Posted by Will Vanlue (Contributor) on February 7th, 2012 at 9:53 pm
before the route announcement.
(Photo: Will Vanlue/BikePortland)
This evening a group of roughly 700 people joined Cycle Oregon staff and volunteers at the Tiger Woods Center on the Nike campus in Beaverton to hear where the two Cycle Oregon rides are headed in 2012.
Everyone was excited to hear this year's routes (for both the weekend and week rides) but the real surprise was an announcement by Cycle Oregon co-founder Jonathan Nicholas about a really big idea the organization has been working on.
Let's start with the routes for the two rides.
Each year in July, Cycle Oregon hosts a family-friendly two day ride and this year they're heading to Corvallis.
Riders will set up camp on the Oregon State University campus and enjoy between 11 and 68 miles of riding each day. Options are set up for everyone from families with kids looking for a leisurely afternoon to experienced riders looking for a challenge.
The announcement for the week-long ride started with a promise from co-founder Jonathan Nicholas. He said that this year's ride would be "longer, higher, and harder" than years past.
He wasn't kidding.
The week ride starts in Bly, Oregon (about 45 miles northeast of Klamath Falls) and passes through the towns of Silver Lake, Fort Klamath, Prospect, Ashland, and Klamath Falls.
All seven days of riding add up to nearly 500 miles but you only need to look at the third day of the ride to see what Nicholas was talking about.
On day three riders will travel 88 miles from Prospect to Fort Klamath, between 2500 and 7000 feet above sea level, and around Crater Lake.
Now back to Nicholas' announcement.
The news, which drew as much applause as the route announcements, goes back to the forward-looking sentiment Nicholas shared at Cycle Oregon's volunteer appreciation dinner.
Nicholas started off by asking the audience at the Tiger Woods Center, "If we could imagine 25 years from now, what would the people sitting here...like to look back on and say 'Look at what we did'?"
Cycle Oregon's Directors have been pondering that same question and according to Nicholas they decided they'd like to see a paved, off-highway bicycle route connecting the Willamette Valley to the Oregon Coast.
To further that vision he announced that Cycle Oregon is funding a $100,000 grant to study how a trail like that could be built.
The reality of a paved coastal route is a long way off but Nicholas says Cycle Oregon's organizers have already had discussions with state and local agencies about the idea and there are some seemingly feasible options he's aware of. We'll track this plan as it develops.
Registration (for both of the rides) is now open on the Cycle Oregon website. The weekend ride is limited to 2,000 riders and the week ride is limited to 2,200 riders. Both are expected to sell out quickly.