Joe Bike

State parks office will sponsor a free beginners’ bike tour through the Gorge

Posted by on August 12th, 2015 at 3:42 pm

Biking Break in Lee Vining Ca

Ride leader Stephen Dodson.
(Photo courtesy Dodson)

A seasonal Oregon State Parks employee is leading a free introduction to bike touring in the Colombia River Gorge this month.

The 30-mile trip on Saturday, Aug. 22, will start at 9 a.m. outside Hood River, and loops to Mayer State Park and back by 5 p.m. Here’s the description from Oregon State Parks:

You will learn what equipment is necessary, how do you plan a route and pack panniers or a trailer to be successful. We will discuss the light impact of bike touring is on the environment and other traffic, and the positive effects on small town economies. By the end of the program you’ll have resources to take away and learn more about this exciting way to see the world around you!

You don’t even need a working bike to take part. Mountain View Cycles in Hood River will be loaning them at no cost to participants.

The event for people 16 and up, new this year, is the brainchild of Stephen Dodson, a program assistant in the east gorge.


“I did a bike tour last fall and it was an amazing experience, and I want to kind of give that opportunity to other people to go out and essentially take that risk,” Dodson said. “I was talking with my manager and trying to come up with new events and try and talk about bicycle travel and touring, and this just kind of came out of the conversation, so I just ran with it and I’m hoping it works.”

Dodson’s own trip last fall was 2,100 miles, “from Portland to Crater Lake to Reno to Yosemite to Death Valley to the Grand Canyon to Tucson to San Diego.” But he’s not expecting to inspire many to take trips that long. Dodson says a short bike tour can be just as life-affirming.

As for his ride this month, on the Historic Colombia River Highway, Dodson said “it’s a fun ride but it’s a moderately difficult ride as far as terrain is concerned.”

Dodson said he hopes that spreading knowledge about bike touring will help more people enjoy Oregon’s state parks this way.

“”Bike tourism is revitalizing small towns and bike tourism is a major economic factor,” Dodson said. “It’s a million-dollar industry.”

This tour has 30 slots. To reserve one or get more details, see the event website, which includes Dodson’s email address.

Correction 8/14: An earlier version of this post listed the wrong starting location for this tour.

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    Jeff S August 12, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    That’s cool, very encouraging that State Parks is thinking this way. I would quibble with calling this “bike touring”, which to me means an overnight ride, but no matter – whatever you call it, anything that gets people out bicycling is a good thing.

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    Pete August 13, 2015 at 10:17 am

    “…but it’s a moderately difficult ride as far as terrain is concerned.”

    And wind – you may want to leave your deep dish or big bladed spokes at home.

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    B. Carfree August 13, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    Hopefully this can be expanded to include actual “stay overnight” touring in the future, as opposed to just a day ride. I know this is baby steps, but there’s something disheartening about thirty people driving somewhere to ride thirty miles and then driving home and thinking they now have experience bike touring.

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      longgone August 13, 2015 at 9:36 pm

      @BCF… While I understand your point, this program seems directed at newbies. This young man is willing and excited to share his experience with others. He is lucky to have a state agency willing to help him. I encouraged him and all that choose to join them! I myself am an avid tourist. My child and I are discussing a trip next summer. Perhaps a program like this will be great for him, so he can get info from someone besides myself.

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    nuovorecord August 13, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    I can’t believe this tour isn’t going through Dodson!?!?!

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    Paul August 17, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    Has Oregon State Parks changed the spelling of Columbia?

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      Pete August 20, 2015 at 5:09 pm

      Blame the new-found popularity of Nairo Quintana…

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