While traveling to a recent Trail Building School, IMBA Trail Solutions Mark McClure and Shane Wilson were invited to visit the Bikeparkitect HQ in Vsetin, Czech Republic. Arriving in Vsetin we were met by Eric Burgon the owner of Bikeparkitect.
Eric is an ex-pat Canadian who has lived in Czech Republic for nearly 10 years. Following years as a member of Dangerous Dan's Flow Show Eric found himself in Livigno, Italy. He discovered that unlike his native Canada there were very few purpose built mountain bike trails in the area. He made it his mission to develop mountain bike trails and move permanently to Europe. While living in Livigno Eric met a woman named Kristyna, whom he married and followed back to her home of Vsetin in Czech Republic. While starting a family and designing trails, Eric hit upon an idea...a prefabricated pump track that could be assembled in any location and introduce the concept of a pump track without the investment in a permanent facility.
The idea took years to develop into what we see today as the Bikeparkitect Pump Track, various prototypes were produced, working in his spare time in back yards and then later the basement of a school the concept began to take shape...
The Bikeparkitect Pump Track is a state of the art modular, prefabricated, portable design featuring rollers, berms, doubles and even crossovers that allow owners to construct a huge variety of layouts. It is much like piecing together a slot car track or model railway, only on a bigger scale and way more fun! The business is really starting to gain momentum and is now situated in its own fabrication facility. Eric has successfully been able to use local labor and materials sourced from near by suppliers to build his flowy empire.
On arrival at the factory it was obvious we had come to the right place, the two-story unit has a pump track right outside the main entrance, with little encouragement we took to the track and despite night setting in we were able to rail the berms and pump our way around the circuit. The top surface of the pump track is made form a unique fiberglass construction, which gives, grip but is also fast rolling. The hard, smooth surface is suitable for bikes, scooters and skateboards with perfectly sized rollers allowing riders to generate speed quickly and efficiently. As the light faded we pulled off of the track and ventured inside to see how the product is produced.
Raw materials are brought in through one door and completed pump tracks exit via the same method. Wood and fiberglass are stored near to the entrance, ready for the manufacturing process to begin. The wooden base of the sections track are the first item to be produced, a pre-treated wooden sheet is painted to give it extra protection from the weather. Theses are then cut by hand into shape. Using a variety of tools the basic sheets are routed, drilled and fastened on a jig to create the base for each unit. The fiberglass running surface is attached using a form of glue, this bond ensures that the tread is free from fasteners and holes, resulting in a smooth uniform riding surface.
The completed sections are then stockpiled in the warehouse; it was amazing to see big stacks of pumps, rollers and berms piled up to the ceiling. The team had recently completed a large order, which was due to be shipped to Dubai, one of the many locations across the globe that are investing in the Bikeparkitect system.
Eric Burgon and his Bikeparkitect business is proof that sustainable mountain bike trails can be produced and implemented in almost any location, using a combination of clever design, good construction and an understanding of the market Eric has started to create a movement that will grow from strength to strength.
Bikeparkitect has worked hard to develop a dealer network across the globe for more information of where to find your local dealer visit www.bikeparkitect.com look out for more exciting news of new products in the near future.
Many thanks to Eric for taking time out of his busy schedule to show us around and also for the delicious meal, great conversation and excellent Czech beer that evening!