For Bendites Robert Rekward and Joe Myers, what started as a hobby project has transformed into something that will benefit all Central Oregon mountain bikers. The duo recently launched BendTrails.org, which provides information on mountain biking trail systems in the Bend area, including Phil’s, Swampy Lakes, Wanoga and areas east, north and west of town.
“It’s super comprehensive and all in one place,” Rekward says. “When I first came here, you needed a map, a website and a sometimes a book to navigate the trails. This demystifies the trail systems.”
Rekward, who co-owns Delicious Design, an advertising agency, moved here from Hawaii about a year and half ago. He began logging his rides into Strava, which is how he met his next door neighbor, Joe Myers, a freelance 3D designer and owner of Sketchbook Inc. “Joe noticed that most of my rides were basically ending at his house,” Rekward says.
Myers, an avid mountain biker and COTA volunteer, had already started the BendTrails Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram accounts to keep riders apprised of local trail conditions. The pair partnered up to create a more comprehensive information source. With the help of programmer Troy Arnold, who works with Delicious Design, they developed the site and ultimately launched it on Christmas Day.
“We figured everyone is sitting around and they can’t help but look at their phone,” Rekward says. “It’s also kind of weird to release something on Christmas day, so that makes it memorable.” In just five days, the site garnered 1,000 users, 4,800 page views and 80 members. A membership is free, but required in order to edit trail status reports or post comments.
There are currently 120 trails on the site right now, covering 673 miles. The site is mobile optimized and features updatable trail statuses, discussions and comments from members, a calendar of events and a news blog. In the near future, Rekward says the site will also be GPS-enabled so that users can locate themselves if they’re carrying their smart phone (on behalf of everyone who has been lost at Phil’s: Yay!). They also plan to include winter/fat bike trails at some point.
The site will likely remain a hobby project for Rekward and Myers. It now has 29 sponsors including many local bike shops, who are featured on the site for free. In the future, Rekward says that he hopes advertising can help pay for the site’s upkeep.
You can reach Kelly by email at [email protected].