We caught Mike Bisig right before he took the stage with the Cricketbows at Jimmies Ladder 11 this week. Mike is a high school music teacher during the day, rock band guitarist at night, and he is the guy who is bringing an indoor bike park to Dayton.
Dayton deserves a place where enthusiasts can ride, no matter the weather. Kids deserve a safe place to ride where they can increase their cycling skills without the worry of automobile traffic or crowded bike paths. Mike’s Indoor Bike Park will provide these things while working to bring the cycling community together and bring new life into Dayton’s downtown area.
We spoke with Mike about this newest addition to Dayton. He confirmed the former manufacturing facility that is located just east of the Water Street development off of East First Street is under contract. Mike said if things continue to move on schedule, he will open doors to riders in early 2017.
We asked Mike about the biggest hurdle to creating something like this in Dayton. Mike stated that there is no real business model for a facility of this kind. There are less than 10 indoor bike parks of this type in the US. Even fewer that are stand alone facilities that are also profitable. Mike has been studying Ray’s Mountain Bike Park in Cleveland as the model for his park in Dayton.
Ray’s Mountain Bike park in Cleveland was the first and the most successful indoor bike park. Mike has made more than 30 trips to Cleveland to ride and study the park. Mike is using Ray’s as a template but is giving it a unique Dayton spin. Mike plans to replicate the season pass model from Ray’s, but at a lower price point. The Dayton park will also be open year round accommodating riders when the weather is too cold, too wet or trails are unusable in local parks.
The Dayton park is being built to be accessible to all skill levels and bikes. Most riders, according to Bisig will be coming in with a type of mountain bike. BMX bikes will also find the park fitting for their type of riding. During our conversation, Mike expressed how the design in Dayton is created to be a low barrier to entrance, meaning kids and adults can find something to do without a special or expensive bike upgrade. Bring a bike, bring a helmet and plan to ride.
Throughout our talk Mike returned time and time again to teaching. Mike is a teacher at heart and his vision is for the Bike Park to be a community centered facility where kids learn to ride and learn to ride safely. Mike hopes to partner with groups to teach bike safety for indoor riding and on the road riding. Mike is aware of Dayton’s love affair with the bicycle and he hopes to honor that with Mikes Bike Park.
Mike was pleased to report that the necessary zoning variance has been granted by the City of Dayton in recent days. That was the last major hurdle prior to finalizing the purchase. We asked Mike: What is the most surprising part of starting a business like this in Dayton?
Mike said the most exciting and most surprising part has been the outpouring of support and offers of volunteer help. He reiterated that the Dayton bike community is a generous one and he is busy managing all the offers for help.
Are you a bicyclist or a business owner and interested in helping? Mike says visit the park’s webpage for details on sponsorships and volunteering. The park still has room for corporate sponsorships as well. Businesses can partner in a few different ways.
Besides writing a check, material donations and professional services are also welcomed. Building an indoor bicycle park requires an immense amount of wood and lumber. There is a need for standard sized lumber (2×4, 2×6, 4×4, etc.) as well as plywood, larger logs, pieces of trees, and just about any other larger pieces of wood that you can think of. They will be painting many of the walls inside the park and can use donations of paint, rollers, brushes, sand paper, and other basic painting materials.
If you can donate materials, please CLICK HERE .
There is a grassroots campaign to help pay for the cost of building the wooden structures inside of Mike’s Indoor Bike Park. These funds will also be used to upgrade the restroom and changing facilities, install a state-of-the-art video system for watching riders throughout the park, and to help make Mike’s Indoor Bike Park as safe as possible for all riders. Every dollar earned from this campaign will go towards creating an amazing riding experience for cyclists of all ability levels. Every dollar helps, so if you can give, give what you can so we can all enjoy the best indoor riding experience possible! CLICK HERE to donate today.