Special to Peace Arch News
Build it and they will come. Or in this case, rebuild it.
When the South Surrey Bike Park launched in 1999, it stoked the fire of every trail-riding, dirt-encrusted, off-road cyclist in the district.
Yet much like the facility itself, that passion eroded over the next decade.
Seems jumps and trails and even a cool concept tend to fade away without a ton of hard work and a decent chunk of change. By the time 2010 rolled around, the park – particularly its dirt-jumping component – had lost some of its former glory.
But as of this weekend, that is about to change. And it took a convergence of events to make it happen.
First, from the wilds of Whistler came a rider by the name of Cory Derpak.
Born and raised in a region where mountain-bike season pauses only for ski season, Derpak had chosen the Semiahmoo Peninsula as a new base for his excavation business, ESP Enterprises.
But once a rider always a rider, and Derpak – a decorated veteran of both the dirt-jumping and “slopestyle” pro circuits – soon made his way to the park.
Like others before him, he was not blown away.
However, unlike many, Derpak was ready to dig in. Literally. A guy with earth-moving equipment and an intimate knowledge of jump tracks can do that.
Derpak approached Peninsula Cycles, where he found a sympathetic ear in sales manager Simon Quinn-Sears. Well-known in local cycling circles, Quinn-Sears had seen the scene tail off and was equally ready to right the ship.
Meanwhile across town, changes were afoot at SORCE (Surrey Off-Road Cycling Enthusiasts).
A volunteer organization catering to the interest of the local biking fraternity, SORCE had long been an advocate for better biking amenities on the Peninsula. But it was also under SORCE’s stewardship that the South Surrey Bike Park had lost some of its shine.
Enter Dale Tiessen, a marketing exec who had just taken the reins as new SORCE president. Tiessen had a similar strategy: to update the park and to prioritize a massive renovation of the decaying dirt-jump circuit that would see it become the premier facility in the Lower Mainland.
One thing was certain, the original all-ages philosophy would remain. The rebuild, if realized, would test the skills of pro riders and be ready to host pro events, and it would also include areas where newbies could learn the ropes.
Diagrams were drawn, strategies formalized and discussions engaged with the City of Surrey, upon whose land the park resides.
Ultimately, Tiessen says, the city “really stepped up” both financially and practically.
The physical transformation has been nothing short of striking. Taken down to the ground and fully rebuilt by Derpak, an assortment of his company’s earth-moving monsters and a host of SORCE volunteers, the all-new dirt jump circuit now features five distinct zones: A “pump track” (essentially a dirt jumping/BMX hybird); three increasingly challenging dirt-jump lines; and a wall ride component where only the fearless few dare to tread.
All of the above comes to fruition on Saturday, Sept. 3, with the facility’s grand reopening.
It’ll be a killer event, says Quinn-Sears, complete with a DJ and sound system, a Peninsula Cycles bike giveaway, Spy Optics sunglass giveaway and burgers from Uli’s Restaurant. Festivities get underway at 11 a.m. sharp, and Quinn-Sears suggests interested parties be prompt – the reopening may be a party atmosphere, but it’s also a chance for everyone to strut their stuff on the slick new course.
You’ll find the South Surrey Bike Park on the western border of South Surrey Athletic Park (14600 – 20 Ave.), near the tennis courts..
For more information, check out www.sorcebikeclub.org