Central Oregon's New Groove | Outside Features | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
Pin It

Central Oregon's New Groove 

Singletrack trails open at Wanoga for booming "fat bike" culture

The day before Christmas Eve was a typical winter day: Dozens of kids careened down the sledding hills at Wanoga Sno-Park, screaming with excitement while parents snapped pictures.

But, starting on New Year's Day, there will be a new dimension added to the activities at the popular park: Fat bikes will officially be welcomed.

Increasingly over the past several years, riders of so-called "fat bikes"—mountains bikes with massive, monster truck-style tires—have rolled onto some of the favorite trails for Nordic skiers and snowmobilers throughout Central Oregon. But with the increasingly popularity, so has intensified the question where to put all the bikes and bikers.

Gary Meyer with the Central Oregon Trail Alliance (COTA) estimates there were around 150 fat bike riders in the area last year, up from approximately 30 just three years ago—roughly a five-fold growth spurt. Others put the number even higher, around 200 local riders.

But the sport has not been without turf wars. Just like snowmobilers and backcountry skiers, traveling at different speeds and with different attitudes, they occasionally quibble over who should be allowed on which trails. Riders of fat bikes are late-comers to the party—but are quickly working to figure out where their bikes can smoothly fit into the flow.

Most notably, a working group led by COTA came up with a viable solution: On January 1, it will open nine miles of singletrack snow trails branching out from Wanoga Sno-Park, specifically designated for Bend's booming new cyclist population.

"One of the big goals with these trails was to reduce conflict," Meyer says, sitting on a barstool in his kitchen. He has a wiry black-and-grey beard that hints at his outdoor lifestyle. Meyer says the trails are set to open in January for a two-month trial period to which the U.S. Forest Service agreed.

"What Gary's doing is great because it's gonna give us as fat bikers our own zone that we can ride in without creating any kind of conflict," says Mason Shannon with Bend Cyclery.

Zach Casper at Webcyclery underscores the need for specifying these trails for fat bikes. "I'd much rather be on a singletrack with a fat bike," says the avid cyclist and skier. "Riding a fat bike down a groomed Nordic trail is like riding a really cool road bike down a landing strip. It's so wide that it's boring. It's not a challenge." This year's Desert Orthopedics Great Nordeen race on January 31 has added a 15 k fat bike race, starting at Mt Bachelor and running to Wanoga Park.

About The Author

Pin It


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Early Church Service      Limited Space

Early Church Service Limited Space - Prineville

Sun., Oct. 25, 8:30 a.m., Sun., Nov. 1, 8:30 a.m., Sun., Nov. 8, 8:30 a.m., Sun., Nov. 15, 8:30 a.m. and Sun., Nov. 22, 8:30 a.m.
Submitting an event is free and easy.

Newsletter Signup

Get Central Oregon daily news
directly in your inbox

Get Social

Latest in Outside Features

  • "With Spirit" Debuts at BendFilm

    • Oct 7, 2020
    Following locals Chelsey and Jason Magness, the film tells a story of love, loss and life through the lens of adventure racing More »
  • Seeing the Forest for the Trees

    • Sep 30, 2020
    Worthy Brewing to host the Forest Revival Concert to see more trees planted and forests restored More »
  • Big Changes at Bachelor

    • Sep 23, 2020
    As pandemic restrictions continue, Oregon's biggest ski resort plans for reservation-only parking, limited indoor amenities for the winter season More »
  • More »

Give Guide

View Online

Want to advertise with us?

For info on print and digital advertising, >> Click Here

© 2020 LAY IT OUT INC | 704 NW GEORGIA AVE, BEND, OREGON 97703  |   Privacy Policy

Website powered by Foundation