Tour de Lab September 1st

Guest Article: Riding against the machine – UPDATED

Posted by on April 7th, 2015 at 11:46 am

A manifesto of sorts, by The Ümabomber.

Publisher’s note: This article was written by The Ümabomber and was originally published on her blog.

I’ve been a cyclist for over 25 years and a dedicated mountain biker for the past 8 years. I have ridden trails all over the Western US. And I have never poached a trail that was closed to riding. Ever. Until today.

“People — especially conservative people — love to hate what they don’t understand… When we ride bikes, we are perceived as less human.”

Today I popped my poaching cherry.

People who know me can’t believe I’ve never poached. I’ve been an outspoken advocate for bike access on trails since I started riding dirt. I’m a noisy upstart, an outspoken firebrand, and I rail against the machine. I’m good at rallying the troops and making noise, and with a name like The Ümabomber, it’s easy to see why people would expect me to ride rogue.

But I’m also possessed of some weird conscience that feels horribly guilty if I go against the law. Partly, it’s that I didn’t want my actions to negatively impact the work others are doing to create positive change. I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

But there’s a problem with that problem.

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The problem is “the problem” is manufactured. The problem is a matter of perception. Mountain bikers (and cyclists in general) are perceived as threats to most non-bike riding humans in the United States. People—especially conservative people—love to hate what they don’t understand; gays, people of other nationalities, other belief systems, other social classes.

When we ride bikes, we are perceived as less human. We are perceived as earth-raping, road-sucking monsters whose only purpose is to create havoc and ruin other people’s lives. We are in the way. We are obstacles to other people’s enjoyment of reality—or their escape from it.

After the recent Portland Parks & Recreation decision to ban bikes from a trail system where bikes had not been identified as threats to the preservation of a large city park, it was clear that railing against the machine would no longer be enough. It was time to ride against the machine.

So, today I rode my bike on single track trail in one of the largest public parks in the country, on trails that are closed to anyone except Nature Conservancy hikers, their (illegally) off-lease dogs, and uber-fit long distance runners in safety orange day-glo running shoes.

From last night’s protest ride.
(Photo by Vince Rodarte)

From last night’s protest ride.

I took about 55 friends with me. My deflowering was public: the loss of my poaching virginity made the evening news. Even more poignant, the trail is named Wild Cherry.

We were courteous. We made way for people to pass. We said hello. We didn’t descend upon them—wheeled hellions from the sky—screaming blood curdling death cries, snatching up their soft, furry canines in our talons to rip to shreds and feed to your young. We didn’t hate. I can’t say we met the same courtesy in everyone we encountered. And don’t look now, but according to the comments left on the news channels who covered our ride, there are many people who feel they can and should run us over with their cars and trucks.

You’d think we were pedophiles or rapists instead of people who ride bikes, that’s how much mainstream America has in their hearts for us.

As rides go, it was anti-climatic. Short and sweet-ish. The purpose was to show our numbers and to take the trails with the same unapologetic ownership other user groups take for granted. As we headed out for the trail, I climbed up on a garbage can and delivered our message:

Dear Portland: We’re here. Our numbers are growing. We are not terrorists. We are people who ride bikes. We live here. We work, and pay taxes, and volunteer in our communities. We vote. We probably do more trail work than you do. And we build better, more sustainable and environmentally beneficial trails than you do. You need to stop treating us like we are some kind of criminal class. We are going to ride. Get used to it.

As [Bike Magazine reporter] Vernon Felton mentioned in his recent article, Portland does not deserve to be awarded any kudos for being “bike-friendly”. The truth is, Portland is “bike-friendly” if you are a commuter, sort of. Certainly, Portland does not deserve the League of American Bicyclist’s “Platinum Status” for Bike-Friendly Cities when she systematically and repeatedly refuse to accommodate or include an entire user group.

I propose a new designation: Prohibition Status.

In the 20s, prohibition supporters were referred to as “Drys” and anti-prohibition adherents were “Wets”. Here in Portland, as mountain bikers, we are under siege by a new breed of “dry crusaders”; conservative NIMBYs who reject reason and logic and refuse to share what isn’t even theirs to give.

So while I applaud my local trail advocacy groups for their letter writing campaigns and ongoing conversations with city policy makers (and especially for filing suit against the city) I think my days of playing nicey-nice with the Drys are over. I simply refuse to be part of “the problem” any longer. I refuse to play into the expectations forced upon me by other, more entitled user groups, these new prohibitionists.

See, I’ve had my trail poaching cherry popped, now. Amanda Fritz made me do it. And now there’s no going back. I’m going to ride more… wet and dirty.

I asked The Ümabomber to clarify whether or not she and the 60 or so other riders who showed up to the protest ride last night actually rode bikes on illegal singletrack in Forest Park. Here’s how she responded:

“I can neither confirm nor deny ‘reports of riding on illegal trails’.

I can tell you this:

While some of the hikers we passed were courteous and friendly, others were not amused and downright pissed off. It doesn’t matter if we ride or walk from a user conflict point of view. People who don’t ride bikes do not want to share with people who do. Now now. Not ever. Not anywhere.”

Check out the TV news coverage of the ride via KATU and KPTV.

Publisher’s note: This story was originally posted with a different title. It was changed after it became a distraction and many readers contacted me to say it was offensive to them. — Jonathan

UPDATE, 4/10 at 3:30 pm: Check out this video from the ride which features organizer Üma Kleppinger explaining its impetus and why she decided to protest:


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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. 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

176 Comments
  • Avatar
    Rob Chapman April 7, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Discarded dog poop bag, check.

    Unleashed dog, check.

    Confrontational hiker with bad attitude, check.

    All types of happy and friendly people on all sorts of bikes, check.

    Thanks for organizing a great event Üma! I’m convinced that direct action is the only way forward in this city. The process is broken. #freeforestpark

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    tedder April 7, 2015 at 11:56 am

    Yes, the trail is “cherry”, but .. that title is still skeevy.

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      eli bishop April 7, 2015 at 12:07 pm

      THIS.

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        Buzz April 7, 2015 at 2:32 pm

        OMG, so easily offended….

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 7, 2015 at 12:10 pm

      I hear you tedder and eli. I am keeping the title for now because it’s Üma’s title and it’s just her style. I wanted to keep the article 100% hers and didn’t feel like a headline change was necessary.

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        eli bishop April 8, 2015 at 10:27 pm

        Thank you for changing the headline, Jonathan. It’s much more respectful.

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        Dan M. April 9, 2015 at 5:06 pm

        Don’t cow to the pearl-clutchers. If someone doesn’t like a little good-natured vulgarity, then they can go ready Highlights Magazine.

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    Eric H April 7, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    Just curious as to why you singled out The Nature Conservancy in this? I’m pretty sure they have no interest (financial or other) in Forest Park. And I’m fairly comfortable in saying that at least one, if not more, person who works for The Nature Conservancy is an avid mountain biker.

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    meh April 7, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Lead picture is terrible, no one dismounting to avoid riding through an obviously wet and muddy trail. One of the things we are so often accused of, abusing the trail.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 7, 2015 at 12:32 pm

      meh,

      That photo shows riding on Leif Erikson road. It’s a road, not a “trail” and it’s entirely legal and responsible to ride on it in those conditions.

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        meh April 7, 2015 at 12:49 pm

        I’ve ridden Leif Ericson and seen it where the “road” has become extremely muddy and showing signs of mtb impact. Just because it’s a ‘road’ doesn’t mean we don’t have an impact. The more respect we have for the infrastructure the less maintenance is needed top keep it rideable.

        That picture shows a very muddy section of “road”.

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          Zimmerman April 7, 2015 at 12:55 pm

          Oh, you mean the mud that gets dispersed to the hardpack from the nearby fall-line fireline mudpit trails that mountain bikers would like to help fix? Yeah, that mud is probably being moved around a bit.

          Please feel free to show me any lasting tire tracks on Leif Ericson DRIVE.

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          Alex April 7, 2015 at 1:16 pm

          Honestly, it is the hikers/cyclists that go around the edges of the mud that do the damage. Going through the mud does the least amount of damage. Also, this is from all users not just cyclists.

          http://www.backcountryattitude.com/mud_walking.html

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          jered bogli April 7, 2015 at 1:19 pm

          I have also run on Leif Erickson and seen signs of hiker/runner impact in the mud/puddles and sloppy areas, soooo?

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          Psyfalcon April 7, 2015 at 1:23 pm

          Looks like a thin veneer on top of hardpack to me. Mud is off to the right of where the dog is.

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        The Umabomber April 7, 2015 at 3:47 pm

        The news crew who spoke with me asked me about Leif Erickson “trail”. I said the same thing…”It’s a road. You coule drive two trucks side by side the length of it. This is not a trail.” He edited that part out.

