Air Rec Center - Indoor Bike Park Coming to Vancouver

Jan 16, 2017 at 15:11
by AJ Barlas  

Anyone that rides dirt jumps, pumptrack, or park/street and lives in the greater Vancouver area can easily think of a time that they were sat daydreaming about riding or just wishing for summer. I know I have and the question that often gets asked is "why isn't there an indoor facility to ride"? After all, we live in one of the wettest cities in the world.

It turns out there's quite a lot more to it than simply finding a building and given the nature of real-estate in Vancouver, it grows even more difficult. Fortunately for anyone in the lower mainland, one rider has taken it upon himself to go for it and the facility, which he has dubbed, the Air Rec Center, will open its doors to the public on March 17, 2017.

The builder and owner sampling his hard work

Matteo, the owner, operator, and savior for all dirt jumpers in Vancouver, first started looking into the idea in 2013, only to realize how increasingly difficult the dream would be to pull off the further he dug into it. Back then Matteo worked in a bike shop, Where he gained insight into the skills and commitment required to run a successful business in the bike industry.

After two years of meticulous planning, and a few lucky opportunities, Matteo was able to financially commit to the project. Follow this by close to another two years to build the facility and the Air Rec Center is getting set to open its doors. The facility has been custom built with as many considerations as possible taken to make it the best that it can be for bikes. The building itself boasts a 35,000 sq. ft. footprint, with the space divided between dirt, park, and a progression area.

After researching locations all throughout the area, from the Interior to Vancouver Island and everywhere in-between, the Air Rec Center has been established in a newer industrial park in Maple Ridge. When looking into its location a number of items were assessed, including but definitely not limited to access, population density, city amenities, and riding scene. All said and done they found Maple Ridge to fit the criteria best and Matteo feels that they lucked out with the location.

bigquotesWe had considered many locations from Whistler to Hope and every city in between, the Interior and Vancouver Island were also given thought (sorry everyone in those areas).

The park from the roll-in for the dirt jumps

Dirt Jumps & Pumptrack

The dirt portion of the park takes up 15,000 sq. ft. of the space, and was built to be as progressive as possible within the space. There are three lines going from a small 3 ft. table-top line, a medium line that starts less consequential and builds as it goes, and the pro line which drops in off a 17 ft. roll-in to 9 ft. tall wooden kickers over 15 foot gaps. Hidden beneath the roll-in for the small and medium lines (and consequently the viewing deck) is a little pumptrack.

The pumptrack
Pumptrack action under the mezzanine.
Wallace on the second jump in the big dirt line
Reece Wallace getting warmed up on the big line.

Dawson dumping a three on the medium line
Dawson Amann dumps a 3 off the last jump.

Tingren finding lines that the builders thought weren t possible gapping from the big line to the medium
Nick Tingren cracking one of the biggest transfers in the park.

Tingren sideways
Tingren whipping it sideways.
Wallace kicking it into a whip on the last hit of the big line
Reece Wallace kicks into a tailwhip.
Wallace throws the bars on the medium line
Wallace tosses the bars.
Jake laying it over
Jacob Murray lays it over.

Style for days. The medium line is not smaller when it comes to fun and allows riders to really throw some shapes with plenty of hang-time
Chad Lindenbach (aka, Moose), a staffer at the park, samples with some style.

Matteo laying it out on the medium line
Matteo, owner/builder, shows his style.

Dawson tuck-no s the last hit on the medium line as Tingren looks on
Dawson tuck-nos as Tingren looks on.

Wallace suicide-no-hander on the last hit of the big dirt line
Wallace suicide on the last of the big line.

Tingren cans the last jump on the medium line
Tingren cans the last of the medium line.
Dumped three s for days
Dawson with another dumped three.

bigquotesIt took a few lucky opportunities and 2 years of planning before fully committing to the project. Then another two years of development and building of the park.

This deck will see a lot of sh t-talking

Vert Ramp/Street

The vert park and street portion of the centre takes up 13,000 sq. ft. of floor space. The area includes a 21 ft. high vert wall, with a range of quarters up against it. In the center is a classic box jump with a variety of hips and ramps around the perimeter rounding it out. The opposite end of the park to the vert wall is a deck with a bank in, a lippy step up, a mini ramp, and a quarter to a wall, perfect for wall slaps.

