Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on October 19th, 2005 at 3:56 pm
In the push to get Platinum a large part of the cycling community is being left out; recreational riders that don’t necessarily ride for transportation, but ride for fun and sport. I’m talking about groups like OBRA (Oregon Bicycle Racing Association), PUMP (Portland United Mountain Pedalers) and the PWTC (Portland Wheelmen Touring Club). Where do they fit into the puzzle? They represent thousands of local cyclists yet seem to operate pretty much on their own, without much help from non-profits, city leaders or millions of dollars from the federal government.
PUMP is one group in particular who could use some help. They’re about to entrench for a battle with the parks department and hikers for more access to riding areas in Forest Park.
From what I know about the push for Platinum, it’s more about improving conditions for bikes as a transportation option rather than for racing and riding off-road for fun. I also know that in the many meetings and various events I go to in the bike community, OBRA and PUMP are rarely (if ever) mentioned. Should this be different? What place does recreational riding have in Portland’s vibrant bike politics and advocacy scene?
Local bike advocates, city employees, and politicians will leave for a trip to Amsterdam next week. They’ll be observing innovative bike infrastructure and policies and try to figure out how we can apply those things here in Portland. I know some recreational groups feel this trip won’t benefit them at all and they want more attention and money to be spent on their interests.
I hope leaders from the various groups can begin a closer dialogue. We need as many cyclists as possible to join into the conversation; BMXers, freeriders, racers, commuters…we’re all on two wheels, so we might as well all be on the same page.