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Dream in the Making

Bike Skills Park opens in New Columbia

7/31/2013, 10:54 a.m.
Residents of the New Columbia neighborhood are celebrating the grand opening of a new Bike Skills Park.
A new Bike Skills Park gets a test drive in the New Columbia neighborhood of north Portland. The safe riding area was made possible by a grant of $15,500 from the Portland Development Commission. Melinda Musser

Residents of the New Columbia neighborhood are celebrating the grand opening of a new Bike Skills Park.

Located on the corner of North Trenton Street and Woolsey Avenue, the park will offer a safe riding area for people of all ages and skill levels.

“Last year, this once vacant lot transformed into a vibrant, active space for the New Columbia community with the completion of the Bike Repair Hub,” noted Jonnie Ling, Community Cycling Center director of operations. “We are so excited to work with residents on skill development this year at the new Bike Skills Park; it’s a dream that’s been in the making for quite some time.”

The Bike Skills Park project was made possible by a $15,500 grant from the Portland Development Commission. Home Forward, the property owner, will provide ongoing maintenance and security for the Skills Park.

We All Can Ride -- New Columbia’s bike committee -- and Community Cycling Center staff and volunteers will offer residents group instruction and skill development training.

The Skills Park course includes beginning and advanced areas for people of all skill levels. The outside perimeter of the track contains looser turns and wider board rides for people at a beginning skill level.

The beginner’s loop also offers fun obstacles, like log rolls and a rock garden, giving people experience with uneven grade. The interior of the track contains tighter turns and narrower board rides, boulder pinch points, advanced berms with tighter turns, and a teeter-totter obstacle for those that want to work on more advanced skill sets.

Depending on the age and skill level of the participants, the program instruction at the Bike Skills Park includes several features:

Safety – appropriate clothing and equipment to wear on the track; rules for the track.

Basic bicycle balance – ability to ride without falling; cycling dexterity and agility.

Proper pedaling and breaking techniques – building momentum and coming to a slow, controlled stop without skidding.

Proper turning and steering techniques – ability to execute a tight radius turn in both directions.

Advanced bicycle balance – standing high in the saddle and balancing while moving at slow speeds.

Multiple task functions – ability to brake, signal, balance, and turn at the same time.

Emergency maneuvers – safe breaking techniques and avoidance of natural obstacles and hazards.

“I feel very connected to it because I feel that it’s already a big deal with the [Bike Repair] Hub and the soccer field,” says Doug Campbell, a We All Can Ride member. “The Skills Park will enlarge the place like a big magnet for kids and adults. I love the setting. These big Doug Fir and Sycamore trees towering over the park as if to say this is heaven on Earth.”