- Associated Press - Sunday, April 19, 2015

BROOKINGS, S.D. (AP) - A track designed to help riders develop mountain biking skills is opening this summer at the Dakota Nature Park in Brookings.

The new course, known as a pump park or pump track, will have separate areas for rookie, novice and expert riders who want to test or improve biking skills without pedaling. Riders use their bodies and gravity to move their bikes through the track.

Pete Colson, director of the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department, said the pump park was part of the original master plan for the Dakota Nature Park and is its last major component. The Brookings Register (http://bit.ly/1NVS4LI ) reports the track’s cost of $20,000 will be paid through a $10,000 grant as well as contingency funds. It was designed by an Ohio-based company called Pump Trax USA.

Visitors will be able to rent bikes if they don’t have their own. Colson said visitors could see if they want to get into mountain biking, at least before going through jumps.

“It’s built to keep your wheels on the ground,” Colson said.

Recreation Superintendent Chase Ellis said he hopes the track will be ready by June 1. Ellis said the track could bring in people from across the region. There’s a novice course in Mitchell, he said, but the nearest ones similar in size to the new Brookings track are in Rapid City or the Twin Cities.

The new tracks also allow the recreation department to hold more camps, Ellis said. Last year camps using “striders,” or bikes without pedals for young children, had waiting lists.

“The demand is there,” Ellis said.

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Information from: Brookings Register, http://www.brookingsregister.com/

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