Mountain-bike club reclaims a wasteland

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Week by week for the past 18 months, a band of local mountain bikers has turned a dark and scary concrete-covered urban dead zone — where perhaps the most popular activities were shooting drugs or chugging cheap wine — into a place where regular people actually might want to go.

After a volunteer work party, members of the Backcountry Bicycle Trails Club ride the trail system they’re constructing in Colonnade Park under Interstate 5 in Seattle’s Eastlake neighborhood.

Members of the Backcountry Bicycle Trails Club are carving out an urban mountain-bike course at one of Seattle’s newest parks, I-5 Colonnade, which opened late in 2005 under the freeway in the Eastlake neighborhood.

It’s not finished, even after about 4,500 hours of work, but riders are already showing up to bounce through the rolling “whoops” of a pump track, ride the length of several narrow logs, hop boulders and twist through the tight curves of a cross-country course.

“Some of the other activities made it fairly discouraging for people to come here: drug use, trash, homeless camps,” says Art Tuftee, the BBTC member and trail builder who designed the mountain-bike park. “Those activities have pretty much ceased. One day we were here and saw 10 different people riding, unassociated with what we were doing.

“I think it will be a popular place.”

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RL Policar

RL Policar is an avid mountain biker and the Editor In-Chief of and Between the two sites, he's published well over 4,000 articles (and growing).