There's no question that the global COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed our lives—and the sport of mountain biking—in ways that none of us could have foreseen just one year ago.
While the widespread death and economic devastation have been unimaginably tragic; the outdoor industry has seen the biggest boom of our lifetimes.
With most people stuck at home and urged to avoid public places, the great outdoors has become the only socially responsible venue for recreation, and the rush of humanity to trails has been unprecedented. Many of these folks have been hikers, but the number of people choosing to experience nature on two wheels has been nothing short of amazing. Sales of bikes—whether road, mountain, or electric assist–have exceeded our wildest imagination, and our local trails have been filled with countless new faces.
The vast majority of this traffic has been local or regional, with interstate travel consistently being discouraged. Still, many people have found ways to safely venture further afield, and with some light at the end of this long pandemic tunnel, it's reasonable to expect a future explosion in mountain bike tourism. We at Freehub welcome this anticipated increase in tourism number, as we believe getting more people outside will instill a more widespread appreciation for nature—and a greater understanding of the ever-pressing need to care for our environment.
For this reason, we've infused this special Northwest Oregon Photo Book with stories of how this extraordinary region has come to be one of the world's greatest places to ride a mountain bike. Though Northwest Oregon's striking diversity of landscapes and climate naturally lends itself to world-class riding, the trails themselves were transformed by the people who have lived here—from the native inhabitants who first created them to the loggers who built access roads to the mountain bikers and equestrians who have expanded and maintained them over the past several decades.
It's these passionate people who have founded rail advocacy organizations, formed cooperative relationships with differet user groups and established productive, ongoing dialogues with managers of both public and private lands. None of this has come easily, and there will always be challenges, but the sustained collaboration of all these parties is what continues to make this region a mountain biking paradise that can be enjoyed by all.
This book is a tribute to these hardworking people. And as we mountain bikers cautiously begin to travel again in search of new places to ride, we hope it will serve as a reminder for all of us–whether we've been riding for years or have just discovered the joys of mountain biking—to play our own roles as stewards of these divine paths to freedom and happiness.
- Brice Minnigh, Editor in Chief