A Cure for the Winter Blues
From the outside it is pretty easy to drive right past Cranx Indoor Bike Park. The building blends into the surroundings. Apart from the lettering on the side, there’s not much that distinguishes it. The entrance and parking are on the right hand side. Upon entering the first thing I was greeted with is a massive wall ride. The reception desk nearby with waivers that all first timers need to fill out, along with a one time $5 insurance fee. The admission fee is about ~$20 for weekdays, and ~$25 for weekends. And once inside, you can just get riding...
There are changing rooms and lockers, but you will need to bring your own lock. There are two water fountains, and two fully stocked vending machines. The bike shop is mainly geared towards BMX’ers, but I did see a few MTB parts mixed in. There is a full rental fleet of bikes if you do not own one yourself. In the back there’s a picnic area, with benches tables where most of riders store their pads and tools. Once on the bike, the place is a bit overwhelming to navigate at first. We started off on the wooden pump track, but after about ten minutes my friend and I were already looking for something more exhilarating.
In the center of the park, there’s a beginner line (green) and intermediate line (blue). To get to these we had to go up the red handicap ramp next to the black Subrosa box. For skilled riders this is the area I would recommend warming up on. The green line had a unique 270 degree spiral berm which brings you out into a series of tight turns, rollers and tables. I personally found the flow and transitions to be a bit awkward, but I didn’t familiarize myself with that line too much. The blue line is a bit bigger, and has a lot more room for progression. There are several elongated rollers and a huge 180 degree oververt wallride, which drops into a right hand hip berm. Those lead to a series of table tops, that felt a bit weird at first pass, but once I got into the rhythm they proved to have a plethora of secret lines.
In the same vicinity, there are a series of progression drops, which I did not see a single person hit the entire weekend. Directly next to that, there is a street section with a quarter, sub box, grind rails and a few other features.
I spent the majority of my time on the more advanced black line. It features several medium sized jumps, hips, long tables, step ups and wallrides. This is where most of the intermediate and veteran riders will end up spending most of their time. The flow takes a little getting used to; my first passes through were horrendous. But there are a ton of possibilities and challenges to work up to. Even after two whole days, I didn’t find myself getting bored at all. Tying the entire place together are two XC loops, going around the perimeter, one on the floor level and one on the upper boardwalk. Each of these has skill features, with rollers, skinnies and logs. I could see these being useful for new riders, but I didn’t do more than a single lap on each.
Tucked away in the far back corner, is the best part of the bike park. It’s a well constructed wooden bowl, with an oververt corner pocket and a spine of various heights. The bowl is about as perfect as it gets. It is easy for anybody to pump around and carry speed with or without catching air. It’s also one of the more secluded areas of the bike park, which I personally found pretty relaxing.
The last feature in the park is the big foam pit, with a decent size roll-in. I spent 1 or 2 hours messing around here, but it quickly wore me out! Cranx has a little bit of everything, for MTBers and BMXers of all skillsets. You will most likely get tired before getting bored. I’m not sure if we were there on a quiet weekend, but up until noon we had the whole place to ourselves.
Need a place to crash?
For accommodations there are a series of hotel chains no more than 3 minutes away. There are about 5 fast food places down the road, and even a Tim Hortons for Canadians that stray over the border. If you’re looking for something a bit more substantial, there’s Dinosaur BBQ about 15 minutes away. When we arrived it was jam packed, so we ended at the highly recommended Heilds of Liverpool. I don’t think I ordered the right items because my experience didn’t quite live up to the hype, but the food was still enjoyable.
Anything else to do?
At this point, if you’re still looking to kill some time, Syracuse is home to one of the biggest malls on the east coast. A mall is generally the last place I’d willingly go to myself, however I made an exception here. From comedy clubs, movies theaters, go carts, and even an intimidating ropes course, the Destiny USA mall offers a lot of entertainment value.
Overall, Cranx is definitely worth the trip for a couple of days. And they are open until 10pm in the evening, so getting your money’s worth is not a problem.
Plenty to keep any rider happy and all in the dry!
As an MTB'er, it's possibly a more BMX suited bike park.