Hawkenbury Pump Track takes another step forward
Following the site visit in August 2018 the HVA has been working with Velosolutions on a design concept for a pump track in Hawkenbury Recreation ground.
The proposed pump track site is north of the floodlit hockey and football pitch. The site was chosen as it is relatively close to the other park facilities and has good access to the main entrances to the recreation ground. It also fits with the proposed expansion of the recreation ground and installation of cycle paths from the new Hollyfields housing development. Details of the site were provided to Velosolutions who then carried out a site survey before completing an initial design.
After several months and several iterations of the design with the HVA the final pump track design can be seen below.
The design considers the constraints within the site which include three large oak trees, emergency access, the location of existing foot paths and the proximity of residents who overlook the track.
The red areas define the buffer zones for the pump track. Around the site boundary there is a 5m buffer. The council tree officer defined ‘Root Protection Areas’ for each tree these can be seen by the large red circles and finally there is a 20m buffer zone to the nearby houses which follows best practice.
A pump track is an off-road recreational cycling facility defined as a closed loop with closely spaced rollers and rolling features with tight, bermed corners. Pump tracks provide a technical learning facility for the users and are considered a place where riders go to relax, ride themselves but also to watch other riders and socialise. A learning rider will initially pedal around the loop, but as their speed and skill increases, they are able to generate speed from the corners and rollers without pedaling, which is the overall concept behind a pump track.
The Hawkenbury track has been designed to be symmetrical with back-to-back corners with interconnecting sections of track. This type of layout is an effective way of making a safe and fun track without compromising the multiple transfer line options. Riders can ride one long loop in its entirety, in parts, or in combined parts. When the track is busy, riders can ride in a continuous loop, without the fear of another rider transferring into their line, as they have right of way. However, when it is less busy, riders have the option for transfers and different line choices when space permits.
Two rest areas have been included at the north western and north eastern ends of the track, as well as smaller areas to congregate on the top of berms. Riders spend a larger proportion of time observing and coaching others than riding themselves, so provision of areas to safely spend time is important. The HVA specified a full asphalt surface for the pump track which ensures erosion processes are kept to a minimum. This specification also allows for a broader user base allowing skateboards, scooters and inline skates to use the facility. An example of a Velosolutions pump track is shown below, the asphalt surface and side batters laid to grass can be seen which is considered to fit in well with the aesthetics of the recreation ground.
The next step for the pump track is an open drop-in session where more details of the pump track design proposal will be presented. In this session there will be an opportunity for members of the HVA, residents of Tunbridge Wells and recreation ground users to ask questions about the pump track to the HVA and Velosolutions.