Fife’s first pump track will soon be unveiled at the Gallatown Bike Hub in Kirkcaldy early this year.
The £72,000 installation, which has been completely custom made by renowned trail builder Rick Allsop, was completed in six weeks and is in the final stages of bedding in and surfacing work before it opens to the public.
The Bike Hub is located at the former Gallatown Park Bowling Club which closed its doors in 2017 .
A pump track is a circuit of rollers (smooth mounds), berms (banked corners) and features designed to be ridden by riders generating momentum by up and down body movements, instead of pedaling or pushing.
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The tracks were originally designed for the mountain bike and BMX scene, but can also be used by skateboard and scooter enthusiasts.
Pump tracks are relatively simple to use, and cater to a wide variety of rider skill levels.
As well as two interconnecting pump tracks, the facility at Gallatown will also include a flow track and a trials course with large boulders, cable reels and other obstacles for budding Danny MacAskill’s to hone their skills on.
Shuggy Hughes, community development worker with the Kirkcaldy YMCA said that the track has been a dream six years in the making.
He said: “We took a group up to the bike tracks at Comrie Croft in Perthshire six years ago when they opened up their skills track and their pump track. Everyone in the group fell in love with them.
“Quite a few of the young people on the trip said how great would it be if we could have a pump track at the unused bowling green.
“It just so happened that Rick Allsop was at Comrie Croft working on the trails there.
“We chatted away to him and mentioned the land and he said that it sounded bonkers but he loved the idea and said he would build the track for us.”
Shuggy and his team set about raising the funds to turn that dream into reality.
He said: “We secured funding for the track at the end of 2016.
“Fife Environment Trust gave us £47,000, Fife Council £20,000 and we managed to raise £5000 ourselves.
“It sounds like a lot of money, but in reality, we have created this track for a fraction of the cost of other similar places.
“The track at Wishaw Hill cost £1.2 million and Skelf in Dumbiedykes, Edinburgh, was just shy of £1 million.
“When you think about it, it’s not a lot of money for an amazing asset in the heart of Fife’s most deprived community.”
Martin Forbes (31) from the Gallatown has been volunteering at the Bike Hub for the past four years and is excited at the possibilities for the area now that the track is close to completion.
He said: “The pump track is great for the Gallatown area.
“There is a lot of interest in it, and I can tell that there will be a lot of people wanting to come and use it.
“We were really busy over the summer last year with our bike spraying classes and maintenance classes, and we are expecting to be even busier this year.”
Keiran Smith (15) who also volunteers at the Hub and has recently completed a City and Guilds course in cycle mechanics spends most of his free time at the Hub.
Keiran said: “I could live at the pump track.
“I have lost count of the amount of times I have been round it testing it out – I can’t wait for it to be completely finished.”
He added: “My favourite part of the track is where it changes from the beginner part to the expert part. It’s great fun.”
Shuggy adds that without the support of the Gallatown Park Bowling Club and the Kirkcaldy YMCA, the Bike Hub and the pump track might never have happened.
“They went out on a limb to let us start the Bike Hub here in 2012,” he said.
“At the time they weren’t that enthusiastic about loads of kids running about at the bowling green.
“They took a risk in letting us start the hub, and without their help and support all this good work that has been done wouldn’t be here.
“Kirkcaldy YMCA have been also hugely supportive, as have local people and organisations.”
The pump track is just the beginning of a great year for the Hub as Shuggy and his team are currently working with Viewforth High School to have bike mechanics, cycling and trail maintenance added as part of the curriculum, as the Hub now delivers City & Guilds training in cycle mechanics.