Cycle Exploregon: A dose of history, wild rivers, and a ‘true taste of the Pacific Northwest’

Posted on August 19th, 2016 at 10:01 am.

Cycle Exploregon Day 4 - Gold Beach to Indian Mary Park-20.jpg
The mighty Rogue River.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

CO-sponsorsWelcome to Cycle Exploregon, our annual adventure done in partnership with Cycle Oregon to explore beyond their official route. This is the final ride recap in this series. Read the other ones here.

Riding a bicycle through Oregon is an awesome way to learn about our history and get up close and personal with the wild places that have shaped it. From a bike you can hear, see, and smell much more than from inside a car — and hours in the saddle give you time to ponder everything your senses take in.

The final leg of my journey gave me several opportunities to for this. I rode from Gold Beach on the coast to the steep canyons of the Rogue River just outside of Grants Pass (see route details on RideWithGPS.com). Unlike the other three days of this trip, my route mirrored exactly what we’ll do on Cycle Oregon next month — all 71 miles (and nearly 7,400 feet of climbing) of it.


Attention climbers: Another member of the “Ronde” family has been born

Posted on August 17th, 2016 at 3:52 pm.

Follow the green lions.

Follow the green lions.

One thing I’ve always appreciated about Portland’s incredible culture around bicycling is how one great idea begets another. It’s typical of any healthy cultural ecosystem: One person does a cool thing and it inspires another person to do a cool thing that riffs on the original cool thing. And so on and so forth.

The Ronde PDX is a perfect example. That unsanctioned ride was first held in 2007. Only about 100 intrepid souls showed up that first year, eager to challenge themselves against an insanely difficult route that tackled nearly ever climb in the west hills between Saltzman Road and Council Crest.

Word spread quickly about the Ronde and a few years later it had become a bonafide phenomenon. Then in 2013 the Ronde spawned La Doyenne, another epic ride scheduled for the same weekend. This gave strong riders the opportunity to climb about 15,000 feet over 100 miles in two days.

Now there’s a third ride in the series: the Giro PDX.


Old idea of a human-centric, carfree downtown will be brought to life Saturday

Posted on August 17th, 2016 at 1:55 pm.

Flyer for Saturday's big event.

Flyer for Saturday’s big event.

The crew that brought us the 3rd Avenue plaza, Better Broadway and Better Naito are about to embark on yet another ambitious project: this Saturday Better Block PDX will connect the north and south Park Blocks to create a one-mile stretch of carfree streets and plazas.


Cycle Exploregon: Going off-highway between Bandon and Gold Beach

Posted on August 17th, 2016 at 11:34 am.

Riding near Chismore Butte, 2,600 feet above the Coast Highway in the Roge River-Siskiyou National Forest.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Welcome to Cycle Exploregon, our annual adventure done in partnership with Cycle Oregon to explore beyond their official route. See other stories in this series here.

CO-sponsorsI love the Oregon Coast Highway — a.k.a. “The People’s Coast.” It’s a national treasure and also one of the most famous bicycle routes in the world.

But it has a dark side. It has stopped being the “Scenic Byway” it was intended to be and now it’s also a major thoroughfare used by commuters, commercial truckers, and oblivious RV drivers. I’ve ridden its narrow shoulder many times since my first ride down it 20 years ago. When I ride it these days, my main goal is to get off the highway as much as possible and leave the loud and smelly motorized traffic behind.

This is easier said than done. Because of rugged cliffs and steep mountains, backroads are few and far between — especially ones that loop back onto the highway eventually. And much of the land around the highway is privately owned by ranchers and farmers who put gates up on their roads to keep people out.


2016 Bridge Pedal open thread

Posted on August 14th, 2016 at 4:55 pm.

Portland from the Marquam Bridge. Great views of downtown on a pretty day. Picture by Jeremy Kitchen.
Portland from the Marquam Bridge. Great views of downtown on a pretty day. Picture by Jeremy Kitchen.

Did you ride Bridge Pedal? The weather was perfect, and I saw lots of families having a great time riding and enjoying the views.


Cycle Exploregon: Winding through the Coquille River Valley

Posted on August 14th, 2016 at 12:47 am.

Lampa Lane is a road to remember.

Lampa Lane gives you a perfect perch to take in the bucolic beauty of the Coquille River Valley.(Photos: J.Maus BikePortland)

Today’s ride was short but oh so sweet.


Cycle Exploregon: Off the beaten path of the 2016 ride

Posted on August 12th, 2016 at 9:04 am.

Cycle Oregon Preview ride - Day 0-1.jpg

The Horse Creek Covered Bridge,
built in 1936, serves as a grand entrance
to Millsite Park.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Greetings from Myrtle Creek, Oregon.

This small, once-mighty timber town sits on the banks of the South Umpqua River about 200 miles down I-5 from Portland. The official city motto is, “Where nature is your neighbor” and its most famous resident is none other than United States Senator Jeff Merkley.

I’m here to begin a four-day adventure that will give me an up-close look at the people and places that exist along the route of the Cycle Oregon Week Ride that’s coming up next month. Just like I did last year with my Five Days in Eastern Oregon series, this ride is part of a partnership with Cycle Oregon to help tell stories from the rural communities and great backroads that dot our fine state.


Why Stub Stewart State Park is (still) the ultimate family bikepacking destination

Posted on August 9th, 2016 at 11:52 am.

Portland to Stub Stewart family camping trip-27.jpg
Leaving camp with a 10 mile descent through the forest on the Banks-Vernonia Trail.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

If you thought bikecamping was a new fad or that it was just for extreme adventure-seekers, consider this: This weekend I joined several other families on a two-night campout at Stub Stewart State Park. We rode 40 or so miles each way from north Portland to the park’s wonderful little cabins nestled in the woods of bucolic Buxton (about 10 miles south of Vernonia).

What gets me so excited about what we did this weekend isn’t about how “epic” the ride was. In fact it’s the opposite of that. I love how accessible and doable it is for just about everyone. Not only did we have kids as young as six riding their own bikes the entire way, we had adults with us that had never done anything like it.


Rides this Saturday will protest unsafe streets and celebrate immigration

Posted on August 4th, 2016 at 9:23 pm.

A ghost bike for Lydia Johnson has been placed at 82nd and Flavel.(Photo: Daniel Gebhart)

A ghost bike for Lydia Johnson has been placed at 82nd and Flavel.
(Photo: Daniel Gebhart)

When big things happen, good or bad, many Portlanders turn to the community for support. And since cycling is such a powerful and common way to connect with other people and with the city around us — group rides become an organizing principle.

Whether it’s for a bike-related cause or not, Portlanders ride together as a way to process emotions, support each other, and inspire change.

This Saturday there are two rides that perfectly exemplify this phenomenon: the 82nd Avenue of Death Ride, and the Immigration Ride.


Dirty fun for all ages: Dispatch from the Short Track MTB series finale

Posted on August 2nd, 2016 at 10:32 am.

Short Track MTB Racing-1.jpg
Kids love short track.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Last night was the end to another great season of “Short Track” mountain bike racing out at PIR (Portland International Raceway, adjacent to Delta Park and north of the Kenton neighborhood). About 300 people of all ages and abilities found their way to the venue for some good, old-fashioned, elbow-to-elbow racing action.