Hidden, handmade mountain bike track in Windsor safe - for now

Riders say city workers told them that equipment was on stand-by to demolish the bike park as early as Tuesday.

Some riders have used the track for close to 10 years

Dirt Church

4 years ago
This handmade mountain bike track might soon be plowed over. 1:00


A handful of dirt bike enthusiasts are fighting to save a piece of land they call their 'Dirt Church' hidden behind the Ganatchio Trail in Windsor's east end. 

Tucked behind the trail between a new housing development sits a sizeable track carved out of the terrain, complete with steps, warning signs and culverts.

"This has been on-going for years," said Terry Pargelen, describing the history of a park he said was built because there was no place else in the city suitable for off-road riding. 

Terry Pargelen said that people have spent years building this park by hand to make sure it's safe for riders. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

Last week Pargelen noticed construction equipment beside the site and feared the worst - which a city worker later confirmed. 

"They said that they've been ordered to knock it down at some point this week," said Pargelen, who was worried that the jumps built by hand using only buckets and shovels would come crashing down as early as Tuesday. 

Safety Concerns

People complained to Councillor Irek Kusmierczyk at a recent Ward 7 meeting about the trailing, citing potential safety concerns and fire pits they said they found near the bike track. 

Kusmierczyk visited the 'Dirt Church' on Monday afternoon to see the bike track for himself.

Ward 7 councillor Irek Kusmierczyk said he wants the city to work with riders to find a solution that puts safety as the number one priority.

"Frankly, I'm blown away," said Kusmierczyk, after chatting with some of the riders.

"Really the scale of it. This looks like something that was done obviously by an expert."

The councillor said the park will not be demolished this week. 

"I asked them to put a hold on this — to put a pause — to give administration the opportunity to study this, to have a conversation with the cycling community, to look at it and bring a report ideally back to council," said Kusmierczyk. 

He said the people at the park seemed open to the idea of working with the city for safe solutions whether it's upgrades to the current park or the creation of a new dirt bike track built by the city with input from the riders.