Finding heaven on the Hell of the North Plains

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.

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The Ride: To the Oregon coast and back via Nestucca River Road

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Nestucca River Road is a fantastic way to get from Portland to the coast.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Riding to the coast from the city is something of a rite of passage for many Portlanders. Getting there via Nestucca River Road is a privilege.

This past Sunday I was lucky enough to try it for the first time as part of the Dirty Sellwood ride. The ride was the fifth annual epic ride collaboration between two great bike shops and their owners: Erik Tonkin of Sellwood Cycle Repair in Portland and Mitchell Buck of Dirty Fingers Bikes in Hood River.

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The Ride: One century to rule them all

There’s more than one way to get to Vernonia – if you don’t mind getting dirty.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

This post is sponsored by River City Bicycles.

You know I have a soft-spot for Columbia County. A ride I did this weekend made it even softer: A 100-mile loop that pulls together adventurous riding that’s relatively close to Portland and offers everything from expertly crafted singletrack and primitive logging roads to carfree paths and smooth country roads.

I call it the Scappoose Vernonia Singletrack Century.

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Escape the city with an easy overnight (or two) at Dodge Park

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The first 20 miles of this 30-mile route are on the Springwater Corridor. The final 10 miles includes a blissful descent into the campground at Dodge Park. Everett approves!
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

**NOTE: Due to an unfortunate decision from Portland City Council, Dodge Park is no longer open for camping as of 2019. We hope this changes someday!**

This is how easy bike camping can be: Just 30 easy miles east of downtown Portland lies a campground at the edge of the forest nestled between two rivers.

And the best part? The first 20 miles are on the carfree Eastbank Esplanade and Springwater Corridor paths. And by the time you leave this safe riding sanctuary, you’re far enough into the country where you can often see more horses and pigs than cars.

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The Ride: Pedaling from Portland to Hood River

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New to me, Kingsley Road above Hood River was a welcome alternative to Dee Highway.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

One of the ways I fit cycling adventures into my life is to ride to places where I’m already planning to do something with my family. So, when we planned to meet some friends in Hood River on Sunday, I knew it was a golden opportunity.

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

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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.

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The Ride: A return to Timber’s snowy, logjammed backroads

(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The Timber Logjam ride is a symbol of modern adventure cycling culture. Without formal organization or promotion, word of the ride spread through social media. And by Saturday, as welcome sun beat down through frigid air on the Banks trailhead of the Banks-Vernonia State Trail, about 70 people were on their bikes and ready to ride.

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Escape the City: In search of Hobo Joe

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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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The Ride: Exploring the Gifford Pinchot National Forest ‘Hinterland’

Into the Hinterland we go.(All photos courtesy Ron Lewis/OMTM.com)
Into the Hinterland we go.
(All photos courtesy Ron Lewis/OMTM.cc)

Welcome to The Ride, our occassional series where we share amazing adventures in Portland and beyond. If you have a ride to share and want to see it featured here, drop me a line.

Just across the Columbia River from Oregon the Gifford Pinchot National Forest beckons bike adventurers. Last year I spent a very memorable day getting to know it better during the Gifford Gravel 50 (which is back for its second running this Saturday).

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The Ride: Gorge backroads delight on the Dalles Mountain Mutiny

Looking back towards The Dalles where we started.
(Photos and words by Gabriel Tiller/Limberlost)

Welcome to The Ride, our ongoing series of inspirational adventure stories sponsored by 21st Avenue Bicycles. See more from this series here.

It’s becoming that time of year again when cyclists start coming out of hibernation and you can usually count on it being sunny (or at least not snowy) in the rolling grass hills of the eastern Columbia River Gorge. One of VeloDirt’s longest running rides — the Dalles Mountain 60 — took place last weekend starting anarchically from the unassuming parking lot of Holsteins Coffee in The Dalles. For a non-event, just a murmur between friends on Instagram or the simple expectation of tradition every second Saturday of March, it’s a rather popular ride.

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