Bike Tahoe: Truckee Bike Park rolling into fifth year of operation (VIDEO) | SierraSun.com

Bike Tahoe: Truckee Bike Park rolling into fifth year of operation (VIDEO)

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Mike Bochenek hits the lip of a dirt jump at Truckee Bike Park and propels through the air.

Twisting 360 degrees mid-flight, Bochenek softly lands onto a path that stretches to five more jumps — he swiftly curls over them all — before bringing his BMX bike to a stop.

"This," a beaming Bocheneck says, referring to the park, "is what got me into biking."

The 23-year-old Truckee resident is not alone.

Entering its fifth year in operation, Truckee Bike Park, which opened for the season last month, continues to beckon riders young and old, new and experienced, to its expansive cycling hub located off Joerger Drive within Riverview Sports Park.

Each year since it laid its tracks with a 30,000-square-foot pump track back in 2012, the park — which is free to use — has added a new phase of development through the Truckee Bike Park Project.

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Thanks to its intensive fundraising efforts and growing stable of sponsors, the all-volunteer crew of biking enthusiasts has carved out dirt jumps, flow lines, drop zones, a dual slalom course and a cross-country loop.

"We're free and we're funded by people donating, and that's how we've been able to grow," said Brooks McMullin, who, along with Cortney Knudson, started the Truckee Bike Park five years ago. "That's where the community's really helping out, helping us get to the goal of not paying market (value)."

'A LOT OF HEART AND SOUL'

Prior to opening the park, McMullin and Knudson founded the nonprofit "Biking for a Better World," designed to raise funds and promote cycling awareness.

"We're just wanting to learn and figure out how to build a fun and controlled and safe environment," said McMullin. "Pretty much every day we're working on the progression and quality of the bike park. A lot of sweat and tears and elbow grease — we've put a lot of heart and soul into this."

Bocheneck, one of roughly 20 riders roaming Truckee Bike Park on Tuesday afternoon, can tell it's a labor of love for McMullin and company.

"Just to even have that pump track, we'd be lucky," said Bocheneck. "So the fact that we have all these different zones to ride, and they continue to do more and more … just look at the amount of kids that come here when it's about to rain.

"It's huge," he continued. "It gives a place for kids to go after school and do something in a positive way. And get exercise and stay healthy — and a healthy community is what it's all about, right?"

Jenna Shropshire, who was watching her 10-year-old son Sutter ride the pump track on Tuesday, said she's been coming to the park for the past four years and is "blown away" by how much its grown in that span.

"They're always improving, always adding on," Shropshire said. "Every time I come here, it's like … this is free! I feel very grateful that we have this in our backyard, so to speak. We can come after school and use it anytime we want.

"I'm pretty stoked watching the kids out here. I'm like, 'You guys are going to be ridiculous riders.'"

ONTO THE NEXT PHASE

Soon, those young riders, along with everyone else rolling through the park, will be able to ramp up their skills even more.

On Monday, the Truckee Bike Park Project broke ground on Phase 5 of its development. This, McMullin said, will consist of two dirt jump lines and two berm zone lines with small drops that will connect with the cross country loop, giving beginners and those with cross country bikes the ability to segue into the park.

The project is currently $10,000 away from funding all of Phase 5, said McMullin, adding "this phase means a lot to us."

Visit gofundme.com and search "Truckee Bike Park: Phase 5" to make an online donation.

The Little Big festival

On Saturday, May 28, “The Little Big: A Ridestyle Festival For All” will be held as a fundraiser for the Truckee Big Park Project.

The annual festival will include a women’s bike skills clinic ($165); a pro dual slalom race ($35); an amateur dual slalom race ($25); a kids pump track jam ($20 donation); and a jump jam for men and women ($25).

All proceeds will benefit the Truckee Bike Park.

Additionally, The Little Big will include a live DJ, industry demos and food trucks.

To register, visit truckeebikepark.org. For more information, contact Brooks McMullin at 530-401-0513.