This week saw the launch of a new Skatepark edit from Dan Atherton and friends, we caught up with him to talk about the build and coming in out of the rain!
BMX is where everything started for us and riding skatepark was a huge part of that. We’ve always had the skatepark as a huge influence for us, even if its just in terms of hours on the bike whether after digging or off the cuff sessions when its too wet to do anything else.
Obviously living in UK with the shit weather there’s a huge motivation to build somewhere to ride in the winter so we have some of the best indoor skateparks in the world. Where I live in Wales it’s amazing for mountains and riding downhill but it’s a long drive to The Boneyard or Jason Carpenter’s Rampworld
So we found ourselves a barn, and a farmer willing to rent it to us.
We knew that what we were going to build here was never going to be a big corporate skatepark, that was part of the attraction, renting a shed and getting stuck straight into building.the ramps.
We had a massive piece of luck, I managed to find a load of second hand ramps that had been seized by a bailiff. He needed to be rid of them by the next day so I persuaded Gareth Brewin to go and fetch them and his boss Greg Mills to let us use the lorry that Gaz was meant to be driving on paid jobs. We brought back two full loads of an articulated lorry but only about six of the ramps were actually going to work for what we needed, all the transitions were too tight, even the ones that weren’t right though we took to pieces for their raw materials which saved us loads.
The process isn’t that different to building a downhill trail – except its way nicer, It’s a good contrast to being cold and wet all day! Actually its more the mentality that is the same, the process is slower when you are working with wood; you definitely need to have more patience, to go through each step, get it right before you go on to the next, dirt’s faster.
Actually scratch that, it wasn’t all nicer! Before we actually started to build anything we had to dig out three feet of sheepshit with the digger and the dumper, then bring in loads of badger sand to level the floor up. Then we got onto the roof. Waterproofing the place was one of the worst jobs of my life, hanging plastic sheets from the ceiling and sealing them to stop condensation falling from the steel roof, the fumes were awful.
Then at last we got to start the actual build. There was no one way of doing it, probably 100 different ideas and 100 different options that would all have worked out OK, the hardest part was deciding what it was that we wanted then sticking to it, its not like when I’m working outside and am guided by what nature has already laid down, we were working with a massive empty barn, not working our way down huge rocks or finding our way across a bog.
I got shit loads of advice from Jason Carpenter, I was texting him all day, every day, the guys at the Boneyard, were great too, we knew the ramps that we liked and they were really chilled about giving us the dimensions, all they wanted was to come and ride it.
The great thing about being part of such a strong biking community in the Dyfi is that there was a crew of friends more than willing to help with the creation, we are lucky to have Olly and Chris as part of that crew, both of them really good carpenters so slowly our skatepark started to come together, very slowly! Everyone was super-excited when Silverline sent us a screw-gun, that speeded it up loads!
Those guys also need a huge shout out, their support with all the tools for the build and funds towards buying ply, OSB and cross members made sure that the whole project got off the ground.
In a way building the skatepark was almost more rewarding than working with dirt, it’s more immediate. As soon as you finish building you can ride – there’s none of the after care and waiting for it to settle like you have with dirt. In fact that’s why its not finished – the skeleton is there but we’ve still got to add a final layer of ply, God knows when we’ll stop riding long enough to do that. Chris is building a bowl in the corner because that’s what he likes to ride, and there’s another couple of small things were talking about. That’s how I see the thing evolving now, piece by piece with people adding the things they’re excited to ride. More of the local kids are being pulled in to ride with us so it’s lucky we’ve got the space to keep progressing the build.