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Experience Europe’s great indoors

12 01 2016

It seems fitting that on the day my city gets its first major snowfall of the season…I learn of a new indoor bike park!

Following in the footsteps of other parks (Rays MTB, Joyride 150, Cranx and others) this particular park takes the concept outside of North America.

Wood15 is the first indoor bike park of this type in Europe.

Wood15c

Located in Sittard-Geleen, Netherlands (in an old Phillips television factory), it offers terrain and features suited for beginners and experts alike. Of course, it’s also a welcome escape if Mother Nature turns nasty.

The park also has a nice-looking coffee bar called “Drinkplaats” inside to keep you caffeinated/hydrated during your session.

Drinkplaats

It definitely looks like a pretty cool place…and kinda makes me want to visit the Netherlands!

Check it out.

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2 things you must do before the Grands

19 11 2015

Here we are.

A week before the USA BMX Grand Nationals.

There’s already been the obligatory top ten list of things to do before the Grands article on another media outlet.

Videos popping up to get people hyped.

So…what are (in my opinion) the top 2 things to do before you attend the Grands?

  1. Reconsider
  2. Head to Cleveland and ride Rays MTB* instead.

Don’t get me wrong…I’m as big a fan of BMX racing as the next guy.

But when you start to run the numbers a bit, the “bang for buck”, or more appropriately “bang per lap” does not add up.

usa bmx t-shirt

Budgeting…what is it now?…$50 per class? You’re paying a pretty hefty premium for your less than handful of  laps around the track.

Compare that with riding at a bike park like Rays*…you can ride all freaking day for under $30. Your energy will run out before your time will.

What’s that you say?

It’s about “the experience” you say.

Hmm….so you’re traveling to the Grands to see some BMX stars?

Well, friends any number of BMX stars make their way down to the bike parks…you just never know who’s going to be there. That’s not to mention the local rippers and riders that regularly make the roadtrip to shred.

Want to score some good deals on bike parts? If the selection of bike parts on the display at the bike park doesn’t satisfy you…why not order some Black Friday deals from Dans or Empire back to your hotel room? C’mon now.

Speaking of which…riding at Rays helps you score a 1/2 price room at couple of hotels in Cleveland (other bike parks have similar deals). Haven’t seen a listing on BMXHotels.com that’s as economical as that.

And the Saturday night Pro Championship?

Well, I guess you might miss out on that.

But since you’re in Cleveland, that means you can make your way out to a Cavaliars game…and while he may not have Sam W‘s winning smile, LeBron definitely knows how to get some airtime.

In the end, it’s up to you.

This is just my modest proposal.

Save some bucks and have more time/fun on your bike?

Seems like a no-brainer to me.

 

*Yes, there other great bike parks in other cities (check out this post for a list of most of them) …I chose Rays for simplicity’s sake)





Lurch’s custom Stout 26-inch

30 04 2015

This sweet ride caught my attention during my last trip to Ray’s MTB in Cleveland.

The owner of the bike, Joshua “Lurch” Gittere, was tearing up the jumps on it so I chased him down to get the scoop.

Very much in the MTB or BMX? category, his custom-built bike seems to combine elements of both styles of riding to make something very distinctive.

Lurch custom stout

Manufactured by Matt at Stout Bikes (you might remember the eye-catching Beelzebike was also made by Stout) this bike is big and strong.

Lurch had originally asked to have it built up for a 100mm suspension fork, which is how he rode it for a little bit.

Then he decided he wanted to see what it rode like when it was built up like a “true” bmx bike with rigid forks and big bars.

According to Lurch, the new setup,

“Feels amazing!! Rides soooo smooth and works for me…anything that keeps me riding is whats up in my book.”

Lurch manual r

Here’s the specs of the custom frame:

Head Angle: 69 deg.
Seat Angle: 74 deg.
Top Tube: 23.5″
Chain Stay: 15.25″ slammed
Finish:  Black with silver flake
 Lurch custom Stout fv r
Lurch’s setup:
Fork: S&M Pitchfork XLT 26″
Handlebars:  S&M Hoder Bars
Grips:  DUO Corey Martinez
Bar Ends:  Kind Ideal
Stem:  Colony TLD Flatland Stem
Seat:  United X Cinema Pivotal
Seat Post:  Shadow Pivotal
Cranks:  Profile Madera 180mm
Sprocket:  Kink Sound Sprocket 28 T
Pedals:  Deity Compound Pedals (plastic)
Chain:  KMC
Headset: Kink Integrated
Front Rim:  Sun Ringle MTX 33 36 Hole
Front Hub:  Profile Elite
Rear Rim:  Sun Ringle MTX33  36 Hole
Rear Hub:  Halo DJD Singlespeed Cassette, 11 T
Spokes: DT Swiss
Tires: Geax Booze 26 x 2.3
Brakes:  Hayes
Pegs:  Sunday Pipe Pegs (not shown)
All in all, a pretty interesting mix of both BMX and MTB elements in this bike.
 –
Lurch said he had dealt with some back problems in the past and this setup really made it easy for him to ride and be comfortable on his bike again.  Who can argue with that?




