VIDEO: Mountain Bikers Try To Save Their 'Little Piece Of Heaven'
A group of cyclists is fighting to keep a dirt-track they built in an east Windsor park from getting flattened by the city.
Terry Pargelen says the winding track they tucked away near the Little River Rd. entrance of the Ganatchio Trail has existed for more than 10 years. Over the past seven years, he says a group of mountain bikers has shaped jumps and cleared brush using nothing more than shovels and buckets.
A group of mountain bikers want to keep a “little piece of heaven” they’ve carved out in east-Windsor park. pic.twitter.com/lFOSxxC7ff— Gord Bacon (@baconAM800) November 13, 2017
"It's just what we do after work, we come out, we dig, we ride our bikes," he says. "It's our little piece of paradise."
He tells AM800 News, most people praise the off-road-oasis they've created when they stumble upon it — it’s off the beaten path — but a few residents told the city it's unsafe and "ruining the area."
Now the city is ready to return the track to nature.
"The city has come back this week and said they're going to knock down the jumps, they have to flatten it for liability reasons," he says. "We don't want that to happen, we would like a place that we can ride."
They shaped the track by hand using rakes, shovels, and buckets to move dirt. pic.twitter.com/I6DI2aon3Q— Gord Bacon (@baconAM800) November 13, 2017
Pargelen says there are skate-parks available in more urban environments, but they just aren't suitable for what mountain bike riders want to do.
"What we want is a spot where we can ride our bikes because we ride mountain bikes, they're bigger than the BMX bikes you'll find at skate parks," says Pargelen. "We built this spot back here, we maintain it, we take the garbage out, everything."
He says hundreds of people use the "little piece of heaven" they've created, some to race their remote control cars. Pargelen hopes some sort of compromise can be reached with the city.
"If they want to come through and check everything out, we can build anything to their standards," he says. "If they think something is unsafe, we're willing to change it and work with them to be able to keep this spot."
Pargelen says Ward 7 Councillor Irek Kusmierczyk plans on visiting the track.
"We're hoping that, at the end of the day, we'll be allowed to keep our spot. It’s not impeding anything, if anything we've made the area a lot better than it was," says Pargelen. "If we can't keep the spot in this area, we'd like to work something out with the city where we could build something somewhere else."
The group hopes Kusmierczyk is willing to plead their case at city council and find a compromise that will save the space they've worked so hard to build.