Zoobombers in Willamette Week

Tour de Fat: Portland, OR 8/6/05In case anyone missed it, the Zoobomb crew is featured in the current issue of the Willamette Week. Choice quotes include:

“We’re not political. We don’t want to subvert your dominant paradigm…we just want to have a good time.”

“We’re kind of keeping bike culture on the popular radar,” adds “Solid Gold,” a three-year member. “And reminding people that bikes are the most fun invention on Earth.”

Thanks Zoobombers…I dream of the day when riding small bikes down hills is the dominant paradigm.

On that note, with Zoobomb getting so mainstream these days, I wonder when Sam Adams will show up to one?

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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18 years ago

Yeah, but what have they done lately?

Roger W. Louton
18 years ago

City to trail bikers: Time to take a hike
Thursday, September 15, 2005
By Boaz Herzog
Jim Foster had hiked Forest Park’s Wildwood Trail for more than a decade without sight of a bike.

But a mile and a half into his tramp on a recent Friday afternoon, he saw half a dozen pedal pushers racing toward him. Foster, 71, ducked to the side of the trail as the teenagers sped past.

About a week later, toward the end of a six-mile Wildwood hike above the Japanese Garden, Foster again saw half a dozen bicyclists zooming his way.

“No biking on the trails,” he barked.

“Don’t worry about it,” Foster said they yelled back. “We can ride our bikes wherever we want.”

Foster had never felt unsafe on Wildwood, until then. Someone’s going to get hurt, he said.

He also hated to see the trail torn up by the bikes. “It gets enough wear with the hikers and the runners,” he said.

Fed up, Foster penned an e-mail to City Commissioner Dan Saltzman to ask whether the no-bike policy on Wildwood had changed.

Matthew Grumm, a Saltzman aide, replied that he was “truly surprised” that Foster hadn’t seen bicyclists before on Wildwood, describing them as “an ongoing concern and problem throughout Forest Park.” Wildwood’s no-bike policy hasn’t changed, Grumm added, but the city’s park rangers are spread thin.

It’s also difficult for rangers to track down rogue mountain bikers, who are mostly teenagers and twentysomethings, said Mark Warrington, public safety manager for the Portland Bureau of Parks and Recreation.

The two to three complaints a year that he sees don’t come with good descriptions of the offenders.

“It’s not like we’ve ignored them,” Warrington said. “They typically buzz by hikers who are surprised and outraged, but they don’t have license plates to work with.”

The attraction for the extreme cyclists is obvious, Warrington said. They can ride the MAX up to the zoo, then let gravity push them down the trails.

Warrington hadn’t heard of any serious collisions — yet. But this spring, some rangers discovered that bicyclists had excavated part of the Mac Trail in Washington Park near a reservoir, cleared away brush, piled up dirt and brought in some lumber to build jumps. The area, Warrington said, is still scarred.

Then last month, rangers found half a dozen vandalized signs in the arboretum, he said. The vandals had painted over the “bicycling prohibited” warning on the signs, replacing it with the slogan “Ride a Bike.”

Warrington hopes to round up the three to four factions of Forest Park mountain bike rascals by the end of the month. He said he’s eager to talk through safety concerns and help them find a city spot where they can legally enjoy their sport.

In the meantime, Foster said he’ll start taking his Wildwood hikes early in the morning, when the extreme cyclists are more apt to be asleep or in school.

Jail release update

August ended with 541 inmates freed early, a 38 percent jump from July’s tally.

Got a tip about crime, nuisance activity, traffic woes and other threats to safety and livability where you live? How about a story about you successfully fighting crime? A strange or humorous police call? Send it to Boaz Herzog: 503-412-7072; boazherzog@news.oregonian.com

18 years ago

Hate to break it to Warrington, but I don’t know of anyone who takes MAX to the zoo and “lets gravity push them down the trails” … Why? … Well, Wildwood doesn’t go down, it goes up and down. It’s not Zoobombers riding the sweet singletrack of Wildwood, it’s the outdoor loving mtb riders of Portland who are tired of driving an hour to ride singletrack.
The answer is to open up some nearby singletrack to riders … maybe the overgrown sections of northern Forest Park that nobody hikes (would cause erosion problems) or allow access to create a new series of singletrack that is created just for bikes.

Basically, the biking community of Portland is growing, including mountain bikers. If Portland doesn’t create a legal outlook for trailriding, people will continue to ride whatever they can find.

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