Portland, “America’s Best Bike City” …. maybe thats true only if you are a road cyclist? That label doesn’t apply to the cyclists of the off road variety and the city has done a pretty blatant job of proving that. A couple of weeks ago the Portland Parks and Recreation dropped the news on everyone that mountain biking would become banned at a spot called the Riverview Natural Area. This area was the only remaining natural area that mountain bike loving Portlanders had to get their fix inside the city limits. The next closest location is an hour to an hour and a half from the city. The worst thing about the whole thing is the fact that mountain bikers had spent a large amount of time working along side the city to clean the area up and perform trail maintenance so that they could be used in harmony with other trail users. The city decided that Sunday March 15th would be the last day the trails would officially be open to mountain bikers. Monday March 16th was the date that was chosen to get everyone that was upset by the abandonment of the public process together to show Portland how we all felt about their decision.
The Riverview Freedom Ride was the idea of Charlie Sponsel who is one of our local pro mountain bike racers, blogger(team robot) and has been riding the trails at Riverview since he was 13. Charlie has also been a part of the Riverview trail involvement from the get go. There were also many amazing volunteers and a the total head count for the ride turnout was 306 riders. News crews were on hand and conducting interviews as well as all the other awesome media providers just trying to get the word out so as to keep pressure on the city officials. Namely Commisioner Amanda Fritz and Nick Fish. I encourage everyone to send them each an email (or a plethora of emails) expressing how wrong it is to avoid public process and single out something that so many members of the community enjoy and are actively involved in. Mountain biking helps get kids out to enjoy the outdoors and get off the couch. Both of their email addresses are listed below.
And if you are interested in anymore information on this matter just a quick google search of “portland hates mountain bikes” or “riverview nature area” will come up with links to all kinds of recent articles and videos on the subject. I’m glad to see the pressure getting put on Portland officials and hope to see this problem resolved in the near future.