let me tell you a story from my personal experience.
When I was 10 years old, me and my friends from my neighbourhood have built a wooden ramp. “Who can jump the furthest?” were the words every time we have put the ramp out on the street.
Each of us was a proud owner of a BMX, mine was red. I always represented this color, but not in a sense of fighting capabilities, but in a sense of bruised and bloody knees.
These red knees did not end at my age of 10, but they carried on towards my thirties.
I’ve realized that they played an essential role in my fight towards my goals in life for which I am really grateful.
Every time I fell of my bike I’ve realized that I have come to the edge of my current abilities. I've always looked back to see what I need to fix for further progress. Yes, sometimes the pain was unbearable, but I always managed to get my but up and tried again.
And there was 2004. It happened. I crashed and injured muscle tissue on my left leg. Pain just did not want to go away. And it took months to recover. I felt sorry for myself.
At that time, I’ve realized how a career of a cyclist can end up in an instant and I started to question myself: "What is the meaning of all I am doing?"
Then it flashed me. I got a vision.
In my mind I’ve returned back in time when I hang out with my buddies from my neighbourhood. It came to mind that moment when we’ve put out that wooden ramp and enjoyed it with all our hearts. We were proud of our friendship affiliation and simply felt joyful about the things what love to do – ride our bikes.
At that moment I realized what my mission was. Every kid in town or village should experience pure joy and affiliation at things they are passionate about.
It did not take long, when in 2006 we’ve opened a bike park in the capital city of Ljubljana.
I have finally accomplished my mission. More than 100 young cyclists have visited our park every day since the opening. Community was growing, new cyclists were born and joyful faces were found everywhere.
Bruised and bloody knees were a common scene at the park! What a joy. It was unforgettable.
But I was not completely happy. I wanted more.
As cycling has evolved, has also the infrastructure. In 2008 I’ve read an article of an American cyclist and trainer Lee McCormack. He fascinated me with the idea of building a small, but intensive cycling track called pump track.
After a thorough study of his literature and finally riding it (we have built one in our bike park), I’ve realized that pump tracks contain all the aspects I was pushing for.
Today, in the absence of our time, we are more and more in search of an instant physical recreation. That is why proximity and practicality of a recreational infrastructure is a must.
Training of balance, coordination and agility that are essential for every cyclist – from a child to an adult – are the components that are serially integrated into every pump track.
Social component of collaboration and cooperation is activated and youth can finally breathe in a fresh wind of healthy competition and stay in touch with their own progress.
Pump tracks are a summary of the path I have walked in my cycling shoes till today. They represent a modern and concentrated form of fun in progress that young people need today.
Long live red knees!
Founder, Pumptrack Slovenija