our mother the mountain

Photos and recap of the OMTM Winter Social Ride

Avatar by on January 13th, 2020 at 8:53 am

Sharp rocks, rough right-of-way, and gargantuan puddles made up one of the best parts of the route.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

[Read more…]

Show up to one of these two group rides and beat the brutal weather blues

Avatar by on January 10th, 2020 at 11:10 am

Fact: Each additional person you ride with lessens the impact of tough conditions by 15%.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

[Read more…]

A divine ‘Holy Mountain’ ride in the shadows of Mt. Hood

Avatar by on November 1st, 2019 at 2:31 pm

It’s amazing what these bikes can do! Wide drop bars, lots of gears, big knobby tires — I feel like it can go almost anywhere. This is super-low Clear Lake with Mt. Hood in the background.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

[Read more…]

A night on the ‘East Buttes’

Avatar by on September 13th, 2019 at 1:17 pm

Lights on and ready for our next dive into forested darkness.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Last night I learned the buttes overlooking east Portland are full of hidden gems that are much easier to appreciate with an experienced guide.
[Read more…]

Meet Portland’s adventure riding ‘route master’ Ryan Francesconi

Avatar by on April 16th, 2019 at 1:41 pm

Ryan Francesconi at the 2018 Hell of the North Plains ride.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

What makes a great cycling city?

We often think of bike-friendly policies and politicians, or bikeway miles and ridership statistics. But if you ask me, the most important part of what makes a place great for cycling is the people who live in it. Here in Portland, we’re lucky so many smart, dedicated, selfless, and inspiring bicycle lovers call this place home. Why? Because most of them share their passions with the rest of us.

Ryan Francesconi is one of the people I’m grateful for. He’s one of the leaders behind the local gravel riding revolution. He’s the chief moderator of the “Unpaved” Google Group and he (along with his friend Ron Lewis) is one of the main leaders and organizers behind the legendary Our Mother the Mountain (OMTM) rides. Beyond that, he’s always quick to share his vast knowledge of routes and riding tips with everyone who asks (we shared his winter riding tips in 2017). [Read more…]

Unpaved road fans raise red flag over Clackamas County forest project

Avatar by on April 11th, 2019 at 7:13 am

Roads and trees like these could be forever altered.
(Photo: Ron Lewis/Our Mother the Mountain)

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.
[Read more…]

For unpaved road lovers, it’s a ‘Show & Tell’ weekend

Avatar by on June 27th, 2018 at 11:47 am

In the past few years there’s been a meteoric rise in the popularity of unpaved road riding — a.k.a. “gravel grinding”. In just five years we’ve gone from exploring “Bullshit” roads, to capturing the State of Oregon’s attention, to the rise and fall of the Oregon Outback.

The current state of this adventurous style of riding is the proliferation of groups that organize themselves online via social media and plan unsanctioned, unsupported rides on logging and forest roads in and around the Portland region.

One of the largest and most well-known of those groups is Our Mother the Mountain, and this weekend will be something of a coming-out party for all if its fans. Known simply as OMTM, the group is “led” by people whose knowledge of excellent backroad routes is as deep as their passion for riding them. These are the folks who inspired me to discover the dark side of Larch Mountain and the “hell of the North Plains.”

This weekend, Portland-based HiFi Wheels will team up with OMTM, Royale Brewing, and emerging apparel brand Biciclista for Show & Tell, a full weekend of riding and connecting with other unpaved enthusiasts.

There’s a bike show and two days of riding planned. Here’s how it’ll go:[Read more…]

Finding heaven on the Hell of the North Plains

Avatar by on January 22nd, 2018 at 4:04 pm

And then there was this bright green meadow on our way up to the top of Wildcat Mountain.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Sometimes all it takes to find a good adventure on two wheels is to just look a little harder.

Many of the best roads on Saturday’s Hell of the North Plains ride were in places I’ve ridden or driven near for many years. But somehow, someway, the routefinding raconteurs at Our Mother the Mountain (OMTM) manage to go deeper into (relatively) local backroads than most of us will ever venture on our own.
[Read more…]

The Ride: Exploring the ‘dark’ side of Larch Mountain

Avatar by on May 16th, 2017 at 12:59 pm

The Dark Larch-1.jpg

Few things make me happier than a narrow dirt trail that meanders beyond a “road closed” gate. (Oh, and there was a roaring creek just to the right.)
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Ride is brought to you by River City Bicycles.

Larch Mountain stands 4,061 feet above the Columbia River in east Multnomah County. The 14-mile climb up the paved road that leads to the summit of this extinct volcano is a thing of magic and/or misery for local bicycle riders.

But there’s another side of this majestic mountain. A side that was revealed to many people for the first time via The Dark Larch ride on Saturday.
[Read more…]