COTA enhances Bend’s mountain bike trails for adaptive riders

Central Oregon Trail Alliance (COTA) announces a project to increase mountain bike trail accessibility for riders of adaptive mountain bikes in Bend, Oregon.

What is COTA offering?

In collaboration with key leaders in accessible recreation, COTA aims to promote accessible riding opportunities in Central Oregon.

From May 1-14, 2023, a team of adaptive mountain bikers will assess 100 miles of trails near Bend, including the trail experience, trailhead facilities, and accessibility barriers.

The project includes a community day on May 6 at LOGE Camp Bend, where anyone in the community can meet the team and learn more about trail accessibility.

The project is managed by Empowering Access, which is owned by Ashley Schahfer, who leads disability equity and inclusion consulting in the built environment.

The on the ground team will be led by Quinn Brett and Joe Stone of Dovetail Trails. Their expertise will ensure that the project provides tangible data, recommendations, and education to facilitate an inclusive trail environment.

Other partners to the cause

Additional project partners include Oregon Adaptive Sports (OAS), a nonprofit that guides adaptive athletes on outdoor adventures in Central Oregon, and the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), which facilitated a private grant to support the work.

During the assessment, the team will ride trails and document key components such as trailhead accessibility, tread width, grade, and cross slope.

This information will then be publicized so that adaptive riders can make informed decisions about what trails they would like to ride.

Often, the biggest barrier preventing an adaptive mountain biker from accessing a trail is simply lack of information.

Thoughts from the executives

“I’m excited to put Central Oregon on the map for the adaptive cycling community,” said Abbie Wilkiemeyer, COTA’s volunteer project manager.

“Other communities are using universal design to open trails of all difficulty levels to adaptive mountain bikers. If they can do it, we can do it.”

“All of the COTA volunteers participating in the assessments are looking forward to the opportunity to learn what works and what doesn’t for riders on different equipment on trails.”

COTA is a nonprofit dedicated to the development, protection, and enhancement of the Central Oregon mountain biking experience. COTA maintains over 600 miles of singletrack trails across six chapters.