Tingren jams with little room
Tingren foot-jams up against the wall.
Owner builder dreamer and rider. Matteo opposite airing into the vert wall
Matteo whipping into the 21 ft. vert wall

Tingren first to flair in the park
Tingren flairs the quarter to bank.

Wallace airing the giant wall dividing the skatepark from the resi-ramp and air bag
Wallace hovering up the wall.

Fly outs gain a whole new meaning with this setup which acts almost more as a step-up
Dawson throws the bars out of the step up.
Tingren airing one of the many hips in the skatepark
Tingren over one of the hips.

Wallace throws the bars out of the steep stepup
Wallace mid barspin over the step up.

Dawson throws the b s on the roll in
Dawson tosses the bars into the bank.

Matteo footplants his creation
Matteo foot-plants off the box jump landing.
Tingren was finding lines all over the place. Airing from the skatepark s shark fin out onto the landing of the second jump in the big dirt line
Tingren with another silly transfer previously not done.

The rest of the space is taken up with a big air bag, rezi-jump and quarters, and a lounge area. Matteo found that he had to get creative with the layout, noting that "extra space and Metro Vancouver don't go well together". In an effort to maximize square footage without compromising the available riding area they were able to design and engineer a three-story mezzanine system, which also makes for some great viewing areas, for parents and riders alike.

Wallace flips the resi jump.
Reece Wallace mid flip over the rez-jump

The park is a bike only facility and is open to all ages. Entry is paid for by the day and will cost adults $35.50 CAD—kids aged 5–10 will pay $17.75 CAD and under the age of five is free. The park will be open Monday–Friday from 2pm–12am, and Saturday–Sunday from 12pm–12am and if you're looking to ride until 12am you need to be in the facility prior to 10 pm.

Additionally, should you want to have the park to yourself, the facility can be hired for private functions (birthday parties etc.) with packages starting at $200 CAD. They also will offer coaching and camp options for riders looking to either get into dirt jumping or park/street riding or looking to brush up on some skills.

The Air Rec Center was built for jumps and is not a park within a building that works for the purpose
Snowing outside, dry inside.

Air Rec Center Details

• Adult Day Pass – $35.50 CAD
• Youth Day Pass (5–10) – $17.75 CAD
• Under the age of 5 – Free
• 4 Month Unlimited Adult Pass – $465 CAD
• 4 Month Unlimited Youth Pass – $232 CAD

• Open Monday–Friday, 2pm–12am
• Saturday and Sunday, 12pm–12am

Matteo knows that he can't have the Air Rec Center where it is today without the help of a lot of people and would like to send massive thanks to them all. The ramps were built with help from the all-star team of Josh Straat and Nick Mayer, Dustin Guilding wielded a shovel over the dirt jumps to make sure everything worked perfectly. The contractor and extremely tricky technical project tackler, Andrew Teit. Carpentry help from Dylan Sheffer, Daniel Shaw, and Brandon Schmidt, and a list of MVP's who had a hand in helping Matteo's dream reach this point: Chad Lindenbach, Chase Sherrington, Matt Juhasz, Kobe Russell, James Van de Kamp, Caleb Holonko, and Jack Gorton.

The park will open on March 17, 2017, so mark your calendars and prepare to ride dirt jumps and park, year round, in Vancouver.

MENTIONS: @AirRecCenter


  • + 26
 57 minutes from North Van - thousands of people do that commute daily here.

The alternative would be $149.00 per session right in Kitsilano or the East Van.
  • - 1
 Can't speak for everyone (obviously), but location isn't the issue for me, price is. They may have to revise pricing for summer and shoulder seasons when people can hit their outdoor parks. I hope they make a go of it though - more biking is better.
  • + 24
 Soooo stoked, massive ups to all the dudes who made this dream a reality! But everyone needs to stop saying "it's Maple Ridge, not Vancouver"... anyone not from the lower main land have probably never heard of maple ridge. Having Vancouver in the title gives a good general idea of roughly where it is located within this massive country. Pretty sure Maple Ridge still falls under the "greater vancouver area /lower maind land"
  • + 20
 Well that's a pretty misleading title. Especially when you consider it's nearly impossible to take public transit there from Vancouver. "Maple Ridge" mentioned twice in the article, "Vancouver" mentioned 9 times.

