Tour de Lab September 1st

Cycle Oregon unveils routes for 30th anniversary rides

Posted by on January 25th, 2017 at 11:26 am

Cycle Oregon turns 30 years old this year and organizers unveiled their big plans last night to a standing-room-only crowd that packed into an elegant ballroom at the Portland Art Museum.

“It’s never really been about the bicycle. It’s been about trying to lend a hand to people who have no access to capital. If we can transfer some of the wealth from urban to rural we can build a more equitable society, and use the bicycle to build that bridge, we can give them a chance to do more than survive, they can thrive.”
— Jonathan Nicholas, Cycle Oregon co-founder

This year’s ride has been dubbed “The Classic”. It will depart from Tumalo State Park near Bend on September 9th and include overnights in La Pine, Diamond Lake, Dorena Lake, Oakridge and Rainbow before returning to Bend on September 16th. Highlights of the route include an optional ride around the rim of Crater Lake, the Aufderheide Scenic Byway, a summit of Mackenzie Pass, and much more. Also notable is that for the first time ever Cycle Oregon will offer official gravel/dirt road options. In addition to The Classic, Cycle Oregon’s successful women’s-only “Joyride” event will return to the Willamette Valley on June 10th and the Weekend Ride has been renamed to “The Weekender” and will take place July 7-9 on the campus of Linfield College in McMinnville.

While the where, when, and what took center stage last night, the event was also an opportunity to look back at three decades of this incomparable event.

Cycle Oregon started on a whim in 1987 as a way to bridge the gap between urban and rural Oregonians. One of the ride’s co-founders, former columnist for The Oregonian Jonathan Nicholas, was on hand last night to mark the special 30th anniversary. Nicholas grew up in Wales and experienced the decimation of his town and many others when the coal economy ceased to exist. Captivated by the American West he saw in television shows, he moved to the United States in the 1980s. When he got to Oregon he noticed our rural logging towns faced a similarly bleak economic and social future as the timber economy floundered.

“What I saw in Oregon seemed familiar to the small coal towns in Wales,” he told the crowd, “There was horrible community dislocation, not just economic dislocation, there was social collapse in all the communities I grew up in… all the things that go wrong when the economic basis of a community collapses.”

To try and prevent a similar fate in Oregon, Nicholas joined up with Ashland innkeeper Jim Beaver and hatched what he called a “random, very simple, silly little plan.” “We’d take people from Portland to spend some money in rural Oregon.” The plan was random because Nicholas didn’t even own a bicycle at the time, a fact that led him to say last night that, “It’s never really been about the bicycle. It’s been about trying to lend a hand to people who have no access to capital. If we can transfer some of the wealth from urban to rural we can build a more equitable society, and use the bicycle to build that bridge, we can give them a chance to do more than survive, they can thrive.”

At the end of that first ride in 1988 a hat was passed around and everyone was asked to drop in their spare change. The idea was to donate half the money to a local business and keep the other half to help fund the ride for another year. What started with a few hundred dollars has turned into the $2 million Cycle Oregon Fund. Since 1988 the fund has doled out grants to 225 projects around the state — from signature bike trails to historic barns and lights on a high school football field.

Last night Cycle Oregon Executive Director Steve Schulz announced their advocacy and fundraising focus this year will be the Salmonberry Trail, an 86-mile path that will someday connect the small town of Banks in Washington County to the Pacific Ocean along a defunct rail line. Cycle Oregon has already given $200,000 to the project to help with early planning and outreach. This year they’ve committed to raising $1 million which could lead to groundbreaking on the first sections in the next few years.

In their rides and advocacy, Cycle Oregon has matured and evolved a lot in 30 years. What remains the same are the amazing places and roads it travels through and the community of people around it. Many of those people were abuzz last night as the 2017 route was announced. Here’s why…

The Classic – September 9-16th: 490 miles, 30,656 feet elevation gain (including optional ride around Crater Lake)

Day 1: “Up and Over” – Tumalo State Park to La Pine — Miles: 55 (57.6 with gravel option) | Elevation 3,357′ (3,455′ with gravel option)

Cascade Lakes Scenic Highway en route to Sunriver.
(Photo: Cycle Oregon)

And we’re off! You and your bike tires are fully pumped as you leave Tumalo State Park and skirt Shelvin Park on country roads, leading the way to Bend. Continue through Bend, fighting the urge to stop for a microbrew every other block as you start your climb up Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway towards Mt. Bachelor. After your 5%-ish 10-mile climb, it’s time to sit back and enjoy 15 miles of downhill towards Sunriver, and then 14 more flat, mellow miles into La Pine. *Gravel Option: Just after leaving Bend, hop on 15 miles of gravel road, rejoining the main route 5 miles before the summit of Century Drive.

