The Dalles

In April 2014 I was invited out to The Dalles by their chamber of commerce. They wanted to show me how bike-friendly their town is and what a great basecamp it is for cycling adventures. I stayed several nights, met some fine people, and rode as much as I could. Below are the stories I filed during the trip.

Racers treated to perfect conditions at annual Gorge Roubaix weekend

by on April 6th, 2016 at 1:18 pm


Racers string out as they make their way up the famous Rowena Loops en route to Mosier during Day 1 of the Gorge Roubaix.
(Photos: Leonard Johnson/Hot Foot Photo)

The Oregon Bicycle Racing Association calendar took racers to The Dalles this past weekend for the Gorge Roubaix. Event promoters offered two days of racing (and one non-competitive “gravel grinder” ride) along some of the most beautiful roads in the state.
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What mountain bike racing looks like in eastern Oregon (from way above)

by on March 7th, 2016 at 3:42 pm

Most regular readers of this site know that I have a major crush on eastern Oregon. If you love to ride bicycles, it’s sort of a paradise. It has wide open roads, big skies, forests, lakes, rivers, and wonderful rural towns full of nice people.
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The Dalles at a tipping point says “bike freak” Mayor Stephen Lawrence

by on April 2nd, 2014 at 4:57 pm

A bike tour of The Dalles-3

Mayor of The Dalles, Stephen Lawrence.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePorltand)

The Dalles’ Mayor Stephen Lawrence described himself as a “Blumenauer bike freak” when I met him in City Hall on Monday. I’m used to elected officials boosting their cycling credentials when they talk with me; but in Mayor Lawrence’s case, so far he’s actually backing it up.
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A bike tour of The Dalles: No spandex required

by on April 1st, 2014 at 1:59 am

A bike tour of The Dalles-27

Several murals in downtown The Dalles
depict the area’s rich history.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

While most of the attention for cycling in The Dalles is focused on the stellar roads outside the city, you’ll be missing a lot if you don’t explore the town itself. Put another way; you don’t have to wear spandex or be ultra-fit to explore the cool things this town has to offer. From history, to local watering holes, to big views of the Gorge, a bike is all you need to take it all in.

After being here a few days, I heard about several “must-see” destinations over and over again. So today, I headed out and connected a bunch of them up into a tour. I had a great time doing it myself, so I figured it’d be worth sharing.
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Chad Sperry, The Dalles’ bike ambassador

by on March 31st, 2014 at 11:03 pm

The Dalles - Day One-37

Breakaway Promotions owners Chad Sperry (right) and
Lori Waters (center), with employee Tony Kic
outside Baldwin Saloon in The Dalles.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

It seems like every notable bike city has its unofficial bicycle ambassador. Sometimes it’s a blogger and consultant, like the case of Mikael Colville-Andersen in Copenhagen; or it can even be a city official, like when Mia Birk led the cycling charge in Portland in the 1990s. Out here in The Dalles, the position rests with a man named Chad Sperry.

Sperry is co-owner of Breakaway Promotions, one of the largest and most successful bicycle race event production companies in Oregon. Sperry runs the business with wife and business partner Lori Waters. Together, they’re responsible for an impressive list of events; from mountain biking to elite-level road races and national championships. In total, they put on over two dozen events with over 60 event days in Idaho, Utah and Oregon. His Gorge Roubaix is one of the reasons I decided to come to The Dalles. And it’s an event with extra meaning because Sperry lives here and he’s an unabashed advocate of cycling in his home town.
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Riding Rowena: A mini Gorge Roubaix gallery

by on March 30th, 2014 at 10:24 pm

Gorge Roubaix - Sunday-6

Racers ascend the Rowena Loops with I-84 and The Dalles in the background.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

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Photos from day one of the Gorge Roubaix

by on March 29th, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Gorge Roubaix - Saturday-8

(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

The first day of the Gorge Roubaix is in the books. It was a fantastic day of racing, with dry and party cloudy skies most of the day. There was some rain for the later races. And the wind was howling; but that’s to be expected out here in the Gorge.

Personally, I’d rather forget what happened. Long story short: I got dropped early by the Cat 3 field and never caught back on. Oh, and the only guys I passed all day had gotten flats. It was my first road race since 1998, so I didn’t expect much. But still, being last and riding slow and alone for three hours in a “race” is never awesome.

But enough about me, let’s take a look at some photos from the day.

I got an unexpected treat this morning and was able to hop in an official media car to do some photos of the early races. It was beautiful out there. Before we headed out on the course, I got a few shots in the parking lot and registration area. Have a look…
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Opportunity and ingredients for cycling success in The Dalles

by on March 28th, 2014 at 8:51 pm

The Dalles - Day One-32

A new bike shop coming to downtown The Dalles.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Ever since a reporting trip to Washington D.C. a few years ago, I’ve begun using a soup analogy to assess a city’s bike-friendliness. A good bowl of soup, like a successful cycling city, requires many different ingredients, and just as importantly, the right people to blend them together. In D.C., after spending a few days cycling on their impressive protected bike lanes, my impression was that they had added many excellent ingredients to the soup, but the taste wasn’t quite right. It was like an inexperienced chef who knew where to buy the good ingredients, and was able to plop them in the pot — but wasn’t yet skilled enough at blending them all together into a tasty final product.

Here in The Dalles, to continue the soup analogy, the kitchen is full of chefs excitedly prepping ingredients, and there’s a lot of buzz about what they’ll create; but the pot isn’t even boiling yet.
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Dispatch from The Dalles

by on March 27th, 2014 at 11:34 pm

The Dalles - Day One-12

Picture-perfect cycling roads are as abundant out here as the cherry orchards. This view is looking west on Emerson Loop Road just east of downtown.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Before today I had never stopped in The Dalles (population 14,000) for more than a quick pit-stop at Burgerville during a family road trip. Now, after spending my first full day here, I realize I’ve been missing a lot.
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