Also how about putting the address in the "Details" section.
  • + 1
 Ya,Vancouver is not maple ridge.
  • + 4
 nor is it Vancouver Washington.. talk about disappointingFrown
  • - 5
flag foggeloggliod (Mar 15, 2017 at 14:15) (Below Threshold)
 @esstinkay: i was totally thinking it was Vancouver Washington too, an indoor dirt park in that area would give the lumberyard a run for its money!
  • + 2

What's bad about the article is that pinkbike is based in BC and should know the difference between Maple Ridge and Vancouver.

Good for Maple Ridge. Maybe someone should open up a location in Vancouver next. ( Or at least North/West Vancouver ) Cause then it's accessible by transit.
  • + 9
 There is a bus stop that is around a 15min bike ride from the bike park
  • + 23
 Umm... You guys do realize that if the location were closer to Vancouver, the pass price would be more like $150 per day for half the square footage, right? And then all the haters would just be complaining about prices instead.

It is only a 2 hour public transit ride from Downtown Vancouver to Websters Corners & then a 15min pedal to the Indoor Bike Park.
That's about the same amount of time it takes to get to Whistler + buy a ticket + wait in lift line... Only at a fraction of the price.

And it's open in the winter! Just make a day trip out of it & get over it. Or stay at your computer complaining, whichever.
  • - 1
 @sickdj17: Yeah I know but then you gotta have your bike with you.
  • + 5
 @kanasasa: majority of users will have a bike so there's no issue
  • + 0
 @sickdj17: Good lord, my humour is rusty, huh?
Just feel like being sarcastic after reading all these lame complains that the place is not exactly in front of their house.
  • + 3
 @kanasasa: got ya. Hard to tell the difference between sarcasm and real complaints based off all these negative comments. It's ridiculous
  • + 1
 @HpSauce: the other factor is that a lot of the lower mainland riding community lives outside of Vancouver, and this facility will serve them well.

I'm not hating on the facility, I just think the article is misleading.

I'm personally not spending 4 hours on a bus (round trip) or 2-3 hours in a car to use this facility. In the winter I'll ride my cross bike in pacific spirit park, my road bike, or go skiing. In the summer I'll ride the shore or squamish.
  • + 1
 @mtbakerpow: maple ridge is not Vancouver, ya almost got it....
  • + 14
 I don't mean to be a pain and I know I'm going to get neg props on this, but most of the features looks like they would be for expert/elite riders. For someone who hasn't done much dirt jump riding, 90% of these features look pretty intimidating and difficult. Would be nice if these types of facilities were set up for beginners as well.
  • + 12
 They do have lines that are progressive. One of the pictures half way down shows a couple of lines that a beginner could start on. I do agree that most of the lines are for more experienced jumpers, but I am guessing that is their target market.
  • + 2
 i see progression lines on the left side. only 2 of them, but a good starting point. I've never done DJs either, but that looks like a good option.
  • + 4
 When we were kids we put gaps in the jumps so people couldn't ride over them, or wreck them. Now that I'm older I feel like we were kind of pricks, but at the same time you get 5 year olds rolling around all retarded, standing on top of them, wrecking them, holding up the lines etcetera.
  • + 8
 There are 3 complete jump lines as shown in the photo. Even if you've never dirt jumped before, you could roll up to this place and have a great time. Slowly progressing with confidence and practice is what these places are for. You'll grow out of the beginner line and practice on the intermediate line, so on and so forth.
  • + 5
 there's only 4 lines (plus the skate park and jump track) 2 of them are pretty tame tables
  • + 14
 On the flipside, we have one of these near me where the features don't even come close to the expert lines. In fact the features have been watered down over the years and it's to the point where you don't see anyone beyond families and kids show up anymore, which is fine I guess and it has it's place... but the first thing you notice going into the one near me is the lack of any serious stuff. I think it's good to have pro lines, perhaps this will be a complex for more serious riders to practice during rainy seasons and that's okay. There seems to be enough progressive lines there that could eventually get you sending over the bigger stuff. You know what makes a little kids day? Meeting Brett Rheeder, Semenuk, etc. & watching them do their thing. I see it all the freaking time, it's hugely inspirational and I think seeing pros hit jumps in real life really gives kids a vision that they can someday see themselves growing into. Not everyone gets to make it up to Whistler/Crankworx to see these guys live, but I know that if you have jumps this size in this facility you'll see big names come through.

