Browsed by
Category: Cycle Oregon

Bear Camp backroads and the Old Agness Store: Wrapping up Cycle Oregon 29

Bear Camp backroads and the Old Agness Store: Wrapping up Cycle Oregon 29

Cycle Oregon 2016-58.jpg

Roads like this one between the small towns of Glendale and Azalea are what bind urban bike enthusiasts to Oregon’s rural residents.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Cycle Oregon 29 is in the books. It happened last week and now there are 2,000 or so people sitting at work with souvenirs, sore legs, and constant questioning from co-workers who ask, “You did what?! Why?!”.

Cycle Oregon 2016-12.jpg

Signs like these are why I love
exploring Oregon backroads.

I missed the first two days of the ride this year due to a family event in California over the weekend. One the negative side, that meant I didn’t get to ride into Camas Valley or do the (now legendary) climb and descent out of it on Day Two. But on the positive side, it meant that I could do a little pre-ride adventure on my own in the rugged Rogue River – Siskiyou National Forest.

Over the course of the week riders were treated to the many charms southern Oregon’s physical, historical, and modern landscape: a gorgeous coastline, towering trees, wild rivers, and bucolic farms; tales of native tribes and gold discoveries; and rural residents whose lives are simultaneously simple and often misunderstood by us cityfolk. The theme of the ride, “Go for the Gold!,” harkened back to hard-luck times when settlers sought fortunes in the riverbeds. Today, many of the people who’ve settled in the towns we camped in and rode through are still working hard and hoping to strike it rich — likely without the boundless optimism pioneers once had.

Cycle Oregon founder Jonathan Nicholas captured this urban-rural tension during remarks he shared to a rapt audience that sat in a grassy field under a full moon in Glendale on the final night of the ride. He spoke about the common bonds we all share as Oregonians and the urgent need to find balance in today’s hyper-polarized civic dialogue.

Bear Camp backroads

Cycle Oregon 2016-6.jpg

Riding toward Gold Beach on Burnt Ridge Road.

The high point (literally and figuratively) of my Cycle Oregon week was Bear Camp Road, a (mostly) paved route that reaches about 4,800 feet up into the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. Last month I rode up its western flank for the first time, following the same route we did on Cycle Oregon last week. On Monday night I tackled its eastern flank when I rode from Interstate 5 at Merlin (where my family dropped me off on their way home to Portland from California) up to a campsite near Bear Camp Lookout. I didn’t get on my bike until about 5:30 pm so I ended up finishing the tough climb after dark. It was about 9:30 pm by the time I found the rustic campsite (it was off a rough dirt road with no signage or anything) and set out my sleeping bag.

Cycle Oregon 2016-1.jpg

This is the sign that greets you as you start the climb up to Bear Camp from Galice.
Cycle Oregon 2016-3.jpg

Had Bear Camp campground all to myself.

After a quiet night alone in the forest (what a treat!), I planned to meet up with Cycle Oregon on the coast in Gold Beach where they’d end up after their overnight in Bandon. Instead of taking Bear Camp Road down off the mountain, I opted instead for a dirt/gravel option called Burnt Ridge Road. It was about 22 miles between my camp at the top and where it came out on the Rogue River in Agness. I highly recommend this as an alternate. The road is in great shape (as long as you don’t mind gravel and dirt), you’ll have complete solitude, and the views along the ridge are wonderful.

Cycle Oregon 2016-5.jpg

View looking toward the Rogue River and Grants Pass from 4,800 feet.

Cycle Oregon 2016-11.jpg

Cycle Oregon 2016-9.jpg

Cycle Oregon 2016-7.jpg

Two days later I got yet another chance to do some exploring off Bear Camp Road. After lunch at the summit, I descended down on the official route for about 10 miles. Then I peeled off on a more interesting road that I’d been researching on my maps: Peavine Road/Serpentine Spring Road. It’s narrow, twisty, and has rather large chip seal but is otherwise in great condition. It added about 4 miles and another 800 feet or so of (very steep) climbing, but it was well worth it. In 14 miles I didn’t hear or see any other person or vehicle. It was one of the most fun and remote paved roads I’ve ever ridden. Definitely recommend this next time you are in the area.

Cycle Oregon 2016-46.jpg







A side trip to the Old Agness Store

Cycle Oregon 2016-16.jpg

Before heading into Gold Beach I decided to take another detour to the Old Agness Store. It’s about 12 miles out-of-the way down a dead-end road so it’s not a place everyone opts to explore. In fact, the local motto is, “The best wrong turn you’ll ever make!” And now I can say it’s true! The road to get out there is like a roller-coaster ride without the queasiness — perfectly smooth and windy with grand views of the Rogue River.