Day 2 – “Cruising the Cascades” – La Pine to Diamond Lake – Miles: 95.5 | Elevation: 3,600’

Cycle Oregon Day 2 - Ride-23.JPG

A roadside market in Chemult, between La Pine and Diamond Lake.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Hope you got a good night’s sleep last night because today is a long, but relatively flat, one. We start off by rejoining the beautiful Cascade Lakes Highway as we pass Wickiup Reservoir, Davis Lake and near Crescent Lake. And the day’s only big hill. This 6-mile climb is on one of the straightest highways in Oregon, but don’t let it get in your head – it’s only a 5-6% grade. After summiting, it’s a pleasant four mile cruise downhill to Diamond Lake where a hot shower and a cold beer will be waiting lakeside.

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Day 3 – “No Crater Greater” – Layover Day – Optional Miles: 59.8 | Elevation: 6,470’

Cycle Oregon Day 3 - Crater Lake!-26.JPG

You might need a nap or two if you opt for the rim ride.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

You’ve enjoyed a heaping helping of miles over the last two days and deserve a break, but we know riders love to ride, so we planned some killer options to make the most of this location. Option one: Hang out at Diamond Lake and chillax. Option 2: Ride the paved 11-mile loop around Diamond Lake catching glimpses of diamond-shaped Mt. Thielsen and mountain-shaped Diamond Peak. Option 3: We highly recommend this option. For just a glimpse of Crater Lake, it’s 13 miles uphill from camp to the rim of the lake. From there you can return to camp or ride to Rim Village and the lodge (6 miles out and back) or you can ride around the entire rim of Crater Lake. This last option is a bucket list ride – the most spectacular 32 miles of bike riding on earth, but also one of the most challenging. There are no flat places on Rim Drive.

Day 4 – “Flowing Downhill” – Diamond Lake to Dorena Lake – Miles: 91 | Elevation: 3,916’

Cycle Oregon Day 4-Ride-6.JPG


(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Back in the saddle, hopefully feeling rested and reinvigorated, today’s route is a real treat. 4 miles from Diamond Lake, you hop on Highway 138 for 40 (count ‘em–4-0) miles of glorious downhill. This stretch is a National Scenic Byway and follows the Wild and Scenic Umpqua River. It’s also prime waterfall country. Clearwater Falls, Whitehorse Falls, Toketee Falls, and Watson Falls (almost 300 ft tall!) are slightly off course, but well worth the walk. After lunch, you’ll tackle a 13-mile, sometimes steep climb, before finishing up the day on 10 miles of the Row River Trail, a revived railroad track-turned-trail along the shoreline of Dorena Lake.

Day 5 – “‘Squatch Country” – Dorena Lake to Oakridge – Miles: 55.5 (51.8 with gravel option) | Elevation: 5,227’ (4,258’ with gravel option)

Cycle Oregon Day 5 -19.JPG


(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Dorena Lake to Oakridge: By now you’ve ridden yourself into tip-top cycling condition and your bike welcomes you like an old friend (hopefully). From camp at Dorena Lake, it’s back along the Row River Trail for 11 miles, then around mile 19 you enter Umpqua National Forest where you’ll ride for most of the day. Count the shades of green as you work the logging roads, climbing towards the first of three summits. After the final small climb of the day at mile 39, it’s 20 miles of downhill into Oakridge for another night of sharing stories under the stars. *Gravel option: After Stop 3, 10 miles of downhill on gravel, for a total of 15 miles before joining the main route 5 miles before Oakridge.

