The Worst Day of the Year Ride is February 11th

NW Trail Alliance is getting kids on mountain bikes (and you can too)

Posted by on September 27th, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Still from new video

As we shared back in July, the Northwest Trail Alliance (NWTA) held their first summer kid’s camp this past summer. A new video (watch it below) released today shares the impact that camp had on the kids, in their own words.

Over the four day camp, 20 kids (led by experienced guides) visited different riding spots throughout the Portland region. They learned about nature, how to be good trail stewards, and of course, they learned how to ride in a way most of them had never even considered before. It’s one thing to hop down a curb in front of your house, but it’s an entirely different experience to roll over a log while riding down a trail in the forest, or to move smoothly over a berm at a pump track at the local park.

Video by Dan Kaufman of Crank My Chain TV

In a world where headlines and research constantly remind us that physical inactivity is killing our kids and our public forests are parks are crumbling due to a lack of maintenance and public support, it seems to me like giving kids more opportunities to ride mountain bikes is a no-brainer.

If you know a kid who would like to give this a try, you’re in luck! The NWTA is gearing up for the annual Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day on Saturday, October 6th. The event will be held out at Stub Stewart State Park (between Banks and Vernonia, about a 45 minute drive from downtown Portland) and you don’t even need a bike to take part. The Hillsboro Parks & Recreation department will provide free mountain bike rentals for kids and Bike Gallery will have demo bikes for adults to use. In addition to guided rides, there will also be free lunch and snacks, a video screening, and other activities.

You can register for this free event and learn more at

As this video shows, getting kids out on mountain bikes can be a powerful force for good. It’s also something that reaches far beyond the extreme sport imagery many people associate with the activity. Thanks to Dan Kaufman of Crank My Chain TV for making the video and thanks to the NWTA for all their great advocacy.

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  • cm September 27, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Awesome to see- Future trail stewards!
    Hopefully these kids get to experience actual singletrack without driving an hour or more someday.
    Also hope the prevailing, demonizing attitudes towards the sport matures by then as well…

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  • Craig Harlow September 27, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Hmm. I submitted the online reg form, and it didn’t collect any of my contact information…name, email, nothing. I’ve emailed NWT to find out how the process is supposed to work.

    Such a cool event–and FREE?!?! Awesome.

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  • Mike Vandeman September 27, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Introducing children to mountain biking is CRIMINAL. Mountain biking, besides being expensive and very environmentally destructive, is extremely dangerous. Recently a 12-year-old girl DIED during her very first mountain biking lesson! Serious accidents and even deaths are commonplace. Truth be told, mountain bikers want to introduce kids to mountain biking because (1) they want more people to help them lobby to open our precious natural areas to mountain biking and (2) children are too naive to understand and object to this activity.

    Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1994: . It’s dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don’t have access to trails closed to bikes. They have EXACTLY the same access as everyone else — ON FOOT! Why isn’t that good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking….

    A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more harmful to wildlife, people, and the environment than hiking, and that science supports that view. Of course, it’s not true. To settle the matter once and for all, I read all of the research they cited, and wrote a review of the research on mountain biking impacts (see ). I found that of the seven studies they cited, (1) all were written by mountain bikers, and (2) in every case, the authors misinterpreted their own data, in order to come to the conclusion that they favored. They also studiously avoided mentioning another scientific study (Wisdom et al) which did not favor mountain biking, and came to the opposite conclusions.

    Those were all experimental studies. Two other studies (by White et al and by Jeff Marion) used a survey design, which is inherently incapable of answering that question (comparing hiking with mountain biking). I only mention them because mountain bikers often cite them, but scientifically, they are worthless.

    Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and, worst of all, teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is okay (it’s NOT!). What’s good about THAT?

    For more information: .

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    • Tom Archer October 7, 2012 at 8:10 am

      Mike Vandeman,

      If you view this as criminal, then I am guilty as charged.

      We’ll be committing more criminal acts next summer, as we hope to expand the camps to three sessions.

      Tom Archer

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      • Mike Vandeman October 7, 2012 at 8:49 am

        Nothing new there! Mountain biking has been rife with illegal riding and illegal trailbuilding from the start. They see morality as just another obstacle in their way. If there were any justice, you would be locked up for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

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  • GlowBoy September 28, 2012 at 7:53 am

    Hahahaha, Mike Vandeman. Good one.

    You are joking, right?

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    • nathan September 28, 2012 at 8:14 am

      This person has posted the same text in thousands of mountain bike forums or article comments. He was also arrested in 2010 under allegations of attacking cyclists on a trail in Berkeley.

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      • Zimmerman September 28, 2012 at 12:03 pm

        They aren’t allegations anymore, he was convicted.

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  • Brian September 28, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Is Mike V. a writer for The Onion?

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  • davemess September 28, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Mike what is your PhD in?

    What a great event. How sad is it that this is being held 45 mins. outside of Portland! Get more trails in Portland now!!!!

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  • CharlieB September 28, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Nice work.

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  • Jonathan Gordon September 28, 2012 at 11:22 am

    That video was amazing! You could see the kids glowing. What a great portrait of the next generation. You guys are doing fantastic work.

    In all serious: Any chance we could arrange such a camp for adults? The whole time I was watching I was thinking: I WANT TO DO THIS!!! A one-week intensive mountain biking course sounds super fun. Please make this happen.

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  • davemess September 28, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    There are some great weekend ones if you can make it down to Bend.

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  • Bill Peck October 2, 2012 at 10:16 am

    SO disappointing Portland does not provide ANY single track mountain biking. We have more than 5 thousand acres of woods in Forest Park and not any single track trails provided for mountain bikes. The next time Parks and Recs wants tax dollars I will lobby loud and hard against it until it starts accommodating funding for single track trails WITHIN the Portland metro area. Other cities build single track trails with much success and so should Portland.

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  • CharlieB October 4, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Mike V, You are a very selfish man. You have no idea what you are missing out on. Bicycling is the answer, not the problem. Vilifying a segment of cycling because it does not appeal to your own tastes and opinions does nothing to solve the real problems our society and culture face.

    Mountain bikers do not want all the trails to use, just some. The model for shared use has proven successful in many areas. You make claims about the inherent dangers of mountain biking. Well duh, otherwise it wouldn’t be exciting and challenging. It’s called evolving and if we stop pushing ourselves, we stop evolving, like yourself. I urge you to evolve a little and accept that mountain biking is part of the fabric of our society and a good one, a healthy one.

    Now of course you have dragged me out to break one of my cardinal rules: don’t feed the trolls.

    Lazy? Forsooth!

    P.S. Introducing children to high fructose corn syrup and fast food and encouraging all-day video game playing is criminal. There’s a cause you could get me to support. Encouraging children to lead active and healthy lives is the solution, not the problem.

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  • Mike Vandeman October 7, 2012 at 8:54 am

    “Encouraging children to lead active and healthy lives is the solution, not the problem.” Not when it results in the destruction of the natural environment. If you REALLY cared about kids and our environment, you would be promoting activities that didn’t destroy wildlife habitat and didn’t result in serious accidents and death. YOU are the selfish one. You only want to create more mountain bikers so you will have more places to wreck.

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  • Truth-speaker October 23, 2012 at 9:28 am

    The criminal here is Mike Vandeman.

    Convicted, by a jury of his peers, for attacking a cyclist with a saw and another with a screwdriver.

    Currently on probation, and banned from the trails near his home as a condition of his sentence.

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