OPENING THIS WEEKEND!!! Friday, May 11th at 5PM – 10PM. Make sure to bring your own bike, they don’t have a rental fleet yet. Restaurant will not be open. Check-out their Facebook page for more info.
What’s to Love: Before getting into specifics, I want to say that I haven’t been this excited about a new family-adventure-oriented-business since Sky High Sports opened in Tigard. The Lumberyard is opening soon, and my sons were lucky enough to get a trial run through the incredible ramps, whoop-de-dos, jumps, bank-turns, and much more. The various courses will test the skills of everyone from toddlers on push bikes to the most advanced mountain bike, free-ride, and BMX riders. Even with everyone working so hard to get the place open, we were treated so kindly by the entire staff – a staff that shares the same enthusiasm and excitement for this fun and challenging sport.
So 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 are starting a business that will NO DOUBT make the entire area a better place. It’s going to be busy, people are going to bring their families from all over Portland (and beyond), and there is going to be a tremendous amount of community support and goodwill. This is an incredible project, and I’m very excited to be supporting it with this article.
It’s almost impossible to describe in words how incredibly awesome this place is. I think the best way to describe it is for you to imagine me standing inside the Lumberyard filming my kids riding the various skills courses and ramps. While filming, I notice a group of 5 – 7 teen-aged kids enter the building – most likely, local kids.
Since the Lumberyard isn’t even open yet, I wonder if someone will eventually ask the kids to leave. However, that’s not what happens at all! Matthew Mangus, Marketing Director, hangs with them for at least 10 minutes answering all their questions without a hint of pretension or impatience.
Finally, one of the kids walks over to me, and I ask him “So, What do you think of this place?” He looks me right in the eye and replies, “This place is SICK!” Then, he just walks away while shaking his head in disbelief as he continues to look around. I yell after him, “YEAH, IT IS SICK!” That was the conversation, but nothing else needed to be said! Indeed, that teenager described it in one word, and that word is exactly spot-on! The Lumberyard is “SICK!!!” So sick that again, it’s hard to explain everything in an article.
However, I do want to let you know some features that I find worthy of mention here. As a parent, you know that many family destinations lack good food. Well, The Lumberyard has you covered with an adjoining restaurant that will offer brew-style food with Portland flare. 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 $10! 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: Since they are not open yet, it’s hard to address this area. While looking over the entire place, my main concerns was “…what is going to happen 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, it will be busy and hard to keep track of all the riders. They tried to organize the various courses with a flow in mind. Hopefully, it won’t be too chaotic for kids trying to find their way.
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!
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 (confined area), 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?
Obviously, there are many factors that will elevate the level of stress at a place like this. I think it’s very important once the place opens that riders really help each other out and form a cultural kindness, support, and responsibility. There is no way their staff will be able to monitor every inch of the various routes and courses. Parents will have to accept a measure of “letting go” within the confines of the building.
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 would be so cool to see an entire family out on the various courses, and I’m sure it will happen within the first days of opening.
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!
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.
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 will 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...
Springwater Corridor/Eastbank Esplanade on February 17th, 2008
Marine Drive Bike Path on May 4th, 2011
Great Adventure Book! on February 27th, 2010