Photo Story: Freeride Lives in Central Washington

May 6, 2021 at 8:29
by Norco Bicycles  


Words by Aric Duncan
Photos by Riley Seebeck of FlowPhotoCo


Growing up in Central Washington gives you a unique perspective on the outdoors. In a place where space is plentiful and people are outnumbered by cherry trees, nature isn’t somewhere you have to escape to, it’s part of your identity. Surrounded by rolling hills, miles of old roads to explore, and the constant company of the Columbia drifting lazily by, our weekends were spent getting lost in the vastness of this land.

I met Travis Doebler in high school, and we quickly became best friends, thanks to a shared passion for all things fast and two-wheeled. We’d set off from the family orchard on motorcycles, bikes, or whatever we could find, and head up and over the mountain to the sand dunes in search of big adventures and bigger air. The Doebler Orchard was basically my second home growing up; a place where work and play kinda blend together in my memory.



With so much area to explore, moto is the best way to go, so we both cut our teeth riding 2-strokes up the biggest dunes we could find. It didn’t take long to wonder whether a mountain bike wasn’t the perfect tool for surfing back down. Sure enough, I finally worked up the courage to try it and it worked! You can make the surfiest turns down the steep faces; it feels unlike anything else I’ve rode. The bike is so quiet coming down all you hear is the sound of the tires cutting through sand.



The Doebler’s Orchard sits just on the other side of the mountain from this treasure trove of sand dunes, and with some land to spare, they had a spot where I was able to put in a jump line. Materials were a little scarce, but I managed to cobble together a pretty sweet slopestyle-inspired line (out of an old semi trailer and apple bins from the farm) to make the drop in and built two ramps. A little sculpting work with the backhoe, some extra finishing dirt from the dump truck I drive for work, and we had a jump line; the perfect spot to test new tricks and get my bike dialed for the season’s freeride events!


With the wind in our favor, the light going golden, and the Doebler’s bush plane buzzing by for effect, I dropped in on my three-jump line. Pretty wild dropping in with a plane flying right next to me! It took a few passes to find the timing, but I could tell we finally got it right when I was upside down and heard him right next to me.


We’re incredibly fortunate to have so much space to live, work, and play here in the Pacific Northwest. The land where we filmed this adventure is the traditional territory of the Yakama and Wanapum peoples, and I want to express my gratitude for the opportunity to share it. Thanks to the Doebler family for all the help over the years, and to Riley Seebeck for getting a wicked sunburn in order to capture the madness.



Follow Aric Duncan on social here.

See more photos from Riley Seebeck here.


46 Comments

  • 32 1
 Some amazing photos there
  • 19 1
 Cool story. Most dont even know this part of wa exists, lots of desert and ya as cool as they are there is a lot more to the state than tiger and galbraith.
  • 61 5
 Don't spread your fake news bro, Washington sucks. There's nothing good here, stay where you live.
  • 10 0
 @tsleep: Yup! That was filmed on one of only a handful of days where the sun came out, it wasnt raining and 40 degrees.
  • 11 0
 @tsleep: can confirm, when it's not pouring rain it's 105 degrees and the air is too smoky to breathe from wildfires
  • 2 0
 I use to live in Central Washington, and rode at Mt. Beezley a few times a week. One of the lesser used multi use trails I’ve ever ridden. I often wondered if anyone mtn biked in central Washington.
  • 3 17
flag extratalldirtrider (May 8, 2021 at 8:48) (Below Threshold)
 @vonroder77: you’re thinking of Western WA. Central WA gets plenty of sun year round.
  • 2 0
 @extratalldirtrider: not forgetting about six inches of rain a year
  • 1 0
 @rivercitycycles: That's almost as dry as we are down in San Diego this year!
  • 1 0
 @rivercitycycles: bummer. Yeah I just looked it up and the region is definitely really dry. Oh well, I’m considering moving there for a job.
  • 2 0
 @RayDolor: when I first moved there I thought it was odd because a lot of houses didn’t have rain gutters........
  • 1 0
 @rivercitycycles: At least you noticed that. Who knows how many regions you may end up living in over the rest of your life?
Anyways, here in 'Dago we are in what they are calling a "Super Drought". No bueno when people keep showing up wanting new houses on undeveloped land..
  • 1 0
 @tsleep: Very unique joke, I laughed
  • 5 0
 I have to give a shout-out to the good people at Evergreen MTB Alliance for all great trail work and fighting for trail access.
  • 4 1
 @vonroder77: Yep - pure misery living there, let alone visiting. I was a bit north of there near Brewster picking apples one fall decades ago (pre-Warming) with my girlfriend living in a 1970 Cadillac SDV. That was more tolerable. We had to travel all the way down to Wenatchee to get a starter for it at the parts store, however.

