The Ride: Exploring Barney Reservoir and rugged timber roads west of Forest Grove

Forest Grove - Barney Reservoir loop-26.jpg

Many roads like this beckon adventure seekers just miles west of downtown Forest Grove.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

This ride recap is sponsored by 21st Avenue Bicycles. They’ve stepped up to bring you more coverage of the great bike adventures that await right outside your door. Stay tuned all year long as we explore the best backroads and bikepacking spots in Portland and beyond.

Nearly everyone who rides around these parts knows about Hagg Lake and the beautiful road that winds around it in the hills west of Forest Grove. But did you know there’s another body of water a bit further west that’s also worth checking out on your bike — especially if you love exploring forests and logging roads?

Read more

The Ride: Scappoose to the Banks-Vernonia Trail via logging roads

Scappoose to Buxton on dirt-17

Pisgah Road near Gunners Lakes Mainline was a wrong turn that turned out right.
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

Note: Welcome to the first in a series of posts sponsored by 21st Avenue Bicycles. They’ve stepped up to bring you more coverage of bikepacking and adventure rides. Stay tuned all year as we explore the best backroads and bike-camping spots in Portland and beyond.

There’s a certain satisfaction that comes with finally doing a route that has been in the back of your mind for a few years.

That’s what I did on Sunday by finally connecting dirt roads from Scappoose to the Banks-Vernonia Trail (at Buxton trailhead). In all it was just under 80 miles, with 21 of them on beautiful, often rugged, and remote backroads that I’m still day-dreaming about. Here’s how it went down…

Read more

The Ride: Climbing Portland’s iconic Council Crest

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Iconic Council Crest-downtown loop-7

Mere minutes from downtown Portland. The view of
Washington County from SW Fairmount Blvd.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

This post is part of our SW Portland Week.

Council Crest: If you live in Portland and like to ride bikes, chances are you’ve heard of this legendary destination. When I first heard about it, I recall how it garnered mythical status — as if its summit would rise above downtown Portland like a snow-capped Himalayan peak.

Read more

The Ride: Unpaved fun on Banks backroads (photo gallery)

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Banks backroads loop-40

Great roads await in the hills surrounding the Banks-Vernonia State Trail.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Once you open yourself up to the possibility of riding unpaved roads, a whole new world awaits. That, to me, is one of the most exciting things about the “gravel riding” revolution. It’s like we just scored a bunch of new places to ride and it came without loss of blood or treasure.

Read more

The Ride: Columbia County’s Burn Road Loop traces pioneer history

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Burn Road Loop in Vernonia-5

Steeped in Oregon pioneer history and beloved by locals,
I cherished the chance to ride Burn Road.
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

This is part of my coverage from a recent stay at the Coastal Mountain Sport Haus, an inn and lodge located in Vernonia that caters to bicycle riding guests.

After riding the Beaver Falls Loop for the first time on Saturday, I was already smitten with the riding possibilities in Columbia County. Then the next day, my hosts at the Coastal Mountain Sport Haus — Glen and Sandy Crinklaw — led me on another one of their favorite rides: The Burn Road Loop.

Read more

The Ride: The Beaver Falls Loop in Columbia County

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Beaver Falls Loop-8

Glen Crinklaw glances at the view from the crest of Clatskanie Mountain Road between Mist and Clatskanie.
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

There’s much more to riding in Columbia County than the marquee Banks-Vernonia Trail and Highway 30.

During my weekend stay at the Coastal Mountain Sporth Haus, I was lucky to have a knowledgeable local guide along for my journeys. Glen Crinklaw is co-proprietor at the Sport Haus and he also works as head of the parks department for Columbia County. On Saturday he shared his favorite ride: The Beaver Falls Loop.

Read more

The Ride: A north Portland loop that’s perfect for the whole family

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Ultimate North Portland Family Loop-15

With half the mileage on paths completely separated from auto traffic, this nine mile north Portland/Columbia Slough loop could be the ultimate family ride.
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

If you’ve been looking for a great loop ride in north Portland that’s perfect for novice riders and families, I’ve got an exciting route to share.

Read more

Finding (and grinding) gravel in Salem

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Salem Gravel Grinder

Riders embark on a 50-mile loop of dirt and gravel farm roads west of Salem.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

I still don’t who organized last Sunday’s Salem Gravel Grinder ride; but I think that’s somewhat by design. The ride is part of a growing trend of unsanctioned, unpermitted group rides where the participants expect nothing more than a good route, good company, and a good adventure.

By that measure, Sunday’s ride (also known as “Oregon’s Perry Roubaix”) was a great success.

Read more

The Ride: Exploring Columbia County backroads outside of Scappoose

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Columbia County backroads-6

There are many miles of logging roads waiting
to be ridden just north of the Scappoose-Vernonia Hwy.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

When the sun comes out around here in January, folks that enjoy bicycling take full advantage. This past weekend was a real gem weather-wise, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who grabbed the opportunity for some two-wheeled adventure. What I found were some off-the-beaten-path backroads that I enjoyed so much I’ve decided to share them here on the Front Page.

Wanting to do my first century of 2014, I ventured over to RidewithGPS.com (a site — based right here in Portland! — that I could not live without these days) to map out one of my oldies but goodies — the Portland-Vernonia-Scappoose loop. This is a fantastic loop that I highly recommend.

Read more