Anticipation is building in the Columbia Valley cycling community with construction of a new pump track in Radium Hot Springs underway and the May long weekend scheduled as the official opening.

“It’s a skills improvement area,” Columbia Valley Cycling Society president Adrian Bergles said. “It’s designed to handle undulating terrain and bermed corners, and really just allow people to become more solid bike riders and better bike handlers and have some fun doing it as well.”

The pump track, a partnership between the Columbia Valley Cycling Society (CVCS), the Rotary Club of Radium and the Village of Radium (VOR), is located on land donated by the Village of Radium below Rotary Park with an entrance on Foresters Landing road.

“We were originally approached by the Radium Rotary Club who wanted to create a little bit of a jump area for kids,” Bergles said, “so we came up with the idea of doing a pump track.”

More than sixty dumptruck loads of dirt have so far been transported to the site where a two-person CVCS professional trail building crew has been hard at work shaping jumps with the help of an operator running a mini excavator and a bobcat. The crew, comprised of Simon Kessler and Owen Peters, has had a lot of help from volunteer Jamie King while Alex Grandmaison from Rock Works Landscape has been manning the heavy equipment required for the project.

“We’d like to have the pump track operational, maybe not 100 per cent complete, but operational by the May long weekend,” said Bergles.

Designed by Kessler, CVCS’s lead trail builder, the pump track will offer riders of all ages and ability the opportunity to hone their skills and perfect their technique, with an adjacent “grom” loop for kids and beginners.

“It’s not designed to be too intimidating, it’s designed to be open for all levels of riders,” said Bergles. “Obviously, the better rider would probably be able to make it look a little more stylish than a more basic rider.”

The pump track is actually the initial phase of a two-part project that will see phase two follow with extra dirt jumps and a more advanced skills area with raised bridges and structures. The $23,000 budget for phase one is thanks to a $7,500 donation by the Radium Rotary Club with the remainder made up by the VOR.

“It’s amazing that both those groups are so supportive and keen to work with the cycling society and just to promote cycling in the valley,” said Bergles. “It’s tremendous.”

The CVCS is a seven-year-old trail advocacy club with trails strictly on Crown land although the club is hoping to branch out its trail network onto private land where they are invited to do so, Bergles said. New to the local trail network this year is the Kloosifier trail on Toby Bench, the result of a month-long trail building effort in April. Updated maps are available at all local bike stores and both the Radium and Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce.

The next CVCS event is a trail maintenance day on Mt. Swansea on Sunday, May 27. Participants are asked to bring a rake and shovel, as well as their bike and a friend, and to meet at the Swansea parking lot at 9 a.m. Following the hard labour, a barbecue and riding will take place. For more on the CVCS, visit their website at www.columbiavalleycyclingsociety.org.