikers or equestrians, be respectful and bike polite. Remember this is shared use! Scroll down National Interscholastic Cycling Association’s “SlowmoBro” page and review the bullet points of all four sections. As noted there, “everyone out on the trail is part of one big family.” (3) Carefully follow best practices to protect the land, which you can learn more about from Monterey Off Road Cycling Association, NICA, and other responsible mountain biking organizations. (4) Specific to rain, note the following excerpt from Bicycling Monterey’s rain tips:

  • Be kind to the land. Ride dirt, not mud. Stay off trails until they’ve had a chance to dry up a bit.
  • Contact leadership of Monterey Off Road Cycling Association (MORCAmtb.org) for specific local guidelines about rainy season riding. Read “Why we don’t night ride after rain” too.
  • Fort Ord National Monument, Fort Ord Public Lands, and the Monterey Peninsula include beautiful trails where mountain biking is allowed. Ride only on designated, marked trails. To preserve these trails for future users, please do not use trails when they are wet or muddy. In addition, do not ride or brake on open terrain, and do not cut across switchbacks. Questions? Contact BLM at (831) 394-8314.
  • Rules for Rainy Season Riding (responsible mountain biking) from our Monterey Bay neighbors at Hilltromper Santa Cruz.

Okay, now back to the topic of this post: the dream that many have of a pump track for Monterey County.

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Regarding the dream of having a pump track in Monterey County: Learn what Joey Silva and Darius Rike of Monterey Off Road Cycling Association (MORCA) are proposing to the City of Marina, and what biking Mayor Bruce Delgado of Marina thinks about the idea. Read “Two Marina residents spearhead a proposal to bring a bicycling pump track to the region” by David Schmalz, a July 9, 2015 story in the Monterey County Weekly.

The post below was published on September 1, 2014.

Toro Park, Salinas: BMX, MTB, Road Bikes, and others—Would you like a pump track here?

Did you know? There are local youth  eager for the experience of bike parks, including pump tracks, who do not currently have access to such places.  Some of these, like the boy below, find their only option is to bike at a park actually designated as a skate park, as is this one across from Virginia Rocca Barton elementary school in East Salinas.

East Salinas skate park across from Virginia Rocca Barton schoolLocated nine miles from that skate park at Virginia Rocca Barton School, and thirteen miles from the Monterey Peninsula, Toro Park is under the stewardship of the Monterey County Parks Department. [Update: Via Blanco Road, Locke-Paddon Community Park in Marina is about 14 miles from Virginia Rocca Barton School. Note the idea below of a possible shuttle.]

Toro has long been popular for mountain biking. Recently, Toro was the site of a Little Bellas program for girls ages 7-13. Toro is also the site of the annual Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day hosted by Monterey Off Road Cycling Association (MORCA). Besides being a fun, healthy activity, another goal of TAKMBD is to foster a connection between youth and the natural world around them. Themselves intimately connected to nature, MORCA members’ stewardship of the land is evidenced by trail work at Toro Park, at Fort Ord, and elsewhere. MORCA was also among the diverse coalition who worked for the creation of Fort Ord National Monument.

Some Monterey Off Road Cycling Association members want to increase special biking opportunities for youth and adults here in Monterey County–specifically, at Toro Park.

MORCA wants to provide a pump track that can be enjoyed year-round by locals and visitors to Salinas and the surrounding area. Check out MORCA’s guest post below to learn more.

[Update 10/14/14: See item #7 “Bike Park at Toro” on MORCA’s minutes for both Sept 8 (click here)8 and Oct 6, 2014 regarding the County’s management plans and Master Use Permit.]

IDEA: Bicycling Monterey encourages those who support the idea of a pump track at Toro Park to also think about the possibility of making a shuttle service available, so youth such as those pictured could more easily reach the track. (There is a BMX park–Manzanita Park BMX–11 miles from the skate park pictured, and it’s clear that many youth are unable to make that trip.) You may have heard of Shuttle Smith Adventures in our neighboring Santa Cruz County. Imagine the possibility of a Monterey County shuttle that could transport youth and others, and their bicycles, for a very low cost  from several neighborhood pick-up spots. Investing in supporting youth in the healthy activity of biking could appeal to business sponsors, nonprofits, and others who could make a low-cost shuttle possible.

But first: What is a pump track? Here’s a summary from a New Jersey community that was likewise proposing a pump track for their locale.

As that summary points out, you don’t need a special kind of bike to ride on a pump track.

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Would you like a pump track at Toro Park, Salinas?

Guest post provided by MORCA member K.C.

As fall approaches and the land here gets ready to accept our blood and sweat, MORCA has a new project for which we would like your input. MORCA is proposing to the Monterey County Parks Department that they allow us (MORCA) to build a pump track at Toro Park.

We’ve been discussing this with the county staff for some time and have submitted a formal proposal for the building of a pump track.

What we would like now is input from the larger community about your interest in this project, and if would you be able to volunteer in some fashion. We ask your help in encouraging the parks department’s approval. Our proposal is for a broad-based volunteer group to construct and maintain a pump track inside Toro Park, toward the west end of the lower grassy section. If the proposal is approved, we’ll be scheduling planning meetings to organize the volunteers and get this project built. We’d like to include you!

Thanks for your input.

Please take the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/58S3ZR2

For more information, or if you have questions, go to http://www.morcamtb.org

  1. Rylan Loader says:

    My name is Rylan. I am a local at Toro and I love to build and ride pump tracks. I have a big crew of friends that would be more than willing to help out and build the pumptrack. We have built many, but they have all been torn down. It would be really nice to have an official place to have fun and stay out of trouble.
    Thanks,
    Rylan

  2. marilynch says:

    Hi, Rylan. Thanks for responding. My understanding is that, as of 11/3/14, MORCAns most interested in a pump track wanted to form a committee with a goal of working to create–it is hoped–a “temporary” pump track at Toro for spring 2015. Please get in touch with MORCA directly to see what the current status is, what challenges need to be addressed, and how your skills and enthusiasm for pump tracks may help bring such dreams to life. http://www.morcamtb.org/contact/

    As mentioned above, Toro is under the direction of Monterey County Parks.

    A separate but similar idea is to also do this: Some Salinas city officials are among the many people who recognize the need, and would like more opportunities for local and visiting youth and others to bike. It never hurts to do such things as write letters to city leaders, to let them know you’d love to see appropriate city properties become bike parks. You might write to: Gary Petersen, Director of Public Works and Ray Corpuz, City Manager, at 200 Lincoln Ave, Salinas, CA 93901. You could copy the Salinas City Council members too. http://www.ci.salinas.ca.us/leadership/council.cfm Let them know about your bicycle dreams for Salinas.

    As you indicated, biking is a great way to stay out of trouble. That’s why Psycho Cyclers provided volunteer labor, taking the initiative to do clean up at Natividad Creek Park, where they often play bike polo. http://www.thecalifornian.com/story/news/2014/09/12/looking-chill-salinas-cyclists-create-bike-polo/15486309/

    Where to find them and lots of other things to do: Check out two drop-downs of Bicycling Monterey’s Resources/Los Recursos section–the main resources/bike community page, and the master calendar.

    Thanks for speaking up, and keep us posted on what you’re up to.

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