Last night I broke out the cross bike for an evening ride as the sun was going down. I had waited for it to cool off a bit and finally got out around 8 pm. I cruised on down to my favorite local off-road training area, the Keizer Rapids Park, and got set for a good night of tearing it up off road style. However, within just a few minutes I was caught offguard by a strange site; pavement, on the trails I loved to ride.
Now before I go too far, I should note that not ALL of the trails have been paved. In fact, the majority of the park is not paved. I made the following crude map to show the new paved areas below:
If you’re familiar with the park at all, you’ll note that the paved area starts at the parking lot (which you can’t see in this older ariel shot) and then goes around the big open field that borders up to the Willamette River, then winds through the outer edge of the forest. There are still tons of area that have natural paths, gravel roads, and rough grassy fields. In fact, the wide open areas down towards the water are growing wild and seem even more rugged than last fall.
I rode until about 9:30 or so, when the light was pretty much gone and I couldn’t see anything through the forest trails, and headed home. (I didn’t want to bump into the cougar after dark, of course.) When I got home my wife asked how the ride went and I sat her down to brace her, and broke the bad news to her. “Honey, they paved a bunch of the trails in Keizer Rapids.”
“Oh yeah, that was always part of the plan.”
What? Oh yes…I remember that she had actually attended meetings about the park long before it became a reality. She was indeed more informed than I was about the entire plan. And according to the Statesman Journal, the 4500 feet of trail that was paved was to meet the Americans With Disabilities Act regulations ….so I suppose you can’t argue too much with that.
As I stopped by this morning to take a few photos, I bumped into a friend…a mother who’s three children were out on bikes and scooters. She asked what I was doing and I mentioned being heartbroken over the pavement. I told her that I understood it was a bittersweet necessity, and she said something that made appreciate the pavement more than I previously had.
“It makes it a lot nicer for those of us with little kids to get them out here on their bikes.” And then I saw the good. Yes, kids on bikes….ok, I can live with that. And besides, there are still plenty of unpaved trails to be had in the park…time to get cranking…cross season is just around the corner!