Cycle Oregon goes ‘Gravel’ and heads to eastern Oregon in 2018

The Hells Canyon Overlook will be one of many highlights in Cycle Oregon’s 2018 Classic ride.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Like a phoenix from the ashes of forest fires that caused the cancellation of last year’s ride, Cycle Oregon announced their 2018 season to much fanfare in front of hundreds of fans at the Portland Art Museum tonight.

Big crowd at tonight’s kickoff party at the Portland Art Museum seemed eager to get riding after a year off.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Before the meat of the presentation began, Executive Director Steve Schulz addressed the controversy around last year’s abrupt cancellation. Schulz humbly and fully apologized. “We learned we can always make improvements on how we do things and how we say things,” he said.

Then, as he appeared to choke up with emotion, he thanked the Cycle Oregon community for their support. Last year alone, in large part through riders who opted to donate $500 (half) of their entry fee, over $128,000 was donated to the Cycle Oregon Fund. “The money went back to those communities who suffered — not just from Cycle Oregon not being there, but from an entire season of wildfires.” “It reinforced to us,” he continued, “That you care about your fellow riders, you care about this state, you care about the communities, you care that we can continue to explore this state every year from the seat of a bicycle. This is your brand; and this brand is strong.”

Read more

At route reveal party, Cycle Oregon will look to roll past tumult of 2017

Cycle Oregon Executive Director Steve Schulz is eager to move past 2017.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Tomorrow night Cycle Oregon will celebrate the 30th running of their week-long “Classic” ride. At least they hope it will run this year.

It’s Cycle Oregon’s 31st year in existence, but last year’s ride was cancelled at the last minute due to wildfires that ravaged several sections of the planned route. This year the nonprofit is back with lessons learned and hopes that their fans are willing to give them another shot.

They’ll get a chance to make their pitch for the 2018 ride at the annual Kickoff Party at the Portland Art Museum Wednesday night.

Read more

A Weekend(er) of friends and fun in McMinnville

Weekender ride - Cycle Oregon-24.jpg

Lars Larson with that, there’s-only-10-miles-to-the-finish-line, smile.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Cycle Oregon is many things. The organization — in the midst of its 30th year — is dedicated to helping all of Oregon reach its economic and cycling potential while putting on events that bring people closer to new places and faces.

Cycling is at the heart of what Cycle Oregon does; but they’re really in the people business. When you “do” a Cycle Oregon event it’s entirely possible to come away with more memories of the people you rode with than the roads you pedaled on. That’s especially true on their Weekender event. Without the physical challenge of the much more grueling Classic ride (the seven-day event they’re most known for), Weekender is much more accessible in both price ($199 versus $999) and pain (120 miles over two days versus 490 miles over seven days). This means it might be doable for friends who aren’t as nutty about cycling as you are.

This past weekend I invited a few friends to join me on the ride. We chose to ride 78 miles from Portland to the base camp at Linfield College in McMinnville on Friday (thankfully someone drove our bags down for us). We followed that up with 73 miles on Saturday and a 52-miler on Sunday. None of the days had a significant amount of climbing and we kept our average speed chill and conversational (13-15 mph). It’s also worth noting that we chose the longest of three possible routes both days. (This event would be great if you have friends that would rather ride just 15 or 40 miles a day.) In between miles in the saddle we relaxed, got to know each other a bit better (easier to do than at home where our kids and other responsibilities constantly loom), soaked up the small-town charms of McMinnville, and let Cycle Oregon’s legendary hospitality do the rest.

Read more

Guest Post: Recap of my second ‘Joyride’

This is me on a flat stretch of road where I remembered how to ride with no hands.
(Photos and words by Abby Koonce)

This post was written by 14-year-old Sellwood resident Abby Koonce.

My name is Abby Koonce and I am sharing my story of the 2017 Joyride as a way to encourage other people to join us for next year’s edition. I am 14 years old and I am going to Benson High school this year. My parents are cycling fanatics so I suppose it kind of rubs off.

This was my second year doing Joyride with my mom. The ride is organized by Cycle Oregon, the organization mostly known for their big week-long ride.

Read more

Pedaling Yamhill County: A preview of Cycle Oregon’s ‘Weekender’ event

Cycle Oregon Weekender Pre-Ride-28.jpg

Friday afternoon traffic jam on SW Muddy Valley Road southwest of downtown McMinnville.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Willamette Valley is no stranger to great bicycling. After all, it’s home to the first official “scenic bikeway” in America. But until this past weekend there was a large chunk of it which I had yet to pedal through: the western section of Yamhill County south of Forest Grove.

Read more

Bear Camp backroads and the Old Agness Store: Wrapping up Cycle Oregon 29

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Cycle Oregon 2016-58.jpg

Roads like this one between the small towns of Glendale and Azalea are what bind urban bike enthusiasts to Oregon’s rural residents.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Cycle Oregon 29 is in the books. It happened last week and now there are 2,000 or so people sitting at work with souvenirs, sore legs, and constant questioning from co-workers who ask, “You did what?! Why?!”.

Read more

A tour of the coast with Brookings Mayor Ron Hedenskog

Brookings Mayor Ron Hedenskog.
Brookings Mayor Ron Hedenskog.

I’ve seen a lot of elected officials on organized bike rides over the years. Usually they look uncomfortable and their bike doesn’t quite fit: As if it’s obvious they’re doing it mostly for the photo-op.

Brookings Mayor Ron Hedenskog is different.

Today on Cycle Oregon, Mayor Hedenskog joined us for the ride from Gold Beach to Brookings. The last time he did the ride was 1988 — the inaugural edition.

I accompanied him for about 30 miles and got a personal tour of the route. Hedenskog knows the area well. He moved to the coast in 1966, his dad was a commercial fisherman and his father-in-law ran a 400-acre sawmill on the coast in the 1950s — a full decade before the Coast Highway was even built.

Read more

Cycle Oregon takes over the southern coast

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
imagefire4

Bonfire on Gold Beach to end day three.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

We’re joining Cycle Oregon a bit late this year. The 2,500 or so people that make up this ride (about 2,000 or so riders and hundreds of volunteers, supporters, and staff) are now settled into a beachfront camp.

Read more