East Portland kids flock to ‘Mountain Biking Day’ at Ventura Park

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The bustling scene at Ventura Park shows the huge demand that exists for off-road cycling in Portland.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

What’s a city to do when it’s national Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day and that city has no fun places for kids to ride off-road? Get creative and turn to a local park.

That’s what the Portland nonprofit Northwest Trail Alliance decided to do this year after previously hosting the free event at venues outside the city.

The location was Ventura Park at Southeast Stark and 115th. The NWTA has already established a presence here thanks to their partnership with the Portland Parks & Recreation bureau on the pump track that opened in 2012.

For Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day, the advocacy group relied on volunteer organizers Chris and Susan Rotvik and teamed up with a dozen partners and sponsors to create four different riding areas: the pump track, a skills section, a kid-friendly cyclocross course that wound through the trees, and a special track for little balance-bike riders. Key sponsors included: Abraham Fixes Bikes, Community Cycling Center, Cyclepath PDX, Fat Tire Farm, Legacy Health, Lumberyard Bike Park, Oregon Metro, REI, Western Bikeworks, and Yakima.

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About 150 kids (and another 100 parents and supporters) showed up to take part in the riding and festivities. For 20 of those young people, it was an extra special day: Prior to the event the NWTA put out a call to the community for youth bike donations. They refurbished the bikes and passed them out to kids in need at the event (along with a free helmet). One

NWTA Advocacy Director Andrew Jansky said the event is all about the group’s ongoing effort to use off-road cycling to spur the physical and mental development of kids.

Here are a few more photos of the action…

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Jeminem Carmona just happened to be at the park with his family for his 7th birthday party. Event organizer Susan Rotvik noticed he didn’t have a bike, so she gave him one. Legacy hospital then gave him a helmet and he was all set to ride! “Jeminem’s Dad and I cried when he told me it was Jeminem’s birthday as he was riding off down the hill on his new bike,” Rotvik shared with us.
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With the City of Portland’s ongoing Off-road Cycling Master Plan process nearing completion, Jansky hopes scenes like this are far more common throughout the city in the years to come.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Work Account
Work Account
5 years ago

Mt. Biking isn’t really my thing, so I could probably learn a lot from these kids! Looks like they had a blast.

Dan A
Dan A
5 years ago

That can’t be right. Riding bikes on dirt is only for rich white guys.

Alex
Alex
5 years ago
Reply to  Dan A

We should not be teaching our children to kill salmon, warm the cold creek water and scare elk at such an early age.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Reply to  Alex

Agree! That’s why having great mountain bike trails in accessible areas is a win. We shouldn’t be teaching our children that it’s necessary to have (and use) a car to participate in activities that coexist with nature so well.

Rob
Rob
5 years ago
Reply to  Alex

So how does mountain biking warm the creeks any more than hiking?

Alex
Alex
5 years ago
Reply to  Rob

That hot, hot rubber. I am sure it will show clearly in the follow-up heat maps from the RVNA decisions. Just wait and see. Then they will be able to definitively tie it to mountain biking. Just keep waiting…

Charley
Charley
5 years ago
Reply to  Alex

I can’t tell if this is sarcastic or honest.

Alex
Alex
5 years ago
Reply to  Charley

That’s speaks to the sad state of affairs we are facing in Portland regarding getting more mountain bike access.

Snowden
Snowden
5 years ago

Great event. Could it be held at Gateway Green next year?

Dan A
Dan A
5 years ago

Wish I’d read the weekend roundup last Friday. My kids would have loved this.

I wear many hats
I wear many hats
5 years ago

This is a great event. The Gateway Green would be ideal for this event in the future. Its sad that there are no family friendly riding trails in Portland.

Brian
Brian
5 years ago

Such a great event, NWTA! Thank you for all of your volunteer efforts. This is what it is all about, getting (and hopefully keeping) the next generation on bikes now. My son had a blast and commented that he already can’t wait until next year.

Cyclekrieg
Cyclekrieg
5 years ago

Awesome!

Take a Kid Mountain Biking days are great way to introduce kids to the fun of mountain biking.

If you think this is cool, you should see a NICA middle & high school race!

