Portland's Progress

Though most of Portland’s singletrack networks are within an hour’s drive of the city, the centrally located Gateway Green is an urban bike playground that is accessible to all. Longtime Portland resident Matthew Slaven remembers using this zone as a cyclocross training ground years ago, but these days he’s more likely to turn up for some pumptrack laps with his daughter Zoe. Photo: Dylan VanWeelden SONY, 1/1000, F/5, ISO 400

Portland's Progress A City Surrounded by Singletrack

At the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette rivers lies the fascinating city of Portland, Oregon, a place whose alluring natural attributes are rivaled only by the independent and progressive mentality of its inhabitants.

With its rivers lined with bike paths and crossed with bridges, Portland’s layout lends itself to an outdoor lifestyle, and bicycles of all types are a preferred medium for both transportation and recreation.

While urban and commuter bikes are de rigueur within the city, mountain bikes have become increasingly popular in recent years, and today Portland boasts a burgeoning mountain bike community that is on the verge of exploding. Like most metropolitan areas in the United States, there are precious few trails within the city itself, but Portland’s proximity to open landscapes and the foothills of the Cascade Range means that singletrack networks abound just a short drive from the downtown core.

On any given day, Portlanders can be seen loading bikes onto their vehicles and heading out of the city in all directions, inevitably bound for a trailhead leading to a diverse array of singletrack. Unlike many of the country’s large cities—where the average inhabitant is more concerned with finding a high-paying job than spending time outdoors—Portland’s population is increasingly defined by a shared desire for a life balanced between work productivity and an outdoor lifestyle. Attracted by this balance of work and play, and drawn by the promise of craft beer, craft food and even craft bikes, more like-minded people are moving to the city. The economy is booming, the skyscape is transforming, and the demographic is diversifying. And mountain biking is fast becoming one of the common threads that binds Portlanders together. 

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