Letters to the Editor

Mountain bikers need a place on Island

Mountain bikers need a place on the Island, too.

Several national studies show a rise in the popularity of off-road cycling over the past 15 to 20 years. A 2006 study by the Outdoor Industry Association says that over 50 million mountain bikers and other off-road cyclists live in the United States, with the western states boasting the highest percentage. A recent study from the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) indicates that nearly one in five Americans rides a mountain bike. In 2005, a pro-parks levy helped to fund the Colonnade in Seattle — an urban bike park located under the I-5 freeway near Capitol Hill.

Mountain biking and dirt jumping are growing sports, but are still very new and somewhat unknown to the general public. Dirt jumping refers to the practice of riding bikes over purposely-shaped mounds of dirt or soil and becoming airborne.

All other sports have their own facilities on the Island. For example, the new PEAK facility is primarily for ball sports, and the skateboard park for skateboarders. Bikers do not have anywhere to practice their sport on Mercer Island.

We want to create a new area for these kinds of bikers to ride and practice their sport in Mercerdale Park. The park would include jumps for both beginning and experienced riders. This would be perfect for children looking to get into this sport as well as older riders improving their skills. In addition, families with both skateboarders and bike riders could have one area to watch their kids. An area for bikes would be a great way for all ages to get exercise and have fun.

Riley Pepple

Lewis Radow

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