As most of us are aware, Ohio is home to some pretty well-known, nationally-recognized parks, monuments and tourist attractions. Music lovers from all over the world have traveled here to visit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The same can be said for roller coaster enthusiasts who make the trip to Cedar Point every summer and for animal lovers from all over America who travel to the Columbus Zoo because it is one of the best zoos in the country.
Recently, I discovered another one of these legendary, national attractions that is right here in our backyard — Ray's Indoor Mountain Bike Park. In case you didn't know, Ray's MTB is a one-of-a-kind, biker's wonderland that offers 200,000 square feet of indoor tracks and trails that are open to people of all ages and riding abilities. The park has miles and miles of rolling hills and ramps made of plywood, rocks, logs, steel and concrete for as far as the eye can see. In fact, on the day of my first visit, I rode for almost two hours and later learned from my friends who came with me that there were parts of the park that I never even discovered. Yes...it's that big and Ray's MTB recognizes that on their website by saying: "If you are lost, that's good! Now you are on an adventure!"
Keith Miller, Ray's MTB General Manager — who has been riding at the park since opening day in 2004 — says with conviction, "There's nothing else like it! There's nothing else that compares to this place...anywhere." And to prove that point, he asked me to take a look around the parking lot on my way back to my car at the end of the day. What I saw was cars from every state in the region — Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin, just to name a few. If I needed any more convincing of the national recognition that Ray's MTB has, later that day when I posted a picture that I took at the park on my Instagram page and a friend of mine and an avid mountain biker who has lived in Northern California for the past 25 years commented: "Ray's!" Chances are that if you search the internet for a list of the top 10 indoor mountain bike parks in the country, Ray's MTB will almost certainly be listed as No. 1.
Ray's MTB is named after founder and owner, Ray Petro, who had a "Field Of Dreams" kind of vision over 20 years ago when he found himself wishing there was a place for him and others to ride their mountain bikes in the winter. He knew that if he could find the right building and pour his heart and soul into constructing a quality indoor facility himself, people would come. And come they have. Every year Ray's MTB has grown in popularity and this season they expect to bring in over 40,000 visitors.
Ray's MTB is located in the southwest corner of Cleveland, not far from the airport, at 9801 Walford Ave. It is open seven days a week from late September-April. In the off-season, Ray's commits themselves to expanding and improving their trails for the upcoming season.
"In the summer, we spend all the money that we made in the winter to do renovations so that people will continue to come back," Keith says. That mentality has become the secret to their success and serves as their motto, as you will see signs in the building and on their website saying, "If you keep coming, we will keep building."
The best part about Ray's MTB is that it truly is for everyone. If you can ride a bike without training wheels, then you are in for a good time at the park. When you go, you will see little boys and girls riding their little bikes with their parents.You will see the adventurous teenagers who throw caution to the wind, looking for every thrill they can find. You will see experienced adult mountain bikers who are getting in a good workout and improving their trail skills. You will even see riders like me, who rented their bike for the day at Ray's MTB and took pleasure in starting on the beginner trails and then — after gaining some confidence — moved on to more challenging trails. I had a blast and everywhere I looked, people were enjoying themselves as well. Ray's MTB is everything it's hyped up to be — and more!
Visit RaysMtb.com or give them a call at 216.631.7433 for information on bike rentals, season passes, daily rates and hours.