while riding in Forest Park last night.
Gallery – slideshow below
Last night the Portland United Mountain Pedalers (PUMP) led a group of city staffers on a mountain bike ride through Forest Park. The ride was organized to give key decision makers and city planners an up-close and personal experience of urban mountain biking.
During the ride, PUMP members explained sustainable trail building methods, shared their thoughts on the importance of mountain biking to Portland’s Platinum effort, and continued to make their case for adding more singletrack trails in Forest Park.
In addition to several PUMP board members, ride participants included:
- Tom Miller, Chief of Staff for City Commissioner Sam Adams
- Roger Louton, President of Portland United Mountain Pedalers
- Chris Distefano, Marketing Director at Chris King Precision Components
- Mia Birk, principal of Alta Planning, former city bike coordinator, and now main consultant on the Bicycle Master Plan update
- Roger Geller, City of Portland bike coordinator (and in charge of the Bicycle Master Plan update)
- Gregg Everheart, trail planner with the Portland Parks Department
- Matthew Grumm, Constituent Relations and Policy Manager for City Commissioner Dan Saltzman
Aboard full-suspension mountain bikes on loan from Fat Tire Farm, the group enjoyed a perfect night for a ride in the woods. For many, it was their first mountain biking experience. Luckily there were no major falls (the only one I saw was a gentle tumble by Gregg Everheart, but she gets props for attempting a tricky switchback!).
The same couldn’t be said for this SUV we came across a mile or so down the trail from Skyline Blvd. (what they were doing on the trail in the first place is anybody’s guess):
The ride was my first experience on the new Firelane 5 singletrack, which is the only singletrack legal for bikes in the entire park. PUMP’s Roger Louton pointed out that the trail was built with expertise from the International Mountain Bicycling Association.
Louton showed us a trail-building technique with an idea that is similar to traffic calming. In order to slow riders down and to prevent shortcuts, they’ve placed large tree branches and/or boulders in the corners of tight turns.
Unfortunately the sinewy singletrack section is painfully short and was over in just a few minutes. Even so, it was definitely the highlight of the ride.
After several stops for discussion along the way, we pedaled south on Leif Erikson Road back to Fat Tire Farm and eventually to a local pub for dinner.
The ride was a success for PUMP and was a necessary step in the long road toward more mountain trails in the city of Portland. Advocates have their work cut out for them, but giving key decision makers a tangible experience of a great sport is one solid pedal stroke in the right direction.