Dirt World: The East Bay gets its first urban BMX park

RICHMOND — Dennis Hoskins II was looking for a place to ride.

The former bike messenger and Richmond resident had gotten his son, Zakell, into bicycling and wanted to take him to dirt tracks to practice mountain biking and BMX skills. But, the closest ones in Napa, Novato and Pleasanton were all hour-long drives. So, he and Zakell’s mom, Jasmin Malabed, decided to build a track of their own.

That started a nearly four-year journey culminating this week in the opening of Dirt World, the Bay Area’s only urban BMX park accessible by BART. Nestled between 20th and 21st streets along the Richmond Greenway Trail, the 2.1-acre park features jumps for BMX riders of varying experience levels, a half-pipe, a mountain biking skills and race course, and a pump track — a circuit of banked turns and bumps meant to be ridden using the momentum of the bike against the trail — along with an outdoor seating area and gathering spaces.

Eventually, it’ll include a classroom space and one day become the official training ground for a BMX racing team out of Richmond, serving as a complement to the city’s high school mountain biking team, which this year completed its first season, Hoskins said.

“When you’re here, you kind of forget where you are,” Hoskins said, looking out over the brown-field site that’s now been repopulated with non-toxic dirt and shaped into a hilly expanse. Mount Tamalpais, the birthplace of modern mountain biking, rises in the distance behind it. “We had to completely change the face of what was going on here.”

It wasn’t easy.

Hoskins and Malabed first got started in 2015, helping lead the construction of a pump track at Richmond’s John F. Kennedy Park. The small skills park was great for their sons, now aged 9 and 7, and teenage daughter, to learn …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


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