East Portland kids flock to ‘Mountain Biking Day’ at Ventura Park

East Portland kids flock to ‘Mountain Biking Day’ at Ventura Park

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The bustling scene at Ventura Park shows the huge demand that exists for off-road cycling in Portland.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

What’s a city to do when it’s national Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day and that city has no fun places for kids to ride off-road? Get creative and turn to a local park.

That’s what the Portland nonprofit Northwest Trail Alliance decided to do this year after previously hosting the free event at venues outside the city.

The location was Ventura Park at Southeast Stark and 115th. The NWTA has already established a presence here thanks to their partnership with the Portland Parks & Recreation bureau on the pump track that opened in 2012.

For Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day, the advocacy group relied on volunteer organizers Chris and Susan Rotvik and teamed up with a dozen partners and sponsors to create four different riding areas: the pump track, a skills section, a kid-friendly cyclocross course that wound through the trees, and a special track for little balance-bike riders. Key sponsors included: Abraham Fixes Bikes, Community Cycling Center, Cyclepath PDX, Fat Tire Farm, Legacy Health, Lumberyard Bike Park, Oregon Metro, REI, Western Bikeworks, and Yakima.

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About 150 kids (and another 100 parents and supporters) showed up to take part in the riding and festivities. For 20 of those young people, it was an extra special day: Prior to the event the NWTA put out a call to the community for youth bike donations. They refurbished the bikes and passed them out to kids in need at the event (along with a free helmet). One

NWTA Advocacy Director Andrew Jansky said the event is all about the group’s ongoing effort to use off-road cycling to spur the physical and mental development of kids.

Here are a few more photos of the action…

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Jeminem Carmona just happened to be at the park with his family for his 7th birthday party. Event organizer Susan Rotvik noticed he didn’t have a bike, so she gave him one. Legacy hospital then gave him a helmet and he was all set to ride! “Jeminem’s Dad and I cried when he told me it was Jeminem’s birthday as he was riding off down the hill on his new bike,” Rotvik shared with us.
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With the City of Portland’s ongoing Off-road Cycling Master Plan process nearing completion, Jansky hopes scenes like this are far more common throughout the city in the years to come.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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