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Live from the Cycle Oregon Kickoff Party

Posted by on January 31st, 2008 at 7:25 pm

The crowd awaits the announcement of this year’s Cycle Oregon route.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus)

Like I’ve done for the past two years I’m here at the Tiger Woods Center on the Nike Headquarters in Beaverton where in just a few moments, Cycle Oregon founder Jonathan Nicholas will announce the route for this year’s ride.

Cycle Oregon 08 Kickoff Party

Registration begins with
a frenzy!

Last year, the 20th running of the week-long bike tour that travels through Oregon’s byways, sold out in record time. By the looks of the jam-packed crowd tonight, they just might sell out this year even quicker.

Nicholas is at the podium now, talking about all the amazing work the Cycle Oregon organization has done over the years.

Cycle Oregon 2008

Day 1
Begin in Grande Ronde Valley in town of Elgin
Lunch at Cove
Camp at Union at foot of Elkhorn Mountains
45 miles

New jersey design is a work in progress.

Day 2
From Union to Baker City
45 miles

Option ride through Haines and North Powder and back to Baker City
83 miles

Day 3
Highlights: Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, Riding along the Powder River
From Baker City to lunch in Richmond
Camp in Halfway
52 miles

Day 4
Layover day in Pine Valley
-escorted tours to Cornucopia ghost town
-rafting in Hells Canyon
-option ride to Hells Canyon Dam
35 or 80 miles

Day 5
Three major climbs
“There’s only way to go and it’s straight uphill”
From Pine Valley into the Wallowas
Ride into Joseph
Camp on the shores of Wallowa Lake.
77 miles (71 are uphill)

Day 6
Layover day at Wallowa Lake
-Take part in a bike scavenger hunt.
-Take a 47 mile bike tour around the Wallowa Valley
The Nez Perce used to live along this lake and Cycle Oregon has worked to create a new Oregon State Park at the tradition Nez Perce camp.

New partnership announced with the National Parks Service. Working on a series of volunteer opportunities. Riders will help rebuild the Prarie Creek Bridge.

Day 7
From Wallowa Lake back into Elgin
58 miles

“Wallowas Ride”
2000 miles, 7 days, 465 miles

That’s it folks. It sounds like yet another amazing route and more exciting than the ride is the huge role Cycle Oregon is playing to make Oregon “the place bicycles dream about”.

For more details and day-by-day breakdowns of the route visit CycleOregon.com.

I’ll be on the ride again this year, posting photos and reports from the road like I did in 2006 and 2007. I hope you’ll join in either on the road or online!

Check out more photos from tonight’s announcement party.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you.

  • jeff s January 31, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    a great ride – the route from the Snake River over to Joseph is fantastic…do it on your fixie, win a prize!

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  • Scott Mizée January 31, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    Cool. Thanks for the live update!

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  • Andre January 31, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    Is the prize 2 bags of ice?

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  • Augusto January 31, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    Awesome, thanks for the live coverage Jonathan!We (Nossa Familia Coffee) were sponsors at \’FOCUS THE NATION\’ up at the University of Portland today, and I missed the CO kick off. Look forward to keeping everyone caffeinated at this years ride and joining in on the fun on some of those hilly days. And we\’ll throw in free lattes for anyone riding on fixed gears!!!

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  • Matt Picio January 31, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    Hey, Augusto – thanks for being there for CO 20! The morning wouldn\’t have been the same without you and your crew. Especially at 28 degrees on day two!

    If I ride CO 21, I\’ll look forward to drinking lots more coffee!

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  • Moo February 1, 2008 at 7:40 am

    Sounds great, but wondering if the same ol\’ people get to be the ones to enjoy it…or did I miss the announcement for the sign-up. I think folks have to sit out every other year.

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  • vanessa February 1, 2008 at 7:43 am

    I only wish they had some sort of slots for a few low-income folks to somehow go on this thing as well.

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  • Kevin Hedahl February 1, 2008 at 7:50 am

    Anyone can enjoy CO. They don\’t appear to be sold out. Their online registration is up and running for both the week-long and the weekend rides.

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  • Moo February 1, 2008 at 8:48 am

    Thanks Kevin, just checked on the info. But $825 smackers is a bit of a stretch…And times 2000 riders- that\’s $1,650,000.00…geeze! Mr. Nicholas must be doing o.k. on this deal.

