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May 28th, 2014 PETE COTTELL | Bike Guide
 

Bike Guide 2014: BMX Shops and Rides

       
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SHOP

Goods

2808 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 282-5408, goodsbmx.com. Noon-6 pm Monday-Saturday.

Portland has both a world-famous BMX scene and a love of all things local. So it’s sad that most of Portland’s brick-and-mortar bike shops limit their stock to a few Mongooses stuffed in the back corner. Enter Shad Johnson. The local BMX impresario watched as online sales drove BMX products out of stores, then figured he might give the market a try. Johnson opened Goods in 2005 and has watched sales bloom as dudes his age (37) bring their kids in and end up leaving with a new ride of their own. People who grew up in the BMX boom of the ’70s and ’80s are now getting new 26-inch bikes so they can join their kids at parks. “The scene is getting very close to becoming multigenerational,” Johnson says. “Before I opened Goods, you had nothing. It was online, or nowhere. These older dudes might not be getting back into it if they didn’t have a shop to walk in to and check out the new stuff that works for guys their age.” Don’t let the store’s diminutive size fool you—Goods selection is small but well-curated. “I only carry stuff I know about—it’s not worth the hassle of selling people garbage and dealing with them bringing it back in.”

 

Outer Rim

10625 NE Halsey St., 278-3235, outerrimbicycles.com. 10 am-7 pm Monday-Saturday, noon-5 pm Sunday.

Goods may be the only dedicated BMX shop in town, but Outer Rim also has plenty of cred. The back half of the store is handsomely outfitted with bikes of all sizes, from brands like Felt, Haro and Colony—the latter sponsoring Outer Rim’s part-time salesman and veteran pro BMXer, Paddy Gross. The shop’s proximity to the Lumberyard has caused a spike in BMX during the normally dead winter months, and it has responded with expanded offerings picked in part by Gross.

 

Urban Gravity

16552 SE McLoughlin Blvd. 971-244–2449, ugscooter.com. 10 am-6 pm Monday-Friday, 10 am-4 pm Saturday.

Scooters may have began as the doofiest way to ride to middle school, but they’ve lately evolved into the big new thing in action sports. Fifteen years after Razor Scooters hit the market, Steve Sharp now runs Portland’s first custom scooter shop, which sells high-end versions at a small shop behind a Round Table Pizza in Milwaukie. “You give a kid something with wheels, and he’ll figure out how to do flips on it.” Don’t believe him? Log on to YouTube and prepare to be dumbfounded by the tricks kids are doing on stainless steel scooters that make Razors look like Tech Decks. Sharp repairs BMX bikes in the back of the shop, but kids who drag their moms out of their suburban subdivisions to plunk down $500 on custom scooter setups are Urban Gravity’s best customers. Respect from ESPN’s X-Games is as yet forthcoming, but scootering is increasingly serious business,.


RIDE

Pacific Park

Northeast 18th Street & 172nd Avenue, Vancouver, Wash.

Simple, yet elegant: Pacific Park has a parallel setup with a back-and-forth street run on the left and a bowl run on the right, with a quick transition in the middle to keep your session flowing from one to the other. The locals prefer the park they call “VNC” because it’s chill, ego-free and way less sketchy than the muni park down on Fourth Plain. If you end up in Clark County with your bike in tow, enjoy the local herbs (on someone else’s property) and get some air on what feels like the edge of the universe.


Pier Park

10325 N Lombard St.

St. John’s feels like a hidden bonus level to Portland proper. So it’s the perfect place for the masters behind the legendary Burnside skatepark to assemble a throwback to the swimming pool era. The Pier Park park is pretty far out there, and prone to puddles that linger for days, but the full pipe section of the bowl run is a rare bird in this part of the state, enabling some next-level shit you’d otherwise only try in a video game. If you do go that route, wear a helmet: There’s no code for 99 lives in this mortal realm.

