Marblehead has officially cut a ribbon to inaugurate a new bike park nestled behind the lush, summertime foliage of the Green Street Woods. The grand opening on May 28 marked the culmination of a prolonged, three-year process to site and construct a bike park.
“Today is all about welcoming the community to the Green Street Woods, celebrating its opening and expressing our gratitude,” said Rick Smyers. “People just came out of the woodwork and lent a hand when we announced that we were undertaking this project.”
Fox Duckworth, 11, and his younger brother, Otto, 9, were among the dozens of children and adults who brought the bike park to life. Bikers navigated small bumps known as “rollers,” maneuvered around sharp corners or “berms” and caught air off jumps known as “table tops.”
“We are very excited,” Fox said. “I’m participating in an endurance race in the fall, so now I have a place to come and practice.” He aims to master what he called a ‘bunny hop’ and build confidence when taking larger drops. The boys and their father, Geoff Duckworth, started the Sprocket Rockets, a mountain biking team that competes in the New England Youth Cycling League, which is open to boys and girls in grades 5-12.
The bike park sprawls over approximately two acres, featuring a loop constructed out of dirt and other natural materials. The soil has been firmly compacted to provide stability and durability, mitigating erosion and enhancing safety.
“Phase one construction is complete, but there will always be maintenance that needs to be done,” said Smyers. “There are about four acres that we haven’t touched, and we would like to build more.”
The New England Mountain Bike Association has signed a five-year agreement with the Marblehead Recreation and Parks Department to assist in constructing and maintaining the bike trails. NEMBA also helped secure the necessary insurance.
Volunteer Pat Milner was visibly delighted on Sunday.
“We’ve had days where 20 people showed up full of energy and tools in hand, clearing the existing trail,” Milner shared. “We’ve built a few new trails around the perimeter just to restore it.”
Milner pointed out that mountain biking has been a growing sport for the last 20 to 30 years. Interestingly, mountain biking has become more popular in Marblehead since the pandemic. She noted that not all kids are interested in team sports and emphasized the numerous benefits of biking.
“Mountain biking fosters independence and a love for the outdoors,” she said. “Several studies have shown that young bikers often become conservationists.”
As the grand opening progressed, attendees convened at the highest point of Green Street Woods. In a quick ceremony to mark the official opening of the new bike trail, a red ribbon was cut with oversized scissors.
Interested in getting involved? The Friends of Green Street Woods host ‘build days’ at the bike park. You can reach them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.