If there's one thing I've learned about dirt jumping, it's when you're at jumps with people who are riding the huge stuff, they'll eventually help you along if you show up, be respectful/friendly, help dig, etc. to send over the big stuff. There were some jumps at greenlake that I used to never be able to send, but the guys there showed me the ropes, tossed me a shovel and showed me how to fix a landing after I f*cked it up, etc. I think there is a lot to be learned by having the "elite" riders present. Very few "elite" riders are actually dickheads, and as this is a public pay-to-ride facility, it'll weed out the "exclusive-these-are-our-private-trails" riders.

Overall this facility is hugely impressive, soaslong as they keep those jumps irrigated. There's a LOT to do here and I think it'll be hugely successful, it's like a woodward park with dirt.
  • + 1
 @anchoricex: You are right on the money! After reading this, I feel different. it's definitely great to have a place like this, but also have the features dial in for every type of rider.
  • + 1
 @shoreboy1866: I agree. It seems like this seems lost on the, admittedly, small amounts of indoor bike parks I've been to. The bigger lines are dialed, but the lines that could draw newer riders into progressing into bigger jumps are an afterthought. Burlington Bike Park was similar before they closed and then sold to a BMX indoor bike park.
  • + 10
 This is the best type of news riders could ever hope to read on Pinkbike! There is now another way to enjoy cycling in this world-class cycling Mecca. Win win! Thank you Matteo.

PS I still insist on Pass #1. See you Friday morning! Cut my family trip to Whistler short when I heard this news!
  • + 9
 Totally impressed with the initiative they've shown to pull this off. This is a huge undertaking with some serious money behind it. Good Luck.
  • + 3
 If it doesn't work out the place will be worth twice what they paid for in a couple of years . . . Smart investment!
  • + 8
 I'm stoked on this. Everyone's like "omg I can't walk there from grandmas house. It's too far" Frown man up
  • + 4
 Hmmm, only 10 h 46 mins drive from my house according to google maps. Might have to seriously consider this, place looks absolutely unreal. And as a bonus it's right next to the woodlot, so I could bring my trail bike too!

PS - Can someone build a replica of this in Calgary?
  • + 3
 I've got the desire, some resources and a business degree but even with the recent downturn hitting commercial rents, it is *really* hard to make the numbers work. When you start talking about lease rates and the costs involved it makes it really questionable if you can build a viable business out of an indoor bike park, especially focused on hard-core mountain bikers.

Still, part of me says it has to possible, as we've got a million-plus people, young population, lots of winter and a total of zero legit jump parks (fish creek doesn't count yet!). If there's a magic formula, I haven't figured it out.
  • + 2
 @plyawn: Chestermere bike park is actually really well done. Quite a big pump track and beginner to expert jumps. 7 or 8 jumps in the large line.
  • + 1
 Supposedly people have applied for a permit to build one in Calgary but it won't or hasn't passed yet. There's one in Edmonton opening this spring "they say"
  • + 1
 @drevisuals: really where did you hear that?
  • + 1
It's on my list if I win the lotto. Then it's not about the numbers making sense, but giving the community the place it needs. With winters here I think it could be successful.
  • + 1
 @drevisuals: if you told them you'd include a feature in the shape of Ralph Klein's head that people could jump off, that might get it passed. Wink
  • + 4
 I'm very excited for this! I made the trip down to Burlington from time to time and was sad when they closed their doors. Hats off to Matteo and everyone else who made this happen! I can't wait to put my focus on my dirt jumping skills this season.

