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Mountain biking’s full potential on display at inaugural Gateway Green Festival

Posted by on June 4th, 2018 at 5:39 pm

(Photos by Jonathan Maus)

Saturday’s inaugural Gateway Green MTB Festival confirmed what many advocates have known for a long time: When the right trails are put in the right place, off-road cycling can reach people with a very wide range of ages, cycling abilities, and backgrounds.

The aim of the event, which organizers hope becomes an annual tradition, was to cement the idea that the sum of Gateway Green’s bike trails are greater than its parts. Put another way, this bike park is an important addition to the community — and more importantly — it’s a reflection of that entire community, not just the full-face-helmet-and-body-armor-wearing-downhill-flying-hellions that some people want you think it is.

On the contrary, the Festival was like an off-road version of Sunday Parkways. The scenes that unfolded were heartening: Tykes barely big enough to walk ran with balance bikes over whoop-de-dos; a young girl on a full-size bike got her first-ever riding lesson; pre-teen boys raced each other on BMX bikes down the drop-lines in the skills park area; a group of older people rode the gravel path on three-wheeled recumbents; an expert rider in lycra team gear swooshed through the forested singletrack; daredevils launched their bikes off vertical jumps high above the action; little ones fell down and cried and then got back up again; dads and moms pushed new riders along to keep them going; and everywhere you saw people young and old gaining confidence in their riding and in themselves while doing something healthy and fun.

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It’s rare when promises made by dreamers and advocates manifest so precisely from the way they were envisioned. And to think that all this happens in a place that sat vacant and forgotten and was brought to life in large part with sweat equity and crowdfunding. And this is only the first phase of construction (there’s still no permanent restroom, running water, paved seating area or formal entrance)!

I can’t think of any stronger piece leverage for advocates in the coming debates about the Off Road Cycling Master Plan than what I saw on Saturday. It put in stark contrast some Portlanders’ irrational fear of off-road cycling.

Kudos to Northwest Trail Alliance for a wonderful event, and here’s to it becoming an annual tradition!

Learn more about the upcoming construction and exciting new design for the next phase of Gateway Green.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Cyclekrieg
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Cyclekrieg

The problem is, that the antis (Houle, Thompson, Miller, Clarke, et.al.) are afraid of exactly what is on display in these photos from Gateway Green. They don’t want “those people” in “their” parks. Oh yes, they will talk about environmental impact or carrying capacity and the like. But that is all a smokescreen. If it wasn’t, they would go after the impacts to parks and natural areas, not mountain biking. What they see here is people from all over Portland coming to a single location and to them, that is bad.

BarnOwl
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BarnOwl

The problem is getting to gateway green, especially with kids. The 205 path is just scary, especially near burnside

Mike Quigley
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Mike Quigley

Nice little enclave amidst a sea of traffic noise and exhaust fumes, for now. Wonder how long it will stay that way before neglect and the homeless take over?

Toby Welborn
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Toby Welborn

I was smiling ear to ear when my 4 year-old daughter asked, “When can we go again?” Thank you NWTA and everyone else who volunteered (at the event and the many years before). You are all awesome.

Paul Wilkins
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Paul Wilkins

Had a great time with my daughter. Spectacular event.

axoplasm
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[petition to convert all PP&R golf courses to MTB parks]

Bryan
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Bryan

Took my 6 and 9 year old. we all had a great time. they kept asking me why i had never taken them there before, as if i was keeping a secret from them. look forward to going back. much thanks to everybody that put time to volunteer and make it such a positive experience.

Jim Labbe
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Jim Labbe

Jonathan: What about an update on the I-205 Underpass? I’ll send you what I can find out.