MTB Eugene plans to testify again at Monday’s City Council Meeting, requests all cyclists to come and show support

The Eugene City Council listens to testimony from MTB Eugene on April 26th

The recently-formed mountain bike advocacy group MTB Eugene is returning to the Eugene City Council on Monday, May 24th to lobby for the re-opening of the Ribbon Trail to cyclists.  MTB Eugene, which was formed in response to the city’s decision to ban cyclists from the Ribbon Trail, has a goal to eventually open the entire Ridgeline trail system to bicyclists.

The closing of the Ribbon Trail has proven to be the most popular subject on WeBikeEugene by far; this seems to indicate that mountain bikers in Eugene are a silent and suppressed majority.  Indeed, Eugene (like Portland) has ridiculously little mountain bike trail access in relationship to its size and large bicycling populace.  Much of this is due to a perceived conflict between mountain bikers and hikers, and the belief that mountain bikes damage trails more than hikers.  Both of these beliefs have been shown in study after study after study after study to be false.  Some studies have indicated that the real issue is the fear that hikers have of conflict with mountain bikers – a fear that for the most part exists only in hikers not exposed to mountain bikers.

MTB Eugene’s testimony before city council on Monday will address a few of these issues, as well as other specific reasons that The Ribbon Trail should be re-opened to bikes.

Go here for previous coverage of the closing of the Ribbon Trail and here for coverage and video of MTB Eugene’s previous testimony before City Council.

Take the jump to read MTB Eugene’s full press release for the upcoming May 24th City Council Meeting.

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MTB Eugene and Disciples of Dirt get the attention of the Eugene City Council

Mountain biker Daisy LaPoma holds a sign that says "I Yield to Hikers."

Members of the newly formed mountain bike advocacy group, MTB Eugene, and the Disciples of Dirt (DoD) mountain bike social and trail maintenance club attended the Eugene City Council meeting on Monday, April 26th to protest the recent closing of the Ribbon Trail to cyclists. Over 50 people met in front of the city council chambers before the meeting to plan and make pro-mountain bike trail-use signs.  The goal of the gathering was to show the city council that mountain bikers are a large constituency, and to explain to them that mountain bikers and hikers can live together in harmony on Eugene’s trails.  Even though the signs were not allowed inside the chambers, the sheer number of attendees and convincing testimony from several MTB Eugene and DoD members definitely got the attention of the city council.

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Ribbon Trail Closed to Bikes, Cyclist Community Disappointed

The "Multi-Use" Ribbon Trail

In what is being characterized as a severe blow to local mountain biking and the general advancement of cycling in Eugene, the newly constructed multi-use Ribbon Trail connecting Hendricks Park to 30th Ave was closed to cyclists as of 5pm Thursday. In a letter to stakeholders (see PDF at the bottom of this post) Neil Björklund, The Eugene Parks and Open Space Planning Manager explains:

“Based on our conversations with a variety of stakeholder groups, there are enough concerns about safety of allowing both hikers and bicycles on this trail that we cannot with confidence recommend both uses on this trail.”

The letter also states that maintenance concerns and the trail’s proximity to Hendricks Park also factored in to the decision, but local advocates retort that the trail was designed with bike use in mind, and that these concerns do not warrant the closing of one of Eugene’s only mountain biking trails.

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WeBikeEugene.org Official Launch

Welcome to WeBikeEugene.org!

This post  marks the official launch of WeBikeEugene.  We have been posting for a few weeks now, and it’s time to spread the word about the site.

WeBikeEugene has a simple mission statement.  We exist to spread news of cycling to cyclists and others in the Eugene/Springfield area.  We plan to cover advocacy, road riding, commuting, infrastructure projects, off-road projects, recreational riding, road and off-road racing, cycling community events, and anything else having to do with cycling in Eugene, Springfield, and the surrounding area.

Some describe us as Eugene’s version of BikePortland.org. We consider this comparison a great compliment, and hope to be as thorough one day as they are.  However, we have no current plans to expand our coverage beyond the Eugene/Springfield area, nor do we have the resources to update as often.

You can see a little bit of who we are about by browsing our previous topics.  We are not fully operational as of yet, and are still in the process of bringing more contributors on staff.  As we acquire more writers our coverage of events, especially in the racing and off-road scenes, will expand.

We welcome any suggestions for articles, news tips, and submitted articles.  You can contact us here. None of us run this site full-time, and we welcome any help and suggestions from our readers.

As well as doing our own reporting, we will also be aggregating other Eugene/Springfield area news sources, including GEARS news, Safe Routes to School news, the City of Eugene’s InMotion Newsletter, and other sources.  Our goal is not to compete with these already wonderful news sources, but instead to make them more accessible to the general public.

Many people have put a lot of effort into making this site a reality, but it will only be useful if people spread the word.  A cycling community educated about current cycling events will progress faster than one that is left in dark.  You can help by reading, spreading the word, suggesting article ideas, or even contributing.

And, of course, the most important thing is to get out and ride!