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Local shop commits $50,000 to Forest Park singletrack effort

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Universal Cycles storefront at
NW 18th and Thurman.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Universal Cycles in northwest Portland has committed $10,000 a year for the next five years in order to help push local advocates and community leaders into creating more singletrack mountain bike trails in Forest Park.

Universal general manager Mike Doolittle told me this morning that, after reading about citizen activist Frank Selker’s plan and realizing that the trail idea was gaining momentum, he decided now was the right time for his company to step up.

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Doolittle said this is the first time Universal Cycles has entered into the local bike advocacy realm and that one reason they decided to do it is because, “it’s pretty ridiculous that there’s no singletrack in Portland.”

“We want to do our part to support the community and this is one big way we can do it.”
— Mike Doolittle, general manager of Universal Cycles

“Our city likes to say it’s the #1 cycling city in the country. How can they stand on that and not offer options for a huge segment of the cyclists?” he said, “we want to do our part to support the community and this is one big way we can do it.”

Doolittle is convinced that more trails in Forest Park will be a huge benefit, not just in improving the cycling community, but also for the bottom line of the local bike industry: “Without a whole lot of effort,” he said, “we could triple the amount of mountain bikers in Portland, and that would help our industry.” He also pointed out that the Northwest has world-class singletrack and that, “there’s no reason we can’t have world class singletrack in our own backyard.”

Riders enjoy the only bit
of singletrack in Forest Park.

Universal has a retail location, but they are more well-known as an online retailer. The majority of their business comes from online sales outside of the Portland area.

The list of local shops that are joining this renewed mountain bike advocacy effort continues to grow. In addition to Universal, Fat Tire Farm and Sellwood Cycle Repair have both stepped up to support the effort.

In an update to Frank Selker’s big plan that kick-started all this momentum — to get 100 cyclists to join forces with the Forest Park Conservancy — he confirmed last week that he reached that goal “very easily”.

Frank Selker

Selker estimates that about 140 cyclists joined the FPC from mid-December to March 1, and that they have donated a total of about $12,000 to the organization so far.

Keeping to his promise, Selker will kick in an additional $500 of his own money to the cause. He has also now set a new goal — he wants to raise $200,000 from local companies and individuals.

All this positive news for local mountain bike advocates comes at an opportune time. Tonight in City Hall, Commissioner Nick Fish will hold an invite-only roundtable discussion on mountain biking in Portland parks.

With his fund-raising skills already bearing fruit, Selker hopes to be able to tell Commissioner Fish that new trails won’t have to cost the city a dime.

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