Many longtime local mountain bike riders are scratching their heads wondering what's behind the current rise in blatant bad attitude on trails. You know, fast riders scowling as they bear down on you at mach speed, riders not warning you when wanting to pass or passing, riders screaming at you to get out of their way, riders not yielding the right-of-way on hills, etc.
There are probably all sorts of reasons for the growth in "'tude" but many more reasons for putting an end to it. We have a tremendous resource in the local trail system, so why ruin the good vibe with "'tude." Smile and enjoy being out there, greet fellow riders and keep the fun in the local mountain biking scene.
The latest chapter of "Why Drivers Hate Roadies" begins with an avid road cyclist out doing errands. He's driving along when he comes up on a pack of roadies out on a ride. "They covered the entire traffic lane,'" Mr. Avid Roadie noted, "and two riders were well over the line into the on-coming lane. So I gave them a couple of short beeps of the horn to let them know I would be passing and they continued on as if they didn't hear a thing. Finally when I was able to pass them, they all gave me the evil eye as if I was doing something wrong."
Then there was the incident on Highway 126 near Eagle Crest a couple of weeks ago when a group of roadies allegedly caused a car wreck. This incident and so many others have caused Hutch's Bicycles to become proactive regarding roadie conduct. Below is an excerpt from an e-mail Hutch's owner Jim Lewis and general manager Mike McMackin sent to all their team riders:
"In an effort to be pro-active about the relationship between cyclists and motorists, we want to set an example and start a ground swell within the serious cycling community. Starting today, we want you, as our ambassadors, to not ride more than two abreast, and to actually stop at stop signs in any group ride situation. This part of 'obeying the law' has always been in our team contract, but it seems that we've all let that slide when we're in a group.
Races are closed-course, group rides are not...we are all adults with valid driver's licenses, and with those we are required to play by the rules, so why are we seemingly exempt when we ride our bicycles? That needs to stop, and we would like your help. We feel that by setting the example we can get all the serious cyclists in town to become part of the solution instead of the problem."
Wanoga Work Parties
Work is going on at a feverish pace to get the many miles of trails at the new Wanoga Event Network mountain bike-ready for this summer. The work began with the annual Spring Fling trail work day and will continue with COTA partnering with local sports and outdoor stores on regularly scheduled work evenings.
For example, this past Wednesday, 20 volunteers showed up at Pine Mountain Sports to carpool up to Wanoga to get dirty. For the rest of the summer and fall, FootZone-Bend is hosting a work party evening the first Thursday of each month. Pine Mountain Sports will host a work party the third Wednesday of each month. WebCyclery will host a work party on the fourth Wednesday of each month.
On each work party night, volunteers will meet at the sponsoring shop at 5:30, carpool to Wanoga and return to town no later than 9 p.m.
Volunteers are required to wear long pants and sturdy boots, have protective eyewear, work gloves and a hydration pack and a snack.
Hikes of a Lifetime
If you're into hiking and have the time and gas money, two of Oregon's classic trails are must-hikes this month while the snow runoff is still in full swing.
First, there's the McKenzie River Trail where the falls along the way have been absolutely spectacular of late. And the lucky people on recent Oregon Nordic Club and Bend Metro Parks and Recreation hikes got to see the very rare sight of water tumbling over Dry Falls into the Blue Pool (Tamolitch Pool).
Miles to the south of the Mckenzie River, there's the North Umpqua River which, while having no big falls, has plenty of crystalline water that is even more impressive at a high flow. And the riverside trail, while spectacular, is still lightly traveled.
The Problem with Wood
Speaking of water, another upside to the late runoff is the number of whitewater rivers that normally aren't run by kayakers and rafters until after June 1 are still, and will be for some time, in prime shape.
That's the upside. The downside is the heavy runoff has uprooted trees that have fallen into and across many rivers.
Recently a party set out to kayak the south fork of the McKenzie River only to pull out after a half mile because of the extensive new deadfall choking the river. Too bad as that run is one of the more fun continuous Class III/III+ runs in Oregon and is fairly close to Bend.
It's time to bid farewell to someone whose presence on the local outdoor sports scene has been nothing but a positive one. But then a person's got to make money and sometimes the old Bend "poverty with a view" proves all too true. So, best wishes to Levi Hensel as he heads to the San Francisco area to try his luck at urban living and working.