Day 6 – “Liquid Refreshment” – Oakridge to Rainbow – Miles: 66 (61.4 with gravel option) | Elevation: 3,300’ (4,150’ with gravel option)

Tour of Aufderheide-18

The Aufderheide Scenic Byway should be on everyone’s to-do list.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Day 6 begins with a lovely covered bridge passing en-route to the Aufderheide Scenic Byway. Set your peepers to “awe” as you take in all the beautiful scenery along the Middle Fork of the Willamette River to summit at Box Canyon, then along the South Fork of the McKenzie River and past Cougar Reservoir. Today you have to climb for your lunch, but after lunch the remaining 26 miles is downhill, perfect for those riders with the need for speed. You’ll pass Cougar Hot Springs (clothing optional, wink wink) and end at the McKenzie River and our campsite at the edge of Tokatee Golf Course in Rainbow. *Gravel Option: Leaves Oakridge on paved road that turns to gravel after 7 miles, then rejoins the main route 19 miles from the start.

Day 7 – “Homeward Bound” – Rainbow to Tumalo State Park – Miles: 67.3 | Elevation: 4,786’

Final summit of the ride atop McKenzie Pass.
(Photo: Cycle Oregon)

The final summit of the ride on Old McKenzie Highway.
(Photo: Cycle Oregon)

Rainbow to Tumalo: We start off on the nice, wide shoulder of Highway 126 for 8 miles before we turn onto the Old McKenzie Highway. At this point, we start a long, gradual ascent towards the summit of the Cascades and Dee Wright Observatory. The payoff once you reach the top is a spectacular view of the Three Sisters. On the way back down, you’ll cruise on 15 miles of downhill stopping in Sisters for lunch. To wrap it up, you have miles of generally flat country roads with a couple of miles riding on the main state highway between Sisters and Bend. Once you cross the finish line, take off your bibs and put on your party pants because it’s time to celebrate!

Registration for all three rides begins at 12 noon today (Wednesday, 1/25) at CycleOregon.com.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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28 Comments
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    GlowBoy January 25, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Wow, this is one of the best Oregon tours imaginable. I’ve ridden good chunks of this route, and most of the rest (especially the Aufderheide) is on my bucket list. The beneficiary (Salmonberry Trail) is a truly worthy one. CO have outdone themselves in planning their 30th anniversary bash. As usual, too bad family obligations prevent me from going, but I’ll be following along virtually.

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    Ted Timmons (Contributor) January 25, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    In! Like GlowBoy says it hits many things on the Oregon bucket list. I tried to do Crater Lake immediately after Cycle Oregon 2016 and it didn’t go well. Gonna be some big days in the middle of the ride this year.

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    SaferStreetsPlease January 25, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    Has anyone else done this and RAGBRAI? How do they compare? I’m looking for the PNW version of RAGBRAI. For starters, this seems to have a MUCH more intensive route. I like the diversity of riders at RAGBRAI and the drinking/food. Anything like that on the West Coast in general?

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      GlowBoy January 25, 2017 at 7:08 pm

      Haven’t done RAGBRAI so I can’t speak to that, but I have done CO. I was on Cycle Oregon in eastern Oregon on 9/11/01 when the towers fell, which made it a particularly momentous ride. That led to some pretty incredible bonding, grieving and soul-searching that will never be matched. But from what I hear every CO is momentous in its own way.

      I can’t speak to diversity … CO was more diverse than I expected, with people from lots of walks of life, states and even foreign countries, and levels of riding prowess. But it’s still limited to people with both the money and time to do it, so it’s not the most diverse gathering on the planet exactly.

