Back in July of this year, my son and I had the opportunity to ride the brand new Velosolutions track in Brooklyn, New York. The track is absolutely a blast to ride and we spent a few hours soaking in the great vibe. A quick pump around the track will leave even the most experienced skater’s heart pounding. It is perfect for short boarders, longboarders and anythingelse with wheels.
Our contact for the park demo was Alon Karpman. It was Alon, along with his business partner, Joner Strauss who worked tirelessly to get the project built. We wanted to get a better understanding of what Velosolutions and get a sense of where things are headed.
Right off the bat, Alon tells me the response has been phenomenal to the pump track. “It’s better than we could have hoped. We have seen more than 1,000 visitors per month, with the number growing as the word is spreading. We are constantly amazed at how both new and experienced riders get a thrill out of riding.”
Alon says there are some exciting new builds coming in 2016. The first being in Leavenworth, Washington. “It will be the first paved track in the US featuring a head-to-head design. We are really stoked aboutthat one” he says with a smile. The company is hoping to announce a few additional builds after this.
In addition to the Velsolutions track, Alon and Joner set up an association. Alon explains that because the pumptracks lend themselves to a new experience for short and longboarders, they set up a new racing league along with after school programming aimed at taking advantage of the tracks. “Our Miami location now has over 40 kids enrolled in the after school program.” Their goal is to set up programming and races at each location to serve the community and host world-class events.
When I asked Alon about his favorite memory from this year he was quick to detail something that took place at the track. As he explains, “the magic in a Velosolutions track is that anyone on any set of wheels can ride on it. And because everyone is riding the same direction, there is more of a feeling of community that develops.” For riders, this means you don’t have people getting in each others way. Alon says that riders start to recognize how the technique they are using to pump their board can be applied to riding something else on the track.
For Alon, hands down, the best memory he has is the day he not only saw bikers and skateboarders on the track getting along, but actually trying each others’ rides for the first time. “To witness a die hard biker and skater switch out their rides and not switch back for the rest of the day, fuelled by pure stoke, was something I never thought I would see. I think these tracks will bring a lot of new people to the sport.”
I first met Alon about four years ago in Brooklyn. He wound up moving to Florida and with the construction of the Velosolutions track in Brooklyn, now finds himself back where he started. I wondered what he liked about both places. “Well, you can’t take the Brooklyn out of the boy! I moved to Florida a few years ago for a more well-balanced family life. I have two small kids and want them to still be able to ride around during the winter months.” Alon says the best thing about Florida is the weather. But readily admits, nothing beats the energy of NYC. “It’s the capital of the world” he exclaims. Alon says to keep an eye out for news on the Brooklyn park in the winter. “On a good day when it snows, we are planning to pack it down and test out how it willride with snow skates and fat tire bikes.”
When it comes to predicting where things will be in ten years, Alon and Jonathan have a vision. “One way to see it, is that there is now such a thing as a longboard park! We hope to see cities get turned on to this and start building.” Alon encourages skaters who wish to have aVelosolutions track built in their neighborhood to reach out to their localCity/County Commission. “They are the ones that decide on projects and are happy to serve the needs of the community. Get motivated, get a group of people, reach out to your Commissioners and tell them that you want a Velosolutions pump track!” We couldn’t agree more.
Sadly, we are a nine hour drive from the park, so it’s going to be some time before we’ll be able to ride it again. But the skaters and bikers (and yes, even scooter kids) of NYC have got themselves a truly special track. When it comes to what he’s been able to give to the community of riders in NYC, Alon is truly humble “I’m just grateful that I was given the opportunity to add to the city landscape and offer something unique.”
The newly built Velosolutions Brooklyn Pump Track in Williamsburg is now home to Skateboard Supercross (SBSX). Check out the location for SBSX Academy programming and SBSX racing events. Amazing track art by artist extraordinaire Jon Burgerman. check Skateboardsupercross.com for this, other locations and info on our growing league. Thankyou to Michael Brooke and Concrete Wave Magazine