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  • a.O February 1, 2008 at 8:58 am

    And don\’t forget, Moo, that\’s plus $325 more for porter service, unless you want to bike with your tent on your back. They also have an empty box where you donate to CO, up to four figures! Wow.

    But seriously, I\’m thinking about doing CO this year for the first time. Any good reasons to/not to, thoughts on what to expect, etc. Do I need to sign up by next Tuesday to get a spot?

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  • Tony Pereira February 1, 2008 at 9:06 am

    moo, When I first heard how much it cost I thought it was a lot, but after seeing the production that they put on last year you can see where the money goes. This is a very impressive, first class event. It is also a non-profit organization.

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  • nuovorecord February 1, 2008 at 9:09 am

    a.O., You\’re misrepresenting the porter service. The $325 additional fee gets you a tent set up every night for you, with your gear inside.

    But, ALL of the riders\’ gear is hauled on trucks between campsites. You don\’t have to carry your tent on your back if you don\’t choose the porter service. But you will have to set it up yourself every night.

    On another note – Nossa Familia Coffee ROCKS THE DOME!!! I didn\’t do the ride last year, but did in \’06. Every morning Augusto was out there in the freezing cold making coffee for us. I tell \’ya, it was the only thing that got me moving! Thanks again!

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  • a.O February 1, 2008 at 9:18 am

    I thought maybe I could get a little benefit of the doubt, but I guess not. Just so you know, I was misunderstanding the porter service.

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  • steve February 1, 2008 at 9:26 am


    Sign up as soon as you can. Crater lake was the reason it sold out so quickly last year.

    This route looks awesome so you can\’t know for sure how quick it will fill up. Cycle Oregon is a shining example of all that is good about cycling (and people) in Oregon.

    You will love it. Besides, I can try and beat you up the hills instead of arguing with ya!

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  • Moo February 1, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Nothing like waking up to hot coffee in the frigid Wallowas. But would rather hike in 10 plus miles with a pack and rations I guess. Does sound like fun though.

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  • steve February 1, 2008 at 9:34 am

    Oh yeah, the Porter service is awesome. Unless the guy next to you snores every night. The benefit of pitching your own tent is that you will have different neighbors every night.

    You can also find interesting or more isolated places to sleep. That being said, it is sure nice to just go straight to the showers and then beeline to the beer garden. Sure beats wrestling the tent after 6 hours of riding.

    Picture sleeping on a football field in a city of tents laid in straight lines, that is the porter area. Pitching your own might mean you are on the baseball field or perhaps on a creek edge. I slept on the green of the 9th hole on a golf course one evening.

    If you pitch your own, just be sure to not be late to the campsite.

    Ideally you find a cute new friend and just share their tent. That is what I do!

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  • nuovorecord February 1, 2008 at 10:03 am

    a.O – I\’m not going to get into a semantics discussion here. Sorry if you took offense to being corrected. But you were putting information out there that was simply wrong and I just wanted to make sure people understood that they weren\’t going to have to haul their own gear if they didn\’t sign up for the porter service. I\’m not questioning your integrity.

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  • 2ndaveflyer February 1, 2008 at 10:52 am

    For those considering the ride; there are quite a lot of week-long supported rides to choose from in many states. The CO price is about average for these services and rides. It is amazingly fun and relaxing to have nothing to do each day but ride and play on any of these tours. The CO tends to be more of a rolling party than some of the others with its beer garden and concerts. All of the rides offer a great incentive to train through the spring and summer. CO can be a little dicey weather-wise as they sometimes hit disappointingly cold weather in September. On the other hand some of the places they go cannot be comfortably visited in the height of winter and the roads have less traffic after Labor Day.

    If you are having trouble justifying the money sit down and figure out how much you would spend staying a week in Bend. Add up all the lodging and meals and go to some evening concerts. You\’ll be surprised how fast that adds up unless you are in your one-man tent by the river listening to your Nano Bud.

    All that said I too wish the sponsers could figure out a way to subsidize about 25 low-income tickets so that a broader spectrum of people could attend.

    There are blogs that discuss the pros and cons of different supported rides. Ask around too. You will have a great summer vacation if you can swing one of these rides. In addition, necessary training rides mean you won\’t have time to tackle those big home remodeling projects this spring and summer….wah!