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      geezer April 7, 2015 at 12:33 pm

      I wasn’t there, but to me that looks like Lief Erikson Dr. In the actual trail pics, they are dismounted.

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      Pabstslut April 7, 2015 at 12:34 pm

      I’m pretty sure that cover picture is Leif Erikson, which is a road, albeit an unpaved one.

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      Zimmerman April 7, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      You realize that “trail” is hard pack, essentially paved and is merely wet, not muddy, right?

      The rule is: if you can see your track after you have ridden over a section, it’s too muddy.

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        meh April 7, 2015 at 12:52 pm

        You can see in the picture that the road has been avoided by even pedestrians because it is wet and muddy. Look at what would be the shoulder and you can see the foliage is already beaten down and turning muddy.

        This is indicative of a”road” that is too wet to ride, everyone keeps riding further and further out from the mud and turns it into a multi-lane mess.

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          Brian April 7, 2015 at 12:56 pm

          Couple yards of 1/4-. Fixed. I know a group who is willing to wheelbarrow gravel for free in order to create a more sustainable road ride to get to their trails.

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          Zimmerman April 7, 2015 at 1:08 pm

          People don’t walk through water or mud because they don’t’ want to get their feet wet and/or dirty. Also, I see a person moving to the right to share a path courteously with other users. I guess your imagination is a bit different than mine.

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            jered bogli April 7, 2015 at 1:21 pm

            You’ve never run the trail then – runners often trot on through… once the shoes are wet it doesn’t matter.

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              Zimmerman April 7, 2015 at 1:31 pm

              Fair enough.

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      Robert Burchett April 7, 2015 at 12:37 pm

      Leif Ericson? That is, approximately, a road. Yes there are wet spots, but it’s graded and gravelled for several miles.

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      JR 'eh April 7, 2015 at 12:53 pm

      That’s not a trail, that is the primary road through Forest Park, Leif Erikson Drive. While it is multipurpose, it is not mountain biking and not subject to IMBA’s guidelines.
      https://www.imba.com/about/rules-trail

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    Lester Burnham April 7, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    You probably think having a blog with a name that sounds a lot like a domestic terrorist is cute. It is not.

    You had to become divisive and attack conservative folks. How tolerant. A lot of those conservative folks also pay taxes and enjoy the outdoors just like you do.

    Also, I seriously doubt anyone compares mountain bikers to vile monsters like pedophiles and rapists, but I understand first-world problems like this probably bring out the martyr in you.

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      onegearsnear April 7, 2015 at 3:07 pm

      Read the comments in the article posted on KPTV.com, they threaten to run over any cyclists on the road even which shows the disdain this town really has for any kind of cyclist.

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      invisiblebikes April 7, 2015 at 4:14 pm

      They call me The Ümabomber—a nod to my love of “bombing” downhill on my bike and my uncompromising view of pursuing what makes us tick.

      Maybe try reading her blog with an open mind and unbound by bias and quick to judge reflex… it will make you a much better person!

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        Steve B April 8, 2015 at 4:17 pm

        Before adopting a nickname inspired by a serial murderer, even when done so with “good intentions”, I suggest reading up on the significance. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Kaczynski

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          middle of the road guy April 10, 2015 at 8:09 am

          I’m pretty sure most people are intelligent enough to know the difference. Most, but not all.

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    Manville April 7, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Great event last night; I wish more had shown up. I do have two comments
    1) There is room for off-leash dogs; lets team with as many of these groups as possible v. making it an us v. them argument. Forrest Park is huge and has room for all users.
    2) I would point out all of the less bike friendly cities that have awesome trails within city limits. Richmond, Va; Salt Lake City, UT; Boise, ID; New York City (High Bridge Park), Pheonix and Tucson, AZ and many others. Lets get some statistics on volunteer hours spent, crime rate reductions, mountain bike patrols ect… Lets focus on the positives that a strong mountain bike community brings to the aforementioned parks.

    The revolution needs a more unified message with statistics. Step up NWTA; get the facts and build a campaign off of them. Lets do this!!! Free Forrest Park!!!

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      MaxD April 7, 2015 at 5:02 pm

      Pacific Spirit Park in Vancouver BC reminds me a lot of Forest Park and it has shared trails, some allow offleash dogs, some allow bikes, some allow only walking. I think horses are even accommodated!

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    invisiblebikes April 7, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    Hell Yes! keep it up Uma and company! Free Forest Park!

    We should be doing “walk ins” every week in forest park on every illegal trail! the more in their faces we are, the less haters will show up and more people supporting equal rights to trail use will show up!

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    spencer April 7, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    + 1, be polite, be respectful, and ride,

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    spencer April 7, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    . . .your bike!

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    Eric April 7, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    For quick weekday dirt rides, my only choice is to poach singletrack (not in forest park, because I don’t live in NW). I wish I had a choice, but its either poach or not ride. And the trails I use I hardly every see anyone on them and the occasional hiker I do see, I slow down to a stop, make plenty of room and let them pass. Never had a bad encounter.
    I think it is good to create pressure on the Forest Park complex. Nice work Uma.

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    John Lascurettes April 7, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Curious. Is that a wet trail in the lede photo? I thought responsible riders didn’t do wet trails. Or is it a wet but paved section? Seriously curious, not trying to be a rabble-rouser.

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      John Lascurettes April 7, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      Saw the answer above from an earlier comment that didn’t show until a page reload. Thanks.

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        Brian April 7, 2015 at 12:36 pm

        De nada.

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      Brian April 7, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      See comments above.

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      Alex April 7, 2015 at 12:39 pm

      Previous comments address this.

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    Brian April 7, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    Unfortunately, for many it has come to this. Decision-makers have known for a long, long time about the need to address this user group adequately, and have decided that it is not a priority for them. In fact, in the last ten years riding opportunities have decreased. Two weekends ago as I drove my five year old to Hood River to ride his bike at Post Canyon he asked me, ‘Why do we have to drive so far?” I didn’t have an answer. I hope the decision-makers do.

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    jeff April 7, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    awesome. more ‘uv vs. them’ crap. a winning strategy for sure.
    the amount of people care were affected into changing their minds about MTB access in FP due to this ride. zero.
    everyone feel better?

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      Manville April 7, 2015 at 12:52 pm

      I changed my mind about not poaching the trails so I guess you could say that at least one person changed their mind about MTB access in Forrest Park.

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      middle of the road guy April 10, 2015 at 8:10 am

      Consensus does not always work.

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    velograph April 7, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Way to go Üma! You make great points and I’m glad you are the voice that is ringing loud and clear. If people have a hard time with your title, or how you frame the argument, then you’re doing it right.

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    dweendaddy April 7, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    The article quotes the organizer as saying: “People who don’t ride bikes do not want to share with people who do. Not now. Not ever. Not anywhere. ”
    I don’t really buy that.

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      Jeff TB April 8, 2015 at 9:22 am

      Uma certainly painted with a broad brush there. But I have no doubt that its people who don’t ride that don’t want to share with cyclists. And those people also paint with broad brushes.

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    Stretchy April 7, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    I could do without the “anyone who disagrees with me is a conservative nutjob” attitude of the post.

    You will not change hearts and minds by hurling childish insults.
    You will not persuade by lumping everyone who disagrees with you into one large bucket.

    If anything, this post makes me less likely to support your cause. But, I’m sure it is a hit with people who already support mountain biking. So, if that’s what you were going for, good job!

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      davemess April 7, 2015 at 1:14 pm

      Yeah, remember that George W Bush was an avid mountain biker.

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      Lester Burnham April 7, 2015 at 1:16 pm

      Yep…and I seriously doubt either Amanda Fritz or Nick Fish are one those evil “conservative nut jobs”.

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        davemess April 7, 2015 at 4:15 pm

        Yes, frankly I think in Portland it’s more of the “liberal nut jobs” that have been the impediment to increased mountain bike access.

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        middle of the road guy April 10, 2015 at 8:11 am

        yeah, lose the ‘conservative’ and it’s spot-on.

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      invisiblebikes April 7, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      “I could do without the “anyone who disagrees with me is a conservative nutjob” attitude of the post.” Stretchy

      Politicians do it for a living, political newspapers, radio personalities and satirists do it ever day!
      John Stuart, rush Limbaugh, bill Maher, the majority of congress, the senate and the white house… all do it!

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        q`Tzal April 7, 2015 at 5:50 pm

        Which seems to imply that you think this is acceptable.

        I would say that anything done by such a consistently disreputable and unethical group should be considered “bad” as a default position.

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          invisiblebikes April 8, 2015 at 1:44 pm

          It Implies that it is acceptable to fight fire With fire.