To those complaining that "Maple Ridge" is not Vancouver... you have to consider that this is a global website and people from around the world will have no idea where Maple Ridge is, however Vancouver is more recognizable on a global scale.
  • + 3
 I straight up suck at jumps on my mtb. I do zero bike-park days a year so I don't see myself getting much better at them either. Are jump lines like this for dirt jumper bikes only? Or could I take my full sus bike and try on some of the small stuff?
  • + 1
 DJ's are specifically designed for this type of riding. Buuuuut that's not to say that you couldn't ride your fully on the small line, just know that its far from ideal.
  • + 1
 @jrvolk: hmm ok thanks for the info. Guess I'll pass on this warehouse bike zone.
  • + 1
 @gbeaks33: I've always taken my full sus to the dj's, it's a little awkward but totally doable. You do have to work a little harder and use more body language, but you'll definitely learn lots in just 1 or 2 sessions. Excellent workout too
  • + 1
 @Mieszko42: yeah? Cool maybe I check it out. Since Vancouver is basically underwater right now.
  • + 8
 Matteo, you are a hero.
  • + 3
 Is that comparable to the price in other locations? I know I've seen Rae's and never looked at the cost,but never imagined it would be that expensive. I'm sure they're NOT gouging. Just the cost of having a business anywhere near Vancouver these days. Kind of sad how much land and taxes are there now.
  • + 1
 It's very close to joyride 150's price imo
  • + 3
 To all the people complaining about location, have you never ridden Sumas, or Vedder, or any other spot that isn't the North Shore? It's not that much further than going for a rip on Half Nelson. Hell sometimes if I leave at the wrong time it can take me an hour to get back home to East Van from Cypress.

I get that not everyone has a car, but I'm sure you still find a way to get your other bike adventures in.
  • + 0
 I have ridden all of those places. Going for a rip on Half-Nelson doesn't cost me the extra $50 that it would cost me to go to the air centre. I think its the distance, price and hours that have people being a bit apprehensive. I also think the target market for the air centre is much smaller than the average biker in the lower mainland.
  • + 3
 @shoreboy1866: $50? It's under 40. hours? It's open until midnight. The bike intended to ride this park costs a fraction of the bikes intended for the mountain. I find the moments that finances become a barrier in this sport to be weird and arbitrary.

Like fair enough if you don't want to dirt jump or ride a bike in this style, but I think people are making too big a deal over the other points.
  • + 0
 @xTwoSnakesx: If you count taxes and the toll bridge, its going to be closer to $50 than $40. I agree that finances arent the deal breaker but just one of the considerations. Many people dont have the flexibilty in their lives and schedules to be riding their bike at midnight, but maybe thats just me.
  • + 5
 Haters should really keep their opinion to themselves and/or just not go...? If you don't want to drive out to maple ridge from Vancouver than don't
  • + 5
 Not really my scene but I'm wishing them well. It takes balls to start a business of this scope.
  • + 2
 I hope thie places does well. I hope the first jack ass that hurts themselves there doesn't try and sue them . Or some idiot parent gets there panties in a bunch Good job boys looks sick Hey you guys bitching that it's to far , get a car And if your to young to drive .to bad ride your bike there I'd like to see some more info on Parental waivers and such posted up So that kids can't just show up and ride without A parental signature. Bs legal crap but important to know
  • + 2
 Go to their website, its all right there. Also it look like your keyboard might be broken.
  • + 2
 Pretty sure they have thought of this stuff. They might even have insurance....
  • + 4
 Well Done Matteo. Your hours seem well thought out and allow people to enjoy plenty of riding post-work. Look forward to checking it out!
  • + 1
 This looks great, for me I uses to ride burlington (rip) which was a bit closer, but this is not ridiculously far either, prices are close, it was 20$ us, but they weren't making it. ...hence gone, and this place has park, less dirt, it would be nice to see more dirt, but park adds more draw.

