Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Bike skills park takes shape in New Columbia

Posted by on June 13th, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Looking good. Construction should be done
by the end of this month.
(Photos: Community Cycling Center)

The Community Cycling Center is currently hard at work building berms, ramps and other details of a Bike Skills Park in the New Columbia neighborhood. The project was funded through a $15,500 grant from the Portland Development Commission.

The CCC’s Melinda Musser sent us an update and a few photos of how the lines are shaping up. It looks awesome! Here’s more from Melinda:

The Bike Skills Park, opening in July, will offer a safe riding area for neighbors of all ages. Participants will learn about skill development through group instruction from We All Can Ride bike committee members and Community Cycling Center staff and volunteers. Additionally, We All Can Ride members are furthering their ride leader training this year and will host summer bike rides so that residents can safely explore their community together on two wheels.

The skills park is located on the corner of N. Trenton and Woolsey, the same parcel of land where the Community Cycling Center opened the Bike Repair Hub back in September. The property is owned by the Home Forward (formerly known as the Housing Authority of Portland) and they will be responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the park. The CCC will be in charge of programs and activities. The skills park is the second phase of a larger project that included the Bike Repair Hub.

The Northwest Trail Alliance has also been involved with this project by donating expertise to the design and construction of the trails and ramps. Prior to breaking ground, professional landscape architects held a neighborhood meeting with residents to garner feedback and input on designs.

Check out the final concept plan to get a better idea of how it will look when all three phases are completed:

And here are examples of the type of features coming to the park:

And a few more construction photos from Melinda:

If you’d like to get involved in making this skills park a reality, the CCC is looking for volunteers for an event this Saturday (6/15) from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. They are also asking for folks to bring their own tools to help sculpt the berms, put finishing touches on the wood ramps, and buff out the trails. They need rotary saws, hand saws, shovels, rakes, a trail compactor, 3″ deck screws, screw guns/battery packs, and wheelbarrows. Anyone interested in volunteering should RSVP to volunteer@communitycyclingcenter.org.

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  • Nathan June 13, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    I volunteered a month ago, helping out with filling some gravel paths and it was a pretty fun time. Lots of neighborhood youth came out to help with raking and shoveling to shape the course that they will likely use.

    This seems like a great community for the CCC to have partnered with.

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  • longgone June 13, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Beyond awesome. I believe “awesome” applies to this.

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  • Chris I June 14, 2013 at 7:47 am

    The articles about trail riding in Forest Park get hundreds of comments, and this gets two? Where are all of the urban trail riding advocates?

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    • lazyofay June 14, 2013 at 7:53 am

      It appears to be part of that “bike culture” gap, sadly enough.

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    • trailrider June 14, 2013 at 12:55 pm

      Chris, there’s not much parallel between the proposals in Forest Park and this project. As I understand it, this park is a small, bike skills park oriented towards, young beginner riders. It is focused on providing a fun, healthy activity for residents and neighbors of New Columbia. It is not intended to be a regional asset, and therefore the level of interest is going to be less. Also, thankfully there’s no controversy here, which has driven many of the comments on FP.

      A great project which deserves attention and kudos to those involved, but I think to draw a parallel between the two is off base.

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    • Alex June 14, 2013 at 2:03 pm

      While I applaud this effort, this is not even close to the same thing as opening more access (or any access) to mtb’s in Forest Park. They are, in fact, completely different. This is not an urban trail – it is an urban skills park. Therefore, you won’t find as many trail advocates here.

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  • Fred June 14, 2013 at 8:30 am

    This is very cool! Huge thumbs up to the CCC!

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  • Paikikala June 14, 2013 at 9:36 am

    It would be nice if the park trained our youth to ride on greenways. Road signs, hand signals, laws, etc.

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    • Melinda Musser June 14, 2013 at 10:31 am

      We All Can Ride committee members have participated in a 6-week ride leader training course. They will be leading bike rides all summer long, exploring new parks and destinations, and teaching neighbors about rules of the road, hand signals, etc.

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    • lazyofay June 14, 2013 at 1:29 pm

      While this venue may not address the road user issues you mentioned, (as it is not part of the design) it will in fact help young riders create muscle memory in a variety of ways that will make them far better bike handlers while on the street, than just gliding unchallenged through greenways.
      This is a big plus for all children who use it.
      I am sure that the CCC has many programs that fit the criteria for learning road rules in place.

