Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 20th, 2009 at 1:16 pm
so much they got married at the start
line and then rode the course on their tandem.
(Photos © J. Maus)
Over the weekend, Western Oregon University in Monmouth served as base camp for over 1,800 people from all over the region (and country). They came to experience the legendary hospitality and bike riding Cycle Oregon is known for.
Cycle Oregon (the week-long version) has been going on for over 20 years, but for everyone who can't take a week off during September and/or ride 60-80 miles a day for a week, there's the Weekend Ride. In addition to being less physically (and financially) demanding than the full-length version, it is also fast-becoming the hot ticket for biking families.
Cycle Oregon is usually thought of as the domain of fit and fast 50-somethings. But the weekend ride is just the opposite. There are plenty of fit and fast riders to be sure, but there also a lot of families, kids, and folks who are just starting out.
In Monmouth, they all found something to suit their riding pleasure. The ride menu for Saturday and Sunday featured three loop options -- short, medium and long. Back at camp, dozens of kids took advantage of the Bike Camp run by the Community Cycling Center.
Those who set out on the country roads outside of Monmouth (and its twin city, nearby Independence), were treated to bucolic biking on roads straight out of every cyclist's fantasy. Smooth, undulating, and very low in traffic (although it was harvest time and tractors were common on Saturday's loops).
The roads were so good in fact, that on the main stage Saturday night in Monmouth's main park, Cycle Oregon ride director Jerry Norquist presented a plaque to Polk County Commissioners (it was accepted by Monmouth Mayor John Oberst) that read:
"Polk County has set the standard for road quality in the state of Oregon. Cycle Oregon thanks you on behalf of all cyclists."
For Norm Saager and Ellen Brown, the weekend had special significance. The pair met on Cycle Oregon Weekend last year, so when planning out their summer, the engaged couple thought it made perfect sense to tie the knot and start their lives together at the start line of Cycle Oregon.
On Saturday morning, as riders rolled past ringing bells, Norm and Ellen were pronounced man and wife. Here's an excerpt from their vows (as read by officiate at the ceremony):
"A successful marriage can learn a lot from bicycle riding, you should promise each other that you will not be fair weather riders, but venture out together in the wind and the rain. Only by braving the storms as a team will you reap the rewards when sunshine arrives.
Look after each other, much as you care for your equipment. A well-oiled bike will run smoothly and change gears easily -- adjusting to changes in terrain or changes in your lives.
Marriage is like the shared labor of riding a tandem. Keep pedaling. You really do need to share the responsibility of marriage or the one tires easily and gets very grumpy.
You should promise each other to not only enjoy new adventures and exploration but appreciate the same old routes you know and love..."
Keeping on the family theme, Cycle Oregon has embraced their new, kid-friendly identity. The Kids Bike Camp was a big hit. On Saturday night there was a kid parade, capped off with an appearance on the Main Stage by camp alumni and hearty applause from the crowd.
On Sunday, I got a chance to sample the award-winning Polk County roads (I didn't ride Saturday because I was recovering from my ride down there from Portland on Friday). I set out early and was treated to 35 miles of riding bliss. The quiet roads and new places I discovered (ever heard of the Luckiamute River?) along the fully supported route have me counting down the days to Cycle Oregon in September.
For more photos, view the slideshow below or browse the gallery.Email This Post Possibly related posts