The store itself is everything a modern-day adventurer could hope for. Recently renovated by Steve and Michele Berlant, a couple who met at the store in 2008, it now offers local gifts, home-baked bread, fresh soups, smoothies, and much more. I ordered the garden salad and sat on outside on the porch to chat with a couple on a motorcycle trip who I’d met along the road. The salad was fantastic and it turned out that Steve picked everything in it (except the carrots) from the store’s garden out back. Whether you’re hungry for food, souvenirs, or just some local hospitality, you owe it to yourself to stop at the Old Agness Store next time you’re in the area.

Cycle Oregon 2016-19.jpg

The road to the store.
Cycle Oregon 2016-13.jpg

Is there anything that makes you more happy when on a bike trip than signs like these?
Cycle Oregon 2016-18.jpg

Cycle Oregon 2016-17.jpg

When they say garden salad, they really mean it.

Following a trail of gold

Cycle Oregon 2016-48.jpg

Cooling off in the Rogue River after the grueling Day 5 climb up Bear Camp Road. Just imagine all the gold pulled out of this river over the years.

True story: On my drive south to California with the family before I met up with Cycle Oregon we met a gold miner. Seriously: A real-life, modern person who wakes up and looks for gold. We were at a gas station in Grants Pass (where my dad works part-time) when an elderly fellow in a beat-up pick-up rolled up. He had that look — dirty, worn-out jeans, long and uncut white hair and beard, callused and dingy hands — that always piques my curiousity. We were chatting with him for a bit when he pulled a huge gold nugget out of his pocket. He explained that he’d been mining gold in the “850 or so creeks” in the nearby hills since 1974. He’d been carrying that nugget (which he said was worth about $20,000) in his pocket for about 40 years.

Little did I know that the following week I’d be riding along roads full of historic mining claims and nearby rivers with a rich history of gold-seekers and industrial mining. From the wars over gold deposits between natives and white settlers at Gold Beach to the mining camps along the Rogue River near Indian Mary Park and the many claims that still exist along Cow Creek, we probably rode by millions of dollars in pure gold.

Cycle Oregon 2016-54.jpg

Cycle Oregon 2016-64.jpg

Cycle Oregon 2016-52.jpg

Onward to 30!

Cycle Oregon 2016 finish line

Cycle Oregon is about the communities it goes through — and also the community of friends fostered within. This is me and some friends at the finish line in Myrtle Creek. (Photo by Steve Schulz with Step Routh’s camera)

Next year Cycle Oregon turns 30 years old. That’s an important and impressive milestone that will bring with it another amazing ride and probably some soul-searching from the organization’s board and staff. The Week Ride has become a respected institution, but all institutions must re-invent themselves to stay relevant. How and if Cycle Oregon makes substantive changes to its Week Ride after next year is anyone’s guess. I’d personally love to see more adventurous (even dirt and gravel) routes offered as options — sort of a more formal extension of the “Exploregon” rides I’ve been doing.

Regardless of what happens, the organization’s mission will remain. The nearly 3,000 riders, staff, and volunteers that make up the Week Ride is an economic bright spot to the towns it rolls through. The nonprofit not only dishes out cash for its hosts it also makes them eligible for project grants through its charitable fund. Of course bicycling isn’t a cure-all for Oregon’s rural economies; but the perspectives gained by people on both sides of the handlebars are a solid start.

See excellent photos of the the 2016 ride on the Cycle Oregon Facebook page.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

The post Bear Camp backroads and the Old Agness Store: Wrapping up Cycle Oregon 29 appeared first on BikePortland.org.

A tour of the coast with Brookings Mayor Ron Hedenskog

A tour of the coast with Brookings Mayor Ron Hedenskog

Brookings Mayor Ron Hedenskog.

Brookings Mayor Ron Hedenskog.

I’ve seen a lot of elected officials on organized bike rides over the years. Usually they look uncomfortable and their bike doesn’t quite fit: As if it’s obvious they’re doing it mostly for the photo-op.

Brookings Mayor Ron Hedenskog is different.

Today on Cycle Oregon, Mayor Hedenskog joined us for the ride from Gold Beach to Brookings. The last time he did the ride was 1988 — the inaugural edition.

I accompanied him for about 30 miles and got a personal tour of the route. Hedenskog knows the area well. He moved to the coast in 1966, his dad was a commercial fisherman and his father-in-law ran a 400-acre sawmill on the coast in the 1950s — a full decade before the Coast Highway was even built.

image

The new, $2 million path from Highway 101 to Harris Beach State Park in Brookings.

