Cycling club pumped about its new track plans
A pump track within the existing velodrome would attract new converts to the sportMark Phillips
BRUNSWICK Cycling Club is pedaling ahead with ambitious plans for a world-class pump track within the infield of the velodrome on the banks of Merri Creek.
The $1 million-plus pump track would be one of the largest in Australia and would be the most significant upgrade of cycling facilities at the velodrome since it opened in 1956.
The project would see an unused grassy oval shaped area of slightly under one hectare inside the velodrome track converted to a pump track for BMX and mountain bike cyclists, skateboarders and scooter riders.
Pump tracks are man-made asphalt circuits that replicate the bumps and curves of a bush track to produce spectacular action.
Riders use their arms and legs to develop the momentum to speed up and down ramps and dips, often jumping through the air, in a race against time.
Through funding from Merri-bek Council, Brunswick Cycling Club has released concept plans for the pump track which would be divided into three zones for different levels of skill and experience.
Swiss-based Velosolutions would be contracted to design and build the track.
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Brunswick Cycling Club President Tony Maughan said the project had been in the works since 2020 and subject to approvals and funding, could get underway within the next 12 months.
“This is a rare opportunity to grow demand for cycling and to make better use of a grossly under-utilised space in the middle of the velodrome,” he said.
The Brunswick Velodrome was opened in 1956, the year of the Melbourne Olympics. Prior to its construction, Brunswick Cycling Club had held its events on a gravel track at nearby Allard Park.
The velodrome has been resurfaced once since then and apart from the construction of club rooms, the pump track would be the largest upgrade it has undergone in its history.
The entire project would cost more than $1 million, which Mr Maughan said would require funding from local, state and federal governments.
He said the investment would deliver a major asset that would be available for use by the entire community and enhance the velodrome.
In years to come, Brunswick’s road and track cycling teams could be expanded to also include a pump track team, Mr Maughan said.
The concept plans show three separate zones, with a main all-wheels pump track that would be about 1800 square metres in area, and a 250 square metre jump line for beginner and intermediate cyclists in the first zone.
There would be a central area for training and teaching, a jump ramp and landing air bag, a pump track for novice riders on balance bikes, and the third zone would include several sand pits and turf mounds for cyclocross and mountain bike skills events.
An underground tunnel would allow access to the pump track areas without disturbing track cycling on the velodrome.
Viv Faithfull, director and design manager of Velosolutions in Australia, said the Brunswick track would be one of the largest and most advanced in Australia.
He said pump tracks were hugely popular in Europe and North America – there are 500 tracks in the UK alone – and Australia had a lot of catching up to do.
“[The sport] is bit like the skate park wave was 20 years ago,” he said.
In metropolitan Melbourne, Velosolutions is developing a track in the City of Stonington, but the Brunswick track would have special significance as the company is based near the corner of Lygon Street and Glenlyon Road.
“This track here would be big enough to hold major events,” Mr Faithfull said.
“From the club’s point of view it’s about getting more people riding a wider range of bikes and getting excited about them and then moving onto track cycling. I think that’s a brilliant strategy to expand.”
Mr Maughan said the Brunswick pump track would be freely accessible and available for community use all year round, apart from when the cycling club was hosting major events.
“I can almost guarantee you that if the pump track was built now, the kids while waiting for the next track cycling event will have brought their BMX bikes and be using the pump track,” he said.
“It’s another opportunity and facility for kids to ride bikes.
“We would hope this is a pathway into the broader cycling community, but that’s an ancillary benefit rather than our core aim.”
With about 480 members, a third of them juniors, the Brunswick Cycling Club is one of the largest in Australia.
The club is a beacon for junior cyclists across Melbourne, and its recent alumni include the back-to-back Australian road racing champion Luke Plapp, who rides professionally with the Ineos Grenadiers team, and Sarah Gigante, a member of the Spanish-owned Movistar Team.