When we talk about promoting “bikability” in Louisville, we usually bring up new infrastructure like bike lanes or Neighborways or bike share that make getting around town easier and safer. There’s another component of being a bike-friendly city, though, that often is overlooked: a bike community that extends beyond the street. That includes good old fun on a bike, and Louisville will soon take a huge step forward on that front with the imminent opening of an underground BMX and mountain bike course at the Louisville Mega Cavern.
The Mega Cavern is a man-made, underground limestone quarry active from the 1930s to the 1970s at 1841 Taylor Avenue. The massive space encompasses some four million square feet of tunnels under the Louisville Zoo and all ten lanes of the Watterson Expressway. That space has been converted to a variety of uses including an underground zip line, an underground aerial ropes course, a geologic history tram, and events space. (Plus right now, the Mega Cavern is hosting its holiday display, Lights Under Louisville.)
(Check out a longer ride through the park on this video.)
According to the Courier-Journal, the Mega Cavern’s bike course will be the nation’s largest underground bike venue when it opens in late January. Over 40 trails will take up 320,000 square feet and will offer year-round cycling at a constant 58 degrees. A day pass is expected to cost around $20 to $30.
The Mega Cavern bike course is already bringing international attention to Louisville, the newspaper reported. Cavern co-owner Jim Lowry told the C-J he is getting calls, not just from around the United States, but from France, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland,requesting information about the grand opening.
“So many of the trails and facilities that are available for mountain biking in this region are in rural areas,” Matt Harris, president of the Kentucky Mountain Bike Association, told WDRB in May when the project was announced. “So not only will this put Louisville on the map for mountain biking, but also make it a more attractive city.” He added, “It’s a huge project that will really put Louisville on the map as an urban ride destination.”
This kind of facility sets Louisville apart as a place that embraces bikes and we couldn’t be more excited to see it open. Check the C-J‘s report for more details on the facility’s design.