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This Abandoned Limestone Mine is Now the World’s Largest Indoor Bike Park

With jumps aplenty, this park 100 feet below the surface promises to be a BMXer’s paradise.

image via youtube screen capture

What do you do with more than 300,000 square feet of abandoned limestone mine? Turn it into an indoor (actually, “underground”) bike park, of course.

Snaking through acres of subterranean tunnel, the Mega Underground Bike Park, which opened this week, claims to be the largest indoor bike park in the world. At 100 feet below ground, the park occupies nearly half of Louisville, Kentucky’s 700,000 square foot “Mega Cavern.” As cavern co-owner Jim Lowry explained to public radio affiliate WFPL, the space was originally purchased from a limestone mining company in 1989, with the goal to create a “high-security business park.” Currently, the entire cavern houses 12 business (“some of which don’t want to be known” Lowry told WFPL) and has begun operating tram rides, zip-lines, and other tourism focused activities to boost interest and attendance. But it’s the bike park that seems to be putting the Mega Cavern on the map for many outside of Louisville. Boasting 45 different trails, ranging in difficulty from beginner to advanced, the park is expected to draw BMX enthusiasts from around the world.

Here’s a drone’s-eye view of the course shared with National Public Radio, from a December trial run of the park:

One benefit of an indoor, underground course is its unchanging climate, in this case, one that’s kept at a comfortable 60 degrees, year round. What’s more, as Weburbanist points out, much of the raw material needed to create the park’s many ramps, overpasses, and obstacles—things like cargo containers—were already in the cavern. They simply needed to be lighted and modified in order to become part of the riding experience.

image via youtube screen capture

The Mega Underground Bike Park isn’t alone in re-purposing a mine for creative purposes. NPR points to a former slate quarry in Wales that has since been re-purposed as a bounce park and obstacle course.

Parks like these represent a unique model for communities looking to upcycle their existing resources, by turning industrial spaces not ordinarily associated with recreation into family-friendly destinations. Not that any of that is necessarily on the mind of those simply looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon. As 9 year-old Tyler Bohm told WFPL:

“There’s, like, jumps everywhere you look. I’ve never seen anything like this in a cave”

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