Before hitting the off-road trail at Fountainhead Park or other challenging rides in the area, Springfield bicyclists now have the Brookfield Park
Bicycle Skills Area in Springfield to practice on. Park officials are going to cut the ribbon on this new riding facility on Saturday, June 12 at the track in central Springfield.
The training track is a set of wooden riding obstacles that surrounds the existing pump track and is suitable for bicyclists of all ages, the Fairfax County Park Authority said. It includes six professionally built, low-maintenance wood and steel features that provide new cycling challenges to try. The project was led by TrailsforYouth.org (TYO) in partnership with the FCPA, Springfield Civic Association, Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts (MORE) and local businesses.
THIS RIDING FACILITY is part of MORE’s mission, said MORE president Ernest Rodriguez. “It is designed to get kids on bikes,” he said.
That was the mission of Julie and Pat Childers who are behind “Trails for Youth,” an organization based in Springfield that introduces trail riding and hiking as an activity for children and teenagers. The Childers have lived in Springfield for years and wanted to provide options for area children to get out and enjoy the trails around central Springfield and Wakefield Park. They were involved in the Brookfield project.
“We are all about providing opportunities to those kids that don’t have them,” Julie Childers said.
Creating the Brookfield Park Bicycle Skills Area took more than a year of planning, coordination and fundraising. In addition, they received national funding support from Specialized Bicycles’ Outride Foundation and International Mountain Bike Association Dig-In grants. This expanded bicycle skills area will provide additional biking opportunities to the youth and families of the John Lewis High School pyramid and the local mountain bike community.
RIDING TRAILS at Lake Accotink are close to Brookfield, and a longer off-road trail at Wakefield Park is linked to the trails at Accotink by the Cross County Trail, which also links to Fountainhead on the southern end. The Childers are part of an effort to link those trails to Brookfield. “Our next objective is to make that connector trail,” said Julie Childers. Rodriguez and MORE were part of those plans too, and he mentioned working with the county. “We’re coming up with a proposal to do that,” he said.
Northern Virginia is home to three of the state’s top mountain biking trails at Fountainhead Park, Wakefield Park and Meadow Wood in the Mason Neck area of southern Fairfax County. These trails are far from a paved trail like the Mount Vernon Trail, so some kind of preparation is a good idea, and training at the Brookfield course could be part of that.
Julie Childers pointed out a progression that the new course offers. “It’s for anyone looking to hone or improve their skills,” Julie Childers said.
When and Where
Saturday, June 12 at 1 p.m. in Brookfield Park, 7417 Floyd Ave., Springfield. The new bicycle skills perimeter area is located in the field behind the basketball court.
Although there are jumps and challenging parts of the course, there is an opportunity to skip parts too. “Start slowly and build up,” she recommended.
Before Covid-19 put a halt on much of the organized mountain biking activities, the Childers were involved with “Wednesdays at Wakefield,” where there were off-road races for the various age groups at the park. Julie Childer is hoping it will be back next year.