Mountain Biking Festival Draws Hundreds of Cyclists to Oakridge, Westfir
This weekend, hundreds of cyclists will travel to Oakridge for the 16th annual Mountain Bike Oregon Festival.
The four-day festival starts Thursday, and features guided trail rides through the Willamette National Forest, river rafting, food carts, and an adult beverage garden in the evenings.
The festival was cancelled last year because of COVID, and Mountain Bike Oregon owner Daniella Crowder is excited to get back on the trail.
“We have so many people who return year after year, so it’s like family week for us, you know,” Crowder said. “We get to see all these great people, meet new people, and I think this year, even though we’re a little bit smaller, I think is going to be one of the best years ever, because everyone is going to be so excited.”
Changes for COVID safety include organized cycling groups, or “pods,” that will stay consistent throughout the weekend, which Crowder says they may keep after this year.
“It actually turned out to be a great thing,” Crowder said. “Because then the people get to ride together all weekend, meet new people, their guides are with them all weekend, they get to really know their riding styles and who to keep an eye on, and who to give a little extra support to.”
Crowder hopes to support the local communities of Oakridge and Westfir by encouraging visitors to shop locally, and counting purchase receipts as raffle tickets.
“So, the more money you spend in Oakridge and Westfir, the more chances you have to win prizes, and then we’ll total up all those receipts and be able to report back to the local chambers, ‘hey, our participants spent XYZ in your town’, so, you’ know, we just really want to be part of the community. We come in there, we’re a big event, and we want to make sure the community is benefiting from it as well,” Crowder said.
The Mountain Bike Oregon Festival and other mountain biking events annually bring millions of tourist dollars into Oregon, according to a Linfield College Study.
The festival goes from Thursday until Sunday.