The new, $2 million path from Highway 101 to Harris Beach State Park in Brookings.

Rolling interviews are my favorite.

Rolling interviews are my favorite.

For Hedenskog, bicycling isn’t just a hobby. He’s an unabashed advocate and wasn’t afraid to share his frustrations with the Oregon Department of Transportation — the agency responsible for Highway 101.

“ODOT needs to change its preferences. When the road narrows they always take from the bikes and never from the auto lanes. They need to give safety the preference over motor vehicles.”
— Ron Hedenskog, mayor of Brookings

“ODOT needs to change its preferences,” he said. “When the road narrows they always take from the bikeway and never from the auto lanes. They need to give safety the preference over motor vehicles.”

Hedenskog is drafting a letter to ODOT to share his concerns. He’s also working with the mayors of Gold Beach and Port Orford to present a united front to lobby the state for safer bicycling on the Coast Highway.

“Here’s the way I see it,” he said. “We’ve been cut out of our resources with timber and we need something to replace it. And the state is promoting tourism, so let’s get on that bandwagon.”

What about coastal residents who are, how shall we say, not as enthusiastic about biking as the mayor? Hedenskog embraces that fact.

“You’re in redneck country here,” he said candidly. “But to me that means people are fiercely independent, it doesn’t mean they’re insane or anything.”

Like everywhere, he says people are just set in their ways. “They know they want something different, they just don’t want to change,” he said with a chuckle.

Exploring the Natural Bridges Viewpoint in the Samuel Boardman State Scenic Corridor.

Exploring the Natural Bridges Viewpoint in the Samuel Boardman State Scenic Corridor.

Out on our bikes, Hedenskog was like a professional tour guide, telling us stories about the land around us. He pointed out the state’s only “land glacier” at Hooskanaden Creek — a massive hillside that is so saturated it’s constantly moving toward the ocean.

He also pointed out the big hole in Mack Arch — so big that he’s heard of people flying through it in small airplanes.

As we hiked along the Oregon Coast Trail at the Natural Bridges Viewpoint he told a story from when he was 18: Standing on the cliff with some friends looking at seals in the water, a big black thing came out of the water. “It was an Orca, a killer whale, and it snatched that seal right up.”







There was also the time he was walking on the beach at Rainbow Rock and found several artifacts that had been used by a native tribe that lived in the area.

Learning about this area from someone like Mayor Hedenskog while taking advantage of the distinct advantages of the bicycle as a tool for exploration and conversation made for a very memorable day.

Rolling into the lunch stop at Harris Beach State Park.

Rolling into the lunch stop at Harris Beach State Park.

After saying goodbye to the mayor at the lunch stop at Harris Beach in Brookings, my riding partner and I continued south to the California border for no other reason because it was only six miles away.

On the return route, we wanted to stay off the highway as much as possible — and we found some wonderful detours.

The official Cycle Oregon route took us on Carpenterville Road — which Mayor Hedenskog told us was the old Coast Highway up until 1966. Today it’s a quiet backroad with big views of the ocean and coastal hills from high atop a ridge. Carpenterville Road led us to the Pistol River where we crossed over a bridge and ended up on Myers Creek Road — another alternative to the highway that was equally rewarding.

The main highway is below and to the left as we ride peacefully on Carpenterville Road.

The main highway is below and to the left as we ride peacefully on Carpenterville Road.

Beats the highway huh?

Beats the highway huh?

Carpenterville Road.

Carpenterville Road.

Riding off the highway gives you an amazing perspective on this gorgeous part of the state.

Riding off the highway gives you an amazing perspective on this gorgeous part of the state.

Now it’s time to rest up for our big day tomorrow when we’ll head for the massive climb up Bear Camp Road (which you might recall from my explorations last month).

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

The post A tour of the coast with Brookings Mayor Ron Hedenskog appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Cycle Oregon takes over the southern coast

Cycle Oregon takes over the southern coast

imagefire4

Bonfire on Gold Beach to end day three.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

We’re joining Cycle Oregon a bit late this year. The 2,500 or so people that make up this ride (about 2,000 or so riders and hundreds of volunteers, supporters, and staff) are now settled into a beachfront camp.

This is the closest to the coast Cycle Oregon has camped in the ride’s 29-year history. And from what I’ve seen so far, everyone’s taking full advantage.

