If you were one of the few people outside in north Portland during yesterday’s wet and cold weather you might have seen a massive band of misfits pedaling along with big smiles on their faces. Those folks were taking part in the annual OMTM Winter Social Ride. Despite pouring rain and temps in the 40s, well over 100 people turned up at Golden Pliers Bike Shop 1451 (N. Skidmore St) yesterday.
OMTM is Our Mother the Mountain, a group that began as a place to share unpaved routes and resources, and is now home to a large base of fans. The group’s rides are known to be rough and difficult, so the social is a way to bring folks together to chat and ride when survival isn’t the only thing on one’s mind.
The pre-ride spot was packed as people sought shelter, camaraderie, beer, and coffee. By the time we pulled out the line of riders was at least a block or two long. The route was a rollicking jaunt from Overlook to Kelley Point Park and down to Lucky Lab Pub in Northwest. If that doesn’t sound interesting to you, you’ve likely never done an OMTM ride. As I’ve shared a few times now, OMTM has a knack for turning the mundane into the magnificent. By that measure, the north Portland loop — which seems like a snooze-fest at first glance — was their pièce de résistance.
From the get-go we rolled through forgotten and relatively invisible places. Vacant lots, sidewalk cut-throughs, dog park trails, rocky railroad right-of-ways, graffiti-strewn hang-out spots, questionably legal industrial lands — any time there was an option to go off-road we took it. The result was a surprisingly fun and challenging day of riding that opened eyes to new possibilities right in our own backyards.
(Finding fun off-road at Smith & Bybee Lakes.)
(One trash is another’s treasure?)
A sampling of the many varied rigs that showed up:
Thanks to Ron Lewis and the OMTM elders for putting this together. And cheers to Golden Pliers for hosting the pre-party.
If you want to stay connected to OMTM, the Unpaved ambassador page on Ride With GPS is a good place to start.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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