Pump for Peace builds their first pump track in Nepal
Nepal, wedged between the two giants India and China is known for its magnificent temples, monasteries and historical monuments that can be found at almost every turn, with its vibrant cultural heritage, friendly people, unique mix of religions, awe-inspiring array of landscapes and eight of the world’s highest mountain peaks including Mount Everest.
Kathmandu has always been one of Claudio Caluori’’s main goals for a Pump for Peace project. When he visited the city for the first time in December 2019, he had no idea that it would take 3 years to find the right place, partners or secure land and permits to build the pump track. However, this provided enough time to team up with Crankbrothers for the Red Shoe campaign which was going to facilitate the construction of this track.
Caption: For centuries, Nepal has celebrated its masked dancers, who officially begin month long festivities in the Hindu-dominated Himalayan nation
Sprawled over its namesake valley surrounded by Himalayan mountains, Kathmandu is Nepal’s capital and is full of ancient temples and golden pagodas. Noisy, chaotic, quiet all at the same time, an assault on the senses with incense wafting out of shrines, marigolds flowing out of temples, cooing doves, hobbit-sized workshops, busy bazaars, rickshaws and a daily gamble of dodging people, cars and motorbikes.
Caption: Durbar Square, Kathmandu
A mere 3 kms from the Durbar square - the landmark historic attraction and the home of the old royal palace - you will now find the brand new Velosolutions Pump Track, built next to one of the dirtiest rivers in the world and a "death ceremony space". In Nepalese Hindu tradition, the dead body must be dipped three times into the holy Bagmati river before cremation so that the reincarnation cycle may be ended.
Caption: Busy bazaars in the capital city are the livelihood for many
In November 2022, finally, it was time to start construction. Claudio decided to fly into Nepal two weeks early, meeting the local engineer to make sure the site will be ready for the team when it arrives. In the meantime, Claudio would explore the Himalayas in an epic 10 day hike. That was the plan. Reality though was that he came back with an epic stomach bug and the engineer had done nothing of what was discussed beforehand.
Himalayan Single Track, Himali Riders Club and Switchback are all local companies working for not only the betterment and growth of mountain biking as a sport but the upliftment of the local community and together they created the opportunity for the construction of the first asphalt pump track in the country. Little did they know that soon they would step in on construction too, Jenny, Jay and Raj, soon took over after having to fire the engineer for non delivery.
They shared night shifts to catch up on time for gravel deliveries, while Claudio spent six nights on the toilet and the Argentinian Velosolutions Team kept the pace high on construction.
Cue the red shoe…
Caption: Cue the Red Shoe
Crankbrothers launched their Red Shoe campaign as part of their collaboration with Pump For Peace and Velosolutions in the beginning of 2022, 20% of the proceeds from the shoe were donated to support the mission to build pump tracks in underprivileged communities all over the world, Kathmandu is the end product. If you own a pair of red shoes from Crankbrothers, you helped contribute to this pump track, thank you for helping to spread the love
Some of our favourite construction photos:
Caption: Shaping the track took a lot of flexibility and improvisation…..
Caption: After the shaping, the team gets ready for the hot phase…..
Caption: Team Argentina in Nepal fresh from construction in Bulgaria and China
Caption: Last day of shaping before asphalt starts.
Caption: On the day before asphalt was supposed to start, it was time to get back in shape, so Claudio went to hospital and it only took 4 IV bottles to pump the energy back into him.
Caption: The team from Velosolutions Argentina together with Claudio laid the 100 tonnes of asphalt in 3 days. On the third day, the local riders took over and would not stop riding.
Caption: Biggest thanks to everyone who made this possible!
Caption: 1000sm2 Velosolutions Pump Track in Kathmandu, Nepal
Right now the iron is hot so to speak in Nepal, not just in the capital of Kathmandu, but riding groups and clubs are popping up all over the country. Cycling in general is growing and is being pushed forward with lobbying to governments and local councils to make better, more cycle friendly cities and suburbs for commuters.
The UCI Pump Track World Championships will head to Kathmandu this year for their first qualifier and will bring the first Nepalese riders to the World Championships in Argentina in November. The sky’s the limit. Namaste.