Des Moines cyclists fundraise for indoor BMX park
A group of local cycling advocates are working to bring a "world-class" public indoor BMX bike race track and dirt jump park to West Des Moines.
Why it matters: Our area is already known for cycling trails that attract riders nationwide.
- Bobby Kennedy, a member of West Des Moines' Bicycle Advisory Commission and one of the project leads, says an indoor park would further elevate the area's cycling scene while also offering wintertime activities.
Details: BMX bikes are smaller and used for performing tricks, racing and off-road riding.
- They're popular amongst kids, and the sport is also rapidly growing — BMX became an official Olympic sport in 2019.
State of play: When Kennedy moved to Des Moines, he noticed that while there are outdoor places like Ewing Park for riders, there's nowhere to ride BMX during the winter.
Between the lines: Kennedy and several groups like Iowa Central BMX are raising $40K to conduct a feasibility study for how to build something similar here.
- Through discussions with West Des Moines, Kennedy says they've identified land near the RecPlex as a potential spot.
- The feasibility study would explore building an indoor venue that includes a race track, pump track and a jump line, as well as a bike shop and concessions.
What they're saying: Like many in Des Moines, John Lickteig, Iowa Central BMX's board president, is an avid road cyclist.
- But after going to an "adventure park" in Colorado in 2020, his son got into BMX riding and has been racing at Ewing Park ever since.
- The closest track for him to go in the winter is more than four hours away north of Minneapolis — a challenge that keeps him from training year-round.
- "You're teaching kids skills they're going to use the rest of their lives," Lickteig tells Axios. "Next thing you know, you're riding RAGBRAI 30 years later."
What they're saying: West Des Moines needs the results of the study, but "we're always open and intrigued by these facilities that … would add something new to the area," Ryan Penning, WDM Parks and Rec director, tells Axios.
What's next: The group is fundraising for the study and is accepting donations through Iowa Central BMX.
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