The Great Indoors: Exploring the Wasatch Indoor Bike Park
Bike / BMX
Creative thinking and following dreams are what led to the invention of the bicycle so many years ago. Today, there are a multitude of options for riders of every level to get on a two-wheeled machine and experience the freedom it has to offer. However, the snow and cold temps often put a damper on most Utahns’ cycling adventures from about November to March. Fortunately, entrepreneur and avid outdoorsman Spencer Randle saw an innovative opportunity to keep bikers entertained year round by bringing them to the great indoors.
Randle’s vision has helped bring the idea and execution of indoor bike parks westward. There are several bike parks across the country, most notably Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park in Ohio, which caters to cyclists during the winter months. What is unique is that Randle brought this idea to Utah and has a development plan that will eventually make it one of the larger indoor bike parks in the United States. There are only two other parks west of the Mississippi, and they are located in Oregon and Washington.
Realizing the opportunity to keep the wheels rolling all year has kept Randle busy—he spent the last two years traveling around, gathering ideas and gaining sponsors. “Finding the right building for this project has been the biggest challenge. There are a lot of codes to follow, and space is at a premium in Salt Lake City,” says Randle. The current home of Wasatch Indoor Bike Park is situated in the commercial district just east of I-15 at 2400 South and 815 West. The space is a repurposed warehouse that lends itself perfectly to this kind of business. It has easy access from the interstate and offers ample parking as well. The park encompasses nearly 15,000 square feet of rideable surface, and Randle has plans to expand to the full potential of the 27,000-square-foot warehouse. There are even plans to incorporate the adjoining building once the existing tenant moves out. If that plan comes to fruition, the space would effectively double to almost 50,000 square feet.
Rolling through the front door, visitors are invited to join in the fun, and Randle personally sets everyone up for success. He is a family man, and it’s not uncommon to see his wife greeting guests or his 4-year-old son shredding the pump track. A day pass Monday–Thursday is $15 for adults and $10 for kids. Friday and Saturday, the price bumps up to $18 and $12, respectively. Little rippers 4 and under ride for free, and the park is currently closed Sundays. Season passes go for $399, and discounts are available for service members, youth, and National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) members.
Many riders bring their own bikes, and every style is welcome, provided that it is relatively clean and in good working order. For those new to the sport or looking for a more purpose-built machine, the park has various bicycles for rent. “We were fortunate to get Scott, Haro and Fox Racing in as sponsors,” says Randle. Dirt Jumpers are available in every size, and a full-day rate is only $14 for a brand-new Scott Voltage. BMX riders can check out the latest Haro models for only $11 per day. Youth rates are $8 per day, and the park even has strider (pedal-less) bikes for the youngest kids. Helmets and pads are also available for rent and are included in the bike rental price. These safety items are necessary, and I can attest that they offer added confidence when trying new tricks.
Inside the park, there are a variety of features for every type of rider to enjoy. The local folks at Alpine Trails constructed the custom-built pump track and wooden features of the skills park. Their attention to detail makes the experience smooth and fun on any type of bike. BMXers and the dirt jump crowd will feel most at home on the pump track, which features berms, rollers, tables and crossovers. In the skills park, there are various wooden ladder-bridges and boulder gardens that test the balance of even the most seasoned riders. “We’re working on catering to everyone and draw all comers from novices to pros,” says Randle.
During the Grand Opening in late September, the park held a BMX exhibition with local pros, prize drawings and even food trucks to keep riders fed. The event hosted nearly 100 people and spread the word that there is a new riding opportunity in Utah. Randle admits that attendance could be better, but at the time of year of this interview, he was competing against the weather. “I’m optimistic that once the seasons change, we will see a dramatic increase in interest,” says Randle.
For the coming months, Randle is planning on building more expansive jump lines and has already added an airbag to his repertoire. Pedaling into the 6-foot takeoff was quite intimidating, but the experience was all time. Flying through the air and landing in a giant pillow is exhilarating, and it gave me the ability to try new tricks that I would never attempt on land.
It is no doubt that Randle is a man with a vision and genuinely enjoys showing people a good time. He encourages riders to drop in and provide feedback and ideas to keep the park innovative and attractive. There will even be opportunities to assist in building future features and painting murals as the park grows. Current hours are Monday–Friday, 2 p.m. – 10 p.m.; and Saturday, 12 p.m. – 10 p.m. Keep up on changes, events and expansion at facebook.com/wasatchbikepark.