If you build it they will come. The phrase is ripped right off the silver screen, but applies directly to the Ray’s Mountain Bike Park. If you travel in the mountain bike circles, you would have heard of this magical place in a far off but not so magical land of Cleveland, OH.
Ray’s bike park is that- It is just magical. The former WWII parachute warehouse was purchased by long-time mountain biker Ray Petro and turned into a one hundred thousand square foot mountain biking palace.
This warehouse, complete with a jump room, foam pit, pump track, cross country loop, skinnies, and drops also offers riders the chance to advance their skill with leveled rooms for all types of riders.
The beginner room is a great place to start a warm up with skinnies to practice on that are only a few inches off the ground. The room also has some ramps and obstacles that will still give you a thrill, but will keep you close to the ground. There is even a decent climb-to and drop-in from the ceiling! Part of the cross-country loop also comes through the beginner room.
The larger room is split off into an intermediate section with higher, more complicated skinnies, a pump track, and a jump line that will keep you entertained all day long. The other parts of the main room are the expert skinnies and obstacles complete with teeter totters, sliding ramps, rock gardens, and drops that will make any rider think twice about the waiver they signed. The last two parts of the main room consists of one room with half pipe style ramps and a foam pit while the other room has more of a street feel.
Interlaced through the park is a jump line that has a half bowl turnaround point that is fifteen feet in the air! With riders skying into this section and then making the large bermed turn you will find many spectators hang out there and just watch everyone ride.
There is an entirely separate room of the park, which is a large jump room. The jumps almost totally fill the room, with some of them causing a rider to skim the ceiling. There is a steep drop-in ramp to make sure you have the speed to get through any of the three available lines.
The last part of the facility is the cross-country loop, which will make any rider love life. You think that you can’t get a good cross-country ride indoors? You have not ridden this course. A few turns of this will feel like an hour or two out in the woods. The temperature change, challenging terrain, leg-busting climbs, twists, and turns make you fully rely on your senses.
When you are whipped and cannot ride any longer, Ray’s has a lounge area with a full shop, fireplaces, and a DIY tool stand.
The park is not just for hucksters and everyone there is generally very relaxed. The park does get busy mid day on the weekends, but that makes for a perfect rest time. The park has pad, helmet, bike, and even GO Pro camera rentals. Two-day weekend passes are $45.99, which gets you over 12 hours of ride time each day. For a seven-hour car ride, you get something pretty good! www.raysmtb.com
Pat Engleman is a native of North Eastern Pennsylvania but he has been living in Philadelphia for the last twenty years. Cycling was his way to get to different skateboarding spots in his small hometown, but that has blossomed to a full blown passion that has grown into racing, advocacy work, trail building, bicycle retail and event promotion. His most recent work has been in the development of the annual Lu Lacka Wyco Hundo and of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Cycling League, http://www.pamtb.org.