      Only RAGBRAI is RAGBRAI of course, but I believe CO was modeled to some degree on the Iowa event. There’s definitely a community/party atmosphere (depending on how you like it), with a huge beer tent at every camp and pretty good food. If you want to ride really fast you can do that, or there are plenty of people who celebrate NOT being fast: at the evening announcements they always say what time the first riders arrived in camp (tends to be early afternoon), which almost always leads to a chorus of good-natured boos. The organizers do a good job of making sure the basics (food, beverages, rest stops, showers, info updates, entertainment, route marking, campsite with optional porter or setup options, etc.) are covered, so you can make it what you want. Seen on my Cycle Oregon ride:
      – People riding REALLY fast in pacelines. Officially frowned upon, but happens.
      – A family of five (parents plus three girls) riding a regular tandem and a three-seat tandem.
      – Two guys pulling BOB Yak trailers with coolers full of beer, a boom box and a sign proclaiming “fast, drunk and out of control!”
      – A couple on a tandem getting married in the middle of the ride.
      – A huge range of bikes, from your standard racing bikes to hybrids, mountain bikes, cyclocrossers, tandems, trailer bikes and recumbents. If it had pedals and wheels, someone was riding it there.
      – French people riding in espadrilles.
      – Reports of people hitting 70 mph on the steepest road in the Oregon state highway system.
      – 18 degrees riding out of Seneca the second morning, and 95 degrees climbing the Stinkingwater mountains that same afternoon.
      – Brief thunderstorms every afternoon, usually just after we put out our “laundry” to dry.
      – A handful of naked riders on the last day (a CO tradition, and legal in Oregon). In a cold thunderstorm.
      – A long line of red taillights streaming out of camp every morning as some riders got their predawn start.
      – Stopping with dozens of fellow riders while cowboys drove a herd of cattle across the road.
      – Numerous airline employees, military service members and those with loved ones in New York dropping out on Tuesday and Wednesday to attend to things that were suddenly more important than a bike ride.
      – Most of the rest of us determined to honor the dead but defiantly continue the ride and deny the terrorists get their wish. General agreement that the Oregon desert was the safest place we could possibly be anyway.

      And that’s just one year. From what I’ve heard, each of the 29 so far has been just as special. It’s definitely the biggest and best-known organized weeklong tour in the PNW, so on that level it’s the closest thing to RAGBRAI in the region. You won’t regret going, especially with this year’s route.

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        dan January 26, 2017 at 3:03 am

        What are crowds like? Do you have open road, or are you bunched up most of the day?

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          Ted Timmons (Contributor) January 26, 2017 at 12:31 pm

          crowds for ragbrai or CO?

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          Jeremy Kitchen January 26, 2017 at 12:45 pm

          CO the roads aren’t crowded. Rest stops can be crowded, especially lunch, with sometimes a couple of minutes to wait for a blue room.

          RAGBRAI is fucking insanity. Between towns there will sometimes be popular spots at local farms, like Farmer Brothers (really good breakfast burritos), or Mr Pork Chop, where literally the road itself gets congested (and I mean wall to wall, sometimes you have to get off and walk because the crowd is so large.

          Turnouts to go to towns or things near the road on RAGBRAI can be harrowing. There’s lots of “rider on right” and assume that means people behind are going to make room, so they just kinda yolo out into the road. In towns themselves it’s pure madness. Lots of places you have to just get off and walk because even if you just want to go through there are people and bikes EVERYWHERE.

          CO, since there’s probably 1/10th as many people, things are a lot less crazy. You can easily get lost, and I don’t mean lost as in lose your way, but lost as in not see anyone for a while. The pack spreads out and becomes pretty thin. RAGBRAI there’s just massive amounts of people, period. You can only spread 20,000 people out so thin over 60 miles, especially if you factor in that the distribution of those people isn’t even over the route, there are waves, there are choke points, there are all sorts of things.

          I wouldn’t say you’re bunched up at all on either ride. On RAGBRAI cyclists basically get the whole road to themselves. The roads aren’t closed, but folks are STRONGLY encouraged to find alternative routes. And since it’s Iowa, there are almost always alternative routes. My first year I rode one day as stoker on a tandem with one of my team mates (super awesome crazy lady who doesn’t know the word “downshift” … she made my ass WORK). We were basically on the left white line most of the day. When we weren’t sitting in a bar somewhere, that is 😉 She was a very powerful rider. I am fairly decently strong, and was trying to earn my keep, and the early morning hard rain was a strong motivator. I’d estimate our average moving speed at about 22-25mph, and were were not in a paceline ever.

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          GlowBoy January 26, 2017 at 1:33 pm

          With 2,000 riders staggering their morning starts over 2-3 hours, there’s lots of open road. You’ll get bunched up at times, but not that much.

          From what I saw, riding side by side was widely practiced, and a lot of people moved into single file when vehicles approached. On the other hand, I think the nightly safety lectures were still important because I think there were still too many people who ride without consideration for those around them – abruptly stopping in front of others, laying their bikes down in the middle of the road at rest stops when there was room on the side of the road, etc. People who did these things were a minority, but a too-sizeable minority. I, for one, tried to let the cops and not myself lecture these people, and didn’t give them the power to ruin my experience.

