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  1. #1
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    Moving To Portland

    Hi all. I recently accepted a job for which I get to relocate to Portland. I am from northern NJ so this will be a pretty big change up and I can't wait. Unfortunately I woln't be moving till January so i will have to wait until everything thaws to ride. Please use this post to give me any tips of any sort as well as good locations to ride in the area. Also, If you have good pics this would be a great time to show off what your riding in the area to help get me pumped for the move.

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    Here's a few pics... Most are from the Mount Hood and Gifford Pinchot national forests (GPNF is SW washington... st. Helens area), some are from the willamette NF (Oakridge, Waldo lake)
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  3. #3
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    Hey welcome to Portland then... I recently spent 2 years in Westchester NY. Spent a lot of time riding Sprain parkway, Blue Mt and Diablo. Let me tell you, what's out west crushes those places. Only problem is when i lived out there - sprain and blue were less than a 20 minute drive, Here you have to drive a bit, but its worth it. Hit me up with a PM if you want some info regarding anything about this area. Oh and another thing, the beer here is so much better too.

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    Welcome to the NW. VA transploant here. It stays pretty much thawed in the Valley all winter and there is some riding to be had during the rainy season. The only request that I have is you don't bring Snooki with you:-)

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    Hhahaha fortunately for you I rarely visit the jersey shore... my fist pump isn't quite up to par. Up until this point I have been riding hardtails on xc-am terrain. It looks like santa might have to bring a long travel full suspension rig for christmas.

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    Bike for xmas - Oh boy, this thread may now digress to what's the best bike for our area...

    All i'm going to say is I like to have 2 bikes here, one burly 6 inch trail bike (30ish pounds and pedalable) and one DH (whatever dh you like).

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    Quote Originally Posted by awh311 View Post
    Hhahaha fortunately for you I rarely visit the jersey shore... my fist pump isn't quite up to par. Up until this point I have been riding hardtails on xc-am terrain. It looks like santa might have to bring a long travel full suspension rig for christmas.
    I like a rigid/hardtail bike and a 4-5" travel bike for the PNW.
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    I must know, where is this?

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    That's Boulder Lakes trail, on the descent a little before you get to boulder lake.

  10. #10
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    Congrats on the relocation. At a minimum, you'll at least love the riding!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgf2 View Post
    Bike for xmas - Oh boy, this thread may now digress to what's the best bike for our area...
    ...followed by favorite beer.

    Caz

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    Lewis River Trail, the waterfall pic. A wonderful ride, worth the drive from Ptown. Make sure you have a nice camera once you arrive. And gear for inclement weather.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cazloco View Post
    ...followed by favorite beer.

    Caz
    Oh yea - Right now its the Double Mountain IRA (whis is always best to have from the brewery after a hood river ride), Laurelwood's Workhorse IPA not too far behind...

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    Second the Double Mountain IRA... I just had an epic Boulder/Gunsight/Gumjuwac ride last thursday, followed by a stop off for some at the brewpub. Then a nice sunny cruise through the skatepark before heading home to PDX.

    I could do that every day of my life.

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    I just dropped off a keg at Double Mountain to get filled with IRA. My current keg is getting low, and while I don't need much in life, but I do need IRA on tap in the garage. Gonna try the new stout when I pick my keg up after work tomorrow.

    BTW, I hope, perhaps unrealistically, that the beautiful weather holds until Saturday. I only had an hour free today so I ran the trails at Post instead of riding. Kinda hurt every time a bike passed me.

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    Welcome to PDX! This is my first post on here and I felt this was a good place to do it. I'm from NJ too! Camden, represent. I've been here for 4 years now, and I can't imagine being anywhere else. Maybe Alaska or Norway. You will not be disappointed moving here; it is so beautiful and there is so much to do.

    Not only are there local breweries, but every other region knows this is beertown, so you can find pretty much every beer in the world here. I'm an IPA guy so some of the more recent favorites I have found are Maui's Flyin' Hi.P.A, Russian River's Pliny the Elder, and Hop Valley's Alpha Centauri.

    I wish I could give you some advice on where to go, but I have only ridden the streets here so far. Soon I will be making a commute from St. Johns to PCC Rock Creek, via the St. John's bridge and whatever trails I find through Forest Park that end up on Skyline.

    Best of luck with everything!

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    I am thinking of moving up to PDX from San Jose CA. I wanted to know how much riding can you do in Forrest Park? My wife and I hiked through there last summer but it did not seem open to bikes.

