The Story Behind The Air Rec Center Indoor Bike Park - Video

Feb 26, 2018 at 10:20
by Pinkbike Staff  

The Air Rec Center in Maple Ridge (just outside Vancouver, BC) is a huge indoor bike park with dirt doubles, a wooden skatepark, resi ramp and even an inflatable airbag. Matteo Signorelli tells us his story about how this place came to be.

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MENTIONS: @pinkbikeproductions / @AirRecCenter




52 Comments

  • + 38
 That's impressive. I have "designed" a few warehouses lately and that sht costs moneeeeey. I'm thoroughly impressed. This man has bigger balls than Danny Hart. There! I've said it!
  • + 19
 He's not dumb, I think his risk exposure is rather minimal.In our current real estate market he could flip the property for a profit... and he kinda alluded to that in the interview. The real achievement is how he managed to secure the investment capital in the first place..The bike community should be thankful that he just doesn't get into real estate development.
  • + 0
 @cmcrawfo: if he installs sprinklers, roll up doors, has basic installations for small office space covered, he can turn it into a regular warehouse, or sell it to someone who is willing to use it as a warehouse. He can even adapt just the part of it. That's not exactly DHL sized facility, but roof looks high enough and so he can store some stuff. "Designed" a few logistic facilities lately, this looks legit.
  • + 2
 @cmcrawfo: capital is surprisingly easy to come by when you’re talking real-estate. He’s added a lot of value to the property by building the facility (active appreciation) which is what investors are looking for, and there’s also he market value increase (passive appreciation). Combine both, and the investors have a surprisingly easy to predict ROI. Now, how he’s structured his dividends would be more difficult to predict given the low profit and high initial investment cost of a bike facility. He might have just structured it as ‘payable on sale of the property’ and pitched it to his investors as an opportunity to park their money in a safe investment (real estate).
  • + 2
 @cwatt: the foundations, walls and roofs are worth a lot. Jumps and structures stuff can be removed from there in less than a week by demolition company. Being so close to Vancouver there will surely be clients wanting to store their goods in there. The only question is, where did he get money for it... land can't be cheap around there, neither labor and materials. Does he own shares in Haibike or something? Big Grin
  • + 1
 I'm really not into this estate and business thing so I can only guess. But the property tax seems huge! Not sure what admission is, but it seems like he really needs to attract loads of visitors to even break even. So yeah, that sounds like a huge risk. Now even though BC locals claim it is always raining over there, most of the videos we get to see on the internet and on dvd are with clear blue skies. So to me it appears like there is rarely need to ride indoors, especially if you're also into snow sports during wintertime. Now of course he knows better than I do and it is working out for him, so that's great.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Money is probably the simplest part. I can think of three organizations right now that partner real estate developers with investors. If you don’t have access to these groups, you can go at it the old fashioned way and hit the streets. It’s a pretty simple pitch. Once you have your numbers, you just present that to people to see if they want a secure, predictable investment that offers a better ROI than their current portfolio. Hell, I sat next to a guy on a plane who was willing to take a 9% ROI on a long-play real estate option in a market that had an annual passive appreciation of 20%. Sometimes it’s just a matter of talking to people.
  • + 2
 @vinay: well yeah if guys are going to film something obviously they’re going to wait for a nice day...? hahaha on average it rains about 180 days a year in the lower mainland of BC.
  • + 1
 @vinay: Professionals make those videos! Don't be fooled, it often rains for days and seemingly weeks on end in the Vancouver area, especially this time of year. And don't forget about the occasional snow. I'm sure the locals are fully stoked to have this place to ride regardless of the weather.
  • + 1
 @JackSB: Alright then, that's the bit you don't get to see most of the time. Yeah when Thomas Vanderham took Sam Hill out riding in Follow Me (Anthill) but other than that it seems quite nice, even at the BCBR. Well, at least with 180 days a year you're getting return on investment on your expensive rain gear. It is accepted to ride in the wet then, over there. Or does it still destroy the trails hence frowned upon? It really is the only reason for me to not ride in the wet, the trail damage.
  • + 25
 I am lucky enough to say that I have taken my 13 year old there quite a bit as we live about 30 mins away. He loves it! The place is massive and the jumps are top notch. Staff are excellent, super friendly and very helpful. They will help give you pointers or tips when trying new tricks. What wasn't mentioned in the story is that there is a large sitting area up top that you can watch over the entire place. They have limited food, cold drinks (no liquor license sorry to say) and a full selection of spare parts, tubes, tires etc. They sell some merch also, and have tools that you can borrow for repairs/adjustments. Great work Matteo and staff! Thank you so much for helping create a safe space for anyone to go and try hitting some jumps and learning new tricks. All the best in the future. See you again soon. Ian D. (and the 13 year old dirt jumper, Liam D.)
  • + 16
 The kid obviously has his sh@t together!
  • + 1
 See kids There's Hope for all of you
  • + 0
 Shat?
  • + 4
 @properp: a HR manager at a big company told me plenty of kids are rather cool and motivated these days and she rarely sees stereotype millenials ... she hates the 45yr old male bums who are experts at excuses for not delivering on time and really dumb reasons for why they deserve a significant raise
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: Who cares what a boring, heartless HR manager says this is pinkbike Mr big time warehouse designer
  • + 1
 @Hoob93: the way I look at it is that quite often the people who call HR managers heartless are experts at excuses for not delivering and having really dumb reasons why should they stay in the company. That particular girl is not heartless, she's rather cute. And I 'm soon done with these fkng warehouses, terrible work for terribly stressed people working
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Yes and those that beg for mercy are weak
  • + 0
 @Hoob93: what's your experience with working in a company with other people? First of all, when did you have an issue with HR manager?
  • + 14
 Credit where credit is due. Well done and I hope your hard work and vision pay off sir and you reap the rewards.
  • + 13
 Awesome place run by an amazing person. If you haven't been you're missing out.
  • + 11
 Lets not forget where this all began....
www.gofundme.com/RayPetro
Please contribute and support the cause
Keep the positive wheels rollin'
  • + 5
 Seems crazy to build a new ware house specifically for this purpose but if he can make it work more power to him.

