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West Valley City Journal

Catching air at Centennial Park

Nov 08, 2023 09:57AM ● By Darrell Kirby

Christian Martinez of West Valley City works on a skill at the new Centennial Bike Park. (Darrell Kirby/City Journals)

Skateboarders have their space. Remote control car enthusiasts got their obstacle course earlier this year. Now there’s a dedicated place for bicycles at West Valley City’s Centennial Park. 

With the asphalt still fresh, the Centennial Bike Park opened recently next to the popular skate park on Centennial’s western boundary along 5600 West. With its hills, dips and jumps, the bike park gives riders a place to hone their skills or a spot to just pedal around away from busy city streets. 

The bike park’s $1.2-million cost was covered by a federal Community Development Block Grant. “It had absolutely no impact on the city budget, which is really great for the community,” said Parks and Recreation Director Jamie Young. The course was designed and built by American Ramp Co. of Joplin, Missouri. It still has some finishing touches ahead like landscaping but Young said it has opened to good reviews. “It’s been so well received,” she said. “Younger kids like it, teenage kids like it. A lot of adults just love it.” 

One such adult was Christian Martinez, a West Valley City dad, who sat on his bike between rides, while his bike-less 5-year-old son Dominic played nearby. “It’s awesome. It’s really user friendly,” he said. “Everything’s maintained here. If they keep the weeds off here, it should be rockin’.” 

“It’s amazing. I wish I had something like this when I was a kid,” said West Valley City resident Christy, who declined to give her last name. “It’s the thrill of the speed and the adrenaline on the hills. It’s just super fun.” 

A younger bicyclist was 12-year-old Ajay Talwar. “It’s really fun, especially the big jumps if you’re not afraid of it,” the West Valley City resident said. “If you’re a pro at biking, I’ve seen people get lots of air.” Ajay said he plans to hit the bike park every weekend that he can. 

Teagan Davies, 14, said he finds the course to be a good experience with other users giving him advice on how to make the most of it. “That’s how I’ve learned how to do most of my stuff is pressure from nice people,” he said. “I’d like to be able to hit all the bigger jumps and maybe be able to do a barspin or tailwhip by the end of this year.” 

If you’re not up on your BMX maneuvers, a barspin is where you do a full rotation of the handle bars so the front wheel spins all the way around while airborne. A tailwhip is done by holding on only to the handlebars while rotating the entire bike around the rider in midair. 

The Magna teen is appreciative of the help he gets from fellow riders. “It’s a pretty good community except for a couple of people.” 

A sign posted at the entrance lists rules to ensure the safety of riders and nonriders and to put the brakes on potential conflicts among users. λ