Explain the mission of RideBHM. Why was this company founded?
Our mission is simple: we provide positive experiences through mountain biking. For lots of kids, riding a bike without training wheels for the first time is a big deal. It can be a transformative thing to overcome something you fear — and to gain autonomy and confidence from that process. That goes for adults as well as kids! We want everyone to have those experiences so that when they leave, they leave wondering what else is possible.
What is your background with the company?
I am one of the founders, along with my closest friend and fellow Birmingham native, Hobie King. We started working on this concept over two years ago, when we spontaneously built some jumps on a vacant lot in Avondale. It’s been quite a journey, but we are under construction on RideBHM, our flagship location in partnership with Red Mountain Park. Our site is over 200 acres in the thick of the largest metropolitan area in the state. It sits at the intersection of Bessemer, Birmingham, Hoover, and Homewood — a perfect location for people from both sides of the mountain to come together around a common activity.
What is a “mountain bike resort?” Explain.
It all starts with our trail. If you don’t mountain bike, maybe the best way to explain the experience of riding a great trail is that it’s like a mellow roller coaster, where you control the car. As avid riders, we have traveled for years to other parts of the country for the best trails, but it really did not make sense why a similar experience didn’t exist nearby. Alabama has over 270,000 acres of land in the Forever Wild Land Trust alone and a climate that is suitable for riding year round. So we decided to create it. Our first location is 200 acres of Alabama hillside, thoughtfully laid out with professionally built and maintained downhill trails. They’re built for beginners first, but progressive in difficulty and features. They’re trails that are designed for one thing — tons of fun. At the bottom of our trail systems, we’ll have a family-friendly environment we call “Base Camp.” Complete with a shipping container bike shop, taco trucks, camping opportunities, shade structures, kids features and yoga classes, this outdoor recreation hub is a mountain biking resort.
What are the benefits of a membership to RideBHM?
A member gets low-cost access to world-class outdoor recreation, built around, but not limited to, mountain biking. Members will have a place where everyone in their family can enjoy themselves outside, get some exercise (biking, hiking or yoga), and socialize with friends old and new. Finally, our future plans include other parks across the state, at which point your membership will be your pass to ride at all of our locations. I am so excited about that in particular: our members can get different experiences and value for the whole family, all within convenient driving distance and at a low price point.
How soon will the RideBHM park be completed?
We will never be “done,” as we will always be looking for ways to improve our value proposition to our customer, but we plan to have a “grand opening” in early 2023 with some beta opportunities prior to that.
How will RideBHM improve the quality of life for everyone in Birmingham and beyond?
The experience we’re creating with this park is something I would have liked to have growing up in Birmingham, and I also think it will make us more attractive to potential visitors and locals alike. Outdoor recreation can be a powerful economic development tool, as towns like Bentonville, Arkansas have shown with their commitment to mountain biking trails and subsequent growth. The Hoover Institute actually made investment in outdoor recreation one of its top recommendations for the state to pursue in order to attract and retain a talented workforce, and we think Ride Resorts can be a big part of that strategy. We will deliver a world-class mountain biking experience, 20 minutes from downtown, in a way that creates a community that will be fun to be a part of no matter your skill level. And when mountain bikers from all over the country come to ride with us, it will be an opportunity for us to show off all of the other amazing things Birmingham has going on.
What do you envision for the future of RideBHM and affiliates?
Our motto is "go big, together," and that’s what we are planning. RideBHM is the first location of Ride Resorts, the world’s first mountain biking resort platform, based right here in Birmingham. We are committed to producing an amazing experience at RideBHM and then replicating that wherever we think it makes sense.
We send out regular updates via email. If you are interested, just sign up at ridebhm.com, and also give us a follow on Instagram @ridebhm.