NEW: RideBHM—Alabama’s first-ever downhill mountain biking park—opens Nov. 19

Emile Hughes of RideBHM
Emile Hughes, CEO, RideBHM (Pat Byington / Bham Now)

Dedicated mountain bikers and anyone who’s ever wanted to give it a try, you’re in for a treat. On November 19, from 2-5PM, RideBHM opens, bringing mountain biking to the masses. We got a sneak preview, so keep reading for all the details.

RideBHM opens November 19

Back in March 2022, we broke the news that Red Mountain Park and a group called Ride Resorts were partnering to build a mountain bike park the likes of which our state has never seen.

Now, just eight months later, we’re happy to learn that RideBHM is having its Grand Opening November 19 (weather permitting) and we’re all invited.

Here’s some of what they’ll have:

  • an airbag (for practicing tricks safely)
  • bike demos from Cahaba Cycles, Max Power Sports + Huntsville-based Mullet Cycles
  • DJ
  • food truck
  • trick competition

“One of our goals is to throw the best parties in Birmingham. Another one is to have an inclusive environment that’s welcoming for people regardless of their background or ability level. So come get rowdy at Grand Opening!!! Spectator passes are free or bring your bike, get a day pass, and start shredding now! We guarantee you have fun or your money back.”

Emile Hughes, CEO, Ride Resorts

Who’s behind RideBHM?

Getting all the trails ready (RideBHM)

Ride Resorts was founded by Birmingham-based Emile Hughes and Hobie King—in their spare time.

The company is a pay-to-ride mountain biking resort developer that partners with landowners, including Red Mountain Park, to design and build world-class mountain biking experiences. In August, the pair won $25K in concept stage funding during the Alabama Launchpad Cycle 2 2022 Finale.

While they’re starting with mountain bike trails, one day they hope to build out a full resort experience with camping and glamping opportunities, so stay tuned.

We spoke with Hughes, a graduate of The Altamont School, to learn all about it.

“This is the first of its kind in Alabama. We modeled RideBHM after a park in North Carolina called Ride Kanuga—they actually came down here and helped us build some of our trails. Hopefully, it’s the first of many—our vision is to do this a couple of times so the mountain bike community has access to parks, whether they’re in Birmingham, Anniston, Huntsville or anywhere else.”

How does RideBHM work?

mountain biking at RideBHM
Scott Prosek checked out the trails on his way from Dallas to Atlanta. He was so impressed he said “I would have driven here just for this.” (Pat Byington / Bham Now)

RideBHM has options for everyone. Let’s say you’re a total novice and maybe not in the best shape. No worries. You can rent an e-bike that’ll zip you to the top of the hill so you can focus on perfecting your downhill technique.

If you’re a competitive mountain biker with all the gear, you can get a day pass to try it out, and if you love it and know you’ll be there all the time, you can get a membership.

Either way, you park your car and check in at the shipping container bike shop on site.

Once you’ve got the gear you need, you head five or six minutes up a mellow grade to the 11 world-class downhill trails which are rated by ability levels, like a ski resort:

  • green is for beginners
  • double blacks are super-advanced
  • and you’ll find everything in between

“It’s like a roller coaster in the woods where you control the car. What we care about is the fun part of biking and the artistry of it. Exercise is a byproduct of what happens at a bike park like RideBHM—it’s not the point. ”

Emile Hughes, Co-Founder, Ride Resorts

What’s the relationship between RideBHM + Red Mountain Park?

Ramps at RideBHM
Some of the ramps you’ll be able to ride on. (Pat Byington / Bham Now)

Red Mountain Park is RideBHM’s landlord, so when people go to RideBHM, they’re supporting Red Mountain Park.

Red Mountain Park owns 200 acres of land just outside the park’s official boundaries. Previous mining activity had disturbed the land, which was growing only privet and kudzu. RideBHM left the tree canopy and cleared out the invasive plants so there’s room to ride, feel the breeze and not get covered in ticks.

“With revenue sharing, it’s definitely a win-win. The Park makes money to fulfill their purpose, which is to advance public access to outdoor activities and green spaces in a way that acknowledges the history of the site. We’ve cleaned up the woods, and mountain biking is going to be a driving force behind not just preserving this piece of property but actually restoring it. It’s our intention to have it be an amazing space in perpetuity, and we’re gonna continue to remove invasive species.”

Emile Hughes, Co-Founder, Ride Resorts

Bringing mountain biking to new people

trail signs at RideBHM
One of the many trail signs. (Pat Byington / Bham Now)

Hughes said that mountain biking is currently seen as a niche and sometimes extreme sport. Part of the reason for that, he explained, is the high cost of entry. Even if you want to rent a bike, you’ve got to have a bike rack, and buying equipment can easily rack up a large bill. Then there’s figuring out where to go and learning how to use the bike.

RideBHM aims to give even beginners a great experience from the get-go. It’s currently the only place in Alabama where you can rent a bike and get a lesson on a world-class trail.

 “I’ve seen it time and time again, where you put someone on a proper mountain bike, you give them an overview of the fundamentals of riding, then take them on the right trail, they have a great time—especially if you can serve them a beer and tacos afterwards.”

Emile Hughes, Co-Founder, Ride Resorts

RideBHM is currently open Friday-Sunday 10AM-6PM. Follow them on Instagram for more updates.

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Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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