An astonishing collection of world-class amenities for all forms of cycling. A velodrome, BMX course, closed crit course, mountain bike trails, and paved greenway are, or will soon be, part of the collection.
Once the sight of a defunct chemical plant, the Rock Hill Outdoor Center now plays host to the highest level of track cycling and BMX racing. The world class velodrome and dirt track bring racers from all over the planet, but they were designed to be used by everyone. Mountain bike trials, a cyclo-cross course, a paved greenway, and a closed crit course have been, or will be added soon making this a true destination for most cycling disciplines.
What Makes It Great
At first glance upon entering, the Riverwalk Community appears to be the standard collection modern homes, newly built with the typical amenaties you might expect. A neighborhood club house, wide sidewalks, and well designed streetscapes. But before long, just past an open greenspace for Frisbee catching and dog walking, a concrete stadium comes into view that seems completely out of place in the quiet, suburban neighborhood.
This is the Giordanna Velodrome. The 250-meter, Olympic standard cycling track brings UCI caliber events and seats 850 spectators. The giant bowl of a track, with 42.5 degree banked turns, is a spectacle worth visiting for even the most casual rider. But, like everything at the Center, the velodrome isn’t just for pros. Loaner bike (specially designed for this type of track), certification classes, and riding lessons help make this intimidating track accessible to all levels of cyclists.
Trading concrete for dirt, the Novant Health BMX Supercross Track at the other end the Rock Hill Outdoor Center is the only one of its kind in eastern North America. This level of facility draws the best of the best in the world, hosting the 2017 BMX World Cup – the first U.S. running of the race in 16 years. When it’s not hosting elites the bumps and bends of this beautiful facility are the playground of everyday riders of all ages. Lessons are available and will come in handy after staring down the 8 meter starting line drop.
For the casual cyclist, the 2.5 mile Piedmont Medical Center Trail follows along a wooded and serene section of the Catawba River. At 10 feet wide, the paved trail has plenty of room for biking, running, and strolling. There are some decent inclines but is easily rideable by just about every experience level.
And the center continues to grow. Soon it will be home to a 1.5 mile, criterion style cycling loop, a cyclocross track, as well as restaurants, a coffee shop, and brewery.
Who is Going to Love It
Experienced riders and super fans of all things cycling will not be disappointed in their visit to the Rock Hill Outdoor Center. Families looking for an affordable option to spend a day outdoors will have no shortage things to do either. From beginner to expert, from mountain biker to track specialist, the center holds something for just about every two-wheeled junkie.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The RHOC is easy to navigate and each facility has its own parking area. Check the individual velodrome and BMX track web pages for schedules. There is no cost to park. The greenway and mountain bike trails are free to use. There is a cost for time on either the BMX track or velodrome. Instruction is available for both.