Pumping joy into a community: Leavenworth’s Bicycle Pump Track
Photo courtesy of Blue Lotus Foundation
Nestled in the beautiful Cascade Mountains of central Washington, the Bavarian-style village of Leavenworth is best known for its European-style picturesque views and, of course, its annual Oktoberfest. If you’re headed there this fall to celebrate the changing of the seasons, there’s a hidden gem that should top your to-do list: the Leavenworth Pump Track.
A pump track is a system of berms and rollers that form a continuous dirt or paved loop. On a pump track, riders move the bike and generate momentum by pumping their arms and legs, rather than relying on steady pedaling. According to the Blue Lotus Foundation, the organization behind the track’s creation, “pump tracks help build bike handling skills, are a good workout, and most importantly are just plain fun for young and old alike.” Judging by the community turnout, just plain fun is being had by a lot of folks in Leavenworth.
“The popularity of the pump track was instant. Within a week of completion, parents were laughing at how quickly homework and chores were finished so that their kids could head down to the park,” said Angela Harrison, Blue Lotus Foundation board member.
Completed in 2016, the Leavenworth Pump Track was a joint effort from the Blue Lotus Foundation, Swiss-based Velosolutions, the City of Leavenworth and much of the surrounding community to honor the memory of mother, wife and local outdoor enthusiast Ellie Booher. The pump track gave her husband, Chris, and their two sons a lasting memorial, along with countless locals and tourists who come to Leavenworth year round.
Blue Lotus Foundation with Velosolutions, a company that specializes in asphalt pump tracks, helped bring the track to life in just under a year. As one of few pump tracks of its size and magnitude in the United States (another notable track designed and built by Velosolutions is in Brooklyn, NY), the Leavenworth Pump Track was truly a labor of love from the local community.
“It was so nice how much everyone wanted this for the community,” said Harrison. “From park signage to dump trucks filled with dirt, lot of businesses came forward to help.”
Before its official opening in 2016, the track was even tested and given the stamp of approval from professional BMX and pump track experts Jill Kitner and her husband, who live nearby. Now, the pump track is routinely frequented by kids and families, young and old.
The Leavenworth Pump Track is a wonderful example of how bicycling can truly bring a community together. With so many volunteer hands at work, the track came together swiftly as a way to support and celebrate a family through love, community and bicycling. A true hidden gem, the Leavenworth Pump Track is sure to be discovered by the best of bicycling enthusiasts for a long time to come.
For more information about the Leavenworth Pump Track, follow them on Facebook – facebook.com/LeavenworthPumpTrack