The weather is about to take a turn for the worse, but that's no reason to stick your bike in storage! What if you could come out of the winter not only with your fitness and sanity in tact, but as a better rider as well?
How is this possible you say? If you haven't already ridden an indoor bike park, do yourself a favor and get to the nearest one and prepare for the ride of your life!
The Wheel Mill is Pittsburgh's first indoor bike park, and we opened to the public this April. We are housed inside a building the size of an entire city block, 80,000sf, with two floors of riding. We have mountain bike and BMX trails, jumps, ramps, etc, for all ages and skill levels. We still have more to build though, and a pump track is one of the most universally ride-able features out there. But let's back up a minute and tell you a little about ourselves.
Who is The Wheel Mill? The Wheel Mill is owned by me, Harry Geyer, and my wife Sheila. My father loves bikes and took me on my first bike tour when I was 5 years old in Germany. We went 17 kilometers around town. I was hooked. Since then I've raced BMX, road, and mountain bikes, but mostly I just mess around for fun or commute. I love riding our local single track, and the BMX crew here is teaching me how to jump (Heck yeah!).
Who built The Wheel Mill? Lot's of people, but the bulk of the credit goes to Mike and Mark Potoczny. They designed the now famous "Woods Jump Room" and the flowy "Park Room". We were also fortunate to have the legendary Burly Matt Gibeaut help with the odd angles and bowl corners. Honorable mentions must go out to Josh Pekich,Tom Arkus, Brian Yeagle, Ryan Popple, and Jay Scott for their vision and hammer swinging. I also enlisted carpenters from my construction company to help keep things moving. That far from covers everyone, but you'll have to wait for the acceptance speech for the rest of the names, haha.
How will the money be used? Our biggest single expense in building a pump track is materials. We will use approximately $9000 in plywood, studs, and hardware. Our next biggest expense is labor. We are setting aside $7000 to pay the best builders around to turn our concept into reality. The last expense is for our Scholarship Program. We need to pay the instructors and cover the additional insurance costs for running extra camps, and we are setting aside $2000 for that.
Risks and challenges
Like every other feature in the park, we are going for something more with our pump track, and that means getting out of the comfort zone, out of the tried and true. When you explore new territory, you take all of your knowledge and experience and apply it to an idea or concept that is untested up to that point.
The goal of building this pump track isn't to make it look exactly like the drawing, the goal is to make it the best riding pump track out there, and that may mean some tweaking along the way.
This is the same process that has worked so well for every other room we have built. Take experienced riders with creative ideas, account for the constraints of the physical space, put that into a plan, get experienced builders to make it real, test it as you go, tweak it until its right, and there you have it!
One of our biggest challenges is incorporating the BMX start gate and sprint lane into the first leg of the course. The second biggest challenge is making a turnaround that allows you to do multiple, uninterrupted laps. These areas may need to be built and rebuilt in order to get them right. The same could be said for any part of the track, really. In the end, you'll be riding on the best track that could be built in the space!
Team on This Campaign: