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The jury’s out on Portland’s latest Platinum bid

Posted by on April 23rd, 2008 at 11:00 am

New 10-foot bike lane on SE Madison-7

Bike riding is on the rise, but the
jury’s out on Platinum.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The City of Portland is holding its breath as it awaits a decision from the League of American Bicyclists as to whether or not we’ve earned the coveted “Platinum” level Bicycle Friendly Community designation.

A decision from the Executive Director of the League, Andy Clarke, is expected any day now.

Platinum is the League’s highest honor and so far, no major city has gotten the award (Davis, California is currently the only Platinum-level city). Portland is currently one of seven cities in the “Gold” category and has been at that level since the Bicycle Friendly Community program was launched in 2003.

Transportation Commissioner Sam Adams and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) have made achieving Platinum a high priority. This year’s application comes amid PDOT’s effort to update the city’s Bicycle Master Plan — and Adams has code-named it the “Platinum Bicycle Master Plan”.

Cities re-apply to the program every two years and the last time Portland applied was in October of 2005. Portland’s latest application is a 24-page, all text, single-spaced document that was put together by PDOT bicycle coordinator Roger Geller.

The application is broken down into two parts. The first one asks for basic facts about the city — population density, average temperature, etc… — and asks for answers to questions like, “What was your community’s most significant investment for bicycling in the past year?” and “List some of the current community activities that encourage/promote bicycling.”

The second part is broken down into five sections: Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, Evaluation & Planning. In each section the League asks questions and asks for specific examples of work being done.

At the end of the Evaluation & Planning section the application asks two key questions. I’ve pasted them below along with the first sentence of the answer given:

“What are the three primary reasons your city deserves to be designated as a Bicycle Friendly Community?”

    — Portland has a seamless and varied bicycle network that connects all parts of the city and that has proven successful in dramatically increasing bicycle ridership.

    — Providing for bicycles and promoting increased usage of cycling as a mode of transportation is incorporated into all actions taken by the City of Portland, beginning in the Mayor’s Office, right down to actions taken by our maintenance crews on the streets.

    — A strengthening bicycle culture within which bicycling is gaining widespread social acceptance as a normal activity in Portland.

“What are the three aspects of your community most in need of improvement in order to accommodate bicyclists?”

    More money. We need additional funding in order to build the types of facilities on which people are not
    just safe when riding, but where riding is a comfortable and attractive experience.

    Better designs and stronger policies. We are actively working on designs for our bikeway facilities as well as for grouped bicycle parking.

    — Providing more opportunities for people to ride by expanding our targeted encouragement and educational efforts at the residential, school and business levels.

==========

Will 2008 be the year Portland finally achieves Platinum? Will the designation spur momentum for the bike movement, or will it lead to complacency amid bureaucrats and give fodder to two-wheeled detractors who might be tempted to think Portland has achieved bike nirvana and doesn’t need any more help?

What do you think?

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Jim LabbeRoger W. LoutonMikeyOIcarus FallingDJ Hurricane Recent comment authors
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gabriel amadeus
Guest

Has anything advanced on Portland\’s dismal Mountain Biking front? I think I remember that being one of the key factors in Portland not recieving Platinum last time. Indeed, I became a bicyclist through mountain biking but have been unable to continue MTBing since moving to portland and living car-free.

(and nobody say \”Forest Park\”, puull-ease.)

John Peterson
Guest
John Peterson

or maybe spend that 5 million on forest park bike paths??….

GLV
Guest
GLV

Where else in Portland is there potential for anything resembling mountain biking, if not Forest Park? That\’s like saying \”there are no condos or art galleries in this City (and don\’t even mention the Pearl District, puuhleeze)\”

Klixi
Guest
Klixi

It doesn\’t feel like a Platinum biking city.. we\’ve still got a ways to go imo

John Reinhold
Guest
John Reinhold

Gabriel,

I am curious what makes Portland dismal for mountain biking?

The reason I ask is that I have lived in cities all over the country, and I have never found any large-ish city to be great for mountain biking. In fact, I would wager that is why they call it \”mountain\” biking instead of \”city\” biking.

I grew up in the mountains, miles from anything, and I lived on my BMX. But I consider Portland to have great mountain biking with Forest Park, Mt. Tabor, Powell Butte, and other sites… But then again, I am not a hard core mountain biker.

But it has always been my impression that mountain biking always requires you to drive an auto out to where the good trails are. Cities tend to have lots of pavement and people, which doesn\’t mesh well with mountain biking.

But again, I am simply curious. I can\’t think of how Portland would be considered \”dismal\” but perhaps I missed something…

Kris
Guest
Kris

GLV/John: I think that gabriel was referring to the lack of a well-developed network of singletrack trails in Forest Park that appeals to all levels of riders.

Gabriel: from what I know, several folks (PUMP and others) are working hard to getting that changed, but obviously this is not the type of thing that will happen overnight. One more reason for Portland bike advocates to put it high on the list.

DJ Hurricane
Guest
DJ Hurricane

What are the three aspects of your community most in need of improvement in order to accommodate bicyclists?”

(1) Enhanced Roadway Safety. Including (a) additional legal protections (e.g., higher penalties for motorists who injure or kill cyclists); (b) Enforcement of existing traffic laws to protect cyclists (e.g., failure ot yield to a cyclist in a bike lane) and stopping police harassment of cyclists; and (c) engineering solutions for problematic locations.

(2) Funding for infrastructure and outreach efforts to get more Portlanders on bicycles and to educate the general public about the benefits of cycling.

(3) Sam for Mayor!

DJ Hurricane
Guest
DJ Hurricane

Re mountain biking:

Portland is certainly no worse than other big cities, and is at least a step ahead with some trail access in Forest Park.

Perhaps Gabe\’s point was that, given the totally unique capability of Forest Park to provide world-class mountain biking within the limits of a major US city, Portland ought to be a better place to mountain bike.

PUMP is on it. Join PUMP, see what you can do!

Paolo
Guest
Paolo

I think to really earn Platinum Portland should first: make the roads safer to bike on, educate car drivers, add bike spaces on MAX, crack down on bike theft, make the bike network really seamless and have a Mayor that is really behind alternative transportation.
I hope in a couple of years….

Lillian Karabaic
Guest
Lillian Karabaic

Providing more opportunities for people to ride by expanding our targeted encouragement and educational efforts at the residential, school and business levels.

Let\’s hear it for putting support into programs like Safe Routes to School, encouragement events like Walk + Bike to School Day and Walk + Bike to school Challenge Month, and the BTA\’s Award-winning Bicycle Safety Education curriculum.

Those programs are only effective in the long-term if we keep building low-traffic routes (bike boulevards) for families that are uncomfortable taking youngin\’s on arterial streets with bike lanes.

Mike
Guest
Mike

The last time I rode in Davis, I found it to be more bike friendly than Portland, and that was probably ten years ago.

Then again, they have a much smaller population to deal with, which makes the street riding much calmer.

Even ten years ago though, they had a great network of bike lanes and paths. They already had stop light phases for bicycles only.

Davis is also flat and warm, which is always nice for city biking.

I feel Portland has a ways to go, but is still one of the best \”big\” cities in the nation for biking.

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest

RE: Mountain biking.

Portland could be much better.

Efforts are afoot among various circles to achieve more trail access at Forest Park. I know IMBA has made it a big priority and some powerful folks are lining up to push discussions further.

Don\’t underestimate IMBA. These folks know how to play the game.

Bikes were banned on singletrack in Forest Park way back in the 80s when the Forest Park Master Plan was developed.

That Plan is the Bible of the park — and it has not been updated since and making a change to it requires an act of God (last I heard).

It could take years for the update to happen while advocates and bureaucrats sit around the table and draft white papers… or someone with visionary leadership and influence can say enough is enough and figure out quicker way to open access up in a responsible way that all parties are OK with.

ALSO, there is a MAJOR opportunity coming up at a large parcel of land where the 84 and 205 freeways meet. The project is called \”Gateway Green\” and the developer has already said he is very keen on making it some sort of mountain bike park with trails, etc… (in addition to many other uses.) Stay tuned for a story on that (have had it in the hopper for months now!)… and there was a mention of it in the Gresham Outlook a few weeks back.

over and out.

Mike
Guest
Mike
Dag
Guest
Dag

I don\’t really think Portland deserves this honor quite yet. Maybe once we have bike boulevards within a few blocks throughout the city, the N Portland greenway and the sullivan gulch trail, I\’ll feel better about it. But I don\’t think we should be receiving the highest honor when there\’s so much work still to be done.

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

Once we have a network of Bike Boulevards, then we might deserve it, but not until there is a greater commitment that goes beyond paint on the road.

If we get the award now, I\’m afraid that it\’ll be resting on laurels time.

kg
Guest
kg

The work that has been done on firelane 5 is an excellent example of how mountain biking in the park can improve the park. Before it was opened to bikes last year the lower portion of the trail was in shambles and in the summer the middle was overgrown with blackberries. Now it is one of the best maintained trails in the park (Thank you PUMP!).

I don\’t think mountain biking facilities within the city are really what the city should be judged on with respect to the platinum designation but I would agree that if this is the highest honer we are not yet deserving.

Stripes
Guest
Stripes

I feel Portland is one of the better cities for biking, but I worry that the city may be resting on its laurels a little too much in light of this, whilst other cities across the country continue to take leaps & bounds towards becoming more sustainable.

Last week\’s WW cover story sums this feeling up nicely –

http://wweek.com/editorial/3423/10806/

However, it would be amazing if Portland got the platinum!!

Qwendolyn
Guest

I agree with klixi, tonyt and those who say we may not deserve it just yet.

If Portland got Platinum now, it would deplete the value. –Platinum inflation.

Then who will they give Platinum to next, Eugene? C\’mon.

(Oh! burn on Eugene)

JT
Guest
JT

I\’m curious about this \’platinum bike city\’ designation – I hope the City doesn\’t get it, becuase that would be a travesty to all of us (a very large number) who live out East.

By East I don\’t mean \”39th and Hawthorne\”, I mean EAST. The HUGE population East of I-205.

\’Portland\’ to many commuters is about the areas close-in and downtown. Bike and Enhancement dollars are continuously spent on Education and Engineering projects in the easy, close-in parts of town, while this large swath of the City of Portland remains ignored.

Where are the City and County tours to look at bike facilities? Not out here. Where are the awareness events? When is the last time advocacy groups have done anything to assist East [of 205] Portlander bicyclists?

No. It may appear to be platinum to the people who like to pretend there\’s noone east of 82nd, but the City goes out to 162nd / 172nd. Take a look at a map.

Bike-commuting from 157th (still in Portland) to 82nd, with piss-poor facilties, faded or non-existant bike lanes, NO advocacy or education work for the communities: stop pretendign we don\’t deserve the same as you; this is FAR from a platinum bike city.

todd k.
Guest
todd k.

I echo the sentiments regarding Portland not quite being up to Platinum status at this point in time.

We have a great, enthusiastic community of cyclists that make Portland a city more bike progressive than most other cities and Portland is doing some fantastic things to keep improving the area. That said, traveling across and around the metro area still carries a degree of risk that deters many potential cyclists.

Developing a more cohesive network of bike boulevards across the greater metropolitan area as Dag and tony t mention above, would help bridge that transition.

Axe
Guest
Axe

I agree that we aren\’t there yet. Portland is a hell of a lot better for cyclists than most cities but it would be a real stretch to say its a platinum city.

Mmann
Guest

I say this only half in jest, and recent conditions have certainly put a \”damper\” so to speak, on my thinking, but Portland would be a better mountain biking city if it didn\’t rain so dang much. Wet trails just get degraded so much quicker. In a climate like Bend, a place like Forest Park would, I think, have better mountain bike access.
And Jonathan, I hope hope hope that parcel you\’re talking about gets \”official\” mountain bike access – that\’s my neighborhood.

DJ Hurricane
Guest
DJ Hurricane

Better wet than under 3 feet of snow!

Jill
Guest
Jill

Yes, I\’ll agree that Portland is one of the best cities for transportation, and we have an INCREDIBLE funky bike culture, but the recreation could use more work. We can\’t be held to the same standard as smallish towns like Davis, but we need to figure out just what a Platinum city looks like.

Portland has a long way to go when it comes to urban mountain biking, but we are feeling momentum for change. Lots of other cities have made huge strides, and we can use these urban successes as models. Look at Collonade in Seattle, simple BMX parks in cities all over the country, Philly has over 20 miles of singletrack in just one park in the urban area, NYC (yes- NYC, in Manhattan and Queens!) has new bike parks and singletrack, DC area has mtn biking, Phoenix, etc.- if these cities can do it, we can too.
Why should we have to drive? Wouldn\’t it be great to ride to the trails? I see a lot more mtn bikers pedaling up to Forest Park than hikers or runners. We call it a warm up.

As Jonathan mentioned, while Forest Park is something of a Holy Grail, there are other open spaces in the city. A pump track takes up very little space and provides a TON of fun for kids of all ages! A few miles of singletrack here and there connected by a bike path makes for a nice ride.

It will happen. Join the effort. Watch for opportunities. Ride!

Tonya
Guest
Tonya

I\’ll be the naysayer – I think we should get it. We\’re heads and shoulders above other gold cities in actually addressing all of the 5Es that the LAB bases the award on. We are a national leader in promoting cycling and should be recognized as such.

Can we rest on our laurels even if we do get it? No, the designation is for four years. I would expect the bar to go up every year for the platinum designation and we\’d only get to keep it if we kept on the leading edge of bicycling innovations.

joel
Guest

all the platinum in the world would make me choose a sunny summer in davis over a rainy winter in portland, though… it may be a better bike city by the scorecard, but its still *davis* 🙂

we can *always* do better, though – but at the same time, the tone here seems to almost be that no matter how bike friendly portland may be, there will always be one more thing that we feel we need before being worthly of platinum status…

Ian Clemons
Guest
Ian Clemons

Amsterdam = Platinum

We\’ve got a long way to go for all the reasons mentioned above.

To the ATB crowd: I agree that some nice single track in city limits would be cool. The great thing about Portland is the urban growth boundary keeps the city tight so it does not take long to get out of the city and into the all-terrain areas better suited for ATBs. Logging roads, state parks, BLM land abound. Maybe the parks of the inner city should be reserved for those of us who want a proximate connection to nature, not mud-spattered guys in tights. Just sayin\’.

-Ian

btodd
Guest
btodd

The best chance for increased MTB opportunities exists in developing new areas to ride where the public can be introduced to bike only trails. The city is blanketed with hiking trails, which has created one type of expectation. With this new parcel of land, we could introduce the public to a new expectation. People can go ride there bikes in a dedicated area. This added comfort will bring new riders to the trails and of the roads.

ariana
Guest
ariana

No way do we deserve it until some sort of real enforcement/consequences are put in place for drivers who kill/seriously injure cyclists. We don\’t deserve it on that point alone.Period.

David Anderson
Guest

Davis, CA is a very bike friendly town. But when I went to school there in the mid-70\’s I didn\’t recall any hills in town that could support the singletrack I now really like riding. It\’s not always warm there either in the middle of winter. But that is besides the point.
Portland is by far an extremely bike friendly city, when compared with other places, that needs to do a lot more work. We need more and better bike boulevards that connect safely and efficiently. We need singletrack trails in Forest Park for crosscountry bike riding. sorry, but Mount Tabor trails don\’t really cut it when it comes to singletrack. Powell Butte trails are pretty good, but they\’re closed most of the winter when it\’s really wet. There are no really very good singletrack trails in Portland where you can ride your bike to ride – with the exception of Powell Butte. The Gateway Green idea for the area at the site of the old Rocky Butte Jail is going to be a great addition as a bike skills park and cyclo-cross venue. We have wilderness proposals, by our very friendly bicycling Congressman Blumenauer for Mount Hood that will decrease, not increase, access to singletrack. I would hope that those who want more access to singletrack would work with PUMP to help make it a reality. We can do more, and we can do better to really deserve platinum status.

steve
Guest

ariana nailed it.

Randy
Guest
Randy

I agree Portland is not quite platinum just yet. Eugene has higher ridership per capita and Corvallis has a better trail system. We\’ll be Platinum when we have bike only parking garages, a bike only bridge across the Willamette, SULEV Trimet buses, a hefty tax-credit for bike commuters, citywide shopping discounts for bikers, no more idling semi-trucks in downtown Portland, and better marketing that links zero pollution transport to clean air initiatives. People need clean air and water.

J G
Guest
J G

Given the portions of the city that one cannot reasonably get to by safe routes (west hills, southwest, far east) and the lack of enforcement against motorists who run down cyclists without even getting a citation, I\’ not certain we deserve the gold level.

KT
Guest
KT

JT #19 has hit the nail on the head.

\”Portland\” consists of more than just the downtown core and close-in areas; if the city AS A WHOLE is aiming for platinum status, then the city AS A WHOLE should deserve it. And the city AS A WHOLE should be working towards it, not just pet projects in attractive and easy areas.

Until the rest of the city is up to snuff, the whole city doesn\’t deserve platinum; I\’d argue that we don\’t deserve gold, either.

Peter W
Guest

Portland does not deserve Platinum! (Not yet!)

The #1 destination for trips in Portland is PSU (with a student population of 25,000+). Yet compared to UC Davis, and even OSU and UO, we have less people biking to school… why? Because biking through downtown is so scary for new commuters.

What we need is massive infrastructure improvements in downtown to make biking comfortable for everyone. I\’m talking bike boulevards, better connectivity over the highways, more off street paths (like an extension of the one from Goose Hollow to PSU along I405, which was proposed in Mia Birk\’s bike/ped class and has been considered by ODOT), etc.

Portland doesn\’t deserve Platinum as long as people are afraid to ride their bikes to PSU, and we have a long way to go before we get there.

Matt Picio
Guest

John Peterson (#2) – What $5 million? If you\’re referring to Sauvie, we can\’t spend the money on that.

DJ Hurricane (#7) – let\’s try to stay on-topic here. Point 1 is a state issue, not a city one. You want penalties with teeth? Push it in front of the state legislature. I plan on making trips to Salem next year to testify, rabble-rouse, and push that agenda. I hope you\’ll do the same. Feel free to contact me at the email I give below in my response to JT, and let\’s coordinate interested parties. The BTA has to consider its other projects when lobbying, they have a reputation to preserve in order to remain effective as an organization. We don\’t – we can be more annoying, more persistent, let\’s do it – shoot me an email.

In the words of the immortal Mal, \”I aim to misbehave\”.

Stripes (#17) – I disagree that the city is resting on its laurels. Roger Geller and his staff are working their collective ass off. They have support from Sam Adams and Randy Leonard. The city is taking real steps towards enhancing bike safety, they\’re planning hundreds of miles of bike boulevards and other improvements, bike parking corrals are going up all over the city. The big and valid complaint is that outer NE / outer SE are getting short shrift. There needs to be more investment there. I agree with tonyt, however, that if Portland gets Platinum now, many in the city will indeed want to rest on their (our?) laurels.

JT (#19) – Then let\’s get some rides started out there to call attention to the problem. Where are the problem areas? Which should be addressed first? Contact me at \”matt.picio\” at \”gmail\” dot \”com\” (and whoever else in far SE is interested) and let\’s start planning some bike rides out there to showcase what you\’ve got in outer SE that\’s cool, as well as what really needs to be fixed. We can start with a ride or three during Pedalpalooza.

Ian (#27) – Amsterdam is far beyond platinum, and LAB isn\’t rating European cities, it\’s rating American ones. That said, I think Portland still has a ways to go – you should have to go above and beyond to get that rating – that rating signifies that you are the example that other cities should try to emulate. Portland\’s great, and we\’re doing so much work to make it better, but we\’re still not at the same level of infrastructure or willingness to support it as Davis.

Ariana (#29) – The city has little to do with that, it\’s mostly a state issue. Put teeth in the state law, and the enforcement will follow – if it doesn\’t, then it *does* become a city issue, but right now, the police have nothing with staying power to enforce, and the DA has nothing with teeth to prosecute.

Steve (#31) – No, actually. The rating applies to cities, and while there\’s certainly room for improvement in the Portland Police Bureau, the enforcement/penalty problem is mostly on the state level. There\’s not a lot that can be done without changes in the law.

Portland also has a problem in that a good number of cyclists not only do not obey the rules of the road, but aren\’t even courteous to other cyclists. \”Bike-friendly\” isn\’t just about the infrastructure, it\’s about the culture. How many of us yield to pedestrians? How many say \”on your left\” when passing other cyclists? How much room do we give them? It\’s not just about our rights, but also our responsibilities, and courtesy, manners, and common sense.

Let\’s all have fun out there!

E
Guest
E

Shiny, Matt!
🙂

Axe
Guest
Axe

I hope the LAB is keeping an eye on this conversation.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

In regard to \”platinum inflation\”, I understand that the League investigates every city for progress when they apply to renew their status every two years. If they can\’t show that they\’ve improved since their last certification, they may be downgraded or even miss receiving recognition if they\’re on the lowest levels.

That said, while Portland has obviously shown much progress, I agree that it does not deserve platinum status quite yet. Heck, how much of our \”platinum master plan\” has been implemented so far? Not much. Obviously we will eventually get there, but it would strike me as anticlimactic to get recognition right before we finally bring out the big guns (i.e. the $20+ million for bikes in Safe, Sound and Green Streets). LAB likes to see large capital investment projects, so it seems prudent for them to withhold platinum until things like the Sauvie Island Bridge/Flanders Street crossing and Safe, Sound and Green Streets bicycle boulevard buildout have manifested in the real world.

Elliot
Guest
Elliot

In regard to \”platinum inflation\”, I understand that the League investigates every city for progress when they apply to renew their status every two years. If they can\’t show that they\’ve improved since their last certification, they may be downgraded or even miss receiving recognition if they\’re on the lowest levels.

That said, while Portland has obviously shown much progress, I agree that it does not deserve platinum status quite yet. Heck, how much of our \”platinum master plan\” has been implemented so far? Not much. Obviously we will eventually get there, but it would strike me as anticlimactic to get recognition right before we finally bring out the big guns (i.e. the $20+ million for bikes in Safe, Sound and Green Streets). LAB likes to see large capital investment projects, so it seems prudent for them to withhold platinum until things like the Sauvie Island Bridge/Flanders Street crossing and Safe, Sound and Green Streets bicycle boulevard buildout have manifested in the real world.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Portland has come very far in the LAB evaluation process…not every city even gets invited to submit replies to phase 2 – let alone being ranked as GOLD.

And as many bicyclists have written…there is really no good model what a platinum bike city (US) would be.

