MEDINA — Mountain biking is a way of life for Ray Petro.
Petro wanted to share his passion for the hobby with others, so he moved to Medina in 2015 and began developing mountain bike trails.
"I started riding in '96 and fell in love with the people and the lifestyle," the former North Ridgeville resident said.
"It's something I do for myself because I want to ride, and my friends, but I also get to affect other children and adults that I don't know who share a love of the sport.
Petro, city officials and families celebrated Friday morning the grand opening of the approximately three-mile family mountain bike trail at Huffman Cunningham Park, 4400 Weymouth Road.
"There are a lot of young kids here today that are excited to ride the trail and its great to see them get involved and develop the same passion their parents have," Medina City Parks Director Jansen Wehrley said.
Petro was one of four men who were recognized for leading the project - the others were Ray Wagner, owner of Spin bike shop, Dusty Clouse and Garrett Gosnell. Petro also owns Ray's Indoor Mountain Bike Park in Cleveland.
"Ray's done a great job working with the city in designing a trail and bringing his vision to Medina," Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell said.
Since his involvement, Petro has worked with more than 25 volunteers to expand and maintain what are known as the Medina trails. In 2015 he, Clouse and Jason Reinhardt, of Medina, created a bike trail that connected Reagan Park with Medina High School's old cross country path.
Together, the men have extended the Medina trails' length from 8 to 16 miles. All trails are marked with signs with assistance from the Medina Parks Department. The other bike trails are: High school trail, Festival loop, Reagan trail, River trail, Yukan trail, Cabbage Patch trail and Huffman trail
"(Mountain biking) has become a regional draw," Wehrley said. "I'm not surprised when I see the parking lot full and vans from Pennsylvania or Chicago here."
Last summer, a group of volunteers led by Petro raised $5,700 through a GoFundMe page to construct a skills park at Huffman Park. The park is made up of "berms, skinnies and rollers," which are obstacles used by mountain bike enthusiasts. It was designed for practice for children and adult cyclists to warm up before entering the trail.
Petro said there is more on the horizon to come from the Medina trails, as he hopes to organize a bike festival in the Reagan Parkway area.
Contact reporter Halee Heironimus at (330) 721-4012 or firstname.lastname@example.org.