          And on that note, I have to disagree with some of the negative comments below. Everyone’s experience is different. I sensed absolutely no negativity from the locals; maybe that’s because my CO was in the Oregon high desert where hospitality is highly valued. And maybe it was because 9/11 had just happened, and everyone was pulling together. I don’t know. People in the (mostly VERY) small towns turned out, and there was certainly no hostility on the road – again, this may have been because we were mostly on exceptionally quiet roads. We camped in town parks, on the front lawn of the only public boarding school in the region, and on a cattle ranch. We felt welcome, and grateful. I acknowledge the warts, most of which are due to people simply being people, but overall it was still one of the best experiences of my life.

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        PdxMark January 26, 2017 at 9:13 am

        I rode that year too…And rode 6 other years and volunteered for 9. A wonderful event in terms of the riding, the organization, and the impacts on the lives of riders and people in the communities that are visited.

        The harsh words in this thread about CO are … I won’t go there…. OK, I will a little bit… ill-informed, crassly judgmental, and examples of the shallowest attitudes in the cycling community.

        And for those who want to try the ride, even if you aren’t the perfect specimen that some commenters here expect all cyclists to be, but maybe can’t afford it, look to apply for support from the markbosworthfund.org, organized for a beloved volunteer who went missing one year…

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      Jeremy Kitchen January 26, 2017 at 11:49 am

      CO is way more laid back and low key.

      RAGBRAI is a 20k person rolling party. Every town you roll through is basically closed (except for the bars, if you’re a bar in a RAGBRAI pass through town you basically print money that day) and has everyone involved. Lots of food. Lots of beer (not good beer), lots of people, craziness. RAGBRAI coming through their town is the biggest thing to happen to their town in decades. Both financially and just number of people. Every stretch of road from the start to finish is crowded with people. Very few cars come through, and those that do are forced to go slowly simply as a consequence of the fact that the whole road is being taken up by people on bikes. Part of this is also because Iowa has a pretty extensive grid system of roads, so there’s almost always a pretty viable alternative (even if it may be a gravel road, which is, from my experience living there, not really a big deal).

      Cycle Oregon is a lot more low key. There’s a local band or 2 every night, announcements from Steve, Ken, and local folks. Geology lesson (which is seriously my favorite part of evening announcements). You roll through a town and it’s almost as though they don’t know you’re there. Sometimes you get angry people on roads. There’s a fair amount of “get off the road” from locals who don’t see CO’s riders as contributing to their economy or culture, but as a nuisance, blocking traffic, the usual anti-cyclist stuff. Since they’re mostly rural roads, and often the only viable road, while they are generally low traffic, what traffic there is might not be too happy to share with a bunch of cyclists.

      On RAGBRAI you have to fend for yourself regarding food, showers, etc. Unless you ride with a team and they provide some of that. Some teams have catered food, showers, whatever, but those are generally very expensive and possibly exclusive teams. If you’re in tent city, make sure you don’t fall into the trap of “I’m at the edge of the tents in this park”, because if you leave and come back an hour later, you’ll see that there are actually another 500 tents past where you were and you’re no longer anywhere near the edge.

      Cycle Oregon is fully catered. Food stops have lots of snacks. There’s breakfast (mostly variation on scrambled eggs, $meat, and some starch), sandwich lunch (always in a great setting), and hot dinner. There are showers. HOT showers. (They are GLORIOUS). I don’t know if this is an intentional thing, but at least one of the nights on the 2 that I’ve done has been at a state park or something, so you get some peaceful setting in the middle of nowhere usually with a nearby water feature to enjoy. There are lots and lots of “blue rooms” (on ragbrai, these are called kybos), but very few flush toilets. I remember last year after departing, Ted and I went to a different park to do our own riding from and I was happy to have “shit in a flush toilet for the first time in forever” 🙂

      Uhhhh… what else what else.

