What’s to Love: This is an update to the original Lumberyard article published in May of 2012. In our first article, this awesome indoor bike park wasn’t even officially open. We were some of the first outsiders they let in to preview the terrain. As I stated back then, I was completely awestruck by the genius of the entire place. With the bike culture in Portland, I knew this business would serve the community for a long time. Well into the second year, we took another look, and it remains a place that tests the skills of everyone from toddlers on push bikes to the most advanced mountain bike, free-ride, and BMX riders. If you haven’t been to the Lumberyard, I urge you to check-it-out!
So exactly what is the “Lumberyard?” The Lumberyard is a HUGE indoor bike park located on 82nd Avenue in NE Portland. Yes…that 82nd Avenue! I think that’s one of the things I love most about this entire project. The owners started a business that NO DOUBT make the entire area a better place. It gets busy, and people are bringing their families from all over Portland (and beyond). There has been a tremendous amount of community support and goodwill.
It’s almost impossible to describe in words how incredibly awesome this place is. Each time we’ve visited, I’ve been impressed by the friendliness of the staff, and the willingness for other, more experience riders, to defer to my kids and offer them encouragement. There is a strong sense of community among the regular riders.
If it’s your first time, stick to the green course, which offers plenty of options for beginning-level riders. I’ve seen plenty of kids moving through this course, even on push bikes! Make sure your kids understand how the direction of travel – it’s okay to go into the course area to help them out or take pictures.
As a parent, you know that many family destinations lack good food. Well, The Lumberyard has you covered with an adjoining restaurant offering pizza. What are you going to do when your kids are riding? Relax in a comfortable lounge with wireless access and multiple television screens – that’s what! Don’t have a bike to ride? No problem, The Lumberyard will set you up with a rental (bike, pads, and helmet) all day for just $15! Don’t know what to do with your toddler who wants to hit the park with the big kids? Bring (or rent) a push-bike for your young rider and let him/her work it out in a totally separate area for beginning riders!
Not only do they have great courses setup for younger kids and beginning-level-riders, intermediate to advanced riders of all kinds (i.e., recreational, mountain bikers, BMX, free-riders, trials, cyclecross, etc.) will have plenty of terrain to show and/or practice their stuff. There were some features that intimidated me just by looking at them, and I wasn’t even riding that day with my kids! So, I’ve tried my best with words. Now, it’s time to see for yourself. Check out the 4-minute clip of my kids riding.
Caveats: My main concern has always been, “…what happens when there are riders all over the place, especially with different abilities? Will kids understand the flow of the various courses?” While parents can come down on the course, at times it’s busy and hard to keep track of all the riders. They organized the various courses with a flow in mind. Hopefully, it won’t be too chaotic for kids trying to find their way. Riders are pretty good at policing this type of problem.
Being on 82nd Avenue, you might have to field some challenging questions like, “Dad/mom, why does that little house say Live Nude Girls?” They might even inquire about the meaning of “peep shows” and the like. Fortunately for me, this isn’t an advice column! I’ll leave the intricacies of that conversation to your very capable parenting skills. Good luck!
Also, there is no doubt that when your child becomes more comfortable with the terrain, s/he will probably want to move on to other sections of The Lumberyard. These might be sections that make your stomach turn just by looking at them. Our 5 year old fell off one of the higher tracks (about five feet in the air), and it was pretty traumatic for him. Physically, he was fine and not hurt; however, he did want to call it a day after that incident. Of course, he also wants to return as soon as possible!
Website: Lumberyard Bike Parks
Distance from Portland: 2700 NE 82nd Avenue, which is about 6 miles from downtown Portland. Here is a Google Map.
Recommended Ages: If you want to give it a try, all ages are welcome! It’s a great feature about The Lumberyard offering terrain for beginning riders struggling with push bikes, to riders just learning to work gears and hand brakes, to teens working hard at jumping the table-tops on the “green course,” and adult expert riders hitting the high and skinny trails. Almost any age can give it a try!
Parental Stress Factor: Depends. Will you be riding at the same time with your kids? Will your kids be doing stunts where falling might result in an injury? Do your kids get frustrated and start crying when their tires get stuck or they can’t get back on their bikes? Are you stressed when you’re trying to help your kid and other bikers are passing you or close by? Certainly, you’ll deal with these questions or similar ones.
Physical Difficulty: This type of riding is very hard and physically challenging. Even the beginner-level routes demand concentration, balance, and nerve. Although challenging, your kids will learn important biking skills that will translate in other forms of physical play.
Family Fun Factor: If your family rides together, this would rate very high on my scale! I think it’s common for entire families to hit the various courses together. Don’t be afraid to give it a try with your children.
Pet Friendly: Definitely not a place for a pet!
Weather Considerations: Finally, an indoor spot for bikers who don’t want to venture out in the cold wet mud for 8-months of the year! This business is genius!
Insider Info: For more information about pricing, etc., check out their website FAQ page. Looks like parents will have to be present with kids under 12 years old, which means teen-aged kids will be able to hang out and ride without parents.
Make sure to give them a call before you visit. They might have special pricing during different periods of the year. If you’re visiting from out of town, and you’re looking for lodging, The Lumberyard has partnered-up with a local Best Western.
There is new terrain in the basement! We didn’t get a chance to check it out, but you may want to look into it while you’re there.
Family Tips: Even though it will be busy, I think it’s important to go out on the floor with younger kids. You’ll want to take pictures and videos as well, and the best place to do it is right next to the various courses.
They have an “event room” available for birthday parties! Can you imagine having a birthday party here for one of your kids? It would be incredible! That would be one memorable birthday.
Other Posts of Interest...
Tips for Biking with Kids on July 1st, 2008
Rocky Butte - Joseph Wood Hill Park on May 6th, 2012
Springwater Corridor/Eastbank Esplanade on February 17th, 2008