Fatbiking Ross Island without a boat (video)

Fatbiking Ross Island without a boat (video)

*Please see the note below this article: Since posting this video I’ve been informed that, while public access is technically allowed below the high-water mark, there are serious concerns by some people who feel that any encouragement of biking and/or unregulated public access is not advisable on Ross Island due to its status as a natural area.

I figured this video of Dan Kaufman and Nathan Jones floating their fatbikes across the Willamette to Ross Island was the perfect way to head into the weekend.

As you’ve noticed, our News Editor Michael Andersen has been gone for two weeks on his honeymoon, so I’ve been trying to keep things afloat on my own. I did this for many years; but it’s harder now (for various reasons I won’t get into right now) and by the end of the week my brain is really fried.

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When Dan sent me this video a few hours ago, I felt more relaxed immediately. And I had no idea that fat bikes floated! It’s so fun to watch, I bet it’d be even more fun to do. Speaking of which, Dan shared a few tips if you want to try it.

  • No helmet needed but wear a life vest
  • Go at low tide
  • Bring your river shoes
  • Bring a safety flag if you plan to cross the large channels
  • Know if there are any harmful algal blooms and avoid them (the current one has gone way beyond the Ross Island Sand and Gravel lagoon)
  • Camping is allowed up to the annual high water mark. Why not spend the night?
  • Follow the posted instructions for the wildlife area and gravel operation

And if you need a fatbike, Nathan rents them at his shop.

Have a great weekend, wherever your bike takes you.

NOTE: We have been contacted by Mike Houck, director of the Urban Greenspaces Institute. Houck is concerned by our portrayal of biking on Ross Island. This is his statement:

“While you are technically correct that people can access the island below ordinary high water I’m sure you can appreciate people do not, in fact, respect where they are above or below. Ross Island has no public access, either on the privately owned portions or Portland Parks’ 45 acres. As for biking on Ross and East Island, it goes without saying, I would hope, that it is not consistent with the fact that it’s a wildlife refuge”


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