Bringing Mountain Bikers to Oregon to Experience Bikes, Beers and Beauty
Once upon a time, Oakridge, Oregon was like many Oregon small towns: surrounded on all sides by gorgeous landscape, fueled by a logging and milling economy and a tiny spot on the map that most outsiders overlooked.
But in reality, Oakridge is completely unique – full of vibrant residents who love their town and the quiet living, landscape, chain of lakes and beauty that surrounds them. The town is known as the center of Oregon recreation. So when the mill closed down, Oakridge was hard-pressed to stay
economically viable, but it was not without hope.
Oakridge is situated at foothills of the Western Cascade Mountains, surrounded by Willamette National Forest land and located on the northern bank of the upper Willamette River – making Oakridge a beautiful place to live, play and recreate. And recreate, they do!
Local and regional mountain biking enthusiasts partner with the Willamette National Forest to maintain and create trails that respect the land. Oakridge has quickly become the mountain biking capital of the Northwest, a town where the local food mart stocks energy bars and the bike shop is thriving. Restaurants understand the food needs of mountain bikers (beer, hearty healthy choices and vegetarian options) and the lodging is bike friendly.
Still, finding and getting to trailheads, not to mention finding the way down the trail, can be a bit daunting for an outsider. Oakridge resident Randy Dreiling, who runs the mt. bike shuttle company Oregon Adventures, decided to create an event to help riders from all around the world visit and experience Oakridge, in all it’s epic trails glory. Dreiling teamed up with Good Sport Promotion, expert event organizers based in Portland, and Mountain Bike Oregon was born.
Mountain Bike Oregon is a three-day, all-inclusive weekend getaway that allows mountain bikers a unique chance to fully explore the trails of Oakridge – without a care in the world. Expert guides (some of those very people working in tandem with the National Forest to preserve the land) lead the way.
Meals, clinics, shuttles, camping and demo bikes are all included. Every night riders relax in a free outdoor beer garden, under the towering tree canopy alongside the Willamette River. And true to Oregon’s heart, the beer garden features a selection of local beers from regional microbreweries – a perfect way to say “Welcome to Oregon” to the riders who come from all over the world.
The first year, Mountain Bike Oregon was attended by 30 brave souls who understood how amazing Oakridge is for mountain biking. But the event quickly grew and it now sells out with 300 participants at each of two events every summer. The event is capped at 300 riders to ensure wide open trails, and to provide riders with the opportunity to get to know each other throughout the weekend. Riders relax at night in the beer garden as they swap stories of riding in their home lands of Australia, Calgary, Colorado, Ohio, Germany, Switzerland and all over the world.
Mountain Bike Oregon started with Randy Dreiling’s dream: the dream of a small town resident who knew that the gold mine of beauty he saw every day deserved to be shared with the world. And through bringing worldwide mountain bikers to Oakridge every summer, local businesses delight in the influx of traffic and the vibrancy that Mountain Bike Oregon brings this gem of Oregon, a destination town no longer overlooked.
For more information on Mountain Bike Oregon, see MTBoregon.com.
Ayleen Crotty is a bike enthusiast from Portland, Oregon and the editor of ORbike.com. She is the director of the bicycle film festival Filmed by Bike.