Observe the action at the Dirt Lab and it becomes readily clear that the experiment is engaging riders outside the NWTA’s current realm: Weekdays, you’ll see neighborhood moms, encouraging their charges (soon to be chargers) and, on weekends, adults on mountain bikes that were state-of-the-art a decade ago, all intermixed with our usual suspects on DJ rigs and carbon steeds. Seems everyone is dropping in, checking it out.
And it’s all smiles and thumbs up. I can’t imagine a more powerful display of the potential and demand underlying Portland’s Off-Road Cycling Master Plan. “You know what’s going to happen, don’t you?” exclaimed Commissioner Amanda Fritz during late June’s dedication of the park. “Everybody in the rest of the city is going to say, ‘They’ve got the best place, can we have one of those?’”
River City and Velo Cult have already organized weekday evening group rides centered on the Dirt Lab. RCB’s version is a “ride to your ride” while VC’s is station to station (Hollywood to Gateway), via MAX. Socialization embracing conservation.
The tide is rising. For our sport, it’s growth. For the local bike industry, seeds of greater prosperity. And the quality of the Dirt Lab’s build creates the headroom for other quality choices: Islabikes and Lumberyard’s Shred Academy for the groms, XC race whippets for the NICA scene to come in 2018, and Pike DJ upgrades for those with slammed Pivotal seatposts.
And for the NWTA? Expansion in every way imaginable: the breadth of who we are, the depth of our experience, the reach of our contribution. We’re a community of builders, building community. Come join us on the ride.