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Enjoy the great indoors this winter

19 01 2013

Dealing with old man winter can really bring you down.

Unless you’re lucky enough to live in one of the sunshine states, have an indoor skatepark nearby (that allows bikes) or are down with practicing flatland maneuvers in parking garages, winter tends to force even the most rabid of bikers into a bit of forced hibernation.

And even if you have an indoor skatepark nearby, they’re often overrun by scooter kids, fruit booters and the like.

Thankfully in recent years, the indoor bike park concept has begun to take off. Usually with a “MTB” in the name, these parks have a little something for everyone…BMXers especially.

Let’s take a look at what some of these parks have going on.

Ray’s MTB

The original indoor bike park, Ray’s MTB is the one that all other bike parks are compared to….it’s basically the one that started it all.  Created by Ray Petro as a way for him and his MTB buddies to escape Ohio’s cold winters it has grown to be an international destination for bikers from across the world. Tucked away in an old industrial building, it doesn’t look like much from the outside…but wow, is it ever fun inside. (Two locations: Cleveland & Milwaukee)

Joyride 150

Inspired at least partially by Ray’s MTB, some Canadian MTBers decided to put their own spin on the indoor bike concept and bring it over the border to a suburb just outside of Toronto, Ontario (Canada). Joyride 150 is also loads of fun and happens to be the closest one to Cruiser Revolution HQ so it’s also the one I happen to visit most often. Drew Bezanson filmed one of the craziest videos of 2012 here (and tends to hit the park on a semi-regular basis too) so you know this park has some fun stuff to ride.

Cranx

Located in Syracuse, NY, Cranx is another good bike park. A pumptrack, jumpline, and a recently completed wooden bowl are just some of the highlights.  It hasn’t been open that long but things are constantly being updated and refined. You can read more about Cranx in the recent post Cranx: shreddin’ in Syracuse. Definitely a great place to check out.

The Lumberyard

The Lumberyard brings the indoor bike park concept to Portland, Oregon. Haven’t been to this one yet but I definitely like what I see. Jump lines, pump tracks, and skatepark-style stuff make this another good one to put on your list of parks to check out. An interesting thing that the Lumberyard has is a full-service restaurant.  Being able to get some BBQ and a beer or two after a good session seems pretty awesome.

What’s your favorite bike park?

Anybody planning a trip to one of these places?

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Cranx: shreddin’ in Syracuse

22 11 2012

Had a chance to ride Cranx Bike Park in Syracuse, New York a week and a half ago and came away smiling.

Built in the spirit of other indoor bike parks like Ray’s MTB and Joyride 150, it has a little something for everyone.  From a pumptrack, to jump lines to skatepark/street setups to the newly opened bowl…you can amuse yourself for hours.

Which I did.

Showing up on an unseasonably warm day, the park wasn’t as busy as I suspected it might be at this time of year. But that didn’t take away from the fun of the session. Upon getting the usual paperwork handled (waivers, etc.) by Dale, I was told that Matt, one of the guys on staff there, would give me a tour and show me around.

Definitely a pleasant surprise….and definitely something more bike parks should do.

Matt was laid back and a great tour guide…giving tips on lines, pointing out “escape routes” (if you had to get out of harm’s way) and making sure I had a good feel for the park and what it had to offer.

This run in the bottom left of this group of photos was probably my favorite line in the place. Starting at an elevated part of the park it sent you down into a banked turn and than into another banked turn in the opposite direction with a couple small jumps thrown in for good measure. Once you get used to it and hit with a little speed it becomes superfun.

The wooden bowl was definitely a good time too.

Tons of stuff to ride for sure with many updates and refinements already in the planning stages. (An outdoor dirt jump area has already been roughed for example.)

In the event that you break a bike part or need something for your bike, there’s also a satellite store for local shop, Advance Cyclery (you can see a bit in the left side of the top photo) to help you out.

All in all, definitely a cool place to check out if you’re in the area.

Bonus tip: when you’re done riding and have built up a healthy appetite, check out Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in town. Billed as a “honky tonk rib joint” it is a must-see/stop if you’re into bar-b-que….sooo good!

Photo credit: all pics (except the top one) from Turndown’s photo album on the Cranx Facebook page