With its second year in the books, it feels like the Gravel event has found a home with Cycle Oregon. After three decades of their signature, 7-day “Classic” event, the nonprofit has found a sweet spot around one of cycling biggest trends: riding unpaved backroads, a.k.a. gravel grinding.
The tiny eastern Oregon town of Dufur (est. 1893, pop. 604) was home base for two full days of riding. The routes traversed land where the Molalla Tribe lived for generations before being banished to a reservation by the U.S. government in 1851. Today the land around Dufur is wide open country dotted by farms that raise livestock, wheat, and other crops.
Before we jump off into another weekend of great riding, how about some inspiration from the last one?
The US Forest Service is eyeing 4,000 acres of land near the Clackamas River for a major project and local unpaved road enthusiasts are concerned about how it will impact riding conditions and the environment.
This October, one of America’s best supported bike rides will do something they’ve never done in their 30-year history: Take the show off-road.
A few weekends ago I rode about 50 miles east of Portland to get a closer look at one of the routes that will be featured as part of Cycle Oregon’s ‘Gravel’ event coming October 5-7th. The two days of riding (or three if you choose to ride out there) will be based at Reeher’s Camp, a site built on a historic Civilian Conservation Corps camp a few miles west of Timber (population 130) at the eastern edge of the Tillamook State Forest.
It’s been a challenging week transportation-wise here in Portland. First we were hit by snow and strong winds, then freezing rain, then a blanket of ice. After that, we had to trudge through tricky slush-piles. Now, thankfully, the weather is getting back to normal; but one last challenge remains: gravel.[Read more…]
Since the outset of what has become an epic Storm of 2008 (stories, photos), we wondered how the Bureau of Transportation would handle the perennial problem of gravel on the roadways — and especially the gravel that inevitably ends up all over the bike lanes.
“Where sweepers could get to the curb, our first priority was bike lanes.”
— PBOT spokeswoman Cheryl Kuck