      TBH I don’t really feel the sense of connection to the community from the event to the towns we pass through like I did on ragbrai. We definitely came through, but there was no fanfare, nobody was out taking advantage of the riders passing through. There were a few, but very few and far between. On RAGBRAI literally the whole town is out. High school marching band doing laps around the town square. Every. EVERY church in town out serving food. Every high school group out doing fundraisers selling food. More “all you can eat pancakes” than you could ever want to have. Seriously madness.

      I feel a lot more connected to the overall Cycle Oregon community than I did with RAGBRAI, for sure. Even before becoming a volunteer for the events and getting even *more* connected to the CO community, I felt a lot more connected.

      Ok, I’m going to stop rambling 🙂

      Both are great events. RAGBRAI is great if you like getting drunk off cheap beer and riding in 90F+ 90% humidity heat through cornfields for a week. CO is great if you want to hang out with a bunch of weekend warrior cyclist types and have a fully catered event.

      And for those curious about RAGBRAI, as the saying goes “Iowa Ain’t Flat”. The thing about roads that aren’t major highways in Iowa is there aren’t any grade standards to conform to, so instead of shaping the hill to support the road, they just pave over them, which means lots of rolling and sometimes steep (but short, of course) hills. And zero shade, because corn fields.

      Oh, and one lassssssst thing. I’m slightly sad to say that last year’s CO I couldn’t make into an official RAGBRAI because I didn’t find a cornfield to piss in. “It isn’t RAGBRAI until you’ve pissed in a cornfield”.

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        Jeremy Kitchen January 26, 2017 at 11:50 am

        Oh, and for credentials:

        I’ve done 2 ragbrais. 38 and 39.

        And I’ve done 2 Cycle Oregons, 2015 and 2016, and have volunteered as a sag ham for 2016 weekend ride and women’s ride.

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        Ted Timmons (Contributor) January 26, 2017 at 12:08 pm

        I didn’t notice as many scary bike-hating locals, I think the greater Portland area is worse. But.. the one thing that is a black mark on Cycle Oregon: the longtime law enforcement person has antiquated ideas about cycling. A lot of the “getting to cycle on a road is a privilege” type of attitude, tons of admonitions about staying single-file, etc.

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          Jeremy Kitchen January 26, 2017 at 12:14 pm

          Yea, this is the biggest thing for me to be certain. I actually got yelled at by a rider for taking the lane on a 70km/h descent on my first year because a truck couldn’t get past me. Sorry but I’m not riding the white line at 70km/h, especially if it means a giant truck can pass me.

          The haranguing about “behaving” during nightly announcements actually reinforces to a lot of these people the idea that cyclists don’t normally belong on the roads. The folks I’m talking about seem very much to me like the kind of people who would say “I’m a cylcist too” if I confronted them about a wrongness. Hence my remark re “weekend warrior types”.

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    Granpa January 25, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    The Crater Lake loop was not of the best rides of my life. My son, his bud Tony and I camped at Waldo Lake on a friday night then drove up the mountain. Not a bit of the loop was flat. Long uphill pulls and long downhill glides with spectacular views in every direction. The best!

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    todd boulanger January 25, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    How did I miss mention of the event last night…usually there is so much local buzz the day before…

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    Ted Buehler January 25, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    Nice work, Cycle Oregon!

    I didn’t know there was a paved road connection going due west out of Oakridge. (Hills Creek Reservoir to Dorena). It doesn’t show up on the state bicycle map
    http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEPED/bike_map/Bike-Map_all.pdf
    This makes for other options for doing 3 to 4 day loops by bike in the Cascades if you take the train and start in Eugene. (Not that I mind gravel roads, but it’s good to have complete info on what options are available).

    And, I’m very excited that Cycle Oregon is taking the Salmonberry Trail under its wing.

    Ted Buehler

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    B. Carfree January 25, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    I always enjoy it when CO comes to my neighborhood (Lane County) and usually encounter it at some point when it’s nearby, sometimes on purpose, sometimes not. They do tend to choose the same type of roads that I do and the choices aren’t exactly plentiful, so if they are near me and I’m riding (almost guaranteed during September) then we are likely to meet up.

    Looks like a great loop. I hope everyone has the usual good time and returns home inspired to ride boatloads of (s)miles.

