Soulpark: parks designed to feel a sense of freedom.
Soulparks design and build parks where everyone can enjoy the feeling of freedom - children, adolescents and adults, boys and girls, bikers, skaters, rollers and scooters.
Soulparks consists of Rubén Alcántara and Aitor Veguillas. Both have known each other for years, and ridden BMX since adolescence; Ruben as a professional and Aitor as an amateur. We have traveled all over the world, especially Ruben as a professional athlete, and have seen and tried all kinds of parks, appreciating their qualities and recognising their drawbacks. And although we have more than forty years we continue to ride BMX and we are linked to the world of BMX, Ruben as a professional rider Ruben and Aitor as co-director of a blog (awarded best media outlet in 2009) and contributor to several magazines.
Ruben Alcantara began his career in BMX at the age of 9. In his professional riding career he has been sponsored by brands like Huffy, Macneil, Terrible One, Flybikes, Fox, and Etnies, collaborated with Red Bull, won the world championship in 2000 and 2002 and was elected 2002 rider of the year by Ride BMX Magazine in the UK. He was also the winner of the 2007 NORA award for the best rider in the street category. He has been on the cover of countless magazines such as Ride BMX, DigBMX, TransWorld BMX, etc. And has appeared in numerous videos - Etnies Forward, Etnies Grounded, Flybikes One, etc., but he is particularly known for having revolutionized the style of BMX street riding with his new and imaginative ways to use the everyday elements of architecture and urban planning, using them as part of a huge park that flows in a respectful, simple and fluid way.
Ruben has been actively involved in the design of shoes, clothing, bike parts, and has ridden in many videos. He has also worked on the design of various skatepark and bike parks, especially in the Andalusia area.
Normally the parks feature ramps, rails and stairs, which allow the performance of various jumps and tricks by skaters, etc. etc.
Aitor has developed his career as a Senior Architect, first as a designer for architectural firms, companies in the sector of construction and the sector of the media. In 2006 he became Director of a renowned arquitecture studio, managing the design and construction of buildings of a public nature, the hospitality industry, and industrial sector, as well as the development of projects and planning records.
He was one of the first riders to practice Freestyle BMX in the Basque country in the 1980s, has always been associated with this sport.
He currently is co-director of How to be a crack, a BMX news website which was awarded best BMX media Spain in 2009, and collaborates with several magazines.
Rubén's waves. Image by George Marshall.
The parks where we practice Freestyle BMX, skateboarding or inlining are called respectively bikeparks, skateparks or inlineparks, however all three of the activities can develop together in the same place because they have similar characteristics. After years enjoying them, we concluded that there is a common element that links them all -fun.
Bikers, skaters and inliners share the same feeling when they practice their sport - the feeling of freedom, regardless of age, gender or sport.
We have been in the sport a long time and have seen its evolution, the changes in techniques, materials used and the path on which it develops.
Through the knowledge we have acquired through time, we have come up with many ideas we’d like to contribute to the design and construction of Soulparks.
The design and construction of a Soulpark is not easy, and should be done by people with a good knowledge of the sport itself and the construction techniques used. These sports facilities are very sensitive to poor design. A poorly executed curve with a radius very close or very open, or poorly constructed, with misplaced flat areas, steps, copings, etc., can ruin them completely. Unfortunately there are many examples of poorly designed and constructed parks that have fallen into disuse, hence the importance of good design and proper construction.
To make a good design it is essential to study the location, topography, shape and size. We must analyze the size of the municipality and its needs, the tracks that may be in the immediate surroundings, etc., see its orientation, sunlight, natural and artificial lighting.
After seeing all this it is essential to meet with the promoters of the park to agree on an idea and prepare a correct design of a project that allows the tender of the work, so you can get a good quality of construction at the lowest cost possible .
It is necessary to meet the demands of the user at all times, given that an obsolete, very simple, very demanding or overly personalistic design can prove unattractive, so you need to look designs that are talilored to all needs, have distinguishing features that make an attractive park, that are up to date with the latest trends. In short, create a different and innovative space in which all of its potential users are comfortable.
Soulparks constantly follows the trends in the world of BMX, skateboarding and inlining, both in design and in materials used, so that we incorporate any innovation possible to our designs. Add to that the fact that we are always looking for maximum creativity, integrating concepts from various fields like other sports, architecture, art, etc.
We use our experience of many years riding different parks around the world, and have collaborated in the construction of several parks and have tried and tested our analysis and proposals in parks built. All this using computer tools that enable you to visualize and analyze throughout the time the new designs are optimized.
A Soulpark should be a place where you can enjoy regardless of the level of the practitioner. It must be designed for its users, according to the profile of practitioners who are in the place that is to be located, and the tracks that are in the area, avoiding duplicate designs or too easy or difficult for future users.
In the same way it must be designed so that its use is progressive, so that a small child can start there and the design allows them to evolve and improve. So we need to avoid designs that can be used only by users of a high or low technical level.
Our designs are intended to be able to use the tracks for several people at once with different levels without hinderence, but also may be used by one person enjoying the entire track.
Each zone is labeled with different colors so that the difficulty of each can be easily understood, in the same way that ski runs are marked with a color code.