The dirt-biking community in Louisville, Kentucky, will soon be going underground—literally.
Riders will delve nearly 100 feet beneath earth's surface, into an abandoned limestone mine, where courses of all types and for all levels of riding cover more than 320,000 square feet, making the Louisville Mega Cavern bike park the nation's largest indoor biking facility.
A reservations-only "soft opening" is scheduled for Monday, and mountain bikers from throughout the region are anticipating the grand opening sometime in March.
The obvious positives of riding 10 stories underground:
• No need to worry about sunburn.
• When it rains outside, which it does often in Louisville during the winter, you can still ride.
• When it's searing hot outside, which it is in Louisville during much of the summer, you can still ride in comfort, as the temperature in this old Kentucky mine is a constant 58 degrees.
Park designers have spent months shaping 45-plus trails, building jumps and slalom tracks, adding BMX and single-track features, and constructing a cross-country course.
“This is the all-time best thing that has ever happened to cycling in Louisville,” Derek Fetko, owner of On Your Left Cycles, told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “When it’s finished, this park is going to go a long way to help the Louisville mountain-biking and BMX community become more competitive in the racing world.”
Among the curious onlookers has been a small fox that enters the mine to find warmth (pictured below).
"No, we never feed him but we are happy to share our space with this little cutie," Louisville Mega Cavern states on its Facebook page.
News of Monday's soft opening has attracted the mainstream media, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal, which reported Tuesday that NBC's "Today Show" has been in town taping a segment.
Outside magazine has featured the park, dubbing it "The premier subterranean playground."
It's an ambitious project, to be sure, considering that once the mine became non-operational in the early 1990s, the space became a dumping site for dirt and rock, which has piled up, year after year.
Tom Tyler, who co-owns the mine, told Mashable that the space would have remained a dumping site had persistent bikers from the area, and even beyond, not requested that a park be constructed.
Plans were drawn up, the sprawling park is now built and, presumably, the bikers will come.
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