Temporary MTB short track set up for Sea Otter Classic.
How cool is this: Bannerman High in Baillieston, Scotland just opened a $65K mountain bike track for students to hone their skills on campus. I don’t know about you but at my high school it was a big deal just to get a 1/4 mile paved jogging track put in around the soccer field. A mountain bike track would have been out of the question in the old days but as the sport gets more participation and mainstream media coverage perhaps we’ll start to see mountain bike tracks popping up in the US…
It’s important to note that a “mountain bike track” isn’t the same thing as a mountain bike trail (in my mind anyway). Generally the term mountain bike track refers to a short loop, generally a half mile or less in length, that can be used for training purposes or for short track mountain bike competitions. The track often has banked turns, small jumps or obstacles, and is generally located in an open area without trees (important for spectator events). Some mountain bike tracks may look similar to BMX tracks but with smaller obstacles and more gradual, sweeping turns.
The whole idea of building mountain bike tracks in urban and suburban areas is a great option in places without the real estate needed to create a full mountain bike trail system. Placing mountain bike tracks in neighborhoods and on campus also opens up the sport to young kids who might not otherwise have access to places to ride off road. They’re even great assets to local riders who want to hone their skills and build endurance without having to schlep to far away trail systems multiple times a week.
Olympic cyclists were on hand for the grand opening of the Bannerman High School mountain bike track and it sounds like the students are already putting the track to good use. Hey IMBA, how about helping us get mountain bike tracks built at high schools in the US?