Read all about Ray’s MTB

15 10 2014

I’ve always thought the story of Ray Petro and Ray’s MTB read like a Hollywood movie.

Well, the movie still has yet to be made, but it looks like you can now get the next best thing.

A book, put together by Ray Petro and professional adventure sports writer and photographer, Johnathon Allen.

Ray’s, The Inspirational Story of the World’s First Indoor Mountain Bike Park, tells the story of how Ray overcame drug and alcohol abuse to create the standard-setting Ray’s MTB bike parks.

index

Available at the bike parks and through Amazon, this looks like it is going to be one fun read.





The crazy backstory to Ray’s MTB

18 10 2013

The story behind Ray Petro and his wild idea to build an indoor bike park (so he’d have a place to ride in the winter) reads like a Hollywood movie.

To this day, I’m still surprised that someone hasn’t jumped at the chance to make a movie about it.

Thankfully, as Ray’s MTB celebrates its 10th anniversary this season, the story of how Ray took his dream and made it reality is getting shared by a number of mainstream media outlets.

One of them is Start UP , a new television series that looks into the experiences of American entrepreneurs. They caught up with Ray at the Milwaukee location and do a great job of capturing how Ray managed to pull it off.  A truly inspiring story.

(Nice to see some Taj Mihelich riding in the clip too.)

Watch for the segment to air sometime soon on your local PBS station.

Another good feature done on Ray’s MTB was published recently by the Akron Beacon Journal.  The article includes a good interview with Ray, pictures and a short video to round out the coverage.

If watching or reading these accounts doesn’t inspire you to follow your dreams, I don’t know what will.

So awesome.





St. Patrick’s Day session at Ray’s MTB

13 03 2013

I’m heading down to Ray’s MTB in Cleveland this weekend for a St. Patrick’s Day session.

So if you’re in the area on March 17, come on out and let’s go ride!

I may or may not be busting out a green outfit for the occasion but I’m pretty confident that a Shamrock shake (or two) will be consumed over the course of the weekend.

Looking forward to a good session…Ray’s MTB is always a good time!

stPatricks

Not sure who this is but she really seems to enjoy Guinness

(Some people just can’t wait to celebrate St. Paddy’s!)





There’s a BMX storm brewing

28 02 2013

This winter has been unrelenting in terms of storms, cold temps and all around crappy conditions.

BMXers in the northeast have been hit particularly hard by this nasty weather and are collectively just about ready to say good riddance to old man winter.

Thankfully, this weekend brings two big events that will put a spring in the step of BMXers of just about every stripe in the northeast.

The first is the annual Toronto BMX Jam.  The unofficial kickoff to the contest season and an excuse for BMXers to get a bit of a BMX party going on, the Toronto BMX Jam is a contest that gets people’s stoke factor to go off the charts. Set up as part of the Toronto International Bicycle show (kind of like a mini-Interbike), it features the Toronto BMX Jam, a flatland contest, indoor racing (mostly MTB these days) and a jumping competition.

The riding is unbelievable, the crowd is loud and chances are that you’ll run into riding buddies you haven’t seen for ages.  So much fun. I’ll be there Saturday and Sunday and if you have the chance I hope you will too…this is one of the most fun BMX events of the year.

drew-bezanson-toronto-jam1

Did I mention the riding is unbelievable? Check out this clip from the finals last year.

The second big event is at Ray’s MTB Cleveland.

This coming weekend they will be hosting 3 (really) big names in BMX: Rick Moliterno, Harry Leary and Stu Thomsen.

Rays HOTS_Slide_Thomsen_Leary_Moliterno

That’s almost BMX royalty right there!

If you’re a BMX nerd like me, you know those guys have some stories to tell. Much respect for those dudes.

So if winter has got you down, these events might be the cure for what ails you. Check ’em out if you get a chance.