Ride along on the Pioneer Century (photo gallery)

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We saw what pioneers saw.
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

This past Saturday was an amazing day. It started bright and early as I woke up from my sleeping bag after a night spent under the trees at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds in Canby. I had arrived there late the night before in preparation to photograph the Pioneer Century. By the time I made it back to my own bed — well into Sunday — I had photographed spandex-clad riders on 100 miles of stunning rural Oregon farmlands and thousands of nude (and semi-nude) people riding through the streets of Portland.

If you ask me which event I enjoyed more, I really couldn’t pick. While the naked ride is something near and dear to my heart, so are Oregon’s backroads. And there are very few things in my life that can compare to a nice long day in the saddle on nearly empty roads with perfect skies and breathtaking vistas around every corner.

The Pioneer Century is a fundraiser for the Portland Wheelmen Touring Club and Saturday was the 40th annual edition. The route is, in a word, fantastic. It offers up the best of what makes this state great for cycling: mountain roads dotted by timber stands, verdant hillsides covered in rows of crops, and wide open valleys where vistas are untouched by modern development. In fact, that’s the whole idea of this ride — to experience the Oregon that enticed pioneers to come out here and then provided them the natural resources they needed to survive and flourish.

Check out some of my photos, and consider a spot on your calendar for the 2015 Pioneer Century…

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PWTC President Ann Morrow and a volunteer.
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Much respect for a bike ride that has a banner about the “Bike Bill” hanging at registration.
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Lunch break in St. Paul, home of the famous St. Paul Rodeo.
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A neat moment of mutal respect: This farmer commented how hard it must be to carry camera gear and ride my bike; I replied by expressing my admiration for his tractor driving skills.
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Hope you enjoyed these photos. And by the way, if you are a ride organizer/promoter, I’d be happy to consider photographing your ride. Get in touch if you’d like to know more about my rates.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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benn schonman
10 years ago

thanks for the great photos..a truly exceptional day to ride in the country
Here is a comment that a rider sent to our web site that says lots about the ride:
Saturday was my third Pioneer Century, but the first time I’ve done the whole 100. I just wanted to say thanks for the great job you guys do putting that on. Every year, the staff is so friendly, the route well marked, excellent maps, the support stations are the best, I mean that sincerely; perfect snack selections and the super clean port-a-potties with wash stations, the drinking water stations, clean and easy. You guys are the benchmark for supported rides. Not to mention the tasty lunch. And how you guys nail the weather every year is beyond me.
Thanks to all who rode the Pioneer

10 years ago

The Pioneer Century this weekend was my first official century ride, and it was great! Perfect weather, a very clearly-marked route, and awesome rest stops staffed by friendly volunteers.

John Liu
John Liu
10 years ago

I did the 100 and enjoyed it. Perfect weather. Few cars, well driven. Well marked. Well organized. Great burritos!

10 years ago

Did the 77, had a great time. Thanks PWTC.

10 years ago

Very nice day for a ride. Beautiful route with the 55 miler being the most challenging and enjoyable. For me anyway. Great support and well organized. Lots of food at the rest stops. The lunch burrito was awesome.

Cindy Bernert-Coppola
Cindy Bernert-Coppola
10 years ago

An awesome event with the most friendly volunteers and the best food of any organized ride!