A once-underground dirt jump park has become a popular public gathering place for extreme bike enthusiasts.
Fitzroy's Rotoz Dirt Jump Park at Lake Rotomanu was created by Che Evans, of New Plymouth, and his friends about 20 years ago because they wanted a place where they could do dirt jumps, but none were available.
"So we had to build our own," Evans said.
In the past five years the park, working alongside the New Plymouth Mountain Bike Club, started opening its doors to the public.
"Before it was pretty underground. Just a bunch of boys having fun," Evans said.
It now attracts up to 30 cyclists, mostly 15-year-olds to 20-year-olds, on any given weekend.
Evans said the New Plymouth District Council's push to get people into mountain biking and cycling were reasons behind the increased interest in the sport.
The park now has 40 different jumps but only had one available when it first started.
"We got bored, and we built two jumps, and then we got bored again, so we made the two jumps bigger, and we made a third, and so on and so on," Evans said.
The "cool thing" about the dirt jump park was that it was free for users.
"It's a community park. I don't know if there's a free community jump park that runs at the level of ours in New Zealand," he said.
The park has "bigger, scarier and more difficult" ramps for experienced riders, and work is under way to get a learners' area ready, with "baby-to-medium jumps".
Evans hopes to have the learners' area completed this summer. He is calling for volunteers or sponsors to help get it running. He also has plans of organising community events and competitions in the future.
"It'll be awesome to think in another 10 years down the line, it could be quite a big event," Evans said.
- Taranaki Daily News
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