Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 26th, 2006 at 11:22 am
MTB Summit presentation.]
Photo R. Louton
Portland United Mountain Pedalers (PUMP) board member Roger Louton sees a golden opportunity to push for more singletrack mountain biking trails in Portland.
He just returned home from the IMBA World Mountain Bike Conference where he heard the Executive Director of the League of American Bicyclists Andy Clarke, announce some exciting news: the availability of singletrack mountain bike trails is now a key criteria to achieve Platinum status.
Here’s more from Roger Louton:
“This new Platinum criteria is excellent news. We can now hold the city and parks department accountable for the lack of singletrack trails in Portland.”
While this is exciting news for mountain bike advocates like Roger, it’s bad news for Portland’s Platinum quest. Why? Because Portland currently has only 6 total miles of singletrack.
In fact, while Portland touts its 267 miles of total bikeways, according to Louton there are only 35 miles in the entire Portland metro area where someone can legally ride a bicycle on a natural surface.
Louton senses the time is right for increased activism around this issue. At the recent Portland Bike Summit, he pulled Transportation Commissioner Sam Adams aside and illustrated his message (see photo at right).
Louton’s message is that the lack of trail opportunities in Portland means mountain bikers must drive to their favorite trails. This wastes gas, adds to congestion, and presents a loss of potential cash to the local economy.
To show them what mountain biking (on non-gravel roads) is all about, Louton has invited Adams and Parks Commissioner Dan Saltzman to join him on a singletrack ride in Scappoose (20 miles outside Portland).
This will be an interesting issue to follow because not everyone is gung-ho for increased mountain bike access in Forest Park. I have a few meetings set up to hear other perspectives on the issue and I look forward to presenting both sides.
If you want to find out more about the status of singletrack in Portland or learn how you can help Portland become more mountain-bike friendly, join PUMP at their monthly meeting at 7:30 tomorrow night at the Lucky Lab Brewpub (915 SE Hawthorne).