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Ray's Indoor Mountain Bike Park: A Winter Retreat

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Ray's Indoor Mountain Bike Park: A Winter Retreat

Escape the harsh winter conditions and ride at Ray's Indoor Mountain Bike Park.

©justysia1 via Flickr
Cleveland, Ohio—home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, “The Drew Carey Show” and lots of snow and ice come winter. What’s a mountain biker to do when the weather gets rough in the “North Coast”? Why, head to Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park, of course!

From November through April (Ray’s says it was started to avoid bad weather, not the outdoors), when the temperature becomes unbearable and trails turn snow-covered, riders of all ages and skill levels are encouraged to bring their BMX or mountain bikes to the over 100,000-square foot remodeled factory.

Listen to the Voices:

Upon arrival, I was greeted with the words, “If you build it, they will come” written with a bike chain above the entrance. It’s been said that just as Field of Dreams’ fictional farmer Ray Kinsella heard that famous line, Ray Petro of Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park fame heard a similar voice say, “You’re half way there.”

Ray had been mulling the concept of an indoor mountain bike park for a few years, and this was just the motivation he needed to purchase an old factory and make good on his dream. The rest, as they say, is history.

Obstacles for Every Rider:

Step through the entrance—and step into a middle-of-winter Midwest mountain bike mecca.

In the beginner’s area, obstacles, tracks, berms and bridges abound. Test out your skills in the intermediate and expert section on the pump track and technical skinnies, through the manmade rock garden and in the jump park. For an even bigger thrill, ride the wall berms and launch some big air into the foampit.

Tired of perfecting your skills on ramps, jumps and other obstacles? Get your heart rate up by riding the cross-country course—it's like no other XC trail you’ve ridden. Guaranteed. You'll pedal your way around the outskirts of the warehouse and up into the rafters.

Take a Break:

Dismount your bike once in a while and spend your downtime in one of the several lounges replete with wireless Internet, arcade games food and beverages, and fireplaces. While you relax, take a minute to look around. You’ll notice that enormous glass windows on the roof allow for an abundance of natural light to make its way into the warehouse, creating the feeling of riding in the Great Outdoors. Except you’re inside an old warehouse. In the middle of the city. In the dead of winter. In a short-sleeved bike jersey and bike shorts.

Life is indeed good.

There’s Always Next Time:

I rode for about four hours during my visit and after mastering the beginner, intermediate and a few expert obstacles, I was ready to call it a day. I was exhausted and rode within my comfort zone on my initial visit. I imagine that if I lived close by and visited more often, I’d work up the nerve to, say, test out the foampit.

When it was time to say goodbye, we donned our down jackets and winter hats, secured our bikes to our vehicles and drove away from our very own field...er, factory of dreams.

Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park is open six months out of the year, Monday through Sunday. (Mon-Fri: noon – 10 p.m.; Sat-Sun: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.) A one-time weekday pass is $19.00; weekend rates are $24 per day. A season pass is $299.00 and children 12 and under get in for half price. Helmets, elbow pads and shin guards are loaned free with admission. Waivers must be signed by all riders.

Address: 9801 Walford Ave., Cleveland, OH 44102; In January 2011, Ray's opened up a second location in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Forgot something? Ray’s gives you a free loaner helmet and elbow/shin pads with admission. Gloves, helmets, bike parts and other gear can also be purchased at the bike park.

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