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  • Dabby February 1, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Corporate cycling at it\’s finest. (insert sarcasm here)

    I second Vanessa\’s comment above about slots for low income cyclists, as the majority of the cyclists in our city are low income.

    Not for me, as I in no manner see the draw in riding across Oregon with thousands of other cyclists, many of which may not be very safe to ride next to.

    Also, what percentage of the great profit that is Cycle Oregon is going back into the actual cycling community (Portland) where they have their offices?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) February 1, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    \”Also, what percentage of the great profit that is Cycle Oregon is going back into the actual cycling community (Portland) where they have their offices?\”

    Dabby, my friend. Did you realize that the Cycle Oregon Fund is what started the Community Cycling Center, Bridge Pedal, and lots of other stuff we hold to be valuable parts of the Portland scene?

    And, they also happen to be one of my longest-running advertisers…. their support helps me keep the lights on so you can have a place to comment on bike issues.

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  • a.O February 1, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    Also, Cycle Oregon doesn\’t have profit. It\’s a non-profit organization.

    \”[T]he majority of the cyclists in our city are low income…\”

    The federally-defined number for \”low income,\” as of 2007, was approx. $15k for an individual and $20k for a couple. You really think the majority of cyclists in Portland make less than that? Any basis in fact for this assertion?

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  • Dag February 1, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    Sounds like fun. Someday when I\’m flush I\’ll have to try it.

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  • nuovorecord February 1, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Addressing Dabby\’s comments #19:

    Not only is Cycle Oregon a good supporter of cycling in Portland, it does a tremendous amount of good in the communities it visits. Part of the proceeds of each year\’s ride go back to the towns, plus there\’s all of the cyclist\’s spending in each town. The vision behind CO was to use cycling as a method of giving back to rural communities.

    I also wanted to make a comment about the riding ability of the participants and the relative safety of the ride. Most of the people on the ride are very active, experienced cyclists. It\’s not like Bridge Pedal or even STP, where there are large pacelines, erratic riding and other signs of unskilled riding. CO has a much more open feel to it, given the relatively few number of riders. Yes, there are a few numbskulls, but they\’re few and far between.

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  • PdxMark February 1, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    \”the route from the Snake River over to Joseph is fantastic…do it on your fixie, win a prize!\”

    I did it in a fixie the last time CO was there… It\’s not so bad, though I was passed by every person, but one, on the way down into Hells Canyon from the ID side. The harder part was the fast, slight descent toward Lagrande…friends can put the Hurt on a fixie rider with a 1-2% descent. I suppose I\’m too early for the prize.

    Despite supporting alot of local cycling efforts, like the start of Bridge Pedal, CCC, and others, CO was founded and continues to focus its profits on rural Oregon.. from preserving local public facilities like the fairgrounds in Halfway to putting up lights at the Dufur football field, to opening bike access along the Gorge, to this year\’s signature project – preserving the moraine lands at Wallowa Lake from development, plus lots of other projects.

    CO is having an impact in cycling in Oregon on par with that of the BTA. It\’s a great ride with great effects. Very few people who actually do it come away with a sarcastic attitude about \”corporate\” cycling or failure to return to the community. Instead, most folks come away with a warm feeling of community and appreciation of Oregon\’s other natural and civic places. Give it a try so your criticisms aren\’t so clearly founded on prejudicial ignorance of what it\’s actually about.

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  • solid gold February 1, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    alright car toppers, get ready to ride! so jonathon, how many BIKES were actually parked outside the Cycle Oregon thing? two? three? whenever i rode my bike past cycle oregons HQ, at best, i see ONE bike there, ever. kinda like the Alice B Toeclips awards or the Velodrome or Cyclocross races, you can be sure the car parking lot is full!

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  • Scott February 1, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    I was at Nike last night and left with a much better understanding and appreciation of CO. I\’ve never been on one before, but I hope to some day.

    It was plain to see that Mr. Nicholas loves both Oregon and cycling. I was amazed at all the good works done by the organization. I had no idea.

    Yes, it is a chunk of change, but this large of an event costs a lot of money and volunteers to pull off. With the left over money cycling and conservation projects that ordinarily wouldn\’t get done, do get done.

