Sabanilla Bike Park: A Natural Paradise For Mtb Riders With A Need For Fun And Adrenaline In The Outskirts Of Guayaquil.
Most would not believe that this coastal city, with an almost 100% flat topography could be home to some of the most exciting getaways for mountain bikers in Ecuador. Despite the urban growth, thousands of acres of tropical forests still exist and surround Guayaquil, and many of these are filled with MTB trails within landscapes so amazing, that makes you think for a moment you are immersed far away in the deep of the amazon instead of so close to the city.
Among these, one particular destination stands out. Just 20 minutes from Guayaquil, the rural region of Sabanilla (Los Lojas-Daule), is home of a 7,000 acre protected countryside filled with hills, immensely dense forests, full of life, and diversity. In the midst of all that, an MTB project known as SABANILLA BIKE PARK was born, when a group of avid riders led by Javier Patiño, supported him in the dream of securing and protecting an area in this beautiful region for the practice of MTB for many years to come.
SBP hence became the first private Bike Park in Ecuador when it opened its doors in June 2018, thanks to the support of its initial members. Their sponsorship made it possible to finance it all: the rent to the landowners, the huge workload needed to develop the extensive and exciting system of bike trails (uphill and downhill routes), maps and signs everywhere, and constant innovations and improvements to make sure every visitor would experience a ride full of adrenaline in the most beautiful ecosystem.
THE PARK TODAY
Two years later this project is now a dream come true for bikers who were tired of not having their own, secure place to practice their favorite sport while enjoying nature and exercising. The park features 495 acres with more than 25 km of challenging singletrack to satisfy the most hungry riders, both in the physical and technical aspects.
Camino del Inca, Capeira, Camino del Chasqui, Trillo de Simon, Thali, Megabike, Lumenia, Jumanji, are some of the classic emblematic bike paths. Rock gardens, jumps, fast curves with berms, drops, extremely long Down Hill sections, are among the many features that fill up these. Very fun beginner lines are also available so everyone gets a chance!
Sabanilla Bike park works with a seasonal membership or a daily entrance that helps maintain the park. Is it is required to wear a helmet and basic protection, and have at least some experience riding single-track. Guided tours are also available if scheduled in advance, yet you can also go on your own by relying on the many signs and well-organized maps you’ll find along the way.
SOCIAL IMPACT WITHIN THE COMMUNITY
One aspect of this project that might be the most fulfilling, is the economic and social impact it has generated in Sabanilla, the rural community that surrounds it. SBP generates a lot of consumption for the locally produced food and refreshments, especially at the end of exhausting bike rides. Bikers love to recover while hanging out with their friends in many of the hammocks under the rustic “cabañas” where they enjoy delicious local treats that are already Sabanilla classics: grilled corn on the cob with cheese, ice-cold coconut milk, ripe plantain with cheese, ice-cold orange juice, to mention a few.
A lot of jobs have also been generated by the park in labor-intensive tasks like trail cleaning and building, maintenance, and even park security. Some jobs are starting to emerge for roles as guides for tourists or first-time riders as well. And there is still a lot of potential for much more in the future. Sabanilla has already hosted events yearly events like bike races, festivals, etc. where the population and the riders have teamed up together for mutual benefit. Everyone hopes this will continue for many years.
So far it has all been a very rewarding journey and experience for everyone. At the end of the day, this project has become much more than a place to do exercises, SBP is a place to relax, to eat, to be one with nature. A place to share with friends to enjoy life together.