By Max Bendis
We are all about outdoor activities at Ablis, and mountain biking is a passion we can all seem to agree on.
Bend offers tons of trails, of varying difficulties, for anyone looking to cover some ground and get your heart pumping.
I am happy to share some of my favorite spots to tear up some dirt around Bend.
Why Bend for Mountain Biking
Bend is a killer destination for mountain biking. Oregon itself has some of the most epic mountain biking in the Pacific Northwest.
Plus, we are really lucky to have some of the best spots right here in Bend.
You can do over 30-mile rides inside Bend, so you could easily make a whole day of it.
I’ve been riding pretty much my whole life, except a few years after high school because of multiple injuries.
I’ve gotten even more into riding in recent years, but I had to build it back up, and I don’t know if I’ll ever again have the confidence that I used to.
However, I feel really good about riding again this year!
That being said, there are some things to consider beforehand when you’re planning a ride.
Choose the Right Course
First things first, you need to know what level of difficulty you’re going to be comfortable with.
A lot of the trails aren’t marked very well, but Mount Bachelor, for example, uses the same kind of markings as a ski terrain.
So, you have the green circle — which is the easiest way down. The blue square is a little more medium and then there’s a black diamond and a double black diamond.
They’ll also have signs that say mandatory drops and mandatory jumps on certain trails.
For the most part, the trail system in town isn’t marked super well. However, there isn’t anything too crazy out there!
Then, determine how long of a ride you want to do.
As I said, Bend has some longer rides available. You can do up to 100 miles near Bend. We even hold 100-mile races each year.
Currently, my rides are 5 to 30 miles. Rarely more. The longest ride I’ve done myself was probably 35 or 40 miles.
I did a couple of long road rides with my dad back in the day. I think we did 60 miles once.
We rode from town up to the top of the old McKenzie pass, which is a scenic byway just outside of Sisters, Oregon. It’s a super windy road up to the top, it’s only open in the summer, and they don’t plow it during the winter.
There’s not a lot of traffic on it because it’s not the main highway. So, it’s great for scenic rides because it’s absolutely beautiful and super calm.
Personally, I am more fond of gravity and downhill trails.
We’ve got some of those around here, including Mount Bachelor.
Mount Bachelor, a ski resort during the winter, is open for downhill mountain biking in the summer. They have a trail up there called Red Line that is pretty next level.
It’s probably one of the coolest things in Bend, in my opinion.
Red Line is a flowy, jump trail and it was built by some next level trail designers.
Our friend Kyle Jameson was actually a big part of building it!
Black Sage Dirt Works is his and another buddy’s company and they build incredible trails. They even built a pump track for us over at our property in Tumalo.
Related: CBD and Me: Kyle Jameson – Ablis CBD
Flagline trail is another favorite of mine. It’s a climb through a forest with incredible views.
There are so many to check out in Bend. There is truly something for everyone.
There’s nothing worse than getting all the way out to a trail and realizing your bike needs servicing. I always make sure my bike is dialed, check the tire pressure and the shock pressure, and just make sure it’s running smoothly overall.
Then, I make sure I have all my gear, depending on if I’m riding a local trail or if I’m going to, say, Mount Bachelor.
It’s a little bit different because a trail like Bachelor, requires the full-face helmet and you’ll need all the motocross type of gear to ride up there. It’s just pretty gnarly.
Around town though, just the basics will do (little pads and a helmet).
Snacks and beverages are crucial. Having a little nutrition and maybe some CBD, caffeine, and water are important as well.
A ride is always better with friends. Ride with people who know the trail if you can.
However, I’m trying to make it a goal to explore a little more because sometimes I get stuck in riding the same trails all the time. It’s so easy to stick with what you know.
Taking bike trips with friends has gotten me out of my comfort zone because they’re always looking for new places to explore.
We’re in a high desert, so it gets super hot and all the moisture goes away in August. Everything is completely dried out, which makes the trails sandy and loose.
Trails are open, but they’re not ideal in the high desert until Fall, which is my absolute favorite time of year for rides.
It cools off a little bit, we get some moisture, some of the trails get some work. So it’s prime time.
The most practical advice I can give would be to look before you leap.
Be mindful of not trying to exceed your skill level too much.
Play on the line of exceeding it, because that’s how you progress but don’t go too far.
Injuries suck and they can hurt your confidence on the trail.
Ablis and Mountain Biking
This year, we gave away a crazy special bike in our summer raffle.
Last year, we did a local scavenger hunt and gave away five bikes. They weren’t as decked out as the one from this year, but it was still so fun to put together.
We made these custom tokens out of tree branches essentially, hid them out in the woods, and made a big scavenger hunt out of it. We had so many people out looking for these tokens.
This year, we kept it pretty mellow because we couldn’t find anything that was super COVID friendly other than an online raffle.
We’d like to do it again next year for sure, but we’ll probably do something a little bit different.
This year, the raffle proceeds went to the Central Oregon Trail Alliance.
Last year, we didn’t do a benefit. It was more about giving back to the community and having a great time outside!
One of the guys who won last year was a total beginner, but he decided to take up mountain biking and ended up losing about 65 pounds. He said he has ridden about 1,000 miles since he won the bike!
We are so proud to be a part of that story.
Related: Ablis’ Bike Raffle with COTA
The Best Local Resources
It’s kind of a local organization. They post about some of the more popular trails. On their homepage, they have the latest Bend trail reports.
This site gives you an in-depth look at specific trails all over the country. It includes difficulty, distance, elevation, and other trail info.
Another great link to access info on Oregon’s bike trails and their difficulty ratings.