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            q`Tzal April 9, 2015 at 1:17 am

            Don’t pretend this is a fire vs fire fight. This is much more akin to a battlefield with biological weapons.

            They are “gifting” us polio contaminated blankets so you are arguing that deploying weaponized smallpox is perfectly acceptable.
            I’m not going to pretend I’m above such dirty tactics in war but understand the true dynamics of the impacts and collateral damage caused by the type of weapon used.

            This guest article is causing metric $#it tons if collateral damage it is spreading, multiplying and mutating.

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          middle of the road guy April 10, 2015 at 8:26 am

          People seem to have not problem doing this with people who drive SUVs

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      Alex April 7, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      Ironically, it is the liberal/environmentalist people that are quibbling amongst themselves. Mountain bikers are very environmentally concerned, but it seems that some “conservationists” (and I use that term loosely), don’t see it that way. They have been the biggest rivals/blockers of expanding mountain biking in Portland.

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    Terry D-M April 7, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    .Good JOB, with the ride and the article. I do not ride like this as I would kill myself or someone else. I’m an uncoordinated clutz….just like I do not race or ride a tiny or tall bike, but I do Zoo Bomb with my trusty roadbike.

    Yet, I see the idioicy of the city, the missed opportunities and the deadpan reaction. THEY ARE NOT LISTENING. So let the protest riding continue. When I am hiking I will give them support. When I pass one of you all muddy and tired on the greenwaqys, I will smile and nod. I will sign your petititions and work for a supporter for 2016 city council. I will NOT however ride down some scary mountain on a narrow trail…the trees will jump out in front of me And I will be flattened.

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    Oregon Mamacita April 7, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    Weak protest, I am afraid. One could use Ms. Kleppinger’s argument to break a lot of laws. “I pay taxes- why can’t I drive on the sidewalk?” This kind of civil disobedience should be used for more important issues than someone’s recreation choice.

    Also- Ms. Kleppinger’s characterization of the public’s response to cyclists is just too over-the-top.

    Well, when you want to know why this cyclist finds little common ground with BP, and why bike use has stagnated- ask yourself how this temper tantrum plays out with the general public? Not well.

    And who cares what label is attached? If you are an adult and you like to bike- grow up and bike where it is permitted.

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      invisiblebikes April 7, 2015 at 1:47 pm

      -One could use Ms. Kleppinger’s argument to break a lot of laws. “I pay taxes- why can’t I drive on the sidewalk?” OM

      because traffic laws are a completely different set of rules in place for people and property safety. Also most people have enough common sense to know why it’s illegal to drive a car on the side walk!

      -Well, when you want to know why this cyclist finds little common ground with BP, and why bike use has stagnated- ask yourself how this temper tantrum plays out with the general public? Not well. OM

      Actually the truth is “bike Use” in Portland is not stagnated it’s on the rise. Bicycle access and infrastructure in Portland has stagnated, because what made Portland the most amazing bicycle city in the country was the passion and civil protests of its citizens that wanted this city to be a world class city with bicycle infrastructure, outstanding public transit and less car access.
      This… is what Portland is stagnating on, we need more people to stand up for what they believe in and Fight for what is right and against the rich people who plague our city and it’s laws!

      We need more people like Uma to lead these protests and show Oregon politicians what the people of this city and state really want.

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        A portland resident April 8, 2015 at 9:13 am

        “We need more people like Uma to lead these protests and show Oregon politicians what the people of this city and state really want.”

        but I don’t want this type of mountain biking in Forest Park and I am part of this city. I would like my voice heard too

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          Dan April 8, 2015 at 9:43 am

          Hmm, not convinced. What type of mountain biking and why not?

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          Zimmerman April 8, 2015 at 9:52 am

          Which type of mountain biking are you talking about? Which type IS acceptable to you? Are you aware of the kinds of mountain biking that actually exist and which kind is being requested in Forest Park?

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      Chris I April 7, 2015 at 5:18 pm

      Cycling growth has stagnated because people are lazy and they think that driving is cheap.

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    Matt April 7, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    I am an avid mountain bike rider, but I have to admit, this was a terribly divisive article that left me with a visceral reaction–No, I will not support you. I support the movement of gaining access, just not The Ümabomber.

    Remember: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Kaczynski

    Have a little tact in deriving your alias.

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    caesar April 7, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    Kleppinger implies that she poached the trail – i.e. that she actually rode her bike on a trail that is not open to bikes. Yet when asked to confirm this, she won’t. So no, Üma, you didn’t get your trail poaching cherry popped yesterday, sorry.

    Fifty-plus people walking their bikes on a muddy trail might technically be legal, but I guara-damn-tee that knobby tread tracks were left behind by those pushed bikes. I just don’t see this sort of over-blustered “activism” accomplishing much of anything except stroking a few assorted egos and pissing off quite a few hikers. The last thing we need to do at this point in the controversy is to amplify a popular opinion that mtb-ers are (mostly) a bunch of self-entitled, spoiled, careless louts.

    The River View protest ride was the way to do it, IMHO – staying off the muddy trails yet still being seen and heard.

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    Justin Carinci April 7, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    You’re railing against being dehumanized for riding a bike while calling hikers conservative NIMBYs, neon-wearing distance runners and Nature Conservancy members who have broken dog-rental agreements.

    Some of those hikers are also mountain bikers. Some would be your allies. They may oppose cycling on those trails for legitimate reasons.

    It’s possible to disagree with those reasons while still being respectful.

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    Patrick Barber April 7, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    I wish this many people would publicly show this much energy and enthusiasm about making our transportation network more useful to people on foot and bikes. I love mountain biking myself, but I’m a lot more concerned about being able to safely and easily move myself and my family around the city, than I am about having mountain bike access to whatever trail happens to be around.

    Maybe I’m biased. I’ve been using a bike for transportation for 35 years, and the way US transportation networks serve bicycles hasn’t improved very much at all in that time, which I find extremely distressing. Yet I’ve only used a bike recreationally for a few years, and I have seemingly endless amounts of unbelievable forest trail access within an hour or two of Portland.

    And while every bike ride I take through the city inevitably leads to me composing angry letters to PBOT in my head about all of the terrible intersection designs, staccato bike lane appearances and ridiculous mish-mashes of confusing and ineffective signage meant to replace actual infrastructure, my mountain bike rides are pure bliss– the forest, the sounds, the smells, like hiking but faster and more exciting, and I get to explore parts of Tillamook State Forest and Mt Hood that I would never get to otherwise.

    So I have no complaints about access to trails. I have friends with trails literally out their back doors, but they all live in tiny semi-rural communities in Colorado or New Mexico. Nice places to visit, but nowhere I’d want to live. And I don’t know of an urban area like Portland where trails have the kind of access that everyone wants (although I am sure some of you will enlighten me on that subject). But to me it seems that if Forest Park offered MTB access, it would be even more heavily used and the trails would suffer even more damage than they currently do from hikers and the occasional poacher.

    Portland has an OK bike network for an American city, but on the world scale, we don’t even have a bike network. New York and (of all places) Seattle are laying down better infrastructure than we are. Our population is going to grow by a million in the next fifteen years. We desperately need to change the way we plan and build this city. Our kids need it, and our parents and grandparents do too. We need ways to get around freely and easily without cars, and without having our lives threatened by cars. We need politicians who understand that driver behavior and vehicle speed are hazards, not dark clothing. And because our resources are extremely limited, we need to prioritize transportation over recreation. I know that the two aren’t interchangeable, and that I’m comparing 650B apples to 29″ oranges, and so maybe this comparison is pointless and this comment is also pointless or at the least unhelpful.

    But every time I read about all of the enthusiastic, ambitious work people are doing to increase recreational trail access, the ONLY thing I think, over and over again, is that I wish we could take that energy and add it to the struggle to create a livable city.

    See you on the streets, and in the forest.

    Patrick

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      Zimmerman April 7, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Salt Lake, Phoenix, etc, etc, etc.

      Consider yourself semi-enlightened: http://www.singletracks.com/blog/mtb-trails/top-10-mountain-bike-cities-in-north-america/

      Also, I’d say there are far and away more people working on equitable access for commuters than recreational trail access. You’re just seeing the passion because the issue has come to a head recently.

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      Dan April 7, 2015 at 1:58 pm

      As best I can tell, the single most important thing we can do to make cycling safer in the long run is to get MORE PEOPLE CYCLING.

      For many people (myself included), off-road cycling is a gateway to on-road cycling. Off-road cycling is a great way to keep kids interested in riding bikes once they have outgrown riding in front of their house, and gets them out in nature, where they can learn to appreciate it and respect it. And perhaps from those experiences they may develop some lifelong habits where they enjoy both.

