Milwaukee mountain bikers looking to beat the winter doldrums will find salvation this year when Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park MKE opens in November.
The new location is situated roughly 10 miles northwest of downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.
The new facility plans to offer a similar experience to mountain bike riders that the original Ray’s location in Cleveland provides, though, the fresh start will allow Ray’s staff to show off what five years of indoor trail construction experience can produce when given a ‘clean slate’.
"The recipe for Ray’s is that it’s closed in the summer,” said Eric Schutt, Ray’s general manager told BikeRadar. “So we’re able to take that time and refine the park every year. That means expansion that means revision with the goal of trying to get things perfect.”
The clean slate in Milwaukee is an 110,000 square foot retail space that formerly housed a Menards Home Improvement Center. Construction is currently under way with plans to open the facility in November, but local riders are already stopping by to see how things are shaping up. The attention has staff tightlipped about the exact location, so as not to impede the construction process.
“We’re head down focused on construction,” he said. “We have a lot done, but there is still a lot to do so we’re just trying to stay focused.”
One of the main components of the new location’s plan is to better incorporate a cross-country flow to the trails.
“The park in Cleveland always had a wide variety of riders in mind, but cross-country wasn’t a key element out of the gate,” he said. “It is here. There’s a stronger emphasis on the cross-country rider out of the gate given the fact that there is a rich population of cross-country riders in this area.”
You’ll also see a lot of the same elements that are found in Cleveland including different skill elements and levels that cater to progressing a rider, as well as expert level street and park features.
“The idea here is that there will be something for everyone,” said Schutt.
The idea of opening a Milwaukee location was hatched by Ray Petro, the founder and namesake of the Cleveland indoor mountain bike park, for more than two years ago, but was financially stalled. Trek Bicycle Corporation, a sponsor of Ray’s original location, got behind the idea in the early part of 2010, which made Ray’s idea a reality.
“Without Trek, Ray’s Milwaukee could not have happened,” said Petro. “I’m very grateful for Trek’s involvement and excited about the work that’s already going on at our second park. The most exciting thing for me about this partnership is that I can now focus all of my time and energy on the design and creative direction of the parks.”
Trek’s offices are located roughly 1-½ hours from Milwaukee.
“Bringing Ray’s to the Midwest has been a dream I have participated in with Ray for some time,” said Joe Vadeboncoeur, Trek’s vice president of product development and marketing. “The new Ray’s is going to be unlike anything anybody’s ever seen before.
Currently Ray’s is directing inquiries for more information to their website.