Photo by Joey Ceppagila
By Nate Ferry
Fresno needs another bike park. I’ve been a local BMX rider for 6 years. Other riders and I perform tricks on 20-inch bicycles, such as grinds, big ramp jumps, and balancing tricks on flat ground.
Fresno has some good skate parks, such as Lions, Rotary, and Romain. But there are only three bike parks in Fresno, and only one of them is in Central or South Fresno. The nearest bike park to my house is over 5 miles away, and the other two bike parks are over 15 miles away from my house.
Without a park, the only other option is to ride at schools, businesses, and other public spaces. This is frowned upon by many people outside of the BMX community. I’ve been stopped by police, cussed at, and I’ve even had people try to become physical with me just for riding my bike. I’m not the only person I know that this has happened to. As a BMX rider, I am very upset with the way this problem is handled. I’m constantly and unfairly looked as a threat whenever I ride in public spaces.
Many people believe that we have enough places to ride, but they fail to realize that most skate parks in Fresno have regulations that keep me from riding BMX at those places.
Riding BMX is important to me because it’s where I express my creativity, unlike in traditional sports. It’s a great way for me to stay active and healthy, and my bike is my main form of transportation. Riding is a way to fill my time so that I stay out of trouble.
There are so many ways that the city of Fresno make changes to the pre-existing parks without spending too much money. One way to help solve this is to have more diverse skate parks that allow more than just skateboards to be ridden in the park.There are so many amazing skate parks that are already built. But these are all skate only. One park in particular that would be great for this is Lions Skatepark. This spot has an amazing layout for not only skateboards, but for bikes as well. Unfortunately, it is a skate-only park. The staff person will kick out bikers.
Ideally Fresno should also build BMX-specific parks because the design features are usually larger than skate specific park elements. But, many of Fresno’s existing skate parks are pretty well suited for BMX riding. Most skaters I know are fine with BMX riders in skate parks. I think that skaters and BMX riders should work together to get as much space for our sports as possible.
I’m tired of this problem, and it only seems to get worse. Are the people of Fresno’s BMX community just not that important enough to be heard? For me, and many other young people who rely on BMX for fun, exercise, creative expression, and a safe way to stay out of trouble, a devoted place to ride would greatly improve our lives.
Nate Ferry, 17, is a Junior at Learn 4 Life Charter Academy. I ride BMX and skate. He loves that The kNOw gives the youth a chance to express major issues that affect them directly. He wants to be a photographer for a BMX company.