Sports

Thrills and spills at the Rotary Skateboard and BMX Park

July 31, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

It’s a hot July day with the sun beating down on the hard cement surface that creates the ramps and jumps at the Rotary Skateboard and BMX park in Orangeville. The park is packed.

There is a mix of skateboarders, BMX bikers, and scooter riders taking turns on the ramps. They have a range of experience when it comes to making jumps or sliding along the rails.

It doesn’t matter if it’s your first time out or if you have been riding for years, the park visitors all get a along and share their time on the jumps waiting for their turn.

At 35, John Marks is probably the oldest regular visitor to the park and he is well known among BMX enthusiasts for his skills. He’s a life-long BMX rider.

“It’s called free-style BMX riding,” John said of the sport which combines a variety of moves and stunts at the park on ramps, rails, and jumps. “I’m 35 years old, and I’ve been doing this since I was in grade three. I’ve been doing it so long my body has just adjusted to it.”

John is able to perform some wild moves and stunts at the park. He knows the inherent danger and wears full protective gear.

“It’s freedom, and meeting new people,” He said of why he likes coming out to the park. “If you do a sick trick, someone will cheer you on. If someone does something I like, I’ll back them up and tell them I like it. Everyone gets along here because we’re all doing the thing we love.”

Fellow BMX rider, Devin Crathern, took up the sport after first riding dirt bikes.

“I used to dirt bike and I broke my bike and got a BMX and came here,” Devin said. “I met John Marks and all these guys. That was about six years ago. I kept at it every day and kept practicing and doing my thing.”

Devin’s skills as a BMX rider have allowed him to turn semi-pro and he enters competitions representing a BMX outfit in Vaughan.

“Last year I got hooked up by a shop in Vaughan – Harvester BMX,” Devin explained. “I ride for the BMX shop. I represent their brand. I go to competitions around Ontario.”

Both men said they appreciate the Orangeville park and the way it was designed.

They demonstrated their skills by doing a tandem 180 – a coordinated full reverse flip, launching off a ramp and landing effortless on the top.

While most riders won’t come near that level of skill, they all enjoy getting out there and trying new tricks.

Protective gear is highly recommended. Although not mandatory, most bikers wear a helmet and many wear other protective gear to absorb the shock of landing on a hard surface in case of a mishap.

The Orangeville Rotary Skateboard and BMX park is a well designed facility that offers a place for riders to hone their skills as socialize with others who share a passion for the sport.



         

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