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      MNBikeLuv April 7, 2015 at 2:15 pm

      “But every time I read about all of the enthusiastic, ambitious work people are doing to increase recreational trail access, the ONLY thing I think, over and over again, is that I wish we could take that energy and add it to the struggle to create a livable city.”

      I would argue they go hand-in-hand.

      Lets say, for instance, that you get 5 or 6 miles of awesome urban mountain biking trails 2 miles from your house. To get there you bike those 2 miles of streets. Now lets say the biking infrastructure between said trails and your home is craptastic. Suddenly you care a lot about fair and complete streets.

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      rain panther April 7, 2015 at 3:26 pm

      Patrick, I have to admit I’m also having a similarly hard time throwing my emotional weight behind this cause. I guess I feel like a lot of people already tend to look at bicycles as toys or frivolities. (“Sure, they’re fun – but why can’t cyclists just find someplace else to have their fun instead of getting in everyone’s way on the street?”) It’s tough to feel incredibly fired up and inspired to fight for our right to ride off road when our freedom to ride ON road is still so tenuous.

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    Angela April 7, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Poor form guys & girls. Disruptive actions like this lessen your support and yes, 50 bikes even dismounted on a wet trail do considerable damage.

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      Zimmerman April 7, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      Please offer proof of damage.

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      invisiblebikes April 7, 2015 at 2:07 pm

      “50 bikes even dismounted on a wet trail do considerable damage.”

      Not true, 50 people hiking (which that trail sees every day rain or shine!) will do much Much more damage than 50 bikes. Those bikes weigh less than 30 pounds where as most people weigh more than 100 lbs.
      Do the math!

      And your missing the point, most mountain bikers and bike advocates do more volunteer trail work in a year than 90% of “the hikers that frequent forest park” do in a life time.
      Mountain biking has been more about trail stewardship and community involvement, upkeep and maintenance for over 25 years with strong groups like IMBA, NWTA, and NORBA (may it rest in peace) consistently being at the forefront of sustainable trail design and maintenance.

      If the idiot politicians would wake up and see that allowing these groups access to Forest Park would help improve and catapult the trails into the 21st century of well designed, maintained and sustainable usage even the other idiot group (Forest Park conservancy and hateful hikers!) would see the error of their ways!

      Just look at Sandy Ridge, Stub Stewart and Step Creek to name a few.. you’ll see extremely well maintained trail systems that can handle even higher numbers of trail users.

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        Pat April 7, 2015 at 3:47 pm

        Don’t forget that the 50 bikes will have 50 riders hiking beside them.

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        Esther April 7, 2015 at 4:54 pm

        I’m pretty sure those 30 lb bikes have 150 lb people ON them

        invisiblebikes
        “50 bikes even dismounted on a wet trail do considerable damage.”
        Not true, 50 people hiking (which that trail sees every day rain or shine!) will do much Much more damage than 50 bikes. Those bikes weigh less than 30 pounds where as most people weigh more than 100 lbs.
        Do the math!
        And your missing the point, most mountain bikers and bike advocates do more volunteer trail work in a year than 90% of “the hikers that frequent forest park” do in a life time.
        Mountain biking has been more about trail stewardship and community involvement, upkeep and maintenance for over 25 years with strong groups like IMBA, NWTA, and NORBA (may it rest in peace) consistently being at the forefront of sustainable trail design and maintenance.
        If the idiot politicians would wake up and see that allowing these groups access to Forest Park would help improve and catapult the trails into the 21st century of well designed, maintained and sustainable usage even the other idiot group (Forest Park conservancy and hateful hikers!) would see the error of their ways!
        Just look at Sandy Ridge, Stub Stewart and Step Creek to name a few.. you’ll see extremely well maintained trail systems that can handle even higher numbers of trail users.
        Recommended 3

        Amazing how those 30 lb bikes ride themselves without any humans on them 😉

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          invisiblebikes April 8, 2015 at 10:22 am

          Exactly… so what is the difference between 50 people walking with bikes where the bikes are not doing any damage because they weigh less than 30 pounds sans Riders (as I thought that was implied in my original statement)
          There is no difference!

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      spencer April 7, 2015 at 5:09 pm

      its the SAME damage that 50 walkers cause, and less poop also

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    SJ April 7, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    Stupid, counterproductive. I’d sooner visit Mt. Hood or Moab than ride on prohibited trails in Forest Park–there are just too many other places to ride. Other, possibly more mature riders are looking down on this and sarcastically thanking you for more harm done than good. All those hikers, runners and dog-walkers? Also drivers who now have an even more negative view of people on two wheels.

    Take up politics. Get involved in legal ways. Your pseudo-vigilante posse doesn’t impress me or anyone else I know. Fighting to legally change things? I’d get behind that. A poacher is a poacher. Ugly.

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      Alex April 7, 2015 at 3:47 pm

      Yea – I love those after work rides in Moab – they are pretty satisfying.

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        SJ April 9, 2015 at 7:50 am

        Thanks for your contribution. I didn’t know the health of a public park was subject to your convenience. Sorry you have to put any effort into riding elsewhere. Your entitlement totally trumps others’ concerns. My bad.

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          VTRC April 9, 2015 at 8:55 am

          There’s a world of trail building mitigation that people would be thrilled to use to ensure the health of the park. No one is asking for anything less than an improved and healthier Forest Park.

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          davemess April 9, 2015 at 12:25 pm

          If health of the park is the top priority, then it should be closed to all users. multiple studies have shown that hikers and cyclists inflict similar levels of damage to properly built trails.

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    TJ April 7, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Has anyone surveyed (within Forest Park or not) and developed a fully implementable proposal for a mountain bike park similar to Sandy or Post?

    Letter writing is some-kind-of pro-active. Poaching trails is another-kind-of pro-active. Doing the city leaders a favor and bank rolling (via volunteers and led through non-profit sourcing) an everything up-front: studies, plans, project management, on-going management, etc is the more certain-kind-of pro-active.

    I get the frustration, but Uma’s letter vibes-off every bit a level of entitlement as the “Nature Conservancy hikers” and “day-glow ultra runners” she mentions–to be fair: plenty use the park for fresh air, clear-minds, and losing a pound w/o every considering if cyclist are/would be a bother or if they would ever ride if award-winning-envy-quality access existed for all: the core, the curious, and, less-so, the plastic clad day-glow/nature conservancy equivalent of an MTBer. If the trails go in Forest Park–they’re for all for the betterment the city.

    Are we just begging our parents for a new toy, justifying why through give-me-give-mes and the Jones a city or state over? All which does not express what we truly mean to express or soundly rationalize a need. We’re still a small group of stakeholders among many others–real and/or perceived.

    In short: What’s really being pro-active: Letter writing and poaching or presenting an offer that can’t be refused? One that truly puts a burden on the city leaders and other stakeholders to not say NO, or otherwise be blatantly seen as selfish and entitled in the court of public opinion.

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    Paul Souders April 7, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    This brand of communication is not my style and it kind of turns me off.

    But.

    I’ve seen more — and more durable — interest in trail access in Portland in the past month than in the past 15 YEARS. Red meat keeps the lions hungry, and it works politically. There is now an actual public conversation about MTB access in Portland, something that has been lacking since I arrived here in the 90s.

    For at least that long the Portland MTB community has been playing very nice and being exemplary citizens, and the reward has been to see singletrack shrink. The Official Line from the powers that be is that MTB advocates should play nice, seek public approval, and take a long view. This has been a successful tactic for pulling the wind out of MTBers’ sails. It dispirits MTB advocates, keeps potential allies (hikers and riders) arguing, and mutes the debate.

    So, while this kind of protest and writing is not for ME, I’m not going to make blanket statements like “this will turn people off” or “it won’t work.” It is generating momentum and getting people talking.

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      VTRC April 7, 2015 at 2:28 pm

      I’m in the same boat. It’s not my style but years of working with the city has resulted in fewer miles of trails. Obviously it isn’t working.

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      mtb April 7, 2015 at 4:54 pm

      I bet if the same group of illegal protesters would have protested legally we would see just as much interest in city trails but without the illegal poaching cherry poppin stygma…

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    Matti April 7, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    I feel no sympathy for people who let their dogs roam off leash illegally. I feel no sympathy for skateboarders who grind on park benches and stair railings. I feel no sympathy for graffiti writers that tag walls without permission. I feel no sympathy for people who text while driving. I feel no sympathy for people who run red lights whether driving or riding a bike. And, I feel no sympathy for mountain bikers who ride on trails illegally.

    These are selfish acts. Until you can convince the broader population that your cause is worth changing the rules for, obey the rules or risk being marginalized and dismissed. These kinds of actions don’t help your cause.

