Most people know that there is great mountain biking near Salt Lake City, but few know about the incredible riding spots wedged into the city itself. Just about every Salt Lake mountain bike enthusiast has heard of the Bobsled bike trail up the Bonneville Shoreline, but not many make the trip to its mysterious, neighboring cousin: the “I Street bike park”. “I Street” is a place you hear about and become immediately curious, although most people who know where it is will offer ominous warnings like “Don’t case the big jumps”, “Go at a time when it’s not busy”, or “It’s a ‘no dig no ride scene’,” before sharing the location.
After riding a bike park at Deer Valley this past summer, I was curious to check out the jump scene up in the Avenues once the lifts stopped spinning. I had heard that the area was considered a “no dig no ride” scene, meaning if you want to ride the jumps you are expected to help maintain them as well. I decided to head up there on a crisp September morning, and was a bit surprised to see two guys there with shovels in hand at 9:00 AM. They introduced themselves to me right away and handed me a rake to help touch up some of the jumps before the morning session. One of the guys stood out to me immediately, because the way he sculpted the take-offs and landings with the shovel was clearly well-practiced. Jordan introduced himself to me as a free-lance graphic designer, although after watching him dig and ride I would have believed he was a professional mountain biker. I later learned that he and a few other riders have been
building the jumps at “I Street” for years, maintaining the jumps every summer and
adding new lines every year.
Once we finished touching up a handful of the jumps, Jordan was nice enough to take the time to walk me through the beginner jumpline. Looking at the jumps can be a bit daunting at first; six gap jumps with sizable spacing ranging from three to eight feet hardly seems like a beginner line. But as I started to ride the first three or four hits I noticed how well the lines flowed. Compared to downhill bike park style hits, the jumps at “I Street” felt quite close together at first, and demanded a more meticulous riding
style. The jumps were actually fairly low speed, so it was a good place to work on popping the bike up in the air (which gives you better bike control than going long and low). The mainline jumps were surprisingly pretty comparable to some of the jumps on the Bobsled bike trail. However, the other jumps on the more advanced lines are double and even triple the size, and are mostly where Jordan hangs out (and oftentimes, only Jordan). Luckily, a few of the riders agreed to a photoshoot the following day
where we were able to capture these images.
As you can see from the pictures, there is some serious hang time on the bigger jumps. The best part of making the trip to “I Street” might be watching the more advanced riders session the jumps, and they appreciate the support. While the riding level for some is very high, the not-so-talented are welcomed with open arms, which I was grateful for. I never felt like I was intruding in the space, but rather that the local riders were eager to introduce a new rider to their favorite spot. High school kids come after school, fathers come with their sons after work, and even the occasional squad of female riders make their way to the park, all free of judgement. If you’re looking to practice some jumping, work on your building skills or just ride for fun, “I Street” bike park is worth checking out!