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    The options are limited. I used to ride there from the Gabriel Park area of SW Ptown pretty regularly. Basically a cement/fire road ride, with some limited single track if you do not poach. If you ride hard it isn't that bad, a good workout with lots of road noise from the hwy at the bottom of the hill. Some decent views of Rainier, Adams, Hood. A few dogs here and there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanspaulding View Post
    I am thinking of moving up to PDX from San Jose CA. I wanted to know how much riding can you do in Forrest Park? My wife and I hiked through there last summer but it did not seem open to bikes.
    Not single trail to ride in forest park...legally. Just buy a really nice light and ride the hiking trails at night. Otherwise, your going to be riding on gravel roads. Aka "city of Portland bike trails"

    I don't ride xc anymore but there are some absolutely fantastic trails that will blow your mind.. And legs. Sioxon creek to Huffman peak is the greatest trail I have ever ridden..and I've ridden allot of them
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    Thank you for the info. So how far out is Sioxon creek to Huffman peak or are these part of Forrest Park? I only want to ride legal trials. Can I ride there or will I have to drive to get there?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanspaulding View Post
    Thank you for the info. So how far out is Sioxon creek to Huffman peak or are these part of Forrest Park? I only want to ride legal trials. Can I ride there or will I have to drive to get there?
    Depending on what part of town, Siouxon is a 90 minute drive.

    There is no real MTB-worthy singletrack within an easy ride of Portland. Portland is only bike-friendly to a narrow definition of "bike". Yes, I get the irony that we have one of the largest urban parks in the country and that it is called "Forest Park".

    On the other hand, some of the trails within an hour or more drive are pretty amazing.

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    Thank you for being honest. It sounds like the riding that is a hour away is pretty nice. Do the trails get closed a lot due to all the rain? In San Jose the tails close pretty quickly if there is a few days or rain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanspaulding View Post
    Thank you for being honest. It sounds like the riding that is a hour away is pretty nice. Do the trails get closed a lot due to all the rain? In San Jose the tails close pretty quickly if there is a few days or rain.
    All the really good stuff is about to be buried under snow for the next 6-9 months. There will still be some lower elevation trails that will remain ridable. Trails don't close per se, but some are better than others when it comes to how well they handle water. Three Corner Rock and Wilson River Trail are two that come to mind, Gorge Tr 400 is another and Sandy Ridge is being built as a user specific trail designed to be sustainable year round. And it's a fun as hell flow trail.

    You might also think about taking up a winter sport

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    hmm I might take up a winter sport. I do run year round, do any of the Forrest Park trails close due to weather ? Sounds like you can ride year round but you have to be willing to drive and deal with wet trails. Thank you for all the info, so far this is the biggest drawback for moving to PDX but I can adapt

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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanspaulding View Post
    Thank you for being honest. It sounds like the riding that is a hour away is pretty nice. Do the trails get closed a lot due to all the rain? In San Jose the tails close pretty quickly if there is a few days or rain.

    Only been here a few months myself, but yeah Portland is pretty much a black hole for mtb. But ~1 hr to the N,E,S, or W will get you into pretty good riding. I've heard there are some really amazing trails to be ride, but haven't found a whole lot of them yet. I find the general style of riding here to favor DH/AM/FR a little more than XC.

    I only know of 1 trail that is closed in wet conditions, but I think that's more of a test/research issue, and those trails aren't so great anyway. However, many of the trails towards Mt. Hood are closed for 7 months of the year due to snow and blow down.

    There is good news- things are improving. The issue of a lack of mtb within city limits has been recognized by the city officials, and solutions are being addressed, albeit very slowly. Forest Park continues to disappoint, they claim its for ecological and sustainability reasons, but despite that a slight bit of headway is being made. New trails are popping up closer and closer to the city each year. Other good things about Portland- there is some great road riding within the city, and you can easily commute by bike to pretty much anywhere (between that a public transit its not uncommon to live without a vehicle).

    Hope that helps.

  26. #26
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    We do have snow in the mountains. Rather snowboard than ride in the cold rain and mud
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    Riding around Portland isn't that bad.

    There is forest park, which mostly consist of Leif Erickson (pretty much a gravel road/fire road). There are firelanes (some turns into single track) which these firelanes either go up or down, some are easier to climb than others but they are all fun to go down (3-6 min). If you connect these firelanes with Leif, you can get some good mileage and satisfy somewhat of a downhill need.