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  • Jeff June 14, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Awesome! Is there a bigger version of the design someplace?

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  • Quinn June 14, 2013 at 9:57 am

    This is awesome! Reminds me of the educational bike parks for kids in the Netherlands!

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  • Laurie June 14, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Great design by local landscape architecture firm MIG!

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  • Duncan Parks June 14, 2013 at 11:04 am

    I worked out there a couple of weeks ago, and there’s lots of potential. If anybody has access to a plate vibrator, they could sure use help compacting the gravel!

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  • trailrider June 14, 2013 at 11:14 am

    NWTA has a plate compator attachment on their new piece of equipment. I’m sure they would offer it up if it’s available.

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  • Danko June 14, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    I am sorry to say this, but I just don’t see what the grand idea of building these things are. I mean, when I was a kid, I’d go to dirt lots and build jumps and what not. Over time, as I and my friends would progress, we would tear down & rebuild the jumps to be bigger etc… all for the sake of progressing.

    It seems like these skill parks are only good for a visit or two, then become rather boring and antiquated quite quickly. What else is there to do after you master the place?

    Heck, a few months ago we headed up to the Castle Rock area to see how that park was. Seriously, after 10 minutes or so of riding around on the beat-down gravel pit of a place it has turned into, we were back in the car for 40 minutes back to PDX.

    Yes, I know, finding a dirt lot these days and building some not-so-legal jumps on it may just be a thing of the past, but can’t we focus more on actual trail building?

    How many of you ride at say… Post Canyon (Family Man area) for more than 10 minutes, before heading off onto the actual trails?

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    • lazyofay June 14, 2013 at 1:37 pm

      I use to train with a young man who competed in trials at a national level, and we would never leave a 12ft. area for hours.
      This amenity is a great addition to the neighborhood, and if it does what I think it will Danko, just may inspire the young people who live near it to try the same things you enjoyed when you were young.

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  • Steve B June 14, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Woohoo!! Can’t wait to try it out.

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  • Brian June 14, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Excellent! Kids need a place to ride legally and be kids. Great work to everyone involved in making this happen!

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  • Mike Healey June 15, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Oh dear. Don’t any of the naysayers think that this park might very well increase the skill level of the kids and make then ready for the next stage: riding out on forest trails?

    If we took the downbeat view expressed by some, we wouldn’t waste our time teaching our kids to ride round cones, over ramps, seesaws, pallets, planks and urban gas pipes, because it wouldn’t teach them the skills to ride drop-off, rock gardens, single track, etc., etc.

    Except that they love doing cyclo-cross, mountain bike, grass and hard track and circuit races, time trials and hill climbs – with pretty advanced skill levels.

    And all from a sports area with a couple of all-weather soccer pitches, a half-mile road circuit and containers full of the aforementioned kit and decent (Islabikes) for them to use.


    Oh, and a good few of the kids have ridden most (if not all) of the UCI international MTB course at Dalby Forest, Yorkshire – altho’ a tree did jump out in front of one of them on a recent visit 🙁

    Lighten up, people.

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  • Trek 3900 June 16, 2013 at 1:38 am

    Here are some bike skills you might like:

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  • JoeBob August 11, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    I rode here with my 3 1/2 year old today. The concept is very cool, but it needs some work. They used a lot of gravel and bark which are not fun surfaces to ride. I assume this is because of the landscape concept. My son liked it enough to bring us back again, but he could have been a lot more into it.

    Suggestions. Figure out a better surface and make it flow good enough to attract adults. If adults like it they will bring there kids and they will return often with the kids. I would go there with my son all the time.

    If you doubt this concept then check out the lumberyard on the weekend. The place is packed. Make this place flow and fix the surface and you will increase usage a lot.

    I was there at noon on a Sunday and the place was empty. A couple of kids showed up for a few minutes, crashed in soft stuff then quit riding.

    I’ll also add that my son can ride everything there, so don’t hesitate to bring a little guy or girl on a push bike.

    Overall, I’d say a great idea that needs to be enhanced.

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