Anyway, don't let the Californians hear about it......
  • 1 1
 Yeah Ellensburg sucks. Nothing but cows and wind turbines.
  • 1 0
 @chileconqueso: You're just too spoiled with trail variety to appreciate what exists in CW. People out here have to work with the lanscapes, and geographic features, and yet we still are able to make the best out of it.
  • 1 0
 That’s my favorite part. Every valley every trail every ridge line is different. It’s amazing the variety and density of trails. Especially if you don’t mind multiuser access. Rattle snakes and sand to lush ferny mountains all with in 30 miles. It’s not tiger or Galbraith and I think it’s better. Way less hype and far more variety. Even just as a launching point, central Washington is with in - few hours of everything! @jezzatheshavedape:
  • 2 0
 @RayDolor: or maybe don’t grow three of the most water intensive things on the planet.
  • 1 0
 @chileconqueso: Agreed! didn't detect your sarcasm before.
  • 3 0
 Just curious as to what you consider Central Washington State. I live just across the border but I can't think of what is below us except for Spokane and that's not even really below us. That would be Eastern Washington in my estimation.

Is it still part of the Okanagan valley? Or is it further south? Don't worry I'm not coming down anytime soon just wondering. It looks great. The same as home but different.
  • 2 0
 Central WA usually refers to Winthrop, Chelan, Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cle Elum, plus some outliers like Ephrata. Okanagan pretty much stops where the Okanagan River joins the Columbia north of Chelan.
  • 2 0
 @ashlemon: okay now I can see. It's a lot further south than I thought but it's also north of the interstate between Spokane and Seattle.

I remember making that run from Spokane to Seattle with a buddy of mine who's into classic cars. We took every side road and back road and there's lots of good stuff out there. Semi desert. Love the area.

Middle of nowhere enough that you can put a story on pinkbike about the area and hardly anyone will come anyways. Perfect. Enjoy
  • 2 0
 Hell yes! Saw your rig last weekend parked out of Safeway in CleElum and thought it looked ready for sending. In exploring backcountry trails in the area I've been wondering if anyone gets after those open faces and chutes that are begging for some big bike tracks on them
  • 2 1
 Sooooo, I am going to need to know where those jumps are at. I go to school in central washington. I know a lot of spots as well...
  • 1 0
 Yo brotha Chayce, let's ride soon.
  • 3 0
 Gotta be careful out in the doons, don't want to break your coccyx.
  • 2 0
 Grandma was out with her boyfriend
  • 2 0
 Amazing photography! FELT LIKE I WAS THERE FOR A SEC....
  • 3 3
 Can we get a behind the scenes of that trailer drop build? Or maybe a how to?
  • 7 0
 Behind the Scenes How To!!!:

Stack a bunch of wood on a trailer, build a railing on the top and a ladder up to it. Build a transition in front of it. Ride your bike off it.
  • 2 0
 @warmerdamj: Not just any "bunch of wood". Its a stacking of fruit transport pallet bins, surely selected from 100's laying around the orchard where they did the shoot.
  • 1 1
 @warmerdamj: I just want to see the work that went in to creating this. I appreciate the grind as much as the end result.
  • 1 0
 Nice photos and reading! Thx bro.
  • 1 0
 No more dropper post Aric? @norcobicycles
  • 1 0
 I'm gonna say its because he's got a dialled Sight for pedaling days.
  • 1 0
 Aric, the master of ramps.
  • 1 0
 Where in Sam Hill could that be?! f*ck I miss that Hood.
  • 1 0
 Johnny apple seed.
  • 1 0
 Pssst...Chelan county...
  • 2 1
 nothing to see here
  • 1 0
 Sick pics, Riley!
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