    Scappoose trails are fun, there is a more xc side (up and down peddling) which is fun. And a downhill side (solid natural dh trail - 15-20 min in length) that you link a couple trials and peddle around to get back to them, or shuttle them. This is about a half hour away from Portland.

    There is Sandy Ridge, which as of the last summer has really been worked on and getting better but it is seeing lots of increased used and that comes with lots of people and wear and tear on the trial. You peddle up a paved road, about a mile to the first turn off, or keep going another 2 miles or so and reach the top which has a couple options to get down.

    Post Canyon, research this for yourself. Lots of good riding and shuttling. In the Hood River area, there a lot of options, so make sure to do your research. About a hour to an hour and a half from Portland.

    Blackrock, once again do your research. A solid hour and half away from Portland.

    There are some xc trails in the Tillamook Forest. Hour to hour and a half from Portland.

    LL Stub Stewart Park, Building here, xc and freeride. 45 min. from Portland.

    And There are some sweet Washington trails that are about a hour and a half away.

    Hope this helps! Good luck in the moving process!

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    Thank you all for the information it helps out a lot. With all the snow are they any snow bikes (Surly Pugsly) up there? I do a lot of road riding here in San Jose during the winter. There where a number of paved bike trails I noticed around the river that looked really nice. I am assuming those don't close due to weather issues.

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    Not much snow in the Portland area, maybe a couple weekends worth.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanspaulding View Post
    hmm I might take up a winter sport. I do run year round, do any of the Forrest Park trails close due to weather ? Sounds like you can ride year round but you have to be willing to drive and deal with wet trails. Thank you for all the info, so far this is the biggest drawback for moving to PDX but I can adapt
    My knees do not get along with snow sports.

    Western Oregon/Washington lets me ride year round. I just head west into the lower coast range. May not be trails or "exciting" routes, but still fun to explore. And there are some winter trail areas.
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    an hour from town accross teh columbia river on the washington side just east of Bingen is Syncline trails. These are essentially year roiund trails... there'll be snow at the top sometimes and it'll be frozen sometimes... but esspecially in teh fall and spring when it's raining cats and dogs in portland, you can count on syncline being sunny and/or a slight chance of mist usually. It the one trail I never bother needing to check the weather forecast for.

    Also, the McKenzie river trail is one of the top ten trails on teh globe, 2 hours from town, and generally speaking a 12 month trail. upper it does get snow but lower sections don't get buried all year.

  32. #32
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    I've decided that taking up a winter sport is the way to survive the winters here. You can ride a lot of places in the rain, but honestly riding in a 42 degree drizzle just ain't my idea of fun! Winter rain in Portland usually means snow on the mountain. I am more than content to ride on the trainer and ski in the snow! But I also know a lot of folks who think nothing of a 2 hour road ride in cold rain.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by phreadi View Post
    an hour from town accross teh columbia river on the washington side just east of Bingen is Syncline trails. These are essentially year roiund trails... there'll be snow at the top sometimes and it'll be frozen sometimes... but esspecially in teh fall and spring when it's raining cats and dogs in portland, you can count on syncline being sunny and/or a slight chance of mist usually. It the one trail I never bother needing to check the weather forecast for.

    Also, the McKenzie river trail is one of the top ten trails on teh globe, 2 hours from town, and generally speaking a 12 month trail. upper it does get snow but lower sections don't get buried all year.
    Once the snow starts, the McKenzie River Trail is not worth the drive, even from Eugene.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dropped68 View Post
    I've decided that taking up a winter sport is the way to survive the winters here. You can ride a lot of places in the rain, but honestly riding in a 42 degree drizzle just ain't my idea of fun! Winter rain in Portland usually means snow on the mountain. I am more than content to ride on the trainer and ski in the snow! But I also know a lot of folks who think nothing of a 2 hour road ride in cold rain.
    A 2 hour road ride in the rain is not fun.

    A rainy 2-4 hour ride in the woods--forest road or trail--can be a blast.
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    like any single track... siouxon is a good drive from portland, Its about an hour maybe hour 30 from pdx. The snow will not be gone until july but its sooo worth it..if you like burly climbs.

    Siouxon Creek to Huffman Peak Mountain Biking and Hiking Trail #130

    Syncline is also a great trail. bitterly cold in the winter though with those east winds but still a fun trail. You can get absolutely FLYING down the lower part. Fastest speed I ever recorded on my old cycle computer. 56 mph
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    pdxmonkeyboy -- when was the last time you were up Huffman peak? I did it over 5 years ago and it was severly neglected then... a total let-down. Parts of the ascent were very hard to find, crossed rapidly eroding sheer slopes, and the descent was so overgrown it just mauled your legs and you couldn't take it fast at all.

