No one is more excited about the new Esposito Park Pump Track than Andre Riopel, “wow! this is so much!..the work was so hard and it’s so good!” Riopel said after taking his first ride on the track.
Riopel and Dean Greenwood were instrumental in building the pump track, a dream of Riopel’s for about seven years. “This is incredible, this is a jewel in our crown in Sault Ste. Marie”
And the Sault now has bragging rights for the largest asphalt pump track in Canada.
Measuring 115 metres by 32 metres. Riopel says the competitive track was designed for all age levels .”I wish I had one of these when I was five-years-old, I’d be a good bike rider by now” laughed Riopel. “What I really like about this is the fact how quickly the kid’s progress to more challenging parts of the track and the track is actually a teacher , it teaches you how to ride a bike”
The pump track actually came out of a failed plan for a gravity park originally set for Finn Hill. When that plan met opposition from near-by residents, the City identified six other locations for a progressive park. Esposito Park was the park selected due to its proximity to the hub trail, downtown and the new Gore Street revitalization area.
Riopel himself invested his own money in the track as well as a friend of his, Dale Harrison, originally from Sault Ste. Marie who now lives in Vancouver. Harrison was a provincial cycling champion in his teens.
Riopel says the Pump Track isn’t just about having fun but also learning new skills and solving them by learning with others while at the same time being physically active.
The park was officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony and words from Mayor Christian Provenzano . On-hand demos, and lots of kids trying out the new track before stormy weather moved in.
The pump track was created by private and public funding partners at a cost of over $500,000