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      Nick April 7, 2015 at 2:51 pm

      “I feel no sympathy for ___ (insert user group here).” This rings of arguments against any number groups who fought for greater acceptance and recognition by society at large. When viewed though a strict legal lens yes red-light runners, vandals and trail poachers are all equally culpable. However, trail poachers are not merely asking for access, they are asking for access with an eye toward stewardship, which seems to be consistently overlooked in these discussions.
      Hikers, dog walkers and equestrians are measurably less engaged in trail maintenance than Mountain Bike riders. Stewardship and trail maintenance really are deeply embedded values in the MTB culture at large, and the trail resources in Forest Park are seriously in need of improvement and maintenance. Here is a group that is asking to be let in; a group which wants to repay that access with maintenance and improvement.
      Back to the original comment above- the argument that the law is always correct is spurious at best when viewed through the larger lens of history. I believe that history will prove that cyclists and other user groups can in fact co-exist on trails and in areas set aside for recreation and enjoyment of some kind of “wildness” within city limits. (See prior comments about Phoenix, Los Angeles etc)

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    danny April 7, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    I constantly ride my various bikes for transportation, exercise, and enjoyment — including my mountain bike. Yes, I wish Portland had more mountain bike opportunities because I don’t always have the time to toss my bike in the car and drive to some of the (wonderful) trails more distant from the city.

    But I find it absurd that a variety of riders (and a prominent Portland bike blog) have decided that they are simply entitled to more trails open to mountain bikes and, having hung a variety of pejorative labels on the “evil” city officials who refuse to recognize this “right,” have decided to take the law into their own hands (or other parts of their body given the unfortunate analogy employed by the headline of this post). And to top it off, these same folks now demean other trail users.

    Count me as someone who otherwise may be an ally of calls for increased mountain bike access who has been completely alienated by the juvenile behavior and advocacy tactics typified by this post and many of the associated comments.

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      Michael Whitesel April 7, 2015 at 3:12 pm

      Yes, we are “entitled”. We are entitled to fair consideration in a transparent process performed in good faith. But, that’s not happening. Instead we are branded environmental wreckers, crazy adrenaline junkies who put hikers lives at risk when we should know better because there are more important problems in our city like starving children, so we just get strung along (20 years and counting) and nothing changes. Thanks Uma!

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    Mick O April 7, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    I am happy this happened and I support the effort to raise awareness about the shameful lack of trails for mountain bikers. Thank you for reporting on it. Any progress must push through the disapproval of those who are paralyzed by fear.

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    Paul G. April 7, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    The MTB community was winning the public relations battle over the closing of RiverView. There were sympathetic news stories and a critical letter from the Parks Citizens Committee.

    And then this idiot gets involved, and Bike Portland enables the activity by promoting the protest ride on the website. Stupid move.

    Forest Park is not RiverView. There is no history of MTB trail building or trail usage in ForestPark. Converting the single track in Forest Park to be compatible with MTB would be a difficult and complex process. The trails at present can barely handle the current running and hiking traffic, as anyone who has run the trails during wet weather can tell you.

    COULD Forest Park be a good place for MTB? Of course, with a hell of a lot of work and partnership and trail building.

    KEEP THE FOCUS! RiverView is the win. Everything else is a distraction.

    Would I–as an avid mountain biker–been rude to a bunch of riders if I encountered them on one of the single track trails in Forest Park? You’re damn right–I would engage them AS A FELLOW CYCLIST and ask them WTF are you doing? This is PRECISELY the kind of behavior that is damaging.

    The bloggers name is Umabomber, named after a terrorist, but oh, no, “we are not terrorists.” How cute and ironic!

    She trashes conservatives as closed minded and then, irony of ironies, stereotypes everyone who is opposed to her point of view.

    I suppose an activist community has to put up with this kind of stupidity. For BP to promote this is silly and counterproductive.

    This is not helpful.

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      invisiblebikes April 7, 2015 at 3:30 pm

      As a FELLOW CYCLIST.. Ha! that is rich.

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      TJ April 7, 2015 at 4:31 pm

      I’m with Paul on many of the points minus River View being the (only) win. Scappoose, as an example, is more accessible than River View for N/NE Portland where a rather large lump of cyclist (commuters, OBRAs, and mtbs) live. River View is what we had, but winning it back should only be a series win; not the season; not the legacy. Forest Park is the legacy. Or at least I think.

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        Dan April 7, 2015 at 4:49 pm

        Agree, Riverview is just a small piece. I personally wasn’t even aware of that area until it was shut down.

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        invisiblebikes April 7, 2015 at 5:08 pm

        I’ll agree with you on the point that Forest Park is the legacy win.

        But Paul’s points are narrow minded and borderline spineless. We have to fight for what we deserve. look at military plans… they don’t just win a battle by marching in and shooting straight lines at the enemy. they use multiple tactics, snipers, air strikes, ground assaults and spies.

        using Gorilla warfare is a sound grass roots tactic, and that is how much of civil actions and protesters in our countries history got things done!

        Also I can tell the majority of commenters on this subject are 3rd or 4th generation mountain bikers, how? because in the 80s and early 90s we (mountain bikers) struggled hard for trail access nationwide. We built tons of illegal trails and trespassed on private property to get to trails.

        The majority of what most people think of as “destination Trails” like Moab, Colorado, Nantahala/TSALI and most of California were originally illegally built trail systems adopted by years of lobbying for trail access.

        Hell the birth place of modern mountain biking (Mt Tamalpais in Marin) is still mostly not accessible to mountain bikers.

        People in Portland need to wake up and smell the history, because its passed us by! the majority of the country is enjoying years of solid trail access with little to no resistance or push back… We live in some of the most beautiful wooded prime cycling terrain in the country… and we have to drive hours to get to it?
        Get off your lazy butts and do something about it!

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          Caesar April 7, 2015 at 5:23 pm

          It’s ” guerrilla” warfare. Gorillas are big hairy beasts that are generally pretty peaceful.
          Ok, carry on.

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            invisiblebikes April 8, 2015 at 10:23 am

            yada yada yada auto correct yada yada yada

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            middle of the road guy April 10, 2015 at 8:33 am

            Gorillas are also known for infanticide.

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          TJ April 7, 2015 at 10:57 pm

          Spineless is unfair to Paul. I’m not sure the Critical Mass days did a great deal more than fire-up the base’s momentum either (fun and fellowship too). These protest rides do the same. The press attention is somewhat helpful in recruiting like minds and awareness, but the negative attention factors into the net effect. To presume protest rides of this nature will equate to access is misguided. There’s a great deal of work to do. None of the current trails in Forest Park can match what’s currently within an hours drive. The legacy is not Forest Park mtb access to current trails. It’s bike capital status worthy mountain biking inside the city limits–likely in Forest Park.

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    tnash April 7, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    I love Portlandia. Please continue heated discussions over this important topic. 🙂

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      davemess April 7, 2015 at 4:23 pm

      Did you read the duck story?

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    rachel b April 7, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    With the caveat that I recognize Uma probably just meant to write a fun piece for her blog, I agree with others here that the whole ‘deflowering’ angle is off-putting and tired. It’s not cheeky or novel anymore to throw ‘cherry popping’ and ‘wet and dirty’ around; it unfortunately just comes off as pandering (to me). If you want to color it as newly acceptable colloquial language, then I’d hope you’d think hard for a minute about why that is and consider rejecting it. For some of us (again, me), it brings an icky vibe to this forum. I realize plenty’ll disagree with me about that and counsel me to scuttle back to Prude Manor. Just telling you how it struck me, and I very well may be in a very small minority. This piece seems more about asserting personal identity than anything else—again, fine for a blog, and really the function of a blog for most.

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    mike owens April 7, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    I gotta say, when a protest of only 60 people in PDX makes the news…you know you have struck a nerve!

    (and for the record, I support Uma in this instance where after publicly embracing the process of engaging interested parties for a recognized need the city very much shat on those parties. Sometimes, you need to get some attention to the issue whether you agree with all or just some of the thorny and well discussed details or not.)

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    danny April 7, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    So if you want attention, go ahead and break the law.

    Good recipe for a civil and functional society.

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      Dan April 7, 2015 at 7:05 pm

      Duh, that’s how America came to be.

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      Taco April 7, 2015 at 8:56 pm

      Yeah, someone needs to sit in the front of the bus sometimes.

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        Carl April 8, 2015 at 8:32 pm

        …and then neither confirm nor deny having done so. So brave. So edgy!

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    mtb April 7, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    why is bikeportland promoting sterotyping and bashing conservatives? She really just created more resistance with her article and bikeportland.org really needs to take it down. Her actions she wrote about, admitted to, and now encouraging illegal riding are not helping and identify her and her protesters as extremists.

    way to go bikeportland… nice advocacy work for the other side.

