HAWKENBURY recreation ground in Tunbridge Wells could soon be the site of an innovative new cycling ‘pump track’.
Hawkenbury Village Association (HVA) is seeking backing for the project as part of the legal -framework associated with the Berkeley Homes housing development on Hawkenbury Farm.
Current legislation requires the developer to make financial contributions to improve the local community areas.
The old lawn bowls green at the Hawkenbury recreation ground has been left unused for many years.
The HVA has contacted local residents asking for ideas on how to develop the site using the Berkeley Homes funding.
Keen cyclist Ben Hallett presented a proposal for the construction of the pump track which the HVA has put forward to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s parks team.
A pump track is a continuous -circuit of banked turns interspaced by rollers and other features that can be ridden on a bike without using the pedals.
They are commonly constructed from soil but for longer term applications such as parks a combination of asphalt and soil would open up the potential usage to scooters and skateboards.
Riders create momentum via up-and-down body movements called pumping. Mr Hallett explains: “It gives the user a great work-out, similar to doing lots of squats.”
He adds: “Courses are beginner- friendly, with riders of all ages and skill levels able to safely navigate the undulations.
“As riders advance and acquire control, they flow through the track at higher speeds and learn techniques such as manualing [bringing the front end of the bike up while the rear wheel stays grounded] and jumping.”
Cycling’s popularity has grown exponentially over the last decade, but traffic safety concerns – especially for children – means there is a demand for off-road sites for cyclists.
“This is especially true if you consider that local by-laws within Tunbridge Wells parks actually prohibit these activities unless they are in dedicated areas,” says Mr Hallett.
“Pump tracks are proving to be an increasing popular solution as a safe place for these sports to be practiced in urban areas.
“Investment in a pump track could provide the local community with a facility that covers a very wide-ranging user group from mountain bikes, balance bikes and BMX to scooters, skateboards and roller blades.”
The construction would also provide a unique addition to the Tunbridge Wells sporting landscape.
There is only one other pump track in Kent, which is located in Hawkinge near Folkestone.
The HVA will be promoting events in the recreation ground to gather local support for this proposal and persuade Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to proceed with the scheme.
You can support it by going to the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pumptrack4hawkenbury