If you build it, they will come.

Dozens of children brought their bikes and scooters to the official opening of Whanganui's new Community Bike Park at Springvale Park on Saturday morning.

In perfect sunny conditions, which was a great relief to Sport Whanganui and the many other organisations involved in the park's construction, the youngsters were able to test out the completed tar-sealed senior pump track, the jumping track alongside it, the junior pump track for beginners and the Learn to Ride mini-street area with its working traffic lights.

A birds eye view of the Community Bike Park, overlooking the Learn to Ride streets.
A birds eye view of the Community Bike Park, overlooking the Learn to Ride streets.

The track's designer and builder, Cambridge's internationally respected BMX rider Paul Langlands was delighted with the turnout.

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Showing several of the riders how to use the pump track, Langlands was pleased to discover there are several different ways to race and pull tricks on it effectively, even more than he had initially considered.

"We actually found a few different lines.

"I been down here so much. Now that it's sealed, I noticed a few lines I haven't seen before."

As the two year project has had delays due to weather and the search for more funding, the final load of seal had only been set on the Friday before opening.

However, Langlands said that was also a virtue.

Because he had to keep reshaping parts of the dirt track following wet weather events, the mounds and turns had been at peak levels when the final tar seal was laid, meaning the track can hold that perfect shape for the next 20-30 years.

"It's definitely paid off, it's incredible how much that seal top makes a difference," Langlands said.

"It's not one defined track, it opens up more opportunities [when you ride it]."

The veteran competitor hoped the park will be suitable for children as they grow, progressing from the small tracks to the large one as they gain confidence and learn how to share it with others.

"All from younger ones, to the next step up, to the jumps.

"It's been made from love, rather than a business point of view."

Langlands estimated he has spent between 350-400 hours working on-site to get the park going.

Sport Whanganui's Jodie Brunger said further additions will be made over time, with groups such as the Wanganui Mountain Bike Club talking about adding playground equipment.

The project came together from multiple funding grants and sources - some of the poles on-site are from the wharf in Wellington.

Tartek, through Tristan Teki, put down the tar seal for the senior pump track, with Downers providing the hot mix.

Strong Electrical also contributed to the project, while Wanganui Concrete Contractors won an award for their work on the streets which make up the Learn to Ride area.

Special thanks went to B. Bullock (2009), specifically contracts manager Glen Bullock, for their support throughout the various stages of the project.

Saturday's opening saw a BBQ, vouchers handed out to children on the jump track, and riding demonstrations by Langlands and others.