The Indoor Bike Park That Started it All
Rays Indoor Bike Park is located in an industrial park on the outskirts of Cleveland Ohio. The entrance to the building is tucked away, and not visible from the main road. The best directions at that point is to head towards the water tower, and once there the north shore ladders were an indication that was I in the right place.
Once through the doors, it is evident that this place is huge. Immediately visible is a two story tall rental fleet that parallels a retail counter stocked with GoPro accessories, energy bars, bike parts, and other MTB paraphernalia. In the distant background I got my first glimpse of the endless bike park. I instantly felt more excited than an 8 year at chuckee cheese.
Upon arriving we had to fill out the typical safety waivers and then received our passes to ride. The prices were around $20 for weekdays, $25 for weekend days, with special package rates for weekends and Fri-Sun. The bike rental fees were also extremely reasonable, hovering around the $15 mark. For changing out of our winter clothes, there’s a small part of the restroom that had a bench which was all I needed. For storing our gear while riding we simply made use of the picnic tables around the place, but there was also the option to use a locker.
On the bike, it is impossible to adequately describe how the whole park and the subdivisions connect. The main path is a green XC loop, which I found to give me the perfect overview of the park. Even though the green path is considered an XC loop, it was home to some of my favorite table tops, wall rides, and jumps. The XC loop takes approximately 2-3 minutes to complete, and many riders will lap this for hours on end. Oddly enough, the green line reminded me of an amusement park ride, one minute I was surrounded by a desert with pink walls and the next moment I was floating up rafters.
One of the many things that Ray’s does well, is to offer a wide range of obstacle courses for different riding abilities. Almost everything there is part of a larger progression. The beginner sections are in a secluded room, where lesser experienced riders would not have to worry about being watched or judged. On a related note, I’ve never seen so many riders riding with their spouses and both enjoying the experience.
After graduating from the easier rooms, there’s a small but addictive pump track located next to the intermediate skills section. This intermediate section has almost every trail feature imaginable from teeter totters, skinnies, a mini jump line, logs, boulders and much more. There’s even a mini “trials” course. If the intermediate section is not challenging enough, an expert skills section with similar but much bigger features is located on the other side.
As somebody who enjoys hang time, I split most of my time evenly between one of three places. The first being the iconic Subaru bowl. The bowl had plenty of challenges and things to keep me out of my comfort zone. It was one of the best designed bowls I’ve ridden, maximizing flow, and minimizing awkward dead zones.
The second place I gravitated towards was the rhythm room. I wouldn’t be surprised if about 50% of riders don’t even know it existed since it’s not attached to the rest of the park. As the name suggest, this room is filled with jump lines ranging from smaller on the inside to bigger along the perimeter. The biggest line was built like a set of dirt jumps, pretty steep, but not super long. The smaller lines were much tamer and had a ton of creative transfer lines.
The last section that ate up most my time was the “red” room. This room was suited toward riders looking to learn new tricks while limiting injuries. The foam pit had a tape delayed video camera so I could get a feel for what I actually looked like in the air. Upon graduating from the foam pit, I could then take those tricks to the full sized resi ramp and fly box located in the same section.
There was no substantial food on the premises and I don’t remember seeing any fast food places close by. However by the front desk there’s a rack of restaurant menus of places that deliver. Papa Primo’s menu jumped out at me and I highly recommend taking my lead, as it was a lot of good food for relatively little money. Because Ray’s was open so late, I didn’t spend much time outside exploring the city.
During the two days, I got in a solid 16 hours of riding, and that’s not including breaks. Needless to say the Holiday Inn, which we booked through Ray’s website at a discounted rate, was the best nights sleep I’ve gotten in a long time. The hotel has a pool, a gym, a restaurant, and basically everything you need. For $60 it’s a hard to beat. In summary, Rays offers something for all skill sets, and for various riding styles. The ride time to entry fee ratio is of very good value. The staff are friendly and helpful. The facilities are clean, and there’s free Wi-Fi, fireplaces, TVs and couches to kill any down time.
A little bit for everybody, BMX & MTB friendly, family friendly environment.
The roads in Cleveland have lots of potholes! And no food within walking distance.