Locals: Part 3 | Santa Cruz


Created by Satchel Cronk

The Santa Cruz mountain biking scene is a bit oxymoronic; richly local yet famous the world ‘round. Those riders who call this paradisiacal wooded enclave home enjoy not only a sensational spider web of redwood singletrack, but a community that is all about milking every bit of stoke from the ride; before, during and after. Giro Sport Design takes you into the world of bikes, beers, and burritos with Locals, Part 3.

Sculpture and Smiles

Grown men, little kids and a dog. BMX bikes, hardtails, 6-inch full squish machines and maybe a banana-seat beach chopper or two. That’s not the start of a bad joke, but a quick survey of the cast of characters and machines cruising this corner of Harvey West Park on a warm Tuesday evening in July. While kids kick soccer balls and learn to swim at the bottom of the hill, riders and bikes of all ages, shapes and sizes gather at the edge of the towering redwood forest that expands up it.

They’re here to ride the Harvey West Pumptrack, a collaboration between the City of Santa Cruz and its aptly named dirt cycling advocacy group, Mountain Bikes of Santa Cruz (MBOSC). The two groups worked closely with each other to design, build, maintain and share the costs of the sprawling pumptrack, which opened in 2016. This corner of the park used to be a hangout for a more seedy cast of characters, but the opening of the pumptrack brought smileage up and sketchiness down, even if the hip at the back does see its fair share of sketchy mid-air moments. But hey, unintentional no-footers are how you learn superman seat grabs, right?

Band of Local Misfits
Band of Local Misfits
Band of Local Misfits

But Wait, There’s More

The best part about this ‘pumptrack’ is that it’s a lot more than just a pumptrack. Yes, there’s a winding mini-labrynth of rollers and berms occupying the center of the zone. But around the outside sits a gravity-driven run filled with jumps, rollers, a huge berm and plenty of opportunity for speed and creativity. A beginner rider can roll through it all and get a feel for the features, and an advanced rider can spend hours finessing the same line. A BMX’er can cruise the line and drop some floaty tech, while someone on a full-on mountain bike can scrub hard over the smaller stuff and then dump big ‘ol moto whips on the big lip. Oh and it’s Santa Cruz, so don’t feel bad if the kid flying sideways yanking the steeze throttle is twelve years old. It’s a unique spot, with progression and fun for everyone built right into it.

Not only did the City and MBOSC build some finely crafted recreational dirt mounds, they helped build a community. They crafted an incubator for talent on two wheels. And, they sculpted a lot of smiles.

Next time you’re in Santa Cruz and just have a short bit of time to hop on your bike, or you’re looking for a mellow rest day between mega-rides in the redwoods, check out the park.

Thanks for tuning into Locals, as we’ve taken you on a ride among some of the best Santa Cruz has to offer. If you missed anything, you can find the earlier editions here:

Locals – Part 1
Locals – Part 2

At Fault