Derrick Bell: The Rebuilder

05/22/2019
file

Derrick Bell: The Rebuilder

A career trail builder reflects on time well spent in the woods.

 

file

One of the most respected proverbs in mountain biking - and one of the most loosely followed - is “no dig, no ride.” When your favorite pastime relies on manual labour to sustain itself, it’s often the work of the dedicated few that benefit the many. One of those few is Derrick Bell, a lifelong mountain biker and trail builder from Oakridge, Oregon. Over the last 25 years, Derrick has wielded chainsaws, pulaskis, shovels and rakes in order to help grow his local mountain bike community. Constantly searching for more efficient ways to dig in the forest, he now transports his tools and fuels with the assistance of an e-mountain bike and bob trailer.

file
file
file

Over the years Derrick witnessed the transition of Oakridge from “loggers with chainsaws, to mountain bikers with chainsaws and loggers on mountain bikes,” a stark comparison to the railroad boomtown where timber floated the local economy for the majority of the 20th Century. All that changed in the 1980s, when the town’s largest employers — the two local sawmills — shut down and laid off all their workers. 

file
file
file
file

The sudden shift in economic stability left many local residents disillusioned and uncertain about their futures. When Derrick moved to Oakridge he learned the art of chainsaw in order to clear deadfall and combined that with his burgeoning trail building experience, he began rebuilding and repurposing local trails for mountain bikes.. The result was more trail, that more people could ride, more often. Few people acknowledged it at the time, but expanding the trail network — and the resulting influx of mountain bike tourism — was exactly what Oakridge needed.

file
file
file
file
file
file

Throwing a leg over his Pivot Shuttle - fully-packed bob trailer in tow and his dog chasing him excitedly - Derrick is more than comfortable with a solitary day spent in the woods. But with a community of volunteers rallying behind him and following the example of “you play, you give back,” Derrick sure to leave a lasting legacy of trail stewardship for the next generation to embrace.

file
file
file
file
file

The buzz of chainsaws in the forest is now louder from the trail builders. There are more visiting mountain bikes rolling through town than logging trucks. The town’s economy has been forced to evolve, but few can argue with the benefit of getting more people outside.

file
file
file
file
file
file
file
file
file
file
file
file
file
file
file
file
file
file

STEPS e-MTB

Extensive choice of power-assist settings to match your unique riding style. Compact, easy-to-read display with dynamic visuals when switching between support settings.   

 

  • Further personalize your support settings by choosing Dynamic, Explorer or Custom Mode to perfectly match your riding style and intended terrain.

 

file
file