Good luck and I hope to try it out some rainy weekend in the future, do you have family discount? Haha
  • + 1
 I got super excited when I read the title. Google maps is telling me 1hr10mins from DT Vancouver. When I end up going I will have to time it with traffic. If it were in proper Vancouver, I could see myself getting a pass. Since it's in Maple Ridge, it will have to be a weekend thing for me. Good job Matteo. All the best!
  • + 3
 Gutsy move. Even more so with spring right around the corner. Wishing these guys well, it's awesome to see that sort of initiative!
  • + 0
 Probably not economically viable for them, but the 2pm start time is a hinderance. At least noon for those who commute (and this is not in proper Vancouver) or for those with younger kids that would like to show up earlier. Just a thought. I'd love to come up from Bellingham sometime but the timing is off.
  • + 1
 Yeah it was odd for burlington but worked out ok really with kids, they were done by 6-7pm when the park started to get crowded
  • + 1
 Ok im a grumpy old fuck. Twenty years ago i would be jumping at the chance to check it out! Now im too old for such venues. Cool that it exist for young punks that can jump.
  • + 2
 Adult pricing starts at 11 years old? I would have thought the youth rate would go up to the age of 17 at least.
  • + 1
 How can ppl wine about where it is we have never had the chance to have anything like this here In bc stop bitching and put gas in your car and drive your cheap asses there
  • + 2
 Place looks amazing. Looking forward to riding there. Congrats on the new openning.
  • + 1
 Cool idea! Not sure about the hours and the pricing, I guess they will have to see how that works out. Title is also very misleading. Maple Ridge is not Vancouver...
  • + 3
 Super cool!
  • + 2
 Congrats Matteo! See you soon.
  • + 2
 I'm super excited definitely gonna be there this Friday
  • + 2
 Amazing!!! see you on Friday!!!
  • + 2
 need one of these in edmonton
  • + 1
 right? in a place that actually needs an indoor facility.
  • + 1
 There is an it's opening this spring... "they say"
  • + 1
 @jaycubzz: There is an it's opening this spring... "they say"
  • + 1
 @drevisuals: whaaatttttt where/who/how????
  • + 1
 Looks like about 1:15 from Bellingham!!!
  • - 3
 Maple Ridge, Vancouver gets a bike park??? easy to get is closer to mission (2 more minutes drive down the road) then Maple ridge as a down town, and as I seen in the comments, public transit..

Ok rant a-side, why did it take so long for one of these to pop up... it is cool that we(Greater Vancouver, even if it is on the outskirts) have one. and there is great trail riding at the bcit wood lot 0007 minutes away too
  • + 2
 That is not Vancouver.
  • + 1
 Am I alone in thinking $520 tax in for a 4 MONTH pass is a little steep?
  • + 2
 You would have to go 15 times for it to be worth it. Plus you get the ease of coming and going as you like. Pass is for roughly 120 days so I'm sure you can do atleast 15 times within that time frame
  • + 2
  • + 1
 please build one in Oakville!!! There is nothing to ride here
  • + 1
  • + 1
 Very interesting...
  • + 0
 Foam pit?
  • + 2
 looks like there's an airbag in the picture above the Air Rec Center Details. Not the same thing, but an alternative. I've never hit a foam pit or airbag so not sure on the merits of either.
  • + 1
 @jojotherider1977: I think it would be easier to overcome the mental block of doing tricks into a foam pit, though an airbag certainly still helps with that. The advantage of the air bag over the foam pit (from what I've seen from watching videos - haven't tried either, yet) is that you can actually land on your wheels and stay on the bike on an air bag, which would probably help more with the transition of doing the tricks on real jumps than a foam pit would
  • + 4
 @JustinLund: air bag also is softer and doesn't take 15 minutes to get out of.
  • + 3
 @DandelionDan: an air bag is definitely not softer than a foam pit. Land on your head in a foam pit and spend half an hour getting out; land on your head on an air bag and still seriously hurt yourself.
  • + 4
 @plyawn: I disagree. Having ridden both (and having a pretty bad injury in a foam pit) I would say the air bag is quite a bit better than a foam pit. I can't say I have landed directly on my head on an airbag, but from what I've experienced, it has A LOT of give still, and the only way you would really hurt yourself is if you bike lands on you from letting go... which can happen in a foam pit too.
  • + 1
 The foam probably gets soooooo gross and dirty, haha.
  • - 2
 this may sound stupid but, how come those guys were allowed to ride in it when it wasnt open or insured???
  • + 1
 I have a feeling it is ok as invite, but different when it's open to the public. You do need to test the jumps for them to be safe for the general public. Also, these guys definitely know the risks.
  • + 1
 probably similar to having friends over for a beer, but not being open for the public to come have drinks. You need a license and all the paperwork to line up for it to be available to the public masses
  • + 1
 Socialized healthcare!
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