Tour de Lab September 1st

New website details excellent roads and routes in The Dalles

Posted by on August 6th, 2019 at 2:31 pm

This bold claim greets visitors to the front page of TheDallesRoads.com.
(Photos: David Boerner)

Ever loved riding in an area so much you became obsessed with it? So much so you found yourself poring over lines on maps, dreaming and scheming on how to ride them all?

Hard to argue.

That happened to David Boerner, a 37-year old copywriter and resident of northeast Portland. He’s got a major crush on The Dalles, a city on the Columbia River Gorge about 85 miles east of Portland. Thankfully for us, instead of keeping the city’s many excellent roads secret like a surfer reluctant to share a great break, Boerner has built a website devoted to them and is eager to share the bounty.

TheDallesRoads.com ranks what Boerner considers the 25 best roads in the area. He also shares a few routes (“guaranteed bangers” he promises) if you want to connect them into memorable rides.

“I’ve had this idea kicking around in my head for a few years, so I finally made it,” Boerner shared when I asked him why created the site. Why The Dalles? “The roads in The Dalles just have an improbable feel. Like, ‘How are there so many good roads here?! And why is there no traffic?'”

Boerner thinks The Dalles has the best road riding (paved and unpaved) in Oregon and Washington. After spending a few minutes clicking and scrolling through his site, It’s hard to disagree. Of course I’m biased. I’ve spent many days riding there myself and have come away with a similar impression.

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“What makes the Dalles so good is its perfect convergence of all of these things in one place. So many roads that lead to so many more. Each road seemingly better than the last.”
— David Boerner

“It’s not just that The Dalles has really good roads,” Boerner writes on the site. “Nor just the absence of traffic. It’s not just the scenery — chiseled out by the 1,000-foot-high Missoula Floods, set amidst rolling palouse hills with forests towering above and volcanoes punctuating the skyline. Not even the drier weather or the nice people or the history. What makes the Dalles so good is its perfect convergence of all of these things in one place. So many roads that lead to so many more. Each road seemingly better than the last.”

The site leans on Boerner’s writing, photography and design skills. He’s also integrated Ride With GPS maps for a clean and detailed look at each road. He says he plans to add more routes in the weeks and months to come, as well more itineraries and info about local destinations.

Bookmark this page and remember to look it up when the weather turns wet again. “They say it’s always sunny in The Dalles,” Boerner writes. “That’s not totally accurate, but I’ve experienced multiple times when we’ve driven down the gorge in the rain, and the weather broke just after Hood River, and we rode all day in The Dalles in the dry. Then we drove back into the rain to get home to Portland. It feels like you’re cheating the system or something.”

Speaking of cheating, having this site is like copying the homework of the smartest person in class. Thanks David!

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

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6 Comments
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    Huey Lewis August 6, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    I didn’t want to add the never ending stream of OMTM emails that floods inboxes but I was half tempted to email David and tell him his site was very cool. I didn’t end up doing that last night so hopefully he sees this here! David, this website is pretty cool!

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    Paul H August 6, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    What an awesome resource. It really hits the highlights and sums up everything nicely.

    For those who haven’t have the privilege of riding the David, he truly embodies the motto of “free your mind and your legs will follow”. He also takes big drops on a mountain bike and doesn’t afraid of anything.

    But don’t let that dissuade you from riding these roads. With the only exception of the bottom of Old Moody Road, all of these can be ridden at just about any pace. David’s taken me on many great rides out there and always 100% of the time it’s completely awesome.

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    Joe August 6, 2019 at 5:23 pm

    Nice, wasn’t aware it was so nice out there. Thanks for the work. Do any clubs ever have group rides out there?

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    Velograph August 7, 2019 at 9:13 am

    That’s my DOGG right there! Seriously this is awesome to see – thanks for putting in all the hard work David.

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    Middle of The Road Guy August 7, 2019 at 10:30 am

    This is so nice.

    It really is a gem of a location. That area has so much to offer terrain-wise and the Dalles has a great brewery in Freebridge.

    I can’t say I’ve never had a bad ride out there (hypothermia on the Dalles Mtn 60), but I’ve always been so happy with the routes.

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    GlowBoy August 19, 2019 at 9:43 am

    I have done a lot of road – paved and gravel – riding in Wasco and Sherman Counties, and I agree it’s one of the finest places on earth. Love the scenery, love the dry(er) weather, love the quiet roads.

    Only negatives for me have been (1) crossing the Biggs Bridge after falling out of the pack on The Dalles Mountain 60 – seriously, one of the most terrifying bike experiences of my life, and (2) being chased by dogs. I’ve been chased by dogs way too many times out there. Fortunately I had some really good karma after one particularly aggressive-dog encounter. I have learned firsthand that although it is widely ignored, Wasco County *does* have a leash law, and deputies there are happy to enforce it when you report a violation.

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