After dinner the Bike Gallery put on their annual Bike Rodeo — a friendly competition aimed at entertaining a tired crowd and perhaps take their mind off muscles sore from recent climbs. Events included a slow race, foot down derby, bike limbo and jousting.

image

image

image







image

image

image

Many of the tents are set up with spectacular views of the water. And after most people had already snuggled into those tents for bed, a huge bonfire erupted out on the beach.

image

The crowd amassed around the fire was a jovial mix of local high schoolers and Cycle Oregon riders. And it happened under a big moon on a clear night.

imagefire

This is Oregon at its best.

Stay tuned all week as we bring you more coverage from the road. Tomorrow we’ll ride down the coast to Brookings and then we head back inland toward Grants Pass over Bear Camp Road.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

The post Cycle Oregon takes over the southern coast appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Cycle Exploregon: A dose of history, wild rivers, and a ‘true taste of the Pacific Northwest’

Cycle Exploregon: A dose of history, wild rivers, and a ‘true taste of the Pacific Northwest’

Cycle Exploregon Day 4 - Gold Beach to Indian Mary Park-20.jpg

The mighty Rogue River.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

CO-sponsorsWelcome to Cycle Exploregon, our annual adventure done in partnership with Cycle Oregon to explore beyond their official route. This is the final ride recap in this series. Read the other ones here.

Riding a bicycle through Oregon is an awesome way to learn about our history and get up close and personal with the wild places that have shaped it. From a bike you can hear, see, and smell much more than from inside a car — and hours in the saddle give you time to ponder everything your senses take in.

The final leg of my journey gave me several opportunities to for this. I rode from Gold Beach on the coast to the steep canyons of the Rogue River just outside of Grants Pass (see route details on RideWithGPS.com). Unlike the other three days of this trip, my route mirrored exactly what we’ll do on Cycle Oregon next month — all 71 miles (and nearly 7,400 feet of climbing) of it.

Cycle Exploregon Day 4 - Gold Beach to Indian Mary Park-4.jpg

Downtown Gold Beach.
Cycle Exploregon Day 4 - Gold Beach to Indian Mary Park-1.jpg

Rachel’s Coffee House is a great place to stop. It’s attached to the excellent Gold Beach Bookstore.
Cycle Exploregon Day 4 - Gold Beach to Indian Mary Park-5.jpg

Mmmmmm.

Gold Beach’s history is in its name. It was actual gold that brought settlers there in the 1850s and it was the richness of natural resources at the mouth of the Rogue River that allowed the town the flourish thereafter. But the use (and overuse) of those resources also led all-out war with the people who lived their first: Native American tribes.

Native Americans lived in the area for thousands of years before the French “discovered” the area in the early 19th century. And when the fur trappers came, followed by gold-seekers and then fishermen and canneries after that, the existing population, at least according to history, did not appreciate the intruders. The name “Rogue” was passed down from the French, who labeled the native populations — whose land they exploited without recompense — as aggressors and thieves. By 1855, as settlers streamed in on the newly opened Oregon Trail, the Rogue River Wars between the U.S. army and the tribes had begun.





Today the resources at the center of those battles have mostly been depleted. The gold only lasted about a decade, then it was replaced by the fish rush and commercial salmon operations that started a long decline in that species’ health that we’re still grappling with today. While you can still get fresh fish on the docks on Gold Beach harbor, all that’s left of the old canneries are a decrepit, mostly submerged old fishing boat and a few river pilings.

I saw that boat — the M.D. Hume, named after the wife of a major salmon cannery owner — right off the Rogue Riverside trail just beyond the port parking lot. The path took me under the Patterson Bridge and out on the other side where I connected to Jerry’s Flat Road and began my journey east.

Cycle Exploregon Day 4 - Gold Beach to Indian Mary Park-6.jpg

The M.D. Hume rots in Gold Beach port. A woman I met told me this historic ship won’t be restored because it’s owner (the Hume family) was asking for more money than the local preservation society could afford to pay. “It’s a bit of a fued,” she said.
Cycle Exploregon Day 4 - Gold Beach to Indian Mary Park-7.jpg

Cycle Exploregon Day 4 - Gold Beach to Indian Mary Park-8.jpg

This little path along the river was a fun way to start the day’s journey.
Cycle Exploregon Day 4 - Gold Beach to Indian Mary Park-14.jpg

Jerry’s Flat Road looking back at the Patterson Bridge across the Rogue River at Gold Beach.

The first 30 miles of the day hugged the Rogue River about as closely as possible without being in a raft. I had trouble staying focused on the days miles because there seemed to be osprey nests in every other tree. I also took a neat detour on some singletrack at Elephant Bar Trail, which led me through the riparian banks of river to a small estuarine pond.