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    Hmmm, well I was riding xc at the time so it would have to be about 8 years ago. The last time we rode it there was allot of blow down but the trail was still pretty clear. Bummer to hear that it is getting overgrown, it was a phenominal trail! You crank and crank and crank up brutally steep hills but once you get above treeline, it looked like you could reach out and touch st. helens.

    These days I am into "full body" riding ergo FR and DH.
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    Welcome to the PNW! Sorry I'm late to the party. But great advice from everyone!

    It took us a season to embrace the "rain = snow" equation. So adopting a winter snow activity will help keep you active and sane. Winter riding is sloppy but available. Syncline area in Washington is probably the best bet. It's more arid in that area. And the rock drains really well. Outside of a rare snowfall you can ride it year 'round.

    We also relocated from the east coast 9 years ago and couldn't be happier. If you love the great outdoors, you'll love it here. As long as you can get past the timid drivers you'll be fine! And the beer, Ahhhh the beer! I'm also an IPA guy and go for the locals. Double Mountain Killer Green, Ninkasi Total Domination, and Walking Man IPA come to mind.

    Oh yeah, here's an article my wife and I wrote on this very subject.

    Welcome and enjoy!

    Hmmm, won't let me post the link.
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    I'm also new to the area, and I'm shopping around for a bike. Sold my old Trek Fuel 90 a couple of years ago. The FS Fuel was complete overkill for the trails I used to ride in Texas, and I'm thinking of getting a hardtail 29er.

    Any thoughts on FS vs. hardtail for riding trails in NW Oregon? I'm looking for a good all-around bike; won't be doing any racing, crazy downhill stuff, or anything like that.

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    I agree

    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    A 2 hour road ride in the rain is not fun.

    A rainy 2-4 hour ride in the woods--forest road or trail--can be a blast.
    But a lot of guys would strongly disagree with that! The cool thing about road cycling is the roads dry and you are good to go...while the mountain bike trails are still mucky and many should be avoided.

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    [QUOTE=I'm looking for a good all-around bike; won't be doing any racing, crazy downhill stuff, or anything like that.[/QUOTE]

    I think a lot of us said something similar to that back when we started too. Living out here changes your perspective of what can be done on a bike. For my fist FS i purchased a light trail bike. Then I got introduced to Whistler and it was all over. A DH bike showed up shortly and my light trail bike got a heavy make over. So now my stable consists of a trail bike and DH.

    I'd say get something like a Giant Trance. Its a capable bike for these parts that's more "XC" oriented.

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    I moved to Oregon in 2000 with a Jamis Eureka hard tail and rode it everywhere, including Moab. Within a couple of months after my Moab trip, I bought a FS Rocky Mountain ETSX. I wanted to go faster without having the crap beat out of me. I also wanted to get through the rough stuff with more confidence. Over the years, I kept adding to the RM to make it a bit burlier, able to take smaller jumps and drops. Then this year, I had to get another bike and now have a Santa Cruz Blur LTc. There is enough varied terrain out here to warrant a FS. But, as in everything in life, that is a personal choice. Some thing with 29 inch wheels. Check out the recent MTBR review of the Specialized Camber. Lots of choices with that line and decent price point.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art_Vandelay View Post
    I'm also new to the area, and I'm shopping around for a bike. Sold my old Trek Fuel 90 a couple of years ago. The FS Fuel was complete overkill for the trails I used to ride in Texas, and I'm thinking of getting a hardtail 29er.

    Any thoughts on FS vs. hardtail for riding trails in NW Oregon? I'm looking for a good all-around bike; won't be doing any racing, crazy downhill stuff, or anything like that.
    I have a Ti HT, which suits me fine for my riding style on the stuff around Mt. Hood and the Coast Range. If I rode in the Oakridge area, I'd definitely have a FS bike -- hell of a lot rockier out there, at least in my experience. But it does seem like everyone I know here has a FS bike.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art_Vandelay View Post
    I'm also new to the area, and I'm shopping around for a bike. Sold my old Trek Fuel 90 a couple of years ago. The FS Fuel was complete overkill for the trails I used to ride in Texas, and I'm thinking of getting a hardtail 29er.