Robert Ping
Robert Ping
5 years ago

Sorry I couldn’t make this great event! Thanks, Cyclekrieg, for mentioning NICA, too. NICA is the National Interscholastic Cycling Association, and we are working to launch an Oregon league next year! Getting #morekidsonbikes is the overall goal, and getting middle and high schoolers racing for fun and fitness without having to race with adults is the objective of a NICA league. We also hope to start up a Trips for Kids-style chapter here in the Portland region as well, to get #morekidsonbikes who are not interested in racing or don’t have the resources. @Oregonmtbkids #Oregonmtbkids

If you are interested in joining this effort, contact me: oregonmtbkids [at] gmail [dot] com, and let’s talk!

Cyclekrieg
Cyclekrieg
5 years ago
Reply to  Robert Ping

I think I might be a little far away to be involved in Oregon NICA.

That being said, when you meet Bruce Martens of the national NICA leadership, tell him you want to come to come to the NICA camps he puts on next year.

mran1984
5 years ago

Those poor salmon…

Otis
Otis
5 years ago

I read this site pretty regularly and try to keep track of cool, kid-related riding events but I had no idea this was happening! Bummer. Looks like a great day. Props to all the volunteers and organizers!

Brian
Brian
5 years ago
Reply to  Otis

Stay connected to nwta for kid-related radness. They have a great monthly newsletter.

ElPana
ElPana
5 years ago

Portland Park supports MTB sooo MUCH that they charged Northwest Trail Alliance (a non profit) A RENTAL FEE for the used of the park and pump track (that they build). WHILE ALL THOSE VOLUNTEERS gave their weekend for FREE to help kids from the area!!!!! Look at all those future delinquents learning how to terrorize nature!!!!

Dan A
Dan A
5 years ago
Reply to  ElPana

Maybe that’s why there’s no mountain biking in Portland. Haven’t figured out how to monetize it yet :/

Brian
Brian
5 years ago
Reply to  ElPana

They charged a rental fee for this event that was put on in an underserved portion of the city? The portion of the city that they claim needs more attention from Parks? Wow. Well, thank you NWTA for putting your wallet where your mouth is. NWTA has a website that you can donate/join the organization if anyone feels inclined to support their efforts. http://nw-trail.org/get-involved/

Cyclekrieg
Cyclekrieg
5 years ago
Reply to  ElPana

My local club put in over $5,000 of infrastructure into our local trails in the last year that was free to the land manager and tax papers.

We still have to pay permit fees.

Its likely Parks doesn’t want to appear to be playing favorites or to avoid the charge that parks are “pay-to-play”.

Dan A
Dan A
5 years ago
Reply to  Cyclekrieg

I don’t know if they still do this, but I once learned that PP&R would take a single fee from youth soccer (like around $10K) in lieu of field rental fees. And then youth soccer had reservation rights to every single field in Portland from 4 to 8pm every night of the week. PP&R would not grant any other groups the opportunity to make reservations during these times, despite the fact that they would be paying significantly more than youth soccer for the rights to the field.

Inga Beck
5 years ago
Reply to  ElPana

Thank you ElPana for calling Portland Parks out! You are spot on!

BMX Oregon
5 years ago

I really enjoyed volunteering for this. It was great seeing all the smiles and enthusiasm the kids had.

mran1984
5 years ago

BTW, the Rotvic’s are great folks. Great job! Portland Parks, ha, what a joke. There consistent watering plan for Naito is a such a perfect example of waste without a good purpose. Three cheers for watering asphalt! Those poor salmon could use that water.

Lisa
Lisa
5 years ago

Mark your calendars for the next Take A Kid mountain Biking Day – June 1 2017! You’all be seeing details at nw-trail.org. One day TAKMBD festivities will be at Gateway Green. Please join us in supporting the efforts gatewaygreenpdx.org & the Friends of Gateway Green FB page.

696duke
696duke
5 years ago

If you missed last weekend with the kids, there is another kids event coming up at Washougal Bike Park this Saturday. A grand opening and kids ride party!

http://nw-trail.org/events/grand-opening-washougal-bike-park/

Mtbpdx
5 years ago

Excellent event but I don’t call riding pump tracks mountain biking. I guess the positive is that when these kids grow up they will insist on trails in Forest Park. Let’s hope we won’t have to wait that long.