While attending the Mountain Bike Festival in 2011, Peekskill Councilman Andrew Torres took the opportunity to meet with avid bicylists and ask them how to make Peekskill an even more attractive biking destination. He then lead discussions with the Westchester Mountain Biking Association, who offered to help the City of Peekskill build a pump track in the area.
A pump track is a continuous dirt loop of rollers and in-sloped turns on which bikers of all levels and ages can ride. Advanced cyclists do not even have to peddle on the trails, but use their upper and lower body strength to pump their bike throughout the course. Thus, the track is appropriately named.
"I would like the pump track to go through," Torres said. "It would give families something to do during hard economic times." Torres also emphasized the importance of providing fun family activities to help curb childhood obesity and promote physical fitness.
The council agreed that because Blue Mountain is already a well known and popular biking destination, a pump track would attract even more visitors to the area. They talked about leading marketing efforts that would promote the track and "spending a day in Peekskill," by eating lunch and shopping downtown.
Bicyclists will travel 50 to 100 miles to ride a pump track, City Planner Jean Friedman explained to the city council at its Feb. 14 work session. Friedman pointed out the track can be used by all skill levels, including children, is a good work out and presents a family-friendly and positive fitness activity.
She also explained that a number of local volunteers from the WMBA, who are anxious to have a track in the city, are eager to provide free labor and work on the project. The city would most likely need to budget about $5,000 from the Gap Fund and would receive about $5,000 worth of volunteer labor and would apply for a $10,000 grant for the project.
The track would be about 40 by 60 or 50 by 80 feet and the city is hoping to build it somewhere in Depew or Blue Mountain.
The next closest pump tracks in the area are in Inwood, Queens and New Jersey.
The council member were very supportive of the track. (Mayor Mary Foster and Councilman Don Bennet, and Councilman Andrew Torres were absent that night, but expressed support for the project at the next Council meeting on Feb. 22. Torres was absent due to a death in his immediate family.)
The council directed city staff to move forward with applying for the grant and other aspects of the project.
*Editor's Note: This article has been expanded to include more accurate information on how the idea of a pump track was brought to the City council (which was through Councilman Andrew Torres). The article has also been adjusted to clarify that all councilmembers and the mayor is supportive of the project.
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