Ray Petro is a man who needs no introduction for those in the cycling community. Ray is the founder, designer and owner of the world's first indoor mountain bike park (Ray's Indoor MTB Park) in Cleveland Ohio.
Ray's passion for mountain biking was the key to overcoming his battle with addiction. By creating the park, Ray found a place to pour out his passionate drive year-round and provide a place to share a sport he loves so much.
Over the past 15 years Ray has provided so much to the cycling community both regionally and nationally. Ray transformed a forgotten factory into an epic all-season riding destination for riders all over the world. It's a place where children have taken their first pedal strokes and professionals have honed world class riding skills. The park hosts unique competitions and events in mtb and bmx, directly supports efforts toward regional mtb trails and continues to help grow the female contingent thorough annual exclusive women's events. In short, the word “Ray's” means “fun” to riders around the globe.
Ray Petro's contributions certainly aren't limited to indoor riding. Once the indoor park was well established, he commenced pursuits of taking his building skills outdoors to Santos trails in Ocala, Florida. For the past five years, Ray has been developing those trails with his unique style, in conjunction with the regional mountain bike club.
We don't always get the opportunity to give back to someone who has given us so much. Here is how we can say thanks to Ray for all he's given us and support a fellow rider who's taken a fall.
For me, Andrew, this is hugely personal. I discovered Ray's when I had I needed a highlight in my personal life. Some of the greatest times I've had on a bike were at Ray's remembering how much fun it was to ride my bike again, and reminding myself how far out of shape I had become. I learned about his contributions to the Santos trails, and I was amazed at how Ray continued to spread his love of riding to others, when he could have just relaxed and "taken it easy". Being a Florida native, this hit home even more. Florida is known for many things, but serious mountain biking usually isn't one of them. Ray was working to change that.
While mountain biking outdoors on the trails of Royal View Park in Cleveland in September, Ray lost control of the front end of his bike in some leaves and crashed into a tree.
He'd laid face down, unable to move and unable to catch his breath for about 15 minutes when a jogger found him. When Ray awoke in the hospital, he learned that he'd suffered life-altering injuries including two broken neck vertebrae (C5 and 6) that were surgically stabilized.
Ray is working hard to breathe without the use of a ventilator and is starting to regain some feeling in his extremities. He has started physical therapy but it will be a long journey that begins with getting his voice and lungs back, while working toward regaining as much mobility as possible. With a lot of work, he plans to get back to some sense of normalcy.
Ray will face many mentally and physically demanding challenges that, simply put, will be expensive. Nerves are the slowest part of the body to heal and it will happen over months and years. Ray’s insurance and state support will be very helpful, but they only go so far. Your contribution will help Ray get the rehabilitation he needs along with the adaptations such as equipment and remodeling that will help him to get situated at home once he is out of the hospital.
Ray has given the riding community so much and he will do more great things in his future with our help. It’s time for us to rally.
Thanks - AW