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Putting rides to words: ‘Gravel Poet Society’

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

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:

Behold!
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

Thursday, February 27th, 2014
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

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014
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.
(more…)

New event will take riders through the ‘Oregon Outback’

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

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’

Thursday, November 21st, 2013
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.
(more…)

‘Bullshit 100′ and the allure of off-pavement road riding – UPDATED

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013
Bullshit 100 ride-2
The beautiful roads near North Plains
were a cakewalk compared to what was to come.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Riding “road” bikes on gravel and dirt roads is experiencing a major boom in popularity here in Oregon. On Sunday, I joined a dozen other intrepid riders for the “Women’s Bullshit 100″ ride to found out why.

The BS 100 is one of a growing number of events on the annual calendar that lives in a hybrid space between official event and just a bunch of friends getting together for a ride. Thanks to a region full of bike adventure lovers, these type of rides are growing like weeds. A pioneer in this style is the Ronde PDX, an unsanctioned ride through Portland’s West Hills that attracts thousands of eager participants each year. Another prime example is VeloDirt, whose founder Donnie Kolb has become something of a legend for his epic annual events such as The Dalles Mountain 60 and the Oregon Stampede. (more…)

A gravel riding goldmine in eastern Oregon

Monday, August 12th, 2013
TREO Bike Ranch Day 1-23

(more…)

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