Ever gone back to a park that served as a cyclocross venue a week or so afterwards, to see if you can remember the course? If you have, then you’ll know as well as I do that more often than not, though the course marking might be down, the damage left from the tires leaves an impression you can still follow around.
As a racer, who lives near cyclocross venues, I like the fact that I can revisit a course I raced and re-ride it. But, as you can imagine, not everyone sees this the same way I do, like other park users, or the city parks department… On the one hand, I’m sure park officials are pleased to see the parks getting put to good use. I mean, why have parks if no one uses them? But, on the other hand, having to spend city park budget money to re-seed, or sod sections of the park each year due to the furious churning of knobby CX wheels, might not sit as well.
Here in Edmonton, we’ve got it pretty good. Our local bike advocates cooperate with the city parks department, and we’ve come up with a system where we are constantly changing the courses, and moving the locations of the races altogether, to ensurewe the grass has all the time it needs to recover, all on its own. So far this has worked out pretty well for us, but in Toronto, the battle for cyclocross race park locations has heated up.
“My hands were tied,” says Mr. Martuzalski, a former member of the Polish national cycling team. He says he was turned down for permits at five or six other parks, with supervisors telling him he would have to run his off-road race along paved bike trails if he held it in more central parks such as Riverdale, Cedarvale, Christie Pits and Winston Churchill.
Here is the article from the Globe and Mail.
What do you think? Should public spaces, like city parks be off-limits to sports like cyclocross, or is there a better solution?