 

Ripzu Indoor Skatepark

1417 NE 76th St., Suite C, Vancouver, Wash.

It’s ain’t quite The Lumberyard, but Ripzu is certainly a great use for a nondescript warehouse around the corner from a rehab clinic in the ‘Couv. After being temporarily shuttered by financial issues, Ripzu is back with a phatter sound system and a little less space to shred. $10 gives you access to two parallel runs—the lower serves as an elongated vert run with some grindable ledges thrown in for flavor, while the upper has a bowl with an extended lip for big ups that are likely to put you through the ceiling.

 

Jim Griffith Memorial Park

13125 SW Hall Blvd., Tigard.

This all-concrete bowl-o-rama is not your average suburban park. Rather than disrupt the flow with minor concessions for the entry-level kiddos that knock around at Tualatin Rec on the weekend, Dreamland Skateparks created a rolling, multi-tiered haven for serious riders. A kiddy pool is perched between the vert-driven back end and the deep bowl up front, but you won’t find much in the way of rinky dink ledges and banks for disinterested tag-alongs to derp around on until their ride shows up. Speaking of rides, Griffith is less than a mile from the Tigard TC stop on the MAX Blue Line, making it an essential stop for the transportationally challenged.

 

The Lumberyard

2700 NE 82nd Ave., 252-2453, lumberyardmtb.com.

Before this massive 42,000-square-foot indoor bike park took over a bowling alley on Northeast 82nd Avenue, a rainy day for a rider in Portland meant enduring the turf war with skaters at the park sheltered by the Burnside Bridge or staying home. At $24.95 on weekdays and $29.95 on weekends, a day of shredding what proprietor Will Heiberg calls a “videogame level” of a space ain’t cheap, but having access to a pump track, trail lines, onsite repairs and a full-service bar under one roof is easily worth the price of admission. Rent a loaner and ease your way in, or bring your own bike and brush up on outdoor simulations before taking some real dirt on.


Tualatin Hills

50 NW 158th Ave., Beaverton.

That this sprawling multiuse athletic facility in the ’burbs even has a skatepark goes to show just how far action sports have come since the days of Rad and Skate Or Die. Behind the soccer fields lies a newbie fantasy land: the older street park flanked with vert ramps built by the X Games, and a newer concrete section decked out with a winding perimeter and enough transitions to get all Tony Hawk Jr. on the place. The bowls aren’t too deep, but the fence dividing the parts is effective in keeping the kids on the Razor Scooters out of harms way while the bigger kids come out to play. Be sure to use the entrance on Blueridge and 158th—the front entrance will give you a lengthy walking tour through a sterile municipal park that feels like something a soccer mom would create in Gattaca.


Meldrum Bar

Off of Meldrum Bar Park & River Road, Gladstone.

When The Grotto—a popular jump track in Northeast—was plowed over last March, BMXers were left high and dry. Enter Meldrum Bar, a quiet riverfront park behind some trailer homes in Gladstone. The piles are still fresh, but a recent visit on a rainy day showed substantial evidence of the trail getting some love. Directions look nebulous online, but the track is easy to find: Turn down Meldrum Bar Park Road, pull a U-turn in the boat access lot, park near the remote control car track (!!!) and get ready to rip.

 

WJ Skatepark & Urban Plaza

West 1st Avenue & Jefferson Street, Eugene. 

Road trip! The largest covered and lit skatepark in the country just opened in Eugene. Beg your mom or your roommate to loan you the minivan and make the trek south for some bone-dry grindage without any of the politics that plague Oregon’s other landmark park under a bridge. A torrential downpour leaves the outer 25 percent of the park unusable, but the designers—that would be Dreamland, which drew up the legendary Burnside park among many others—kept the bowls, rails, and trannys carefully protected from the Oregon sunshine. Bonus points for being less than a mile from a 7-Eleven, an essential part of any road trip that involves bowls of all varieties.

 
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