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Podcast: The People Behind Oregon’s Best Bike Rides


We hope you haven’t made your 2022 riding plans yet. Because this week we’ve got an episode that will get you clamoring to click and sign up for amazing rides.

Before we get into it, I want to share that these days I often think bicycling doesn’t really matter at all. I know riding bikes always matters to some people in some ways; but with so many more serious things going on it can feel not just less important, but talking and creating content about it can even feel insensitive given all the other more serious things going in people’s lives right now.

But for many of us who are lucky enough enough to be able to do so, knowing that we can look forward to a bike ride is one of the things that gives us hope, keeps us going, and provides a measure of levity and balance in gloomy times. And if you consider the mental, physical, and environmental benefits of bicycling, it actually isn’t such a trivial thing at all.

In some ways, riding our bikes, setting mileage and training goals, and having great rides to look forward to, is more important than ever.

On that note, in this week’s episode I wanted to help us all – if just for a few minutes – stop doom-scrolling and start thinking about where we’ll be rolling on our bikes in the coming year.

Willamette Valley, the Coast Range, John Day River. (Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Oregon is a paradise for great bike rides, and as spring approaches we to make sure you’re got plenty of great rides to consider for your personal event calendar. To help paint the picture of what’s to come, in this episode I’ll share interviews with organizers of some of the best bike rides in the state. I’m talking classics like Cycle Oregon, the Swift Summit, Oregon Coast Gravel Epic, and so on.

Over the past week or so I sat down for a chat with Swift Summit founder Trevor Spangle, the legendary Mike Ripley of Mudslinger Events, and two people from Cycle Oregon — Events Manager Anne Marie Hingley and Marketing and Development Manager Chris Distefano.

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Trevor Spangle.

Trevor and his event are the new kids on the block, but don’t let that fool you. Expanded to a three-day event this year with camping options and a hill-climb and social ride on either end of the 100 or 200-mile main event on Saturday July 9th, Swift Summit has become one of the most anticipated weekends of the year. For Spangle, it’s an opportunity to share the jaw-droppingly gorgeous roads around the rural Willamette Valley town of Lebanon where he grew up. It’s also a way for him to combine his love of art and expression into a bike ride. “I’ve had that thought several times riding a lot of those roads out there, where it feels like in a way, you’re able to sort of write a symphony of sorts,” he shared during our interview.

Mike Ripley at the 2018 Coast Gravel Epic.

Trevor was still in diapers when Mike Ripley started putting on bike races in Oregon in the early 1990s. Ripley’s Mudslinger cross-country mountain bike race will celebrate its 35th running this year. And that’s just one of 10 bike rides he will host in 2022. His diverse offerings from all over the state include the Coast Gravel Epic, the Sisters Stampede MTB race, and even a Gran Fondo. In our interview he shares how some of his routes are inspired by what he describes as a “fetish for sasquatch”. “Find it or feel the presence, you know? The best thing for me is the time when you can be out there. And it’s so quiet, it’s noisy.”

Ann Marie Hingley (Photo courtesy Ann Marie Hingley)

2022 will mark the first full slate of rides for the venerable Cycle Oregon crew since 2019. Ann Marie Hingley and Chris Distefano are itching to see you at base camp and out on the roads — paved or unpaved. They’re especially excited to introduce folks to the new location of their Gravel event which takes place May 20-22 in Toledo, Oregon. “One day we’re cycling along this beautiful creek just at the bottom of a small canyon. It’s deciduous forests and evergreen forests. And it just feels a little unexpected,” Hingley shares in our conversation.

Chris Distefano (Photo: Cycle Oregon)

Those are just a few of many fun bits from this episode.

So grab a pen, grab your calendars, and start planning your 2022 riding season!

This podcast is a production of Pedaltown Media Inc., and is made possible by listeners like you. Thanks for listening! You can find all the links to subscribe and past episodes here. If you like it, please leave us a rating and a review.