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    Dwaine Dibbly April 7, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    Maybe this will start a conversation…. (Sorry. I had to.)

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    whatyahmacallit@it.org April 7, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    Isn’t this the same type of over the top, labelling language that Maus keeps speaking against?

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    spencer April 7, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    I couldn’t agree more with the frustration expressed in Uma’s prose. I’ve lived here 10 years, and in those years, I’ve seen access to trails diminish to almost nothing.
    The long process for legal MTB trail riding in Portland has produced countless reiterations of the same tired, old, and fear mongering arguments. Review the Forest Park document published in 2010
    for reference.
    https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/article/312553

    We HAVE studied it, we HAVE built consensus, we HAVE participated in good faith, we HAVE a working frame work and precedent, and now we have NOTHING.

    Now is the time to make noise. Now is the time to turn the heat up, now is the time to stand up to the silent minority that is controlling our open spaces. We are citizens, tax payers, and people also.

    I can share responsibly, the real question is, can you?

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      TJ April 8, 2015 at 11:30 am

      This quote has long irked me: “Forest Park is too special a place, cherished more than sixty years by thousands of Oregonians, to warrant anything less than setting a high bar for any new precedent that could impact its future for generations to come.”

      Still, coming back to the table with only demands and not a project ready proposal that can’t be tellingly denied for any reason other than an entitled selfish mindset seems pointless to me.

      One 22 page excuse deserve at least a 23 page well positioned argument.

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    Barney April 7, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    davemess
    Yeah, remember that George W Bush was an avid mountain biker.
    Recommended 10

    I guess you can count me as another “conservative nut job” mountain biker. Who knew that you can be not liberal and a biker too!

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    Big Knobby Ones April 7, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    Leif Erikson Drive in first picture above, and discussed in the comments above, is a great place to ride a mountain bike – it’s wide enough that bike/pedestrian encounters are not too big of an issue and it is hard packed (paved near Thurman) so mud is not an issue. 11 miles from Thurman to Germantown – take a side trip up Saltzman or Springville roads for some elevation gain/loss – lot of fun coming down and you just whiz safely by the pedestrians.
    .
    Too bad the liberal czars in Portland have pissed off Uma and the mountain bikers. Reminds me of Sonny Bono who wanted to open a restaurant and got a bunch of crap from local goobermint – it pissed him off so much that he became a Republican and was elected to political office. Here’s a little education for Uma on conservatives and liberals:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwqhoVIh65k
    .
    1 more for Uma: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KHdhrNhh88
    .
    Single track riding is fun, but I’d think that in Forest Park there might be so many pedestrians that it could be dangerous for both bikes and peds. Who wants to bike where you are constantly in danger of rounding a corner and hitting a kid or some other hiker?
    .
    I’d recommend the mtn bikers take a hike on the same trail they want to ride on and see if they like walking the trail. Just a thought.

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      MNBikeLuv April 8, 2015 at 6:20 am

      One thing to consider as to MTBing at any urban setting (including Forest Park). Most places that do urban mountain biking have methodologies to prevent negative hiker-biker interaction.

      Some, like trails in MSP Metro go full segregated if the user counts of MTBers and hikers will be high enough. Some, like Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness have a system of rotating access. Others, like Indianapolis set access by trail width. There are tons of pre-existing strategies to handle those situations.

      I often sound like a broken record in this regard, but its true, the NWTA could do everyone a huge favor if they would realize the way to talk about and do urban mountain biking is have people a place with tones of urban MTBing come and talk to officials, the public and reporters about how to do urban MTBing, start to finish. If they had the funds, send city officials to a place like MSP and learn first hand that urban MTBing isn’t the devil.

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      caesar April 8, 2015 at 7:48 am

      Leif Erikson Drive in first picture above, and discussed in the comments above, is a great place to ride a mountain bike – it’s wide enough that bike/pedestrian encounters are not too big of an issue and it is hard packed (paved near Thurman) so mud is not an issue. 11 miles from Thurman to Germantown – take a side trip up Saltzman or Springville roads for some elevation gain/loss – lot of fun coming down and you just whiz safely by the pedestrians.

      Clearly you’ve never actually ridden a mountain bike on a proper mountain bike trail. Or you wouldn’t be writing this.

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      spencer April 8, 2015 at 9:36 am

      I do hike on those trails, it becomes an exercise in frustration between all the off leash ill controlled dogs, bags of poop left on the trailside, and cut-arounds around muddy sections. The park is POORLY maintained, and its illogical to continue to prohibit use due to fear mongering. Mountain bikers are people and they perform a tremendous amount of trail work and maintenance. I cringe every time I’m on the inner wildwood, as it could be drained and contoured to avoid the mud, even in winter. The NWTA could do that.

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    Jeff M April 7, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    Yeah, the language is inflammatory and the charges leveled at conservatives may be slightly misplaced. (Although, honestly, who can look at the climate change deniers, the law-protected discrimination promoters, and any number of other head scratching hate and hysteria and say there isn’t a tendancy toward nut jobs with that group?). And the part about the Nature Conservancy is irrelevant, but I’m assuming she meant the Forest Park Conservancy. Either way, back up your accusations with some supporting information.

    However, I say good job. I won’t call it insanity, but doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result is shameful. So, go be disobedient and piss off some people. What is there to lose, a seat at the table? Ha! Hahahaha….

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    Fivefrud April 7, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    Jonathan — I can’t for the life of me figure out what motivated you to repost Uma’s blog post on BP. Care to enlighten us?

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      Lester Burnham April 8, 2015 at 7:42 am

      This and the dead mallard article. Slow news days?

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    Big Knobby Ones April 8, 2015 at 1:56 am

    Quote: “(Although, honestly, who can look at the climate change deniers, the law-protected discrimination promoters, and any number of other head scratching hate and hysteria and say there isn’t a tendancy toward nut jobs with that group?).”

    Who? Ask and ye shall receive:

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2Uod_KmZRkoBFXy3voYToA

    https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=liberal+hate+speech

    https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=liberal+idiots

    https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=global+warming+proven+false

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    Brian April 8, 2015 at 7:38 am

    Seems to me this was writing with a purpose, and if I’m correct, it served its purpose well.

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    Dors D April 8, 2015 at 8:54 am

    “rachel b” had good insight.

    The mix of terrorist’s name, sexual innuendo, unnecessary insults, and hyperbolic comparisons shows immaturity, not leadership.

    When asked if she actually rode an off limit trail? She didn’t say yes or no, just farted like a politician. That’s not taking a stand.

    It is a good thing Uma is fired up about an issue and community organizing, but this post isn’t helpful to gaining more mountain biking trails in Forrest Park.

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      Esther April 8, 2015 at 4:52 pm

      Yeah, now that you say it – I know what previous guest poster it reminds me of. Sigh….

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    Christophe April 8, 2015 at 9:51 am

    Bad title. Exaggerated. I support more single track in the Park, and elsewhere, close in. I’ve run in the park for twenty-five years. The trails become impassable to pedestrians in the winter when they also carry bike traffic.

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    Anna M April 8, 2015 at 10:09 am

    As an avid mt biker and also “neon-shoe wearing” trail runner I wasn’t inspired by this diatribe and found it to be yet another rant without offering any solutions. The fact is that our trails are great and so yes, many people want to use them. What we need is to find a solution to provide access to all (or most). Mill Creek Canyon in Salt Lake City has one such solution that works. While it’s seemingly a little complicated and does restrict what days you can do what, it’s the reality of our world today. There are just so many people that want to play in one space that we need to create some guidelines. It provides days for dogs to run off-leash, days for hikers to walk in peace away from bikers and days for mt bikers to ride with ferocity. And yes it also offers trails open to all, everyday.

    http://www.parks.slco.org/millcreekcanyon/index.html

    Let’s put our energy into solution building and uniting everyone, not calling names and looking down upon others just because they have a different idea on how to participate in the outdoors.

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    Ruthie April 8, 2015 at 11:49 am

    Car-free commuter, MTBer and trail runner here with my $0.02 that not all trails are for you.

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      Dan April 8, 2015 at 12:59 pm

      Nobody is saying all trails. So we agree with you.

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        Dan April 8, 2015 at 1:00 pm

        Some hikers are saying that all trails in Forest Park should be for them, however. What’s your take on that?

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          Ruthie April 10, 2015 at 8:44 am

          Hikers and pedestrians in general should have priority over bikes. They have less of an impact on the trail. These trails in question weren’t intended for multi-use. They were designed for people to use them by foot.

