Portland embraces inaugural Bridge City CX event

The downtown Portland skyline looms as racers plunge onto the beach.
(See full gallery here)
(Photos © J. Maus)

“This feels quite a bit bigger than bike racing. This is an event for the city and for Sellwood.”
— Erik Tonkin, race organizer

Portland’s cyclocross season ended with a bang on Sunday as our community embraced an exciting new venue and event. Bridge City CX was truly an instant classic.

560 racers signed up for a challenging and fun course many said was the best they’d ever ridden. There were slippery s-turns, fast straightaways, and long sections of deep sand on the Willamette riverfront. Toward the end of the day the tide pushed up and left racers with just a few inches of dry sand.

Open Men 1/2/3 winner Carl Decker, a veteran pro who’s raced bikes all over the world, said after his race that, “This was as good as any course I’ve ridden. It was quintessential ‘cross.”

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Guest article: A personal perspective on riding River View, a.k.a. the “cemetery trails”

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Erik Tonkin enjoying a “secret” waterfall in River View last summer.
(Photo courtesy Erik Tonkin)

This article was written by Erik Tonkin in response to the City of Portland’s decision to ban bicycling in River View Natural Area.

This will not be about my own personal narrative of biking, racing, and River View, but that’s where I’ll start because my life in Portland began on the cemetery trails.

I flew to Portland in 1993, 22 years ago this month. It was just my second time on a plane and my first time west of Minnesota. I was a freshman in college back home, and I’d saved up my work-study money for a round-trip flight to Portland. I was considering a transfer to Lewis & Clark College, so I came to give it a closer look.

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‘Grand Prix Erik Tonkin’ kicks off cyclocross season this weekend

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Detail of flyer for this weekend’s opening
race in the Grand Prix Erik Tonkin series.

This weekend the Portland area’s legendary cyclocross racing tradition will commence. The first big event of the year is the opening race of the Grand Prix Erik Tonkin series, and it takes place this Saturday at David Douglas High School David Douglas Park just over the Columbia River in Vancouver. The race kicks off a busy cyclocross schedule that includes racing all over the region every weekend from now through the first week in December.

Kenji Sugahara, the executive director of the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association, says he expects to see a membership spike in the coming weeks that could break a record (one that was set last year). “Cross has really been amazing for OBRA,” Sugahara shared with us yesterday, “I’m hearing a lot of excitement for it this year.”

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Portland bike shop boom continues with openings, expansions

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Western Bike Works-7-6

New storefront for Western Bike Works
at NW Lovejoy and 17th.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Even in a down economy, Portland’s bike business boom shows no signs of letting up, especially when it comes to bike shops. Throughout the city — from Northwest to East Portland — shops large and small are expanding or opening their doors for the first time.

On the corner of NW Lovejoy and 17th, Western Bike Works plans to open their gleaming new, 10,000 square foot shop this weekend (ironically, the former tenant was a car dealership). I stopped by yesterday for a chat with co-owner and GM Jay Torborg.

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Guest Article: Erik Tonkin on why he joined the FPC

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Twilight Criterium 2007-39

Erik Tonkin
(Photos © J. Maus)

[Publisher’s note: This article was written by Sellwood Cycle Repair co-owner, community advocate, and beloved off-road racer, Erik Tonkin. Erik writes about an issue that’s close to his heart, mountain bike access in Forest Park. He’s been riding his mountain-bike and ‘cross bike in the park for 16 years.

For background, read A new plan for MTB access in Forest Park. You can also browse all of our Forest Park coverage here.

“We should use our cash to support the things we love; and there is strength in numbers. Of course, by joining we should hope that our concerns will be heard, considered and acted upon.”

I believe the Forest Park Conservancy [formerly Friends of Forest Park] is the group best positioned to improve off-road bicycling access in Forest Park. Last Wednesday, the FPC’s Stephen Hatfield (Stewardship Director), Andrea Schwartz (Development and Communications Director) and David Prause (board member), invited me on a hike in the park. It was not only flattering but very educational. They shared their concerns about the park’s ecology and discussed the relationship between cyclists and Forest Park and, by extension, the FPC. I’ll never see the park or those who work to sustain it in the same light.

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Tonkin on Cyclocross: Finding time to train and race

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[Erik Tonkin]

Here I am at 4am Wednesday morning, finally sitting down to work on what I started a week ago, an article well overdue at this point. The clichés “better late than never” and “something is better than nothing” come to mind. Of course, those tired old sayings cut more than a slice of truth, or they wouldn’t be so dull. In fact, each serves nicely as a battle cry (or lament, perhaps) for training.

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