Bacona Road swoops along a ridge as it alternates between clearcuts and dense forests. (Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)
We’ve sung the praises of Stub Stewart State Park on this site several times in the past. It’s not only a great bike-camping destination from Portland (a MAX ride will put you about 13 miles away from a carfree path that leads to the park entrance), it also makes a perfect base camp for miles of excellent roads and trails. [Read more…]
Team Sundress ready to hit Trask River Road (after an hour-long ride on the MAX). (Photos: Madi Carlson)
“It was by far the hardest thing either of us have ever done, but we’d both do it again…though only after some rest and time to forget some of the details.”
While the kids are away the moms will play.
For me that means riding my bike much farther while carrying a bit less stuff than when I have the kiddos in tow. And ideally with a mom friend at my side. My friend Elle of Tiny Helmets Big Bikes came up from Sacramento, tasking me to find us a multi-day bike trip. I decided we’d take Trask River Road to Tillamook on the Oregon Coast.
While not technically easy, this the most straightforward, easiest dirt route to the coast from Portland. Starting from the end of the MAX line in Hillsboro, we route you through the least pavement possible to Mount Richmond and then on gravel up to the Barney Reservoir and along the North Fork of the Trask River directly into Tillamook.[Read more…]
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.”
Dan Morgan on Smoke Ranch Road, one of his favorites. After riding roads like these for years, he’s now helping make sure they stay unpaved. (Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)
It’s fitting that I first met Dan Morgan on a gravel road.
The 66 year-old former dairy farmer, IBM retiree and Beaverton resident has been riding unpaved country roads his whole life. Now that the activity has become one of the biggest trends in cycling, he’s become an ambassador of sorts. He’s also working to prevent the county from paving over this newly discovered paradise. [Read more…]
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…]
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…]
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). [Read more…]