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            Zimmerman April 10, 2015 at 9:26 am

            You’re saying that sharing is impossible? Is that the kind of civilized society we’re dealing with here in progressive Portland?

            The International Mountain Bike Association guidelines are very clear: everyone yields to hikers, mountain bikers yield to hikers and equestrians.

            Sharing: It’s so simple that most of us learned it as toddlers.

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            VTRC April 10, 2015 at 9:46 am

            I want everyone to have a great time in Forest Park, I want the park to be healthy, and I want the trails to last a long time.

            The last time we(users, and the city) had the conversation about Forest Park there was a plan on the table to facilitate sharing and improvements to trails. The low hanging fruit would have let us revamp a lot of the firelanes to make them singletrack and help with erosion. Vetoed.

            https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/article/312553

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      Zimmerman April 8, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      Ruthie, we have no trails. I guess no trails are for us?

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        Ruthie April 10, 2015 at 8:41 am

        No trails? Leif Erikson, Springville Road, Saltzman + all Fire Lanes are open to bikes. There’s also Powell Butte.

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          Zimmerman April 10, 2015 at 9:24 am

          All the “trails” you’re naming in Forest Park are roads. There is one section of Firelane 5 that is 3/10ths of a mile long that is an actual singletrack trail.

          There used to be trsils at Powell Butte until the city turned them into crushed gravel paths.

          There are essentially no actual trails for mountain biking within the city limits.

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            Brian April 10, 2015 at 10:19 am

            This is one of the tasks that mountain bikers/off-road cyclists needs to take on here in Portland. People who do not ride trails do not understand what we are talking about. We need to do a better job “showing” non-mtb’ers what we mean when we talk about trails. If not, people will continue to say that Leif Erickson “Drive,” fire “lanes,” and gravel “paths” are trails. In our world, those are not trails.

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    DZ April 8, 2015 at 11:59 am

    It seems like a lot of the negative comments are coming from people who aren’t versed in the history of discrimination against mountain bikers by the City. Basically, we’ve been jumping through hoops just to get shot down and start over each time.

    Also, trails in FP can handle a lot of users if they are designed properly to shed water or if they are fortified with rock. There are a lot of Advanced Trail Builders in the MTB community here that would love to help out with FP, even if they only got to legally ride the trails one day of the week.

    Share Forest Park!

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    Big Knobby Ones April 8, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Quote: “Clearly you’ve never actually ridden a mountain bike on a proper mountain bike trail. Or you wouldn’t be writing this.”

    You’ve made the anti-mountain bikers point for them. Many trails in FP are not “proper mountain bike trails”. Many trails in FP are sloppy mud holes in the winter – you can literally barely walk them in hiking boots they are so sloppy. And yes, Leif Erikson is a proper mountain bike trail (even though it’s a road) – and it is safe enough for bikers and pedestrians to use it simultaneously.

    I used to be pissed that I could not ride my bike in designated wilderness areas. So, I tried hiking the trails I wanted to bike and discovered that hiking the trails was even better because many of the trails were too steep or rough for bikes any way; plus you would not get taken to jail and that’s a plus.

    If you want nice single track go where it exists. I think there is some in central Oregon – but it’s best if you haul your bike to the trailhead in your car – but many on this website claim that they don’t believe in cars so maybe they will never see decent single track.

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      Dan April 8, 2015 at 1:01 pm

      Dream small.

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      Zimmerman April 8, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      So the city should turn down the opportunity for MTB volunteers to help fix and rebuild a poorly designed trail system because that’s just how it’s always been, and mud pits are more contemplative somehow on foot?

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    Big Knobby Ones April 8, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    I think Uma and some of the other mountain bikers on this website are ready to join the Blue Ribbon Coalition to push for sharing of trails. These guys are BIG in the intermountain states – lot of you libs in Porkyland may not have heard of them. Check ’em out:

    https://www.sharetrails.org/

    And many have belly ached about this article being posted on BP – looks like it was a good idea – lots of comments.

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      Zimmerman April 8, 2015 at 1:32 pm

      Sorry, that’s bait that won’t be taken. Mountain biking is not dirt biking. It’s a human powered activity that has less than or the same impact on a trail system as hiking. We’re asking for non-motorized access to a trail system that desperately needs improvement and volunteers, which the mountain bike community will provide, happily.

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      invisiblebikes April 8, 2015 at 2:00 pm

      AH! now its clear… Big Knobby is a motorcycle dirtbiker! all his opinions are now void! good day sir

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    Paul G. April 8, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    People are misreading my comment about RiverView. When I wrote “RiverView is the win” what I meant is this: I think RiverView looks like a very winnable issue. The pressure is on the Council from all sides, including their own advisory board.

    With that win in hand, and demonstration to the larger community that the MTB riders are responsible stewards, THEN it is time to make the larger move toward what would likely be a separated segment of MTB in Forest Park.

    I never meant to imply that River View is the be all and end all, but by my read of the politics right now, it’s a winnable issue. That’s what I mean by keeping the focus.

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      MNBikeLuv April 8, 2015 at 1:03 pm

      “With that win in hand, and demonstration to the larger community that the MTB riders are responsible stewards, THEN it is time to make the larger move toward what would likely be a separated segment of MTB in Forest Park.”

      I got a $20 bill that says the strategy you articulate is EXACTLY why the the River View process got shelved, MTB got banned and certain members of the city are falling over themselves to try and get a “city wide off road cycling plan”. (Which, I will say again, is complete trap, do not support it.)

      Think about it. For years it was the constant refrain of “MTBs are the devil”, “MTB kill unicorns”, etc. What would happen if a property became available that IMBA/USFS standard trails could built on and prove all those fears wrong? What would happen if you had group of hard working people putting their efforts toward making a property better? What would happen if those person proved MTBing can fit into the environment? What would happen is that you would be left with no excuses to why Forest Park also couldn’t have MTBs.

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    Angela April 8, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    As an avid supporter of all things bike I look at this quest for MTB trails without blinders. Our population and proximity to trails equates to heavy use by a variety of user groups. Our soil and rain index equate to wet, ruttable tails, ride arounds and erosion. Shared trails with a heavy volume of users is an unsafe combo and recipie for disaster. It’s the reality folks, we don’t have inner city trails that will work. Riverview was an attempt but as it got busier the trails disintegrated and became unsafe and unfortunately a few bad seeds did not follow the rules and created rouge trails and rode when wet. I think the MTB community needs to take a deep breath and be grateful there is ample riding in our fair state, just not within city limits and high population density.

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      VTRC April 8, 2015 at 3:41 pm

      So your actual argument is that there is so much demand that there are no strategies for land management that could ever work, and therefore they should be excluded altogether?

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      Jeff M April 8, 2015 at 3:47 pm

      Angela, the Parks staff themselves have stated unequivocally that trails can be built for any use that will not lead to ruts and erosion. Comparing unsanctioned trails to those which are carefully designed and maintained is apples and oranges. And there are proven strategies for managing interactions between people biking and hiking. There is enough room in Portland to provide some space for MTB.

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    Angela April 8, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    Afraid so. Not trying to provoke argument just looking at it as a realist. I honestly don’t see how heavy use on our trails would ever work unless there was a rotation aspect between users and even then the erosion would likely derail these efforts. Yes, trails could be constructed, boardwalked etc. but this limits wildlife usage which is what parcels such as Riverview were set aside for.

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      VTRC April 8, 2015 at 4:03 pm

      One of the really frustrating things about this discussion is that we’ve never had the shot to build modern trails, maintain the trails, and deal with conflict. There is an assumption on some people’s part that it cannot work, and we don’t try.

      We’ve got some great trail designers, we’ve got a lot of volunteers, let’s give it a shot. If we can do it, we’ve gotten a lot of people out into nature riding bicycles, and if I’m wrong and it’s a complete bust, at least we’ll have tried it.

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      Zimmerman April 8, 2015 at 9:15 pm

      Where did you learn your trail sustainable building skills Angela? You obviously don’t understand how they’re constructed at Sandy Ridge which gets upwards of 40,000 visits per year but remains intact even through heavy winter use.

      What you’re saying just isn’t true.

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    Steve B April 8, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    “You’d think we were pedophiles or rapists instead of people who ride bikes, that’s how much mainstream America has in their hearts for us.”

    Uh, no.

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    Brandon April 8, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    The Nature Conservancy is actually one of the more practical (non purist) conservation groups out there these days. They are advocating conservation solutions that include human activity for the present anthropocene.

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    Big Knobby Ones April 9, 2015 at 1:38 am

    I think it would be a good experiment to have the MTB folks fix up one trail in FP so it would be suitable for bikes year-round. They claim they can do it so give them a shot at it. Why not? One trail as an experiment shouldn’t be too much to ask. BUT in general, existing single track FP trails in their current condition are not suitable for mountain bikes – too much mud and too much foot traffic.

