July is here

Portland in the summer. No place I'd rather be. If it gets too hot, just go to the coast. If it's not warm enough, just go east over the mountains. So what's going on? I'm about to head to Mountain Bike Oregon to work for the Bike Gallery as a wrench and hopefully ride a bunch of the state's finest trails. MTBO has been going for about 5 years now and it seems to have some good momentum. The town of Oakridge was a mill town whose fortunes were linked to lumber production. When the mills closed, the town fell into some pretty hard times, but recently they have seen the beginnings of a rebirth as a recreation center. With hundreds of miles of trails, a reservoir, hot springs and a lift serviced mountain close by, not to mention the headwaters of the Willamette river, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the outdoors. Mountain Bike Oregon has helped expose the amazing trail networks to hundreds of bike riders. It's really cool to see the positive change that is happening because of bicycles.

I've been riding in Oakridge since about 1995 and have seen a lot of changes in the town since then. I think rock bottom was sometime around '98-2000. Boarded up buildings and negative population growth were the indicators that the town was dying. The trails were always some of the best that I have ever ridden, and thanks to MTBO more people are finding out about what Oakridge has to offer. About two years ago a brewery opened on the old main street, and last year a hostel opened. Both of these businesses have a lot of mountain bikers as their main customers.

I'll post some pictures of the event over the weekend. If you are looking for a great place to spend a week mountain biking, take a look at Oakridge!