    I say BRAVO to the CO organization! I\’m going to start saving my pop cans, and skipping Starbucks today!


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  • SkidMark February 1, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    Off-topic: I like when someone who takes the MAX to the top of the hill bags on cartoppers. How DID all those Zoobomb bikes get to the Oregon Handmade Bike Show? In a pickup truck?

    Speaking as someone who has biked to Alpenrose to race, it is a drag. You get there, and yes you are warmed up, but then you have to unscrew your street gearing cog (nobody is coming up Shattuck with 88+ gear inches)and put on a smaller one, and possibly change out your handlebars, or take off your handbrakes (no handbrake down Shattuck is semi-dangerous). Then after riding your ass off you get to ride home. I\’m out of shape, but I can\’t imagine anyone who seriously races wants to ride their bike home, after they wrench it back into shape for street use.

    On topic: 2000 miles and 7 days worth of bike support. It costs about the same as entering a full-support century, maybe less, if you go by mileage/days. I can\’t afford it, but I understand the cost.

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  • mike_khad1 February 2, 2008 at 6:52 am

    I did cycle oregon 19. It was my first organized multi-day ride and it was the most fun i\’ve had on a bicycle ever. I had paid for cycle oregon 20 but I had a family conflict and I needed to cancel (oldest daughter started college in Chicago and needed to be brought there). I hope to do both CO21 and the Weekend ride. I\’ll bring my kids on the weekend ride.

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  • solid gold February 2, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    yes, skidmark, taking an electric powered train with 100 other people on the same train is totally like 100 people in 100 different gas burning cars going to the same location. your analogy is shocking in its accuracy.

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  • SkidMark February 2, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Because no harm comes to the environment in the generation of electricity, right? Is your laptop solar-powered?

    What I am getting at is that it is (still) ironic that someone who is not using leg power to get to the top of a hill would bag on someone else for not using leg power to get somewhere. And you know this…

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  • bobsyouruncle February 4, 2008 at 12:40 am

    CO does seem to do good for the communities they visit, as well as the local PDX cycling scene, but it\’s still expensive. Self-supported touring runs $20-$50 a day (depending on how many restaurant meals you eat). $100+/day strikes me as steep.

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  • Metal Cowboy February 4, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    Disclaimer: I have performed at past CO\’s and have written for their newsletter on occasion.

    Co Rocks! It\’s one of the better managed state rides, and at last count I\’ve been on part or all of 31 different rides of similar length and content around the country (occupational benefit)

    CO is tops in terms of amenities, service, route planning, entertainment, and not losing stuff. Oh, and not cutting corners so they can bag more cash. On the snoring issue, I also recommend setting up your own tent – word to the wise, if you can\’t set up a tent after a day of cycling, have yourself test for mono.

    The idea of a low income/scholarship program for Oregon empty wallet cyclists should and can be brought up to their board of directors, who have shown an openness and desire to help the cycling community for 20 years. Their emails are on their website.

    Nothing\’s perfect, but these cats do a nice ride and fund local cycling in a meaningful way.

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  • frogpirate February 5, 2008 at 10:54 am

    It seems the majority of the people bashing CO have never ridden CO. I rode in \’04, and had to scrape together the cash to do it, and I can say without reservation that it was completly worth it. My wife and I are signed up again this year, and are very excited about it!

    CO does a lot for the Portland Bike Scene, as has been pointed out. It also gives back to the communities it visits in many ways, from hiring local kids to porter to out right grants. Ride it and learn about what the orginization does before you criticize it.

    Compared to other week-long vacations, CO is cheep. Get over it. I don\’t think a subsidation program is bad, but how many people that need the subsidy have a bike that will hold up for 400+ miles plus all the other gear needed? This is a vacation after all, and just as I can\’t afford to go to France to ride, some people are not going to be able to afford this. Like most things in life, if you make CO your priority, it\’s attainable.

    Flame suit on.

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  • Lynne February 5, 2008 at 11:03 am

    1) CO is great fun, as well as a really good thing for the host communities.
    2) if you can\’t afford it, consider volunteering. Many volunteers do get a chance to ride a day, or part of a day or two.
    3) Bike parking at the CO kickoff was inside. You wouldn\’t have found it unless you asked. I rode there from work, and then rode home (uphill, in the dark and pouring rain).

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