By Alex Smith
BIKE ENTHUSIASTS in Leeds have been treated to an early Christmas present – a new bike park has opened in Middleton.
The facility occupies the site of the former Middleton Park Golf Course. It includes a wide range of tracks, from graded mountain bike trails to BMX pump tracks, whilst a café fills the space of the former golf clubhouse.
Leeds Urban Bike Park, which opened on December 1st, has been funded by British Cycling, Leeds City Council and Sport England, and aims to cater to people of all ages and abilities.
Jeremy Hayes, founder of Cycle Pathway Community Interest Company, the park’s operators, said: “It’s been crazy. We’ve had thousands of people here, it’s been great, and it’s been such a mixture of people.
“We’ve had two year-olds on balance bikes riding on the pump track being followed by a 50-year old guy on a £5,000 downhill bike, and then kids from over the estate have always been coming here over the last 18 months when we’ve been building this.
“So it’s been very positive.”
The park has proven to be very popular with people of all ages and backgrounds.
Gary Butterfield, 52, Middleton, said: “I used to ride around the woods before all of this was built. Over jumps made by every Tom, Dick and Harry but this is a totally on a different level.
“There’s loads of people here, this last weekend was superb, and it was absolutely packed. My son works here too, it’s his first job. So as a bonus it’s providing local jobs as well.”
Further development of the park is expected in the near future, as phases two and three promise to bring an even wider array of facilities.
Jonny Clay, British Cycling’s director of cycling, said: “The completion of phase one of work on the Leeds Urban Bike Park is a very exciting milestone.
“One of the many reasons for cycling’s growth in popularity in recent years is the diverse range of ways in which people can enjoy riding their bike, be that recreationally, for transportation or competitively.”