Hitting the trails to highlight what's down the road

Created on Friday, 19 December 2014 00:00 | Written by Kevin Sperl

At 3:30 p.m. this past Monday, about 30 bicyclists riding a collection of cross bikes, mountain bikes and fat tire bikes, made their way down Second Street, heading west.

The group of bikers from Prineville and Bend had gathered at Good Bike Co., on Third Street, where owner James Good was busy prepping bikes as almost his entire fleet of rentals had been reserved for the ride.

The group was taking part in the Winter Root Beer Ride to raise awareness for the planned Prineville Bike Park that COTA hopes to construct next summer.

In addition to the group ride, the day’s activities included the sampling of a specially crafted root beer at Solstice Brewing, courtesy of Joe Barker, a showing of a number of short bike park films, and a raffle of bike gear.

The destination of the group ride was the recently constructed COTA bike trail along what is called the Lower 66 property, just north of the grade, and accessed via Rimrock Road.

I tagged along on a bike graciously provided by Good. After a quick group photo, we headed over to Second Street and began pedaling west.

The weather was less than comfortable, but what is typically expected of a winter-time trail biker —temperatures were in the low 30s and a light snow had begun to fall.

The location for Prineville’s bike park has been secured and will be located adjacent to Ochoco Creek Park, on a northeast corner 1.5-acre lot.

The City of Prineville signed a 40-year lease on the property with the Crook County Parks and Recreation District, effective Sept. 1 of this year -- something that COTA deemed necessary in order for the park to become a reality.

“COTA can raise money and provide volunteers, but we do not have long-term liability or management abilities,” said Darlene Henderson, COTA’s Crook County Chapter representative. “So, a partnership with CCPRD is what is allowing this to move forward.”

It is hoped that the park will provide a variety of terrain appealing to both experienced and beginning riders of all ages. It will offer jump and flow trails, pump tracks with bermed turns, wood features such as log rides and ladder bridges and rock obstacles.

According to COTA, the sport of mountain biking is growing and they feel the proposed bike park will provide area riders with a safe area for exercise and to hone their skills.

“We will be proceeding with a hybrid design for construction,” said Henderson. “COTA will hire design expertise to maximize the area and make sure that we can provide for all levels of riding.”

The bulk of construction for the park is planned as a volunteer effort and COTA is actively recruiting for help.

As the biking group headed west down Second Street, we attracted a variety of bewildered glances from passing motorists who probably weren’t used to seeing such a large group of bikers, especially in winter.

After about 10 minutes, we regrouped at the trailhead, where Good gave a brief introduction to the trail and the route we would be taking.

We headed out in single file along the single-track trail. Almost immediately, we discovered that the trail was going to be a bit muddy. Many of us, including this reporter, experienced a bit of rear wheel slippage as we headed up the grade. There was a lot of dismounting and walking of bikes, quickly causing a traffic jam.

As we got to the top of the grade, Good announced that the group would be splitting into two.

“Those who want a bit more of a technical ride can follow Travis Holman,” he announced. “The rest of us can head back down to take the bike path back to the store.”

I was one of those who opted for heading back, and I wasn’t alone. It was getting dark quickly, and it wasn’t getting any warmer.

Besides, that crafted root beer was on people’s minds, and Barker was one of those opting to head back.

Eric Newman, of Bend, was just the kind of bike rider that local COTA trail building efforts in Prineville is hoping to attract to its trails and bike park.

“I’m always looking for an excuse to get out of work early,” said Newman, as he sat atop his fat tire bike. “I’m out here to support whatever is going on in Prineville. I love it out here and I am looking forward to the ride.”

New Bike Shop opens in Prineville via the Bend Bulletin

New bike shop opens in Prineville

Good Bike Co. offers bicycle tours, along with sales, service

By Joseph Ditzler / The Bulletin / @josefditzler

Published Nov 12, 2014 at 12:01AM

Check out Good Bike Co. online at www.goodbikeco.com.

PRINEVILLE — The new bike shop in town sells bike tours, too, and, because this is Central Oregon, beer.

James Good opened up the Good Bike Co. on 284 NE Third St. just a month ago, after moving to town with his wife, Dr. Natalie Good, in July from Ogden, Utah. Natalie Good works for St. Charles Health System.