    Any thoughts on FS vs. hardtail for riding trails in NW Oregon? I'm looking for a good all-around bike; won't be doing any racing, crazy downhill stuff, or anything like that.
    IMO, 90% of the trails in PNW can easily be ridden on a hardtail. For the most part, the trails are non-technical. My prefered ride is a rigid 29er hartail, but for the longer and more technical days in the saddle, I will take the squishy bikes out.

    And don't you have an import/export business anyway? Just source your own.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by phreadi View Post
    pdxmonkeyboy -- when was the last time you were up Huffman peak? I did it over 5 years ago and it was severly neglected then... a total let-down. Parts of the ascent were very hard to find, crossed rapidly eroding sheer slopes, and the descent was so overgrown it just mauled your legs and you couldn't take it fast at all.
    I did Huffman this summer .More blowdown than I have ever seen .Made a three hour ride 6 plus ! Huffman has ALWAYS been overgrown .I believe that to be one of my favorite aspects of this trail .The blowdown is a different story .OT... is anyone interested in clearing this ?The forest "service" is only interested in new signage and fences in the parking area .I do not own a chainsaw , but I will work my tail off for this trail .It is one of the better descents around .
    Master of Laundry...Lord of Cleaning!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Art_Vandelay View Post
    I'm also new to the area, and I'm shopping around for a bike. Sold my old Trek Fuel 90 a couple of years ago. The FS Fuel was complete overkill for the trails I used to ride in Texas, and I'm thinking of getting a hardtail 29er.

    Any thoughts on FS vs. hardtail for riding trails in NW Oregon? I'm looking for a good all-around bike; won't be doing any racing, crazy downhill stuff, or anything like that.
    There is enough variation in the trails out here that you can be happy on either. I would say get which ever is on sale and fits. Then plan on buying the other one somewhere down the road and ride them both.

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    Funny, my experience with snow sports is a little different ... I came to the Pacific NW 20+ years ago already heavily into skiing, and got even more into it when I got here. Then about a decade ago I got seriously into biking, and found myself not skiing very much because I was enjoying mountain biking year round. Unlike many parts of the country, we have plenty of trails that are fun and reasonable to ride when wet.

    I sold my FS bike earlier this year . Simply wasn't justified for my overwhelmingly cross-country riding. I don't even bother with front suspension for winter riding.

    Won't see too many Pugsley-ish bikes around here. Or, more likely, ANY. One of the reasons is our huge amount of regular snowfall doesn't allow the snow to consolidate as well as Alaska or the upper Midwest where dedicated snowbikes originated. So even with a full-on snowbike the snow is too loose and deep to ride just wherever you feel like. But you can usually ride tracks that have been packed down already. I don't get to do it very often, but I do sometimes enjoy airing down my 29er's tires and cruising down less-used snowmobile tracks.

    I hiked Huffman a few years ago. Even then there was a ton of blowdown, and I couldn't even imagine riding it. But it would be awesome if it were kept clear.
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  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlowBoy View Post
    ... found myself not skiing very much because I was enjoying mountain biking year round. Unlike many parts of the country, we have plenty of trails that are fun and reasonable to ride when wet.
    I mentioned earlier that I'm hoping to get back into mountain biking. I've been thinking this would be a summer-only sport because I assumed the trails would just get too sloppy to ride after the rain starts. If you have any more comments on decent trails to ride in the Portland area in the winter, I'm interested. Is riding in this season considered good trail etiquette, namely do the trails get damaged if we ride them during the rainy season? I'm seeing the threads about Sandy Ridge so it looks like that one is rideable this time of year.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art_Vandelay View Post
    I mentioned earlier that I'm hoping to get back into mountain biking. I've been thinking this would be a summer-only sport because I assumed the trails would just get too sloppy to ride after the rain starts. If you have any more comments on decent trails to ride in the Portland area in the winter, I'm interested. Is riding in this season considered good trail etiquette, namely do the trails get damaged if we ride them during the rainy season? I'm seeing the threads about Sandy Ridge so it looks like that one is rideable this time of year.
    You have to pick the rides. Some routes--not necessarily trails/singletrack--can not be hurt at all in the wet. Most trails you stay off of.

    Sandy Ridge has been/is being hardened for all weather use, though not all of it.

    Also within an hour drive are a few trail systems that are fine in the winter.
    Gravel forest roads in the valley and coast range are fun.
    These do not turn into a gooey mess so are rideable year-round, unlike many other areas that also have snow.

    One of the things I like about the wetside is riding all year. I can not do snow sports.
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