Fact #1: Mountain biking is one of the fastest-growing sports among high-school students.
Fact #2: Richfield is completely built out so it is lacking opportunities for off-road cycling.
These are just a couple of the key factors that led the City of Richfield to recently build and open the new Taft Bike Park in October.
You can find the park on the west side of Taft Park at 62nd Street and Bloomington Ave. in Richfield. The park features off-road bike experiences like berms, rollers, jumps, rock features, sloped wood decking, and pump tracks (including a main track and one for younger riders and adaptive bikes). The park is a partnership between the City of Richfield and Three Rivers Park District.
“Last year the organization Minneapolis Bike Parks approached us about putting a bike park in Richfield so we toured other bike parks in the Twin Cities and started talking about where it would make sense in Richfield,” says Amy Markle, Recreation Services Director. “Our challenge was that Richfield is completely built out. We had to think about swapping something out to give us the space. The area that gave us the most space was Taft Park—right next to the Nokomis-Minnesota River Regional Trail, and it felt like a natural partnership with the Three Rivers Park District.”
The idea? To build a park in an area where cyclists would be coming right off the Nokomis-Minnesota River Regional Trail. It seemed like a great way to provide a new opportunity to try off-road cycling to both Richfield residents and visitors.
Early feedback from Richfield residents has been overwhelmingly positive.
“I’m hearing a lot of excitement from the folks in Richfield,” says Markle. “The best part is the park is designed to appeal to cyclists of all ages. We have a strider bike path for little kids, but also an intermediate loop on the outside of the park, which only a couple other bike parks in the entire city have.”
But it’s not just Richfield residents who will benefit from the park. Since it’s right on the Nokomis-Minnesota River Regional Trail, which connects up with the Grand Rounds bike trail, people from across the Twin Cities will have easy access to the park. And it’s one of the few urban parks in the area—just a handful of miles from downtown Minneapolis.
“This will also be a year-round amenity,” says Markle. “We believe people will definitely use it in the winter with their fat-tire bikes.”
The park was formally introduced to the community during a grand opening celebration on Oct. 12 that included a ribbon-cutting ceremony, a food truck, a DJ, and a number of bike-related organizations like the Minnesota Bike Alliance, Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists, and Erik’s Bike Shop.
Learn more about the new Richfield Bike Park and follow the bike park on the app Trailbot and on social media at “Taft Bike Park.”