The tiny Wisconsin Northwoods town of Cable, population 825, is punching above its weight class again with a new concrete pump track at the local bike park.
If you Google “concrete pump track” right now, all you will find is some stuff about a park in California and one in New York. But thanks to the vision of local resident Scott King, the town of Cable Bike Park should be showing up in those searches soon.
Scott used to be the head of maintenance for the skateboarding camp at the famed Lake Owen Camp, a world-class residential summer camp that specialized in gymnastics, skateboarding, BMX and inline skating. In 2013, the camp closed after 27 years of hosting tens of thousands of boys and girls ages 7 to 17 from 30 states and multiple countries. The camp was located just north of Cable on 12 acres on Lake Owen. It had three dormitories, dining halls, two gymnastic gyms, one indoor and two outdoor skate parks, community buildings, offices, staff housing and multiple programmed outdoor spaces used for training, recreation and other amenities.
Although the Cable Recreation Park does have some ramps for skateboarding, there was no place to ride bikes on jumps outside the stuff Scott built on his own property. About four years ago, Scott approached the Town of Cable board and proposed building a bike park with a progressive series of dirt rollers, jumps and wooden features and a concrete pump track that would be open to bikes, scooters and skateboards.
It was a leap of faith for the town board to trust Scott and approve the use of a large plot of land at the town recreation park. While his experience managing the skate and BMX programs at the Lake Owen Camp gave them confidence, he had never built a concrete pump track. After the concept was approved, Scott still had to raise the money. While he could build the dirt bike park with his own skid loader relatively inexpensively, the concrete pump track was going to require purchasing quite a bit of material. So he began fundraising with a lot of behind-the-scenes help from Kathy Zuelsdorff.
He was able to raise $10,000 in 2019 and build and open the dirt bike park last year. The bike park has proved to be incredibly popular with residents and visitors, which helped raise the additional funds needed for phase two of the project, the concrete pump track. Most of the work was done by Scott and his friend Brandon Kopischke, who have worked hundreds of hours on just the pump track. They did have a significant amount of help from a handful of other regular volunteers when it came time to pour the concrete. Numerous area businesses and the Town of Cable helped out with some materials.
Brandon and Scott putting aside their day jobs in the contracting business to do all that volunteer work for the bike park and pump track is incredibly generous and impressive. Scott pointed out that while he is glad to be back earning a living again, the hardest part of the project was convincing people this would be a good thing for the community and raising all the money. “The hardest part was coming up with the concept and all the time spent in public and private meetings, staying positive when naysayers pushed back,” King said.
Thank goodness for his vision and perseverance, because the track is bound to add to the popularity of the heavily used Cable Bike Park. Although the pump track is rideable now, they are hoping to hold off opening for a week to give the grass more time to come in and reduce the chance of bikes or skateboards going off the concrete and tearing up the erosion control mats.
Following this success, another area community has already expressed interest in asking Scott to build them a bike park and concrete pump track. “I’d like to see these in all the local parks,” King said looking over his work. “I think we could build them for around $25,000.”
The early test rides for this photoshoot were impressive. The two younger kids, eight-year-old Anne Marie Barnes and her friend Logan Ciletti, 6, were both very nervous about riding it when they first rolled up on their bikes. After a couple of laps though, Logan was riding confidently and Anne Marie loudly pronounced “This is the best thing ever!”
For more about the riding and good life in Wisconsin’s Northwoods, check out Seeley Dave’s new website https://lifeaboveeight.com/. And Scott can be found on Instagram @kingofcable.