One major downside to living on the 45th parallel is that it gets really cold during the winter. Every time I talk with Jeff he reminds me that he rides around in shorts for most of the year. Anyone who loves riding and lives in the great white north probably feels just as cheated as I do.
Well, as luck would have it, I live near an indoor bike park. Joyride 150 first opened its doors in December 2009. Since then, riders in the Greater Toronto Area have enjoyed winters far more.
My original article about Joyride 150 and what it has to offer, unfortunately, (or maybe it’s fortunately?) is no longer valid. Since 2009 the park has been constantly upgraded and Joyride recently added another 12,500 square feet, called the Street Plaza, to the existing 90,000 square feet. Other major changes that can be seen are the changes in the park’s features and the addition of corporate sponsorships.
Specialized and Norco have stepped in to sponsor parts of Joyride. The ever-improving skinny section is all sponsored by Specialized. From the original 5 lines, there have been vast improvements, allowing riders options to go from one line to the next. Again, these features are all high skill, low consequence.
To be honest, one of my favorite sections at Joyride is the jump line section. The new lines have changes that improve the opportunity to get major air. The progressive lines still exist, and you can’t avoid always wanting to go bigger.
As for the original XC course, it has been extended a bit and, again, improved quite a lot. The addition of two little climbs, a bridge, and a few little optional drops make the course a lot more fun. The XC course can easily be ridden with either a single speed bike or a regular XC machine. Try a DJ on the course for a bit of fun and challenge (inertia is your friend).
Other big changes include the Subaru beginner area. It has been expanded and the old expert skinnies have been removed. Although fun, the expert skinnies were under-utilized. Mark and Scott from Joyride decided to take that space and use it for the expanded pump track and beginner area.
Speaking of the pumptrack, the new-and-improved pump track is world-class with an all-new advanced layout which is both flowy and fast! The main feature here is the massive 180° turn. You can literally get parallel to the ground at this spot! The improved intermediate pump track also gets my nod, with the two main turns now banked. I have to say again that Mark, Scott, and the crew deserve some serious recognition for their superb efforts building some excellent features.
The FIT section is now up and running with spinning classes and training available for those who want to really have a workout. Many top-class riders make the FIT area a go-to spot for part of their winter training.
If you’re looking for individual coaching, that’s available in both the FIT studio as well as the park. Can’t nail that whip or 360? Then coaching is the way to go. For park coaching you’re looking at a cost of $30 per hour which is well-worth the money considering that an injury due to poor technique can cost far more than that.
The rental and shop area has improved vastly as well. If you break a part or decide you want to rent, they have nearly everything you need, as well as a good selection of protection, gloves, helmets, and snacks.
A key part to the growing success of Joyride are their links to other businesses. With a deal at Comfort Inn or Hilton Suites hotel you can extend your stay if you’re planning a visit. These specials range from $85 to $135 CAD.
Joyride regularly hosts various events such as MTB movie screenings and Q&A sessions with pros like Darren Berrecloth. Another great event is the Women’s weekend, and skills events are always popular. A few friends of mine attended these events and they all loved them. These events are a great chance for women to ride, enjoy some snacks, get skill training, and network.
If you find yourself in need of some riding in the Toronto area, check out Joyride 150! Lemme know when you’re coming and I will show you around.
Your Turn: Have you ever ridden in an indoor mountain bike park? What were your thoughts and impressions?