gravel riding

Weyerhaeuser enforcing gravel road permits amid confusion over public right-of-way

by on October 15th, 2015 at 10:14 am

The logging roads northwest of Vernonia are spectacular, but not all of them are open to public access.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Several weeks ago a group of bicycle riders ran into a security guard while riding dirt roads outside of Vernonia. The incident shows that Weyerhaeuser Columbia Timberlands is actively enforcing the new permit program they launched back in July. It has also set off an effort by Columbia County Parks to create new signage that clarifies which roads the public is still free to use without a permit.

McMenamins Grand Lodge as a base camp for biking adventures around Forest Grove

by on May 8th, 2015 at 11:53 pm

Forest Grove - Barney Reservoir loop-1.jpg
Grand Lodge’s main entrance makes for
a classy way to start a ride.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Just a quick trip on the MAX blue line west of Portland (about 25 miles) lies Forest Grove, a small town rich in history that just so happens to make a great launching pad for cycling adventures.

I’m out here thanks to McMenamins Grand Lodge, a hotel and resort looking to establish its bike-friendly credentials. McMenamins invited me here to spend a few nights and ride and photograph local roads and backroads. I eagerly accepted for two simple reasons: I was happy to hear that McMenamins, owners and operators of 56 establishments throughout Oregon and Washington, wanted to be more bike-friendly; and I really like riding bikes — especially in new (to me) places.

McMenamins and Forest Grove are a perfect match. One has a rich history and the other specializes in highlighting it. Forest Grove was incorporated in 1872, making it the first city in Washington County (thanks Wikipedia). It’s nestled at the western-most edge of urban development and there’s no civilization (except farms) between it and the Oregon Coast. (more…)

Hey gravel road riders – runners want in on the action too

by on April 9th, 2015 at 9:57 am

Forest Park-6
Leif Erikson road in Forest Park.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)


The Ride: Unpaved fun on Banks backroads (photo gallery)

by on January 12th, 2015 at 12:28 pm

Banks backroads loop-40
Great roads await in the hills surrounding the Banks-Vernonia State Trail.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Once you open yourself up to the possibility of riding unpaved roads, a whole new world awaits. That, to me, is one of the most exciting things about the “gravel riding” revolution. It’s like we just scored a bunch of new places to ride and it came without loss of blood or treasure.

Travel Oregon adds gravel routes to bicycling portal website

by on October 15th, 2014 at 11:23 am

Now you have one less excuse to not explore Oregon’s excellent unpaved roads.

RideOregonRide.com, the awesome resource developed by Oregon’s tourism commission Travel Oregon, now includes a handful of the best gravel rides our state has to offer.

Putting rides to words: ‘Gravel Poet Society’

by on February 27th, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Gravel riding veteran Dan Morgan lives and breaths backroads bicycling (here a photo of him I snapped while we shared some miles in eastern Oregon last summer). I hope to profile him in more detail here on the Front Page sooner or later.

For now, I want to share some poems written by Dan’s relatives: Brandy and Kevin Carrelli. Brandy is a freelance writer who lives in Oswego, Illinois. After Dan wondered why there aren’t “gravel poets, like the cowboy and fisherman types”, Brandy responded to Dan’s request for some literary flair that captures the allure of gravel riding.

Brandy wrote a poem I thought you might enjoy. Then she asked her husband Kevin to write one and his is great too. We got their permission to publish them here. Check them out:

Rocky trails ‘neath my tires
Mountains point as cathedral spires
Riding long into the night
May every man share my plight
Saddle sores and water waning
Straining arms and legs a-paining
But ’tis worth the struggling force
Not the destination…just the course.
— by Brandy Carrelli

Looking to the mountains, so far
I’d have a tough time, in my car
My bike rattles across a rock
My tires slide, my wheels lock
How will I ever get to the other side?
My legs said they can do it
I’m hoping they had not lied
I push forward to the path ahead
“It will be easy”, no one said
— by Kevin Carrelli

Ride: Finding (and grinding) gravel in Salem

by on February 27th, 2014 at 8:26 am

Salem Gravel Grinder
Riders embark on a 50-mile loop of dirt and gravel farm roads west of Salem.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

I still don’t who organized last Sunday’s Salem Gravel Grinder ride; but I think that’s somewhat by design. The ride is part of a growing trend of unsanctioned, unpermitted group rides where the participants expect nothing more than a good route, good company, and a good adventure.

By that measure, Sunday’s ride (also known as “Oregon’s Perry Roubaix”) was a great success. (more…)

First-ever Oregon Bicycle Adventure Summit set for January 21st

by on January 7th, 2014 at 11:02 am

Oregon has a lot of backroads and more and
more people are setting out on bikes to discover them.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

In the latest sign of surging interest in endurance, gravel, and adventure riding, a new event dubbed the Oregon Bicycle Adventure Summit will take place in Eugene later this month.

The event is the brainchild of Eugene resident and co-owner of Co-Motion Cycles Dwan Shepard. Shepard, a veteran of Oregon’s bike industry who has been active as a sponsor and participant in rides and races throughout the state for many years, felt it was time to organize the enthusiasm for “gravel grinders“, gran fondos, and rides like the Oregon Outback.

New event will take riders through the ‘Oregon Outback’

by on November 26th, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Remember the Oregon Outback? Back in June we shared a guest article and photo essay from Portland resident Gabriel Amadeus that chronicled his amazing, 360+ mile bike adventure through the center of Oregon.

Now that epic ride has turned into a (slightly) more formal event put together by adventure cycling promoter Donnie Kolb. Kolb is the man behind VeloDirt, a website he created to share his backroad rides with like-minded adventure seekers. Kolb, an attorney by day, eventually started urging his friends and followers to join him and in the past few years VeloDirt rides have become something of an underground phenomenon. Similar to the De Ronde PDX, Kolb’s rides are unsanctioned and un-permitted, and word about them spreads via social media. Now his Dalles Mtn 60 and Oregon Stampede rides have a large and loyal following. (more…)

Travel Oregon wants to develop a statewide ‘gravel riding network’

by on November 21st, 2013 at 11:18 am

First meeting of the Oregon Gravel Riding
Working Group.
(Photo by Kristin Dahl/Travel Oregon)

In the latest sign that gravel road riding is poised to be the Next Big Thing in cycling (just wait until you see how many major bike brands will offer “gravel bikes” in 2014), Travel Oregon (a.k.a. the Oregon Tourism Commission) convened an official working group yesterday to, “Create a strategy for promoting and further developing Oregon gravel riding network.”

As we’ve shared on a few occasions, Oregon is full of amazing unpaved roads through farms and forests that only a handful of people have ever pedaled on. Therein lies the potential of gravel riding (which is really nothing more than riding on unimproved/unpaved roads): It opens up hundreds of miles of new route options and adventures in every corner of the state.