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photo courtesy NPR’s State of the Re: Union.

A couple mountain bike news items to share today:

2012 Olympic Mountain Bike Course Takes Shape

Over on Echo News, reader Andrew Batty shares pics of the Olympic mountain bike course being constructed near Hadleigh Castle. From the pics it looks like there’s a high hill that will provide much of the elevation for the course, though no word on actual climbing numbers yet. The area looks to offer a good mix of open areas and forest groves which should make it ideal for spectators.

Oakridge, OR: Mountain Bike Capital of the Northwest

National Public Radio has a new series called Re:Union and a recent article (episode?) featured the Oakridge, OR mountain bike scene. The story looks at how Oakridge, a rural town suffering from a collapse in the lumber market, is reinventing itself as a mountain bike destination. We’ve heard great things about the riding around Oakridge and the annual Mountain Bike Oregon weekend seems to get bigger and bigger each year.

The whole idea of embracing mountain biking (and other outdoor activities) to help boost isolated economies seems like a win-win. In fact there’s plenty of opportunity for small towns around the country to do the same (Appalachian communities here on the east coast seems like prime targets). Even if you don’t live near Oregon, start thinking about mountain bike trips you can take to expand your riding horizons AND to help local economies.

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  • AK_Dan

    I was fortunate to sit through IMBA’s presentation of the economics of MTB at one of their trail crew weekends in CA last year, extrememly informative and I highly advise it for anyone interested in this aspect of the sport. Changing the opinions of town folk about MTB’s and bike infrastucture in general from a liability to an asset can be difficult. However there are a growing number of towns doing just that- slowly. I rode Oakridge 3 (?) years ago and at the time there was only one bike shop there that I found, now there are a few listed. The town had the set up for it all though, motels, campgrounds, espresso/internet shop and even an old fashioned A&W resturant. Its completely surrounded by mountains with a couple rivers and lakes, the terrain is steep but well suited for trails. I hope to be there again at the end of this month, right after several days in Bend- another one of them comunities that has seen ‘the MTB light’.

  • gclunis

    This actually looks really interesting, I’m relatively new to mountain biking so I don’t completely understand the intricacies of all of this but i’m sure that those that are competing in the olympics will enjoy the ride. Good luck to all.

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