Many local people may still not be aware that there's been a BMX / Mountain Bike Track in Brabyns Park since 2004. Well it won't be a secret for much longer, as the Brabyns Bike Track Group formed in 2020 is starting to make progress and they are determined to put the old track back on the map.
The track originally cost £26,000 and was finally finished in the summer of 2004. Young bikers had campaigned for more than a year to get it built, only to see it washed away by devasting floods just four months after Stockport Council opened it. The flooding was so bad that some people thought the track had been damaged beyond repair but the teenagers - known as the Biker Crew - worked with the council to repair the damage and reopen the track in 2005, following the December flooding.
Today, although suffering quite badly from wear and tear and the tendancy for flooding in this area of the park, the track remains usable in dry weather, as this video from Withington Cycles shows.
In December 2020 Marple resident Oli Lougheed set-up a new Facebook Group to support improvements to the Brabyns Bike Track, establish a sustainable group to promote cycling in the park for all levels and plan events in the park too. After a slow start through the winter months and the pandemic, the project is now gaining traction.
The Brabyns Bike Track Team is made up of two local mountain bikers and parents Oli Lougheed and Tommy Jackson, Peter Young from Pedal Power Marple, John Thorpe from Farmer John’s MTB Park in Marple and Robert Pollen, local resident, parent and owner of Withington Cycles.
If any local residents would like to get involved or have useful skills to offer please do contact the Bike Track Team via the Facebook Group.
Brabyns Bike Track in the Spring of 2021
In May 2021 Oli held meetings with Friends of Brabyns Park, Friends of Memorial Park and Councillor Malcolm Allan, who were all keen to support the group getting properly established with Stockport Council so that they could bring their plans and ideas for improving the Bike Track to fruition.
Engagement with the council has been slow (when isn't it!) but things are now progressing and it looks likely work could start in 2022. Designs to improve the layout of the site have been drawn up by John Thorpe to include a beginner and balance bike friendly loop of small rolling features. There will also be improvements to the existing loop with more features and better drainage and, if funds allow, an extra mountain bike loop around the edge of the site making use of the changes in gradient.
Local cyclist Jacob Jackson decided he wanted to help improve the track so he set out to ride and run 100km in one month. Jacob raised an amazing £600 for the track and will definitely get the first ride once the work is finished!
A Crowd Funding Page is set-up with the aim of raising £2,500 of funding for the project. With Jacob's £600 and a £500 donation from the Marple Website, the half-way mark is in sight already.
Donations of any size are welcomed and local users are being encouraged to think of fund raising ideas to help support the work.
Local businesses are expressing an interest in sponsoring a truck load of surfacing material for £350. Donations can be made via the crowd funding page or by messaging Oli Lougheed via the Facebook Group. £350 is enough to purchase one tipper truck full of surfacing material. It is estimated that ten of these trucks will be needed to complete the work, plus some other materials.
To find out more and to get involved, head over to the Facebook Group: Brabyns Bike Track.
As well as volunteering or fundraising, Oli says "one of the easy ways you can help is by posting photos to the Group page showing the track being used - it really helps us to demonstrate its popularity and show the council how important this small facility is to our local community.".
MEN article: Young bikers keep the BMX plans on track