By Zach Cline
12th grade, NCSS
I love to ride BMX bikes, but bikers in Rhinelander don’t always have a good rap with local citizens. Some people view bikers as vandals that ruin their stuff. Well, that’s not exactly true. Sure we sometimes ride on ledges or in parking lots, but that’s because we have nowhere else to ride. After the skatepark in Rhinelander closed down, we don’t have specific places that we’re allowed to ride. The Rhinelander Parks Committee talked about building a skatepark this year, but the community still needs to raise more funds.
At the end of last summer, Mr. Ed Bauer purchased a bunch of ramps for the community to get a skatepark. As of right now, the ramps are at the city’s storage facility. At the beginning of the summer all plans for the park went into action. There were meetings for where the park was going to go and it was decided that it was going to be located at Hodag Park by the beach house. Since this decision, not much has happened. It’s been a hard to get the concrete poured for the base of the park, and community still needs to raise more money.
The closest park to us now is in Eagle River and bikers who are able, drive there to ride a few times a week. But this isn’t an option for younger riders. Most of the time the bikers in this town end up riding around town on anything that looks like it could be good for jumps, drops, or other tricks.Jumps are any bumps or dips in roads or parking lots; drops are usually staircases. A lot of the places we ride at in this town are the parking lots of local businesses. Often times we are unwelcome in these places and business owners frequently ask us to leave or call the authorities to remove us from the scene. Business owners always tell us that we’re a liability issue for them.
We’re just a group of people trying to have fun with our friends doing what we love to do. I’ve never looked at BMX bikers as bad people, we just like to ride our bikes. It would be nice if we could get more support in Rhinelander and get the skatepark finished. If we had our park, a lot of problems would solve themselves. We would have a place to go rather than riding through the streets and it would help solve conflicts with business owners. If you would like to help Rhinelander build the skatepark please contact the Rhinelander Parks Committee. I hope we can create a great place to ride.