Proposal

I have recently moved to Portishead from St Albans due to a new job opportunity thrown my way over in Ham Green. On my way home today I picked up a copy of your local paper and was pleasantly surprised to read the article on the skate park proposal. My

I have recently moved to Portishead from St Albans due to a new job opportunity thrown my way over in Ham Green. On my way home today I picked up a copy of your local paper and was pleasantly surprised to read the article on the skate park proposal. My background in this area: During the years 1982 to 1992 (aged 13 to 23) I was a keen BMX Freestylist and was a member of the St Albans, Harpenden and Enfield BMX Freestyle Teams. I gained popularity after winning local and regional competitions and in 1986 I came third in the British Freestyle Championship held in Bristol. During that time I was fortunate enough to ride with some of the worlds' top riders in public demonstrations such as Bob Haro (the Inventor of the Freestyle Scene - American) Eddie Fiola also American and a number of our country's professional riders, Jess Dyrenforth and Mason Smith. In addition, due to my history in the sport I have met some of the newer riders such as Jamie Bestwick among others. Unfortunately, during my time on the scene, there were few locations where myself and my teammates could practice, so we ended up building 1/4 pipes and launch ramps on wasteland, local woodlands, in our back gardens and pretty much anywhere where we would be left in peace to practice the latest tricks. Over the years the sport has come and gone, but there are many areas now available to our new generation of riders. The sport has now grown again over the past six years and we Brits are dominating all areas of it. We have many of the world class riders, some of whom came from the Bristol region. In fact the British riders are consistently winning the X-Games and Gravity Games disciplines year after year, Street, Park, Dirt and Vert. I totally support the idea that a new facility be built in Portishead, it gives youngsters something fun to do rather than hanging around McDonald's all day ! It's a great sport for spectators too. Over the years I have supported local teams in St Albans and Harpenden (Hertfordshire) and assisted in some of the ramp designs at the open-air and indoor skate parks located there. You may also find that local bike shops that stock BMXs and skateboards would be prepared to sponsor local riders, get them to competitions and replace broken bike parts. In my years of experience in this area, I would say that it is a well worth investment for local authorities to make, it gets some of the kids off the streets and participating in something creative, it's also a great form of exercise. Obviously, there is a requirement for park rules. Helmets and the appropriate safety gear should be worn at all times, no professional rider would dispute this, however, with the correct park design, risk of injury can be limited if not irradicated. The smaller parks are less forgiving, larger ramps believe it or not are somewhat safer as the ramp transitions act as a slide should one fall off. I still ride from time to time (dirt and park) and have taken groups of kids to various spots where I have offered tips, support and shown off some of my now limited skills. In short; GO GO GO and I look forward to reading more on the proposal. Lee WillcoxVia e-mail


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