Environmentalists and outdoors enthusiasts convened in Cannon Beach Saturday for the second of 12 days of earth day, a spring ritual that brings awards, a parade, dinners and fun to the city.
Vince Pappalardo, with the Newport Surfrider Chapter, participated and helped put together the beach cleanup. He was loaned a fat tire bike. “I’m up for this! This is my cup of tea!” Pappalardo enthused before taking off with 70 others from the former Cannon Beach Elementary School building.
“Our mission is to protect the oceans and waves, and also enjoyment of the beaches, water quality, beach cleanup, access,” Pappalardo said. “We have a Portland, Newport, Coos Bay chapter, all over. We’ll be at the beach doing cleanup at Tolovana Beach. Anything that’s manmade we want to take out of there. It will be a bike ride cleanup with bags, put it in the bag and carry it back to us.”
Daniella Crowder and her husband Elliott Crowder organized the “first ever” Fat Bike fest on Oregon Coast. The couple own Bike Newport, “the epicenter of fat biking on the North Coast,” according to Crowder. Fat bikes are off-road bicycles with oversized tires, designed to allow riding on soft terrain like snow or sand.
“I’m a big old fattie!” she laughed as teams gathered. “They take you so much further than you ever wanted to go. The bikes just float on the sand. You’re able to make miles and miles, I would personally walk 14 miles on the beach, but to ride it’s absolutely nothing.”
A few souls did venture out on beach cruisers, she said, but they were at the back of the pack.
Fat bikes leave “less than a footprint,” she said, satisfying even local environmentalists concerned about impacts from the riders.
“We did people go out on beach cruisers, but they were on the back of the pack, those bikes leave less than a footprint,” Daniella Crowder said. “It’s incredible the speed, the distance, to go from here, Ecola Creek, to Arch Cape and back. You’re probably never going to walk that far.”
To reduce impacts on habitat, the cyclists coordinated with Surfrider, the Haystack Rock Awareness Program and the Northwest Trail Alliance. Impacts on the beach would be minimal, co-organizer Elliott Crowder said. “There were concerns,” he said. “People aren’t used to the bikes. I think we’ve dispelled that. There’s not a trace of the tires.”