Sunday, December 28, 2014

Keeping Portland Weird - Yet Fun

Thanks to shows like Portlandia and Grimm, people may wonder about Portland.  There is no doubt that it has its moments, but there are some mountain bike gems.  First, lets talk food.  Portland is a food scene and it has everything from food trucks to great neighborhood places like Ken's Artisan Pizza.  There are also dessert places like Salt n Straw, Cacao's and Blue Star Donuts (my favorite over VooDoo).

You also have bike shops everywhere along with Columbia, REI, Mountain Hardware, GoLite, etc.  The issue with Portland for a mountain biker is just that, it is Portland.  It is a big city and nothing is close.  When I go to Portland, I ride two places - Sandy Ridge and The Lumber Yard. The Lumber Yard is a smaller version of "Ray's Indoor Parks" and lets you ride indoors even when it is raining. Now I know what you are thinking, I don't ride "knees around your ears" trick bikes anymore, and that was my feeling the first time I went there.  But after riding 5 miles worth of fun on a full-suspension mountain bike my mind was changed. There are the trick ramps, but woven all through is a series of mountain bike obstacles including rollers, skinnies, drops, rocks and wall rides.  You'll work up a sweat and a smile. Here is a link to my YouTube channel that has two Lumber Yard videos on it (

The Lumber Yard also has an agreement with a local hotel (including breakfast) which gives you the perfect setup for a great weekend.  Leave work on Friday and drive to the Lumber Yard and ride until they close (or you are tired), then spend the night.  The next morning you are about 30 minutes from Sandy Oregon and another 10 minutes to Sandy Ridge.

To say Sandy is part of Portland, is like saying Bethlehem is part of Jerusalem, but if you are not from Oregon, it is easier to say Portland.  With that said, Sandy Ridge is mountain bike destination.  Designed by mountain bikers for mountain bikers and approved by the State.  It has a paved 4 miles climb and then many ways down for all skill levels.  Similar to Hood River and Alsea Falls, it is a must on any list.

For such a bike friendly place, what Portland needs is something similar to the Colonnade in Seattle ( which provide great fun right in town (like the Lumber Yard, only outdoors).  There is also some great riding round Mount Hood (really, you ride all the way around it and say it huts along the way) and St. Helens.  But again, nothing close to the City other than Forest Park, which for such a friendly bike place, is not very friendly to mountain bikers. Which is again why I live and ride in Corvallis and visit Portland.

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