Owners of the Lumberyard Bike Park announced today they plan to close the doors their doors in August.
The 60,000 square-foot former bowling alley on Northeast 82nd Avenue has served as an indoor cycling paradise for a broad spectrum of riders since it opened in May 2012. Co-owners Will Heiberg and Michael Whitesel made the announcement Wednesday in a message that thanked members and fans:
“The last couple of years have been difficult for the Lumberyard, as it has for many. That is okay. It was really not about us, it was about this community. It was important that we were able to be here in whatever capacity we could. But, we had to accept we were operating below self-sustaining levels. Once again, you have our deepest of gratitudes for letting us share our dream with you.”
In a phone call a few minutes ago, Heiberg expressed pride in his staff and their accomplishments, but said the finances were just too tough to keep the doors open. “The last two years we’ve been running on the wrong side of the lines,” he said. “It’s just been a huge drain. And our lease ends in four and-a-half years and there’s not enough runway to come back and make it work.”
“It’s been an amazing 10 years and we’ve accomplished way more than I ever thought we could.”
— Will Heiberg
For Heiberg, Lumberyard was a response to wanting more places to ride and improve his skills and fitness, without having to drive to a trail far outside the city. What he ended up creating however, was much more than that. “It’s been an amazing 10 years and we’ve accomplished way more than I ever thought we could,” he said, and then rattled off everything from their afterschool programs to providing a space for private instruction, and how they hosted meetings for neighborhood associations and nonprofit groups.
Covid-related lockdowns and health concerns had a big impact on their bottom line. Damage from a fire that hit their building in August 2019 didn’t help either. But regardless of Covid and other challenges, Heiberg said it’s unlikely they could have survived future changes. “We don’t own our building and we’ve spent six years looking for a second location. If we didn’t find a place to jump to the business would have had to wrap-up,” he said. Why? “Our use just doesn’t work in today’s market, rent would go up 4-5 times.”
Over the past decade the Lumberyard has made a name for itself as a great destination for BMX riders, jumpers, pump track lovers, and even big ramp enthusiasts. In 2018 we shared how one nonprofit used the Lumberyard as a place to teach 8th-grade girls how to ride and gain confidence in themselves at the same time. It was also a very popular spot for birthday parties and youth summer camps.
Speaking of birthdays, Heiberg shared today that his three-year-old son was the first person to ride at Lumberyard. “Now he’s 13 and he’s one of our coaches and he rides amazing. If that was the only thing I accomplished, sharing that passion with my son and giving him that opportunity, that would be awesome.”
That’s nowhere near the only thing Heiberg, Whitesel and their excellent staff accomplished. We are so grateful for everything the Lumberyard gave to our city.
And it’s not over yet! They plan to have one more summer of shred sessions, camps and the usual fun before closing the doors for good in August. Check out LumberyardMTB.com for hours and more info.