More importantly, Am I the only person who thinks this guy looks/ acts like a combination of Jack Moir and Mike Levy?
  • + 5
 Ha - my first thought was he must be Mike Levy's brother!
  • + 9
 Pinkbike help this guy even further. Get him a fmb tour stop!
  • + 1
 If you see it in person it doesnt have the capacity to hold such a large event.
  • + 9
 I just found my new hero.
  • + 1
 Would be nice to utilize one of the old mill buildings around town for this.
  • + 7
 Super cool seeing a young guy getting after it like that. Owning the building is a massive commitment!
  • + 5
 amazing. well done, matteo. a possible six figure property tax is a gigantic elephant to take on. much success to your endeavor in creating this business!
  • + 3
 Dayum, dude's nuts, really appreciate it. He probably had to jump through thousands of hoops to even begin. There it is, living the dream to all you cry babies out there, he got it done!
  • + 3
 Good awesome to see a place like this. It takes alot of hard work and long hours to get it going and keep it running. Well done. Pretty amazing. Can't wait to come play.
  • + 1
 Damn, props to him for sure. Sadly it doesn’t sound like it’s going to last long. Sound like he’ll need to sell it in a few years. 6 figures in property taxes is pretty steep. But I don’t know how that compares to the greater Philly metro area where I’m at because they don’t say how much land he’s occupying or what the square footage of his place is in total. So I can’t compare. I can say that I wish every major metro area had an indoor bike park. We really need them.
  • + 1
 Super wicked place. Fun vides. Great atmosphere. Take my boys there everyweekend for a day. They love it and get to ride free. Cause kids under 5 are free. Best thing is watching everyone chere on the young guys, help em and give them tips as well. Met some great people there. Always stoked to meet new riders and learn new tricks. Thanks air rec!
  • + 1
 Awesome to finally see it finished. I will have to stop by with my bike and try it out. I was on the concrete crew. Sadly they didnt see the whole picture but i did. I looked forward to seeing the end result. I sadly live farther away so i havnt been able to try it out.
  • + 3
 I seen Matteo on the trails . He is a polite young man and rips on the trails! Mega talent and drive. Must be BC,s first indoor bike park.
  • + 4
 He did it right! Bring one of these down the east coast towards SC. Smile
  • + 1
 Great to see there are people out there who have the balls to take the risk and just do it! It eas kinda strange that vancouver has no indoorspot but so many biker. Great job Matteo!
  • + 2
 I met Matteo at a race a few years back and got to ride with him a bit. Super cool guy and a really good rider. I'd definitely like to visit this bike park this summer!
  • + 3
 Air Rec is sooo fun! I love going out there and having sessions with the buds!
  • + 1
 Am I the only one who thinks that he could be related to @mikelevy . sounds similar, similar mannerisms and even a little similar looking. #theweirdthingsinotice
  • + 1
 Well done that guy, something like this would never be built in Ireland with naysayers and worries over insurance claims etc.
  • + 1
 Good to see this place getting the recognition it deserves. Awesome jumps, great staff, decent location and the price for a whole day of fun can't be beat.
  • + 4
 RESPECT!
  • + 2
 This guy seems nice, and was able to build a riding warehouse bigger than Dave Mirra's own spot. Solid.
  • + 2
 This is seriously impressive!
  • + 3
 Way to go Matteo! ????
  • + 1
 @AirRecCenter. Hope this works out. Seems like an amazing place with loads of potential. Good Luck
  • + 2
 Just moved to Van and I can't wait to hit this place! Great work Matteo.
  • + 2
 I love Air Rec! it's awesome to finally have an indoor bike park in BC!!
  • + 1
 ...how dare there be adult talk on Pinkbike. Dilly Dilly.
  • + 2
 Paradise !

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