Pumped in Watsonville: Years in the making, county’s biggest bike track opens at Ramsay Park
A new paved pump track opened at Ramsay Park in Watsonville on Tuesday, offering the only all-weather terrain for bike enthusiasts in Santa Cruz County. And bike enthusiasts have already been swarming it.
The city of Watsonville and local group Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz celebrated the grand opening of a new pump track at Ramsay Park in Watsonville on Tuesday.
“It’s the biggest pump track in Santa Cruz County now, and it’s the only officially paved pump track as well,” Nick Calubaquib, parks and community services director for the City of Watsonville said of the circuit of banked turns and rolling sections designed to let cyclists generate momentum by pumping up and down on their bike without use of pedals.
“It’s a really great fit for Ramsay Park which is such a community focal point, that now you’ve got the skatepark, you’ve got the soccer fields, playgrounds, and now this pump track,” said Matt De Young, the executive director of Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz. “ There’s something for the whole family to do.”
Calubaquib said that although Tuesday is the grand opening, people have been using the track ever since construction was finished and the barriers came down on Friday.
“People have been just waiting for those fences to come down,” Calubaquib said. He spent hours there with his own kids this weekend. “There were people of all ages from little toddlers, to grown adults my age riding the track the whole time that we were there.”
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The track was created in partnership between the city of Watsonville and Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBOSC), a local nonprofit. MBOSC brought the idea to the city of Watsonville about five years ago, motivated by input from members and community members, and by the popularity of other pump tracks being built around the county.
Then, about three years ago, the city started working on a master plan for Ramsay park which eventually included the pump track, solidifying the project’s future.
Once it was approved, MBOSC secured funding and then built the track over the last six months.
“Every day after school, a group of kids would show up and ask our crew when the track was done,” De Young said. “It was a clear indication of the need, so we feel really great that we were able to bring such an amazing track to Watsonville.”
The track replaces an older skatepark, and Ramsay Park now has a newer skate facility in a different location. Calubaquib said there is more to come for the Ramsay facilities.
The pump track “marks the beginnings of the actual build out of our master plan at Ramsay Park,” Calubaquib said. “The hope is over the next several years to really invest more dollars into that park in particular, and really make Ramsay Park a hub for recreation [not only] for Watsonville, but also all of South County as well.”
“It’s more than we could ask for — it’s amazing. It’s fast, it’s fun, it’s for all skill levels,” said Anthony Quiroz, who brought is 8-year-old son Jaxon to check out the track and compare it to the other local dirt pump tracks they’ve ridden. “This one is almost like a skatepark because it’s asphalt. The others are all dirt so weather plays a factor. The conditions of the ground, it could be too dry or too dusty. Sometimes you go those and it’s not worth riding. Here it’s kinda just ready to go.”
Contributing: Kevin Painchaud