Prineville made them feel welcome, James Good said, and people such as Woody Starr of the Central Oregon Trail Alliance and Crook County Commissioner Seth Crawford encouraged his plan to open a bicycle shop. The potential for guided road and trail rides in Crook County is boundless, Good said.

He also plans on organizing bike tours farther afield, to Bend breweries, Oregon wine country and Utah, and in conjunction with other services such as lodging and farm-to-table dining.

“Not one person has said, ‘Good luck,’ or, ‘This isn’t going to work here,’” Good said. “Everybody comes and says, ‘We’ve needed this.’”

Prineville has one other bike shop, Back Alley Bikes, at 311 NE Beaver St. Owner John Malpass said he and his wife sent flowers to the Goods when they opened the Good Bike Co.

“I’m a little, tiny maintenance shop, and I work on a lot of older bicycles,” Malpass said. “I don’t sell bicycles or lead bicycle tours or anything. What James is doing is a different business model than I’m doing.”

Good’s shop fills a vacancy in the local tourism economy, Crawford said. No other local business offers guided trail rides in the Ochoco Mountains, for example, he said.

Crook County has joined with Jefferson County and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Indian Reservation to promote the area as River Canyon Country, a tourist destination, Crawford said. “We’ve been under-served by tourism promotion up to this point, and this is an opportunity to shine a light on some of those assets,” Crawford said.

He said Good impressed him with his background in outdoor recreation and his enthusiasm for opening his own business. Good started work at a small bike shop in his native Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he learned the basics of bike maintenance and customer service. After earning his business degree at the University of South Dakota, he worked for REI’s bike and ski shops in Seattle and Boulder, Colorado, and in quality assurance for Petzl, maker of climbing equipment, in Ogden, he said. He also guided rock climbers in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

“I bounced within the outdoor industry from bikes to climbing to skiing,” Good said. “I’ve been kind of pinballing around.”

All along, he said, he held on to a dream of owning his own shop. The sale of his and his then-fiancée’s homes in Ogden provided the capital to get started, he said. Start-up expenses included the building renovation, along with the requisite parts and tools for bike repairs and an inventory of bicycles. He carries Schwinn, Cannondale and Surly brand bicycles for rent and sale. Good is one of a handful of bike shops in Oregon with a license to sell beer and will pour customers a pint of Boneyard Beer’s RPM or Solstice Brewing Co.’s Better Off Blonde from the taps inside the shop.

He’s busy enough, he said, to plan on hiring someone next spring. In the meantime, he said, he lays out tour routes and rides his own bicycle whenever he gets the chance to explore Central Oregon.

“After living in five states in the last eight years or so, the riding potential out here, it’s endless,” Good said.

— Reporter: 541-617-7815,

jditzler@bendbulletin.com

Bike racks coming to Crook County

By Dylan J. Darling / The Bulletin / @DylanJDarling

Published May 10, 2014 at 12:01AM

New bicycle racks should start to appear around Crook County towns this summer.

The racks are the result of a Ford Family Foundation leadership class, said Sandra Henning, Paulina District ranger for the Ochoco National Forest and a participant in the class. The foundation is a nonprofit, based in Roseburg, focused on improving communities in rural Oregon. The class is made up of community members, from high school students to hospital workers to retirees.

Along with providing a place to lock up bicycles, the racks should help with the beautification of Prineville and Powell Butte, and possibly Post and Paulina, Henning said. Two designs are planned for the artistic racks.

“One is a wagon wheel and one is a hitchin’ post — kind of a Western theme,” Henning said Tuesday.

As with plans to add more mountain bike trail miles, a goal of the bike racks is to help draw cyclists to Crook County.

“Bike tourism is huge,” said Shawn Benson, a Prineville insurance agent and a member of the class.

Each rack probably will cost about $1,000, and the class is fundraising to pay for the project, Henning said, including taking donations at grocery stores around Prineville. So far the class has raised about $5,000.

If the class can reach the $5,000 fundraising goal, it may earn a $5,000 matching grant from the Ford Family Foundation, said Chad Carpenter, who heads up a tutoring nonprofit and is also a member of the class. He said the racks probably would be put in public places, such as parks.

“We are working with the city (of Prineville) and the county to determine where we can install them,” he said.