If we have to look outside the US…to Amsterdam, Groningen, etc…then I would say that Portland would need (as others have said):
– higher bike mode split (key for scoring)
– a complete network reaching out to its city\’s ex-urban limits (not just the bikie neighborhoods)
– secure and well distributed all weather bike parking
– intersections that are safe and bike friendly (Portland is working very hard on this now with the Green Bike Boxes, etc.)

solid gold
Guest
solid gold

we could call it the Platinum City for issuing tickets to cyclists! Portland is GREAT at that! Best City for Citations! every time i tell other bikers our cops do \”bike stings\”, they look at me like i just told them \”our cops use jetpacks\”.

Roger Geller
Guest
Roger Geller

For those interested in reading the application Portland submitted to the League of American Bicyclists for our bicycle-friendly community status, you can read it here. (http://www.portlandonline.com/shared/cfm/image.cfm?id=194342)

Icarus Falling
Guest
Icarus Falling

Platinum Schmatinum..

While Portland is a great place for cycling, it is still not really very safe for anyone to ride down the street.

I think it would be a good thing to be denied Platinum status again. A wake up call that this is not the dream world many think it to be.

And, to those who naysay, Mt. Biking is very important, and should be considered as a component in any city that gives a hoot, especially one like ours that has many places and opportunities to build more trails. I mean, even Indianapolis has more Mt. Biking within the city limits than we do.

I love PUMP, and I have been riding in Forest Park since maybe 1986? (I think the same week I rode there, we pushed our bikes up to the Palmer Glacier, and rode the Glade trail all the way inot Gov. Camp)
I applaud their trail efforts, and think it is sad that they are so hampered in that by the Forest Park Master Plan.

But at the same time, that Master plan has saved countless acres of Forest park from developers who stand staring greedily at it.

I also despise the illegal trail and stunt building going on in the West Hills, as a handful of fools are just setting back MT. Biking in our city, and giving those us us who ride legal XC trails a bad name.

Vancouver, by the way, has the greatest opportunity for future Mt. Biking venues and trails, as the clean up work at Camp Bonneville is progressing well. I still fear that a national cemetery is going right in my backyard, but that is only 300 acres. The only thing that goes on there now is cleanup, and a FBI shooting range on three or less acres.

3,500 acres of land that can\’t be used for much of anything is begging for trails, (many of which are already there and well worn) and begging for the forming of a group to move this idea forward. Getting in on the start of the Camp Bonneville \”Master Plan\” (if there is one, would do us all some good.

Mt. Biking is such an integral part of cycling in America and abroad, it cannot be passed off and shoved aside like it (sort of) is in Portland.

Rick Glos
Guest

Mt. Biking != hills. Having lived in both Milwaukee and Chicago I can attest to having great XC singletrack on semi-flat terrain within city limits! Milwaukee has a great trail that is right alongside a river using trees and obstacles, short climbs, etc.

Since moving to Portland, I love the culture but have since lost the XC MTB riding I loved.

Such a shame to have the largest park in a US city and no singletrack to speak of.

DJ Hurricane
Guest
DJ Hurricane

My view is that it\’s pretty hard to mountain bike without mountains. That stuff you\’re talking about back east is \”trail riding.\” The West Hills are actually mountains, the Tualatin Mountains. So you can actually mountain bike there. But it would be a lot more fun if you had more single-track.

Icarus Falling
Guest
Icarus Falling

DJ,

That is a pretty narrow minded view….
It screams of bias. And of being lucky to live where we actually have mountains to ride upon.

I somewhat see why you would think that, but it is really not the case at all.

MT. Biking really is referring to the \”style\” of bike being ridden, not where it is ridden.

I am sure if you asked the right person, they would tell you that trail riding is what they do on their motorcycles offroad, where as another might say that that is what they do on their BMX bikes.

I mean, some rider\’s of mt bikes, as in free ride, jumpers, downhillers, really don\’t ride up hills anymore. Their \”Mt. Bikes\” aren\’t really designed for, or comfortable, riding uphill. They can be seen pushing their bikes up even the smallest of hills. I enjoy pedalling past these folks on my 1989 pre-suspension single speed, watching them huff and puff to push a 35 pound bike up the trail.