Cycle Exploregon Day 4 - Gold Beach to Indian Mary Park-15.jpg

Truth in advertising: There was literally an osprey munching on a huge fish on a branch in the tree behind this sign.
Cycle Exploregon Day 4 - Gold Beach to Indian Mary Park-16.jpg

If you look closely you’ll see the Elephant Bar Trail off Jerry’s Flat Road. It’s worth the side-trip.

I made another stop at the Indian Creek RV park because I saw a quaint little store and lodge that needed to be checked out. Inside I met the proprietor Cher Keyser. She was a font of knowledge about the area and happy to share what she knew. My favorite tidbit: Boats are still used to deliver mail on the Rogue River between Gold Beach and Agness (a small town 30-miles upriver).

Cycle Exploregon Day 4 - Gold Beach to Indian Mary Park-11.jpg

Cher Keyser at the Indian Creek RV Park and Campground. The cafe here is also a great place for breakfast.

Then it was time to buckle down and ride. I had a 16-mile climb to get to and it wasn’t getting any cooler. Before the route tilted up, I enjoyed every mile of the Rogue-Coquille Scenic Byway between Gold Beach and Agness, a route that goes through what a roadsign said was “a true taste of the Pacific Northwest” with its river canyons (both the Rogue and the Illinois), and “great diversity of views, vegetation, and waterways.”

Cycle Exploregon Day 4 - Gold Beach to Indian Mary Park-18.jpg

Cycle Exploregon Day 4 - Gold Beach to Indian Mary Park-21.jpg

Cycle Exploregon Day 4 - Gold Beach to Indian Mary Park-22.jpg

Cycle Exploregon Day 4 - Gold Beach to Indian Mary Park-23.jpg

Where the Rogue and Illinois rivers meet.

After crossing a high bridge over the point where the Rogue and Illinois Rivers meet, I was introduced to Bear Camp Road. There was no small talk. This road got right down to business. Or more accurately, “up” to business. The climb began immediately and didn’t release its hold until I pedaled 16 miles and gained 4,500 feet in elevation.

It took me about three hours to get to the top. Three long, hot, sweaty, hours. Now I know why Cycle Oregon calls this one of the toughest climbs they’ve ever done. If you plan on joining us next month, I hope you’ve done some training.

Cycle Exploregon Day 4 - Gold Beach to Indian Mary Park-26.jpg

Cycle Exploregon Day 4 - Gold Beach to Indian Mary Park-28.jpg

Moon over the Rogue and the Merlin-Galice Bridge.

The descent from Bear Camp was fantastic; but, like your first bite of food after being famished, it might just have seemed that way because I was so glad to be done with the climb. Bear Camp Road dropped me out right along a roaring Galice Creek before meeting back up with the Rogue River on Galice Road. After that it was an easy few miles south to Indian Mary Park, which happens to be the smallest native reservation ever created by the U.S. government. In 1886 its 46 acres were granted to local tribal member Umpqua Joe as a gift of thanks after he tipped off a mining company of an impending attack from some of those “Rogue Indians.”

Thanks for following along with me on these rides. I hope you now have a deeper understanding and appreciation for this part of our great state and are inspired to make plans to experience it yourself. If you’d rather have a guide and full support, there are still a few spots left on Cycle Oregon. But you’d better sign up in a hurry because registration closes on August 21st.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

Special thanks to Western Bikeworks for sponsoring the Cycle Exploregon series.

Our work is supported by subscribers. Please become one today. You can also make a one-time donation here.

The post Cycle Exploregon: A dose of history, wild rivers, and a ‘true taste of the Pacific Northwest’ appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Cycle Exploregon: Winding through the Coquille River Valley

Cycle Exploregon: Winding through the Coquille River Valley

Lampa Lane is a road to remember.

Lampa Lane gives you a perfect perch to take in the bucolic beauty of the Coquille River Valley.(Photos: J.Maus BikePortland)

Today’s ride was short but oh so sweet.

CO-sponsors

Before I get started, I just want to clarify what the heck I’m doing. This is not Cycle Oregon. Their big Week Ride is September 10-17th. I’m out here to explore the backroads around the official route and share more about the communities they go through. Cycle Oregon is a nonprofit with a mission to breathe new life into rural communities. My hope is that these posts will inspire you to not just do Cycle Oregon, but to return and savor the small towns along the route.

Today I savored several places I’m already looking forward to coming back to. There’s so much riding out here! The Coquille River Valley is surrounded by mountains and canyons full of smooth and winding roads — and there’s lots of gravel.

Before I got dirty in some of it I spent the morning