NWTA Board Bios – Charlie Kohlmeier

Charlie joined the NWTA board in 2023.

You can reach Charlie at [email protected].

How and when did you first get involved with NWTA?

I grew up in Washington, spending a lot of my childhood volunteering with trail crews for WTA. So, when I moved to Portland I was on the hunt for a volunteer organization to fill that void. I ran into a group of NWTA volunteers doing some maintenance while on a ride at Sandy Ridge, and inquired how I could help. They referred me to their website, and I signed up for the very next work party at Sandy Ridge.

When NWTA gained stewardship at Rocky Point in 2019, one of my favorite places to ride, I started to get more involved. In 2020 I became a crew lead, and in 2022 I finished my first trail at Rocky Point. 

What made you decide to join the NWTA board? 

I want to be part of shaping the future of mountain biking in Portland. I want to show up, represent my fellow riders, and advocate for more access to off-road cycling for the people of Portland. 

What part of NWTA’s mission resonates with you; what are your plans to help move this forward? 

I am keen on helping create more access for off-road cycling in the city of Portland. The city is currently dragging its feet on providing ample space for off-road cycling within city limits. Often, off-road cyclists have to drive dozens of miles for trail access, and cyclists without cars are left without access altogether. It is imperative that as a city that prides itself on cycling culture that we hold our leaders accountable to represent for all cyclists of all socio-economic backgrounds, and we need to make sure that access isn’t prevented by over privileged home owners near public lands.

When did you first start mountain biking and what was your first bike? 

I started mountain biking when I first moved to Portland in 2008. My first bike was an Iron Horse 6point4. 26″ wheels, 150mm of travel, and 45lbs. We spent many days together at Blackrock, Sandy, Post Canyon, Exit 27, TLine to Town, and Whistler. Those were the days where bikes couldn’t climb very well, and most of our adventures involved a lot of hike-a-bike, lifts, and shuttling. I fell out of the zone for a few years from 2012-2017, focusing more on single speed bikes, and commuting. When I returned to the world of mountain biking in 2017, the bikes had become drastically lighter and more capable. I was able to explore further into what was possible to accomplish on a bike, and what was once an occasional weekend drill began to take over all of my free time. 

What do you love about mountain biking? 

To me, mountain biking is the perfect adventure platform. With the right level of fitness and determination, the possibilities are endless. Do you want to head out on a 50 mile backcountry epic, or get a boost of adrenaline hitting a massive new feature at Post Canyon? From getting lost in the Gifford Pinchot to jump sessions at Gateway Green, mountain biking is the best. It’s like hiking, but a way better workout on the way up, and way more fun on the way down.

Favorite place to ride?

This is an impossible question. The PNW is home to some seriously incredible places to ride. Blackrock will always hold a special place in my heart because that is where I started riding, and really fell in love with the sport. My favorite epic ride is either the Old Cascade Crest, or Smith Creek Loop. My favorite DH trails are either North Slope or Dallas. My favorite lappable spots are Rocky Point, Tokul, Duthie, and Whisky Run. If the trails are too wet or I am looking to switch it up, I usually look to OMTM or Ride with GPS and my fellow masochist buddies for a good type 2 ramble on the gravel bikes.

Trails/Spots on my list this year: Darrington, Ashland, Lookout Mountain, and Squamish 

What do you do during the day that pays the bills? 

I currently work as the Content & Community Manager for Old Man Mountain & Robert Axle Project.

What song or type of music do you listen to to get pumped up for a ride or for a dig day? 

My playlist is usually filled with some progressive house, synth wave, random hip hop, 80s butt rock, emo, drum and bass, and chillwave. Currently have a lot of Burna Boy, Coheed & Cambria, Baynk, Wolfclub, and The Midnight in the rotation.

Tell us something not mountain bike related about yourself.

When I am not riding my bike, I am dreaming about making food and playing board games.