By Max Goodwin
Jan Schmidt, owner of Blue Bicycle Health and Fitness at the Red Bridge Shopping Center, has heard the advice for years from members that she should add a pickleball court to the facility. She didn’t have the space for it though she thought.
But she could see how popular the game was becoming.
“I think it’s even taken off more now,” Schmidt said.
She had started playing for fun on occasion at the newly opened Chicken N’ Pickle, a restaurant with a total of 10 pickleball courts, near 135th and Nall.
As the pandemic has worn on Schmidt found herself needing to adapt her business. The area for group fitness classes wasn’t getting as much use as it once did. She wanted the weights and equipment to be more visible from outside the store to give people a better sense of what they have access to with a Blue Bicycle membership.
So, she rearranged things a bit and created the perfect spot for a pickleball court in the back of the facility, a large open room with concrete floors and high ceilings that could be sectioned off from the rest of the facility by a simple net.
She measured the court five times to make sure she had it lined out perfectly, bought a net, some paddles and pickleballs, and this week the pickleball court at Blue Bicycle is ready for its opening matches.
Access to the pickleball court is for those with at least a silver membership to Blue Bicycle, and may soon be available to be rented if there is the demand for it. Schmidt plans to offer classes on how to play pickleball for beginners and also hopes they can add a more advanced class as well.
“I can see us having some tournaments and stuff, depending on the level of interest. Part of this is we just have to feel it out and see how people react,” Schmidt said. “We have heard a lot of excitement about it so far.”
There is a reservation system set up for the court and Schmidt plans to gauge its use for now to see if something more substantial will be necessary.