ENTERPRISE — The president of a Wallowa County bike club is getting the word out about the new nonprofit, and also promoting safety for a sport increasing in popularity in the region.
The Wallowa Mountains Bicycle Club, which was formed about a year ago, gained its nonprofit status back in November 2020 and is awaiting its 501(c)3 tax-exempt status, club President Angela Mart said.
“We want to let people know that we are a legitimate bicycle club here in Wallowa County,” Mart said. “It’s an all-inclusive bicycle club, so it doesn’t matter if you ride mountain bikes, road bikes, BMX bikes, whatever type of bike. We include everybody.”
The club was the brainchild of Mart and Zeb Burke, who started talking about forming the club two years ago.
“I started seeing that people who move here ride bikes. We want to increase the cycling opportunities in Wallowa County for individuals and families who live in Wallowa County,” Mart said. “We have goals, also, of doing bike safety. We want to do education for bike safety in the county. We want to get more kids riding bikes. We want to get everybody riding bikes but we want to get kids on bikes. We want to work with the Forest Service in improving the trails that we have now in the mountains … and possibly building more mountain bike trails as well as putting in some gravel biking routes.”
Mart said the board will be working with the U.S. Forest Service on planning for putting in trails. Currently, the only place with trails, Mart said, is 18 miles at Salt Creek Summit.
“But there is potential (for more),” she said.
The club is also exploring the possibility of seeing a portion of the East Moraine be set apart for biking use.
“I and other Wallowa Mountains Bicycle Club members have provided feedback, and I actually participated in one of the initial focus groups,” she said. “We are encouraging WMBC members to complete the survey that is currently being circulated until Oct 2. We would love to be involved in the overall planning process and have mountain bikes and gravel bikes included in that plan.”
Mart said the cycling community is growing in Wallowa County, and with that, said there is a need for cyclists and drivers alike to be aware on the road.
“We really want to get the word out that it’s important to pay attention here in Wallowa County. We have a lot of people that drive big rigs, and when they come around a corner with a loaded horse trailer and there’s a biker in the middle of the road, and there’s a car coming the other direction, what do you do?” she said. “We really want to facilitate knowledge on both sides for cyclist and noncicyclist. We want to create an awareness so everyone’s safe on the roads and trails.”
Currently, there are between 40-45 members in the club, Mart said. Her intent with the club is to promote cycling among Wallowa County residents, but noted that out-of-towners can be a part, as well.
In the long term, in addition to working with the Forest Service on trails, Mart hopes to get a pump track installed in the county. She also looks to promote biking among youth.
“We may possibly start a race team,” she said. “Who knows? I’d like to get my mountain biking skills instructor certification and be able to instruct and maybe get a Wallowa County race team going.”
Annual club membership costs $25 for an individual, $10 for youths, and $40 for a family of three or more.
For more information, email email@example.com or search for Wallowa Mountains Bicycle Club on Instagram or Facebook.