    A good start would be to agree on one thing at least: single track trails probably are not safe if used by walkers and bikers at the same time due to likelihood of collisions.

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      Zimmerman April 9, 2015 at 8:23 am

      Why does sharing singletrack work in so many other large metropolitan areas? Are the people in Portland so clumsy and ridiculous that they’d be unable to share a trail like the rest of the world?

      If you’d like to see an example of a sustainable trail that weathers well in Forest Park, take a look at the three tenths of a mile of singletrack on firelane 5 that they were responsible for and allowed on. We’ve already proven ourselves.

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    Oregon Mamacita April 9, 2015 at 8:28 am

    The whole “I can neither confirm no deny” that you rode illegally is very, very weak. Someone defend that statement. Why brag about something you are not willing to own up to?

    Also a sign of weakness: printing an article and the re-writing the headline. When you have a public platform- you are supposed to get it right the first time. Ditto the picture of the man who hit the duck. You print it then you delete it. Not super pro.

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    Dan April 10, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Ruthie
    Hikers and pedestrians in general should have priority over bikes. They have less of an impact on the trail.

    I know that’s the popular opinion, but it’s actually not true.

    Here’s a quote from a study by the National Park Service on trail degradation:

    Analyses to investigate the influence of use-related, trail design, and maintenance factors were conducted. Type of use was found to be a substantially greater determinant of trail degradation than amount of use. Horse and ATV trails are significantly more degraded than hiking and biking trails (Tables 6-8). For example, mean soil loss measured at sample points are 246 in2 for ATV trails, 150 in2 for horse trails, 19 in2 for hiking trails and 6 in2 for bike trails (Table 6). Similarly, the proportion of trails with severe erosion (> 5 inches deep) is 24% for ATV trails, 9% for horse trails, 1.4 % for hiking trails and 0.6% for bike trails. Muddiness is a common problem on horse trails, 219 34 occurrences affecting 10% of the horse trail mileage. Muddiness affected 8% of ATV trails and 0.6% of hiking and biking trails. Finally, ATV trails are the widest (mean = 104 inches), followed by horse, hiking and biking (81, 32, and 24 inches), respectively (Table 6).

    http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/prodabs/pubpdfs/6612_marion.pdf

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      Matt April 10, 2015 at 8:18 pm

      This is exactly the type of information that needs to be disseminated on posters and other propaganda pieces <—- yes, it appears the mountain bike community is loosing the debate because there's not enough of this type of information out there. The debate has to be backed by bonafide scientific evidence that is easily digestible by non-MTB community. Sound bites, links, posters, commercials, articles, interviews, photography of mtbers volunteering on other trails.

      And until you can prove to the hiking community that you're not going to turn trails in Forest Park like the ones you see at Black Rock (black diamond type)–latters, built up banked curves, drops, jumps, very steep sections, ect.. You wont win. I believe the only type of trail that will ever be developed in Forest Park are nice, groomed, single track. Nothing built up other than a necessary bridge.

      The hiking community is worried about this type of development. They are worried about people, late at night dragging their equipment out there with headlamps on and building illegal trails. You see it all over Mac Forest in Corvallis. I know people will refute this and say, "that'll never happen" sure, it MAY NEVER happen, but the hiking community doesn't believe this. This is the argument that the MTB community is trying to win, the "slippery slope" argument– that if the MTB community builds, that it WONT lead to illegal, built up trails that do harm to the forest. So far, hikers and backers of preservation do not believe this.

      Your job: prove them wrong, show the evidence else where, show them that illegal trails aren't being built, that people ARE following the rules.

      The protest conducted the other day demonstrates the opposite: "if there's trails, we'll ride/walk them regardless of the rules, we don't care."

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      ted April 10, 2015 at 9:50 pm

      Your source compares a single short segment of a bike trail of ‘excellent’ design, that sees ‘low’ use, to several hiking trails of varying design quality, and mostly ‘high’ use. The levels of erosion (maximum incision, cross sectional area) and instances of muddiness/erosion were higher on the West Bandy bike trail than on West Entrance Bandy Creek hike trail or Grand Gag Loop, the only two hiking trails studied with an ‘excellent’ design. Grand gag saw ‘high’ use, West Entrance Bandy creek saw ‘medium’ use.

      So on trails of excellent design the bike trail with low use suffered more erosion and muddiness than the hiking trails with medium or high use. A fair reading of Marion doesn’t really support your claim that mountain bikers don’t have a greater impact on the trail than hikers.

      Do you know if Gary Sprung, the IMBA, or anyone else has a response to this?

      http://www.culturechange.org/mountain_biking_impacts.htm

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        ted April 10, 2015 at 9:55 pm

        That was supposed to be incidents of excessive muddiness/erosion.

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        VTRC April 10, 2015 at 11:52 pm

        Honestly, you see that name and you walk away.

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          ted April 11, 2015 at 9:45 am

          Had never heard of him. He seems to be quite the kook doesn’t he.

          http://www.outsideonline.com/1808171/trial-mike-vandeman

          Anti mountain bike advocate Mike Vandeman is on trial for assault, battery and vandalism. There are six counts stemming from altercations with four victims over nearly a year. In the most recent incident, which lead to his arrest, he’s accused of hitting a rider in the chest with a pruning saw as the biker went by.

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            VTRC April 11, 2015 at 6:46 pm

            Aw shucks Ted, didn’t realize you hadn’t. Yeah. He has made a name for himself. He’s even shown up in the BP comments before.

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        Jeff M April 11, 2015 at 5:58 am

        Are we are splitting hairs, Ted? Idk, maybe not, but if we have to get into the weeds of one trail had an abstract amount of more use than the other and therefore some extra centimeters incision, is it negligible or relevant? To me it seems like the point is that biking and hiking trails are quite comparable.

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    ted April 12, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Wouldn’t of linked him if I had. In between the anti mountain bike rants he brings up some critiques of the studies used by the IMBA that I would have liked to see a response to given how hard the mountain bikers cause less damage angle has been pushed.

    But it doesn’t really matter if a mountain biker causes more erosion than a hiker. Or if it was the other way around. The impact from both is real but not very substantial. Nothing like the impact from ATVs.

    So any trail that allows mountain bikers can be maintained. It’s not like hiker only trails don’t need maintenance.

    http://www.forestparkconservancy.org/conservancy/trail-projects/

    If it gets bad you can close a trail until it’s fixed. Should give people a little incentive to volunteer. If that’s not enough and the city needs to put in more effort to maintain the park, well that seems a perfectly legitimate purpose of government.

    Every now and then a little chipmunk or squirrel gets run over, some plants get crushed? Big deal. It’s an urban park. It’s not some pristine wilderness. For much of Wildwood when you aren’t behind a bend you can hear the roar of the highway (St Helens?), the railyard and the ports. If you want this to be wilderness then start shutting those down. It exists, or should, to make the city more livable.

    That’s where you run into conflict though. Because the existing trails are already being used towards that end. On weekends some of them can get kind of crowded, especially inner Wildwood. Wild Cherry can get a lot of use too when hikers enter the park at the beginning of Lief. Where I’ve seen narrow shared use trails work well traffic levels are much lower.

    During the week when crowding is generally low enough there are existing uses on Wildwood that would conflict with mountain biking. There are people who want somewhere quiet and peaceful to walk. Adding traffic of any kind conflicts with that. Another, as mentioned by commenters here and in the post, are the off leash dogs. They kick up mud, sometimes kill a squirrel or trample a few plants off trail? If you want people to be alright when a mountain biker does that, then shouldn’t you be alright when a dog does? They already are anyway. The dogs might not get a vote, but their owners do. Making the park available to them doesn’t seem less legitimate than making it available to trail runners or mountain bikers.

    During the week, give them a day or two, or just limited hours, when it’s alright so you can get them off the trails, or on a leash, the rest of the week. A day or two for mountain bikers. And a a day or two during the week where neither is allowed for those who want peace and quiet. Maybe neither is allowed any day before 9am or after 5pm so you don’t provoke the ire of existing joggers. There are ways to share the trails, and there’s room to add new ones. I can appreciate the frustration after years of getting the run around from the city. But attacking other users only fires up your base, it doesn’t win you many friends.

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    brandon April 20, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    People interested in trail design and building may be interested in this trails event taking place in Portland. An International Trails symposium is taking place in May at the convention center and beyond. See americantrails.org

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    Mark smith March 16, 2018 at 10:49 pm

    I rode where I want. I don’t give into bigotry which is what this is. Homer and walker types demanding it belongs to only them. Ride free. Ride proud

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