Love riding gravel? Meet Washington County’s unpaved road “Kahuna” Dan Morgan

Dan Morgan on Smoke Ranch Road, one of his favorites. After riding roads like these for years, he’s now helping make sure they stay unpaved.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s fitting that I first met Dan Morgan on a gravel road.

The 66 year-old former dairy farmer, IBM retiree and Beaverton resident has been riding unpaved country roads his whole life. Now that the activity has become one of the biggest trends in cycling, he’s become an ambassador of sorts. He’s also working to prevent the county from paving over this newly discovered paradise.

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Escape the City: In search of Hobo Joe

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
In search of Hobo Joe with Dyno Dan.-8.jpg

Just a few miles north of Hillsboro and Highway 26 are miles of unpaved roads waiting to be ridden.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Before we get to know Hobo Joe, I want to share a brief programming note…

When I started mountain biking back in the 1990s one of the things that really drew me into it was the solitude. In just a few minutes of pedaling (I was lucky to live close to mountains), I could get away from busy roads full of smelly and loud cars.

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Travel Oregon wants to develop a statewide ‘gravel riding network’

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

First meeting of the Oregon Gravel Riding
Working Group.
(Photo by Kristin Dahl/Travel Oregon)

In the latest sign that gravel road riding is poised to be the Next Big Thing in cycling (just wait until you see how many major bike brands will offer “gravel bikes” in 2014), Travel Oregon (a.k.a. the Oregon Tourism Commission) convened an official working group yesterday to, “Create a strategy for promoting and further developing Oregon gravel riding network.”

As we’ve shared on a few occasions, Oregon is full of amazing unpaved roads through farms and forests that only a handful of people have ever pedaled on. Therein lies the potential of gravel riding (which is really nothing more than riding on unimproved/unpaved roads): It opens up hundreds of miles of new route options and adventures in every corner of the state.

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