Initial drawings of the bike racks show the wagon wheel design holding two to seven bikes and the hitchin’ post design holding seven bikes, but Carpenter said both designs could be expanded to fit where they’re placed.

“We are going to have the flexibility to make those as long as we want them,” he said.

Bike racks would be welcome in Prineville, said John Malpass, owner of Back Alley Bikes, a Prineville bike shop.

“There are very few,” he said Tuesday morning after taking a call while waiting in line at the bank. “In fact I have my bike tied to a post outside of the bank here.”

Mayor Betty Roppe also likes the idea of bike racks in Prineville.

“People like to ride their bikes downtown,” she said. “… This will be an asset for us.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7812, ddarling@bendbulletin.com

More Ochoco Mountain Bike Trails Possible

The Ochoco National Forest is proposing more miles of mountain bike trails on and around Lookout Mountain east of Prineville, part of parallel efforts to make Crook County a magnet to cyclists.

Under the plan, the forest would create a 75.2-mile network of trails, using existing trails, converting roads to trails and blazing new trail. About 25 percent of the network would be new trail. Most of that would be along U.S. Forest Service roads 22 and 42. Currently there is a 54.9-mile network at Lookout Mountain of trails and closed or decommissioned roads.

The bigger trail network would be a mountain biking destination, drawing riders to Crook County to spend more time on the trails and stay overnight, said Seth Crawford, a county commissioner.

“Currently, it is an afternoon ride,” he said.

Along with the expansion of the Lookout Mountain Trail network, Crawford said there are efforts in Crook County to put in a bike park with obstacles to ride over next to Ochoco Creek Park, add multipurpose trails open to bikes near Meadow Lakes Golf Course and improve road biking options.

The current Lookout Mountain Trail network probably sees a few thousand mountain bikers a year, said Kent Koeller, a recreation planner. The numbers are a fraction of the amount of riders annually visiting Central Oregon’s premiere destinations — Phil’s Trail near Bend and Peterson Ridge near Sisters.

“What we are lacking (are) the loop opportunities,” Koeller said.

The trails, about an hour’s drive from Bend, offer a change-up from other Central Oregon mountain bike trails. The soils, terrain and forest found in the trail system aren’t like those near Bend and Sisters, said Kate Klein, supervisor of the Ochoco National Forest.

“So it provides some different options for riding,” she said.

The Central Oregon Trail Alliance, a Bend-based mountain bike advocacy group with a Crook County chapter, worked with the national forest in the planning of the proposed trail changes at Lookout Mountain.

The trails will be more accessible earlier in the spring than those west of Bend, because of the terrain and elevation , wrote Darlene Henderson, Crook County chapter representative for COTA.

“In addition, they will be less crowded and offer more solitude,” she wrote. “I expect that this will attract trail users from all over Central Oregon, including Prineville and Crook County, as well as tourist(s) traveling to the area to vacation and recreate.”

The trails would be open to other nonmotorized use, such as hikers and horseback riders, but the emphasis is mountain biking.

— Reporter: 541-617-7812, ddarling@bendbulletin.com

To comment

The Ochoco National Forest is taking comments on its plans to expand the Lookout Mountain Trail network. Email to comments-pacificnorthwest-ochoco@fs.fed.us, mail to 3160 N.E. Third St., Prineville, OR 97754 or fax to 541-416-6695. Deadline is May 28. For more information go tohttp://j.mp/1q8H0Pg or call 541-416-6500.



Ochoco Trail Proposal

The Ochoco National Forest has released their scoping letter for the trail proposal in the vicinity of Lookout Mountain.

 

Here is the link to the letter and map http://data.ecosystem-management.org/nepaweb/nepa_project_exp.php?project=44349

 

The Ochoco National Forest is inviting comments on this proposal.  Comments may be submitted via any of the following methods:

·         mailed to Ochoco National Forest, 3160 NE Third Street, Prineville, OR, 97754

·         faxed to 541-416-6695

·         emailed to pacificnorthwest-ochoco@fs.fed.us.

·         hand delivered between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:30 pm, Monday – Friday (except holidays)

·         oral during normal business hours at 541-416-6500

 

Your comments should be received by the Ochoco National Forest on or before May 28, 2014.