On a road trip to Eurobike four years ago, Dan Makin first sketched out his plans for an indoor bike park in the UK. It was an idea he just couldn’t shake and last week Dirt Factory announced its plans for a crowd funder and an October 2016 opening date.
There has been a mixed reaction to the news so we sat down with Dan to see why the time was right for some indoor shredding:
It won’t replace ‘proper mountain biking’
Dan: “We’ve said from the word go that we can’t replace the outdoor experience. We’re bikers ourselves and we will always ride outside. Dirt Factory is more about creating a facility to harness the growth of the sport and get more people into it.
The British weather
Dan: “We love riding outdoors but obviously the weather we get in the UK is pretty grim and demotivating when you want to get out on your bike.
“The convenience side of Dirt Factory is important. When you get back home from work and you feel a bit short of time it would be great to just pop into a bike centre where there’s a friendly vibe, a good social atmosphere and you can slash a few turns.”
It’s accessible for everyone
Dan: “An indoor bike park is a controlled environment so it’s good for catering to beginners, school groups and young kids who won’t be able to travel all the way to Llandegla.
“It’s going to be very progressive so there’s stuff for the beginners, stuff for the middle market and then there’s going to be some advanced stuff as well. We will design it with a lot of flow trails and you if you’ve ridden flow trails you know they’re fun whether you’re a professional or a kid. The key is to make sure we segregate the slow guys from the guys who go pretty fast.”
Watch us tackle the 10km flow trail in Slovenia
You can make whatever you want
Dan: “The beauty of using dirt (as opposed to artificial surfaces like wood) is that we can keep it fresh so that customers keep coming back.
“There are even plans we’d like to implement where customers can have a trail build day inside the park. We’d let them design and name a bit of trail that can stick around for six months until we change it again.”
The UK mountain bike scene is bigger than ever
Dan: “We’ve always been aware of projects like Ray’s and Lumberyard in the US and we noticed there hasn’t been an indoor mountain bike centre in the UK. Even since we came up with the idea the market has grown somewhat. More people are getting into the sport and there are more disciplines.
“You’ve got YouTube sensations like Danny MacAskill and you’ve got Britain’s success in the downhill. When you also add in the BMX scene and the dirt jump scene you have to think ‘flipping heck there’s got to be a market for this’.”
Dirt Factory’s crowdfunder goes live on Crowdtube on Monday. For more information click here.