A group of mountain bikers wasn't scared away by wet weather last weekend at the Sandy Ridge Trailhead. Seven riders met for a fun, social ride put on by the Northwest Trail Alliance (NWTA) and Portland bike shop River City Bicycles.
“It's a really nice place for families to come and be able to kind of choose your own adventure,” said Jered Bogli, volunteer director for the NWTA.
In fact, the word “family” was thrown around a lot by the group. They spoke to the community feel of the event, and to the mountain biking community as a whole.
“This event, regardless if we're here or not, this is how people connect,” said Ryan Barrett, marketing manager of River City Bicycles.
The shop is a main sponsor and partner of the NWTA and its mission to maintain and advocate for more trails within 60 miles of Portland. They upkeep Sandy Ridge trails along with the Bureau of Land Management.
“The more we can advocate for and build new trails in and around Portland, the more chance that gives for families and kids ... to just get out and have fun in the woods, because having fun in the woods is what it's all about,” Bogli said.
Most of the work is done after the winter months to improve water drainage and remove any downed trees. When they’re not working on the trails, they’re carving them up on two wheels.
“This is a friendly, welcoming community,” Barrett said. “Whether you want to talk about your bike gear or you need to borrow a pump. It's easy-going, fun riding. Come out and check it out.”
Not far from the parking lot at Sandy Ridge, a paved road closed to traffic takes you up to the trails. From there you get a wide range of difficulties, similar to skiing. Trails are rated by circle, square, up to diamond and double diamond. Kids and adults made lap after lap, taking advantage of the lull before more rain rolled in.
“The more people we can get involved in biking, the stronger the community will be,” said Bogli. “That's kind of where our focus is right now — just wanting more and more people involved.”
The Northwest Trail Alliance has hosted several youth clinics and women's clinics. On the horizon are BIPOC events and rides. If summer ever gets here, this group is excited for more inclusion, especially after pausing outings during the height of COVID.
“We've only got half the year to be outdoors so you might as well be outdoors as much as you can that half of the year,” Bogli smiled. “Get out there. Enjoy it. However you want to enjoy it. There's room for all of us out here.”
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