If you’ve heard of Nick Soloninka, you likely either spend a lot of time riding the dirt jumps at Denver’s Barnum Bike Park, or you saw his 2014 film “What’s Enduro Mountain Biking?” He’s a character who uses his creativity in a number of different ways: photography, filmmaking, and in his day job, working to build and maintain bike parks for the city of Denver, managing volunteers, applying physics and elbow grease to shape a place and make it fun for folks who like to catch all types of air on knobby tires. We asked him a few questions about his position as the Denver Parks and Recreation’s first bike builder.
Name: Nicholas Andrew Soloninka
Job Title: Denver Parks and Recreation Bike Park Builder/Maintainer at Barnum Park North, and freelance photographer.
If someone sitting next to you on an airplane asks you what you do for work, what do you tell them?
I build dirt jumps for the government, what do you do?
What’s a typical day like for you, starting when you get to work and ending when you get home for the day?
8am: Get out of bed, drink two cups of coffee, eat two eggs, and one pound of assorted vegetables.
10 am: Do administrative work (AKA make sure the internet is still there)
12 pm: Eat lunch: Pho, Mexican, Thai, or Chinese.
1 pm: Work on the dirt jumps at Barnum Park—building, maintaining, leading volunteers, and checking all the jumps by riding them.
7 pm: Eat dinner: Pho, Mexican, Thai, or Chinese.
10pm: Start on a media project that I know I can’t finish till 2 am.
2 am: Bedtime.
How does your job affect someone’s day?
What I do makes people happy every day and gives them a sense of community.
What was your first job in the outdoor industry?
Working at a bike shop when I was 15, building kids’ bikes.
How does someone get your current job?
I started by volunteering at the bike park I work at now, and helping friends who build bike parks with their projects.
What are the pros of your job?
You get to ride your bike everyday, building things people love to ride, and working with the neighborhood youth and community.
What are the cons?
The work is hard on your body. When you build something people don’t like, you hear about—a lot—every day, till you fix it.