Nova Scotia

9-year-old Cape Breton boy pushes for pump track in Sydney

A Cape Breton boy wants to bring a pump track to his hometown in Sydney to spread the fun and joy of feeling weightless. He said he was inspired by the feeling he experienced while testing out a pump track in Dartmouth, N.S.

'I just thought it would be something fun to have here,' says Kail Dutt

Nine-year-old Kail Dutt is trying to move forward a community project to bring a pump track to Sydney, N.S. (Erin Pottie/CBC)

A Cape Breton boy wants to bring a pump track to his hometown in Sydney to spread the fun and joy of feeling weightless.

Pump tracks are obstacle courses typically made up of asphalt or dirt. They feature moguls, ramps and bumps that are strategically placed to generate speed. The pump track name stems from the way riders use their upper body to push through bends and curves.

"You don't have to pedal, you just bend your knees and then eventually you get momentum," Kail Dutt said.

"If you want to slow down, if you're on a scooter you can [use brakes], if you're on a bike you can brake. But if you're on a skateboard it's a little harder, because either you step off or jump off."

Dutt uses his scooter on visits to local skate parks. But it was a stop at the pump track at Shubie Park in Dartmouth, N.S., that gave him a whole new outlook on the sport.

A cyclist gets ready to hit some of the moguls strategically placed at the pump track in Dartmouth. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

"Just the feeling of going down the track and not having to pedal," said the nine-year-old.

"It's like you're weightless, because you get so much speed and momentum. It felt like if I went on a ramp, I'd just go flying off into the sky."

The Grade 4 student is behind a campaign to get a pump track built in Sydney, much like the one he used at Shubie Park.

Dutt said the track would help him improve his scooter skills and make new friends.

After talking about the project at home, Dutt said his mother started contacting people who've undertaken community projects, along with a local bicycling group.

He is also looking for some help from skate park regulars.

Dutt demonstrates his scooter skill at his Sydney River home. (Erin Pottie/CBC)

"I think kids there would very much enjoy a pump track, so I figured they might join my team," he said.

"I just thought it would be something fun to have here."

Dutt said he's already spoken with Coun. Tony Mancini of the Halifax Regional Municipality, who helped push the Dartmouth track forward.

He is also planning on handing out flyers and sign-up sheets during the Cape Breton Farmers' Market on Saturday.

CBRM already considering pump track

Amanda McDougall, mayor of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, said Dutt is speaking for many youth in the area who want a pump track in Sydney. She said she contacted municipal staff after hearing about Dutt's campaign.

"Lo and behold, they had already been looking into what it would look like to have something like a pump track in CBRM," said McDougall.

CBRM Mayor Amanda McDougall says staff are looking into potential locations for a pump track. (Cape Breton Regional Municipality/Zoom)

"I think, you know what, these young minds are leading our staff in the right direction."

McDougall said conceptual work is underway to determine locations for a pump track and to find funding needed for such a project.

Another pump track already exists within Cape Breton at the Port Hawkesbury Community Park, which is about 130 kilometres from Sydney.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erin Pottie

Reporter

Erin Pottie is a CBC reporter based in Sydney. She has been covering local news in Cape Breton for 15 years. Story ideas welcome at erin.pottie@cbc.ca.

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