PHOTO BY CHUCK HOVEN
Friday, September 9, 2022; The Big Reveal, Ray’s Indoor Bike Park, 9801 Walford:
Artist Eileen Dorsey joined with Ray Petro, owner of Ray’s Indoor Bike Park, to design a mural for the entrance to the bike park. A scene of an outdoor mountain bike path now greets guests to Ray’s Indoor Bike Park. The mural was unveiled at “The Big Reveal” celebration. Dorsey says it took her a week and a half to paint the mural. Dorsey has a studio at W. 78th Street Studios. In the doorway to the bike park during the unveiling of the mural are: (L-R) Artist Eileen Dorsey, Master of Ceremonies and Vanity Crash drummer Thomas Mulready, Ray’s Indoor Bike Park owner Ray Petro, Ward 11 City Council Representative Brian Mooney, and Cleveland State University (CSU) Dean of the College of Graduate Studies Dr. Nigamanth Sridhar who is representing the CSU team that worked on Ray Petro’s electric mountain bike.
PHOTO BY CHUCK HOVEN
Friday, September 9, 2022; The Big Reveal, Ray’s Indoor Bike Park, 9801 Walford: This crew from Cleveland State University made use of the Center for Human Machine Systems Lab at CSU, tapped into the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET) for fabricated parts, and the Spinal Cord Injury Volunteer Corps to equip Ray Petro’s electric four-wheel mountain bike with accessible power steering mechanism. Ray Petro, owner of Ray’s Indoor Bike Park, was injured in a mountain bike accident at a Cleveland Metroparks location in Strongsville, which led to his need for a four-wheel mountain bike with power steering. The CSU team: (L-R) Doctoral Student Skye Carlson (President of the Spinal Cord Injury Volunteer Corps), Kyra Stovicek (B.S. Mechanical Engineering 2022), Steven Wilson (B.S. Mechanical Engineering 2022), and Tyler Tokarcik, Equipment Mechanic Apprentice.
Ray Petro, owner of Ray’s Indoor Bike Park, hosts “The Great Reveal”
by Chuck Hoven
(Plain Press, October 2022) Ray Petro, owner of the world’s first indoor bike park on Walford Avenue in the West Boulevard neighborhood, threw a party on September 9th. Those on the large guest list received invitations to “The Big Reveal” and were promised live music from the band Vanity Crush, a complimentary food truck, and complimentary adult beverages.
The party was held outside the front entrance to Ray’s Indoor Bike Park located in the large former Industrial Rayon Corporation plant at 9801 Walford Avenue. The front entrance to Ray’s Indoor Bike Park is by the water tower at the rear of the large industrial building. The easiest way to find the entrance is to turn south into the first driveway east of West Boulevard on Walford Avenue.
When guests arrived, they enjoyed the complementary food and beverages and mingled wondering what “The Great Reveal” would be. Ray Petro, moved through the crowd in his wheelchair, greeting and conversing with guests.
Guests were also able to view Ray Petro’s electric four-wheel mountain bike and meet members a team from Cleveland State University that worked to build a new accessible power steering mechanism for the bike.
Petro explained that he had a bicycle accident while riding in the Cleveland Metroparks in Strongsville and the new four-wheel vehicle would allow him to ride again and “give a whole new look and feel for the world’s first bike park.” The four-wheel electric vehicle may set a trend and could open the door to a whole new recreational opportunity for those who, like Ray Petro, have experienced a spinal cord injury.
The Cleveland State University team that helped to equip the bicycle with an accessible power steering mechanism that Petro could use, included Skye Carlson, a doctoral student who is also the President of the Spinal Cord Injury Volunteer Corps. Others on the team included Stephen Wilson and Kyra Stovicek, both 2022 graduates from the CSU Mechanical Engineering program, and Tyler Tokarcik, an equipment mechanic apprentice.
The rear of the building was covered with a large curtain as speakers addressed the crowd at The Great Reveal.
Master of Ceremony, Cool Cleveland’s Thomas Mulready, who also played the drums for Vanity Crash, introduced the speakers.
Ward 11 City Council Representative Brian Mooney spoke of some of the history of the former Industrial Rayon Corporation – which manufactured rayon yarn. (The Cleveland Memory Project says rayon was the world’s first synthetic fiber and used in items ranging from undergarments to tires.) Mooney said the building continues as a place of employment today as an industrial park and a place in which Ray Petro created the world’s first indoor bike park which opened in the building in 2004. Mooney spoke of some of the recent investments in the neighborhood by the City of Cleveland, including those to nearby Mercedes Cotner Park.
Westown Executive Director Rose Zitiello talked about the economic impact of the over 50,000 visitors now coming each year to Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park. She said many of the visitors to the bike park come from out of town and stay in hotels and eat in local restaurants. She estimated visitors to the bike park contribute over $2.5 million per year to Cleveland’s economy. Zitiello also talked about some of the public art amenities in the area served by Westown Community Development Corporation. She noted the locations of outdoor murals and sculptures that beautified the neighborhood.
Ray Petro began to introduce The Great Reveal. He told the crowd of his vision to have a mural of an outdoor mountain bike trail painted on the front entrance of his bike park. He said when he was visiting W. 78th Street Studios in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood he presented the idea to artist Eileen Dorsey who has a studio there. He said Dorsey, who has painted murals, was receptive to the idea. They collaborated in the design. Following Petro’s remarks, the curtain was lifted for The Great Reveal – a colorful mountain bike trail painted to surround the entrance of Ray’s Indoor Bike Park.
Artist Eileen Dorsey spoke of the week and a half she spent painting the mural which involved some new experiences for her. She noted that because of the porous nature of the brick building she had to use spray paint. Painting from a mechanical lift was also a new experience for her.
Dr. Nigamanth Sridhar, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Cleveland State University and Dean of the College of Graduate Studies also spoke briefly about Cleveland State University’s role in working to find a solution that would make it possible for Ray Petro to ride on the mountain bike trails in the bike park. The students working on creating an accessible power steering mechanism for the electric four-wheel mountain bike tapped into the resources of the Center for Human Machine Systems Lab at Cleveland State University, used the resources of the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET) to fabricate parts, and sought the guidance of the Spinal Cord Injury Volunteer Corps.
After the speeches many of the guests entered the bike park to view the many mountain bikes for rent and walk among the various trails and ramps set up for the mountain bikers to enjoy. Some of the children in attendance enjoyed jumping into a section of the bike park covered in foam.
Staff in attendance at the bike park had brochures available with the hours and prices for passes to ride in the bike park and showed the mountain bikes that were available for rental for those that haven’t brought their own bike. They noted that while the bike park would be open for limited hours in September, the bike park’s regular hours will be in place from the first weekend in October until the last weekend in April. During this period Ray’s Indoor Bike Park will be open Monday through Friday from Noon to 10 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Staff members said the bike park is especially busy on the weekends.
Editor’s Note: For more information about Ray’s Indoor Bike Park call 216-631-7433 or visit their website at: RAYSMTB.COM