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First look at new Oregon bike touring guide book, ‘Cycling Sojourner’

Posted by on March 30th, 2012 at 9:56 am


With all the rain we’re having, I’m sure some of you are scheming how to make the most of the sun once it returns. On that note, I want to share an update on an exciting new bike touring guide book that is set for release on May 8th. Cycling Sojourner is the work of Portland travel writer Ellee Thalheimer and it’s poised to usher in a wave of bike touring, just as rural communities throughout Oregon are beginning to recognize its economic potential.

Like we shared back in July, Thalheimer’s book is one of four bike guide books coming out this year covering rides in Portland and throughout the state. While each one of them will help plan bike adventures, Cycling Sojourner is the only one that focuses on self-supported, multi-day rides.

Cycling Soujourner also stands out because of its detailed cue sheets. “Cue sheets are what can make or break a bike ride, and getting them exactly right is Ellee’s specialty,” says Elly Blue, who’s handling publicity for the title, “Accurate cue sheets are a detail that you might not think about when you’re flipping through a book in the store, but it shapes every second of your experience on the route.”

The routes in the book are diverse — taking readers from snow-capped mountains and National Parks to more urban areas where the scenery is more about great breweries and wineries (there’s also great tips scattered throughout including “How not to get drunk” while wine tasting by bike). There are eight itineraries in all ranging from a three-day jaunt in the Willamette Valley to a more challenging week-long tour through Eastern Oregon. Here’s a look at the Table of Contents…

Another reason I’m excited for this book is because it caters to the two types of bike travelers — those on a budget, and those seeking a more luxurious experience. I also love how it’s chock-full of insider tips about where to camp, eat, and other “extracurricular activities.” Oh, and did I mention Thalheimer’s research and writing of the book were sponsored by Cycle Oregon and Travel Oregon?

Just like the right bike can help stoke an entire new market (think about the impact of Clever Cycles importing bakfiets back in 2007), a good book can do the same. With multi-day bike touring already popular in Oregon, Cycling Sojourner could help it reach a tipping point.

The book is available for pre-order via the CycleTouringOregon.com website or from Powell’s or Amazon. And don’t forget to mark your calendars for the big release party on May 8th at River City Bicycles (706 SE MLK Jr. Blvd).

Here are a few more peeks inside…

Nice work Ellee! Congratulations!

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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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knorcencewavaGlowBoySteve BTim DavisTimo Optionista Recent comment authors
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Nice! This looks like a great book.

Bonus Cycle Tour Tip of the Day: Check out the CycleOregon website to review all their past rides for even more routes.


Good tip! I hadn’t thought of of looking at old Cycle-O routes.

It might also be a good time to name-drop the cycle wild bike camping group, whose website has a lot of day-trip bike-camping gear advice and who go out once a month as a big group (good for getting started, perhaps).

There’s also the website bikely which has a bunch of user contributed routes.

Gah! I want to go for a bike ride now. Like, right now! Thanks, Jonathan, for this post and for seeding the anxious urge to ride off toward the horizon.

Jeff Palma
Jeff Palma

Looks great Ellee!


That looks like an awesome and inspirational book!


I am so excited for this book. I just started bike touring last year and I totally have the bug.

Timo Optionista

If you want a chance to hear more about the book in-depth and discuss, mark your calendar for May’s Bicycle Brown Bag – Ellee will present on the process of creating the book, touring Oregon, and maybe even something about what racers have to learn from touring.
Thursday, May 17, noon-one pm, City Hall (click my name for details).

Tim Davis
Tim Davis

This is wonderful! And highly useful! Thank you SO much, Jonathan, for sharing this great Oregon-produced-and-focused reference. We look forward to hearing about the other cycling books!

And let’s do everything we possibly can to promote cycling as an economic development, zoning, cost-reducing, quality-of-life-increasing, eco-tourism, job-creating, etc. tool for cities throughout the state.

The economic benefits of cycling are shown to some extent in this article: http://grist.org/list/one-mile-on-a-bike-is-a-42-economic-gain-to-society-one-mile-driving-is-a-20-loss. We need an entirely new transportation paradigm…

Steve B

I am so stoked for this book!!


Looks great, and as Jonathan said I’m already plotting how to spend my sunny weekends. As in the past 2 La Nina years, we may not have too many this year, so gotta make ’em count! And I like how it’s addressed both towards people like myself who prefer to camp, and those who’d rather spend more money to stay somewhere more comfortable. Can’t wait to pick up a copy.

One thing I’m not seeing which would be handy: in addition to the “Price Point”, “Difficulty Rating” and “Jaw Drop Factor” (all of which are awesome to have), I’d sure like to see a “Pucker Factor”, basically a rating of how dicey the roads are to ride with typical traffic.

I have less tolerance than your traditional touring cyclist for vehicles whizzing by inches from my left elbow. Also, I hope to start taking my kid on shorter tours soon, which also makes me extra cautious. Before actually getting out there, it can be hard to tell how sketchy a route is going to be. Sometimes a road with no shoulder at all and little traffic is an order of magnitude more pleasant, safe and calming than one with 4′ shoulder and lots of truck traffic, for example. So it’s always great to get a feel for this from someone who’s actually ridden the route. I hope the book includes this kind of insight in the text, if not in “The Skinny” section s.


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