    I do hope they give their motorized staff and volunteers better training than the last time I saw them. Not one, not two but three of them nearly ran my wife and I off the road. We were riding the opposite direction of CO on our way home from a 160 mile ride and were less than pleased by those three drivers. Fortunately, the thousand or so people on bikes we saw and/or spoke with more than made up for our little adrenaline rushes.

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    Jeff January 25, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    Virtually identical to the Oregon BIke Ride this year, who announced first:

    http://www.bicycleridesnw.org/2017/current-rides/oregon/

    Weird.

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      Middle of the Road Guy January 26, 2017 at 2:37 pm

      CO is much better at marketing itself, also.

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    Doug January 25, 2017 at 11:13 pm

    I’ve done most of this, but you don’t need 2200 other people to do it. There’s a ton of camping and food along this route, no need to spend $1000 or endure the food or all the friends.

    If I ever ride to the rim of Crater Lake again it will be to return to Diamond Lake immediately. I’m skipping the rest of the 33 mile loop. Folks it’s the same view the whole way around. It also extends the time you are exposed to thunder storms which I got nailed by on my descent.

    The only people that think that Cycle Oregon is the “best bike ride in America” haven’t ridden in Colorado or done Ride the Rockies. Cycle Oregon was pretty lame by comparison, especially what I got for the money.

    I’ve never seen so many people off their bikes walking up hill as Cycle Oregon, those folks should skip this one for sure, but they should not come on any of them.

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      Mike Quigley January 26, 2017 at 5:46 am

      I watched a mob scene of CO’s ride by my house a few years ago. Most appeared to be highly stressed and definitely out of their element. Old, white, wealthy with expensive trappings trying to recapture lost youth. And young, white, wealthy with expensive trappings putting themselves on display. They looked like they’d rather be somewhere else doing something else.

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        Middle of the Road Guy January 26, 2017 at 8:36 am

        Sounds like the Naked Bike Ride to me.

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        Ted Timmons (Contributor) January 26, 2017 at 12:09 pm

        Wow.

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        GlowBoy January 26, 2017 at 1:35 pm

        And how were you able to discern that they were “highly stressed?” You looked at all their faces while they rode by and Betazoid-ed their inner feelings?

        “Expensive trappings?” Pretty much the only “trappings” you can bring along while out on the bike are your clothes and the bike itself. Sure, lots of people ride $3000 bikes and wear $100 screen-printed jerseys with $200 shoes. That’s true of ANY large organized ride.

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      Chris I January 26, 2017 at 10:17 am

      Have you ever considered that the weather may have affected your perception of the ride? I’ve never heard anyone complain about the Crater Lake ride, which is considered world-class. Crater Lake is a natural wonder, and every view as you ride around the rim is unique and enjoyable.

      Out of curiosity, what do you think is the best ride in Oregon?

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        Middle of the Road Guy January 26, 2017 at 2:31 pm

        Crater Lake is MUCH better than Tahoe.

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      GlowBoy January 26, 2017 at 1:48 pm

      Crater is a challenging ride, for sure. 6500 feet of climbing on the loop, and the air is thin, with an average elevation of something like 6000 feet. I’ve ridden it twice, both times covering the majority of the distance at either 5 mph, or 35 mph. There was very little 15 mph. With the scenery, the elevation, and the adrenaline rush of the road itself, it’s one of the most incredible rides on the planet. Like CO, it’s one of my most treasured cycling memories.

      But it’s also kind of dangerous, especially the west side of the lake which carries more traffic. There are no shoulders, traffic is heavy, in many places the edge of the road drops away directly down to the lake 1000′ below. A lot of the vehicles are RVs, and a lot of those are rental RVs, most of whose drivers are probably not experienced driving these lumbering vehicles. On my first ride I watched a rental RV’s running boards come within a couple inches of my wife while we were on the big climb up to the lodge. I vowed right there and then that I will NEVER ride Crater again unless it’s a weekday or as part of an organized tour. Like Cycle Oregon. This year’s CO is a great opportunity to ride Crater Lake while taking advantage of safety in numbers.

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        Chris I January 26, 2017 at 3:35 pm

        I rode clockwise from the lower lodge and was on the road just before sunrise. Aside from the few days per year where the loop is closed to motor vehicles, I wouldn’t try it any other way. You absolutely have to get out early, and midweek is best.

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