Several youth from New Hope Church in East Hamilton helped to make Hamilton a safer place to bike. On August 29th, the new Gage Bike Park was officially opened. It is the first bike track in the city of Hamilton.
New Hope members Brett Bailey, David Breitwieser, Isaac Neven, and Frieda Sinclair, along with members of their Crown Point neighbourhood youth council, came up with the idea of building a BMX-style bike park in Gage Park. They first pitched the idea to Hamilton City Council in April 2014. After the project received unanimous support from city council, they followed the project along each step and hurdle in the process until it was complete.
Neven and Bailey were both involved with Bikes for Mike, an organization that has given over 1,000 bikes, helmets, and locks to children in Hamilton in the past four years. Since bikes are not allowed in city skate parks, there was no safe place to ride BMX-style.
Gage Bike Park will be a two-year pilot project. Its success will determine whether more spaces like this are built in other city parks.
"This park represents a grassroots movement. It really sets an example that if you have an idea, it can be done," said Meghan Stewart, project manager for Gage Bike Park. City Councillor Matthew Green commended the youth for their leadership on this project. During the opening ceremony, Green pointed out that this bike park is about more than a pump track. It is about building community.
Frieda Sinclair, a member of New Hope Church, worked behind the scenes over the past year-and-a-half. Seeing so many riders enjoying the track is more exciting than she could have imagined.