This sometimes seems a little silly to me even, but it in no way changes the fact that they are Mt. Biker\’s.

Does this mean they are not Mt biker\’s?

No.

DJ Hurricane
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DJ Hurricane

Wrong answer, Icarus. They are most definitely not mountain bikers.

There is nothing ambiguous about the term. It only has two words. One tells you its biking, and the other tells you where it\’s done. Pretty simple.

Actually, I was partly trying to be funny. I find it ironic when mid-westerners tell me about their \”mountain\” biking when there\’s not a mountain for at least three states.

You must admit, there\’s a pretty big difference between that type of trail riding and riding up the flank of Mt St Helens on the Ape Canyon trail, or riding up, along, then off the edge of Surveyor\’s Ridge.

To me, that\’s a pretty damn big difference – so big, in fact, that it deserves a different name. You can call riding around on trails over little hills whatever you want, of course. I\’m not going to call it mountain biking, because it doesn\’t involve a mountain.

And as for these downhillers or free-style riders and similar jackballs, as you describe, well, I guess since I don\’t have anything nice to say I won\’t say anything at all. Except – I think that\’s a sufficiently different activity from mountain biking to warrant its own term as well. Jonathan won\’t let me use those sorts of terms, but the one that comes to mind first starts with a \”p\” and ends with an \”ussy.\”

|*| OK, seriously, I\’m just taking the piss here, trying to add a little levity and have a little fun. No offense intended. |*|

And also seriously, we need some better single-track in Forest Park. As I said earlier, it is a totally unique opportunity to have some really amazing single-track in a major US city.

I\’m not sure whether it\’s the difference between platinum status – those fire lanes are pretty good climbs, and a blast to come down.

In my opinion, the platinum difference lies in ROADWAY SAFETY.

Icarus Falling
Guest
Icarus Falling

Well DJ,

While I can accept that you were just poking fun, I must state:

The only real differences between a single track ride on the flats of the Mid West, and one on Mt. St. Helen\’s, would be elevation gained and lost, oxygen levels, scenery, and certainly a difference in the soil you would be rolling through.
I suppose if, when riding in one of these areas with you, the other difference might be greater than altitudes, and could certainly be measured in attitudes, one being holier than though, the other being probably just happy to ride at all.

Of course in that last statement I am poking fun directly at you, with no more harm intended than to inspire a little change in thought process towards your fellow riders.

I mt. biked every weekend, both days, in Florida as I lived there for a year. And I would laugh when my friends (a couple of whom has just moved from 6,900 ft. in Wyoming)would mention that they wanted to ride over where the \”hills\” were. I would laugh, and point out that the \”hills\” they were referring to were really no more than dents in the sand, as we were pretty much below sea level. This in no matter changed the fact that we were Mt. biking, and having a good time. http://www.trails.com/trail_reviews.asp?trailid=BGN066-058
They certainly had a good time poking fun at me, as they thought the idea of Mt. biking on a single speed was just short of ludicrous. (This was shortly before the S.S. Revolution)
And, not to mention the highest point in Florida is a old garbage dump (150 ft.)called Mt. Trashmore, with short cross country trails, and very short downhill runs.
Florida did however change all aspects of bicycle maintenance. Riding in the sand and brackish water meant I needed to fully clean, lube, and tune my bike for at least an hour after each time riding it. The chain and cables would show signs of rust and corrosion even before I got home.

Perhaps we should just agree to disagree, and meet up to ride on St. Helen\’s as soon as the snow clears?

MikeyO
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MikeyO

I agree with JT and think Matt P has a great idea.

Anyone bike out east Portland? SE and NE? Like JT said – East of 205. I took his advice and holy crap, half the city (geographically) is East of 205. All the bike boulevards are close-in. A couple good 40-mile loop trails out there I guess.

Anyone know who can help with outer East? AND beyond? Does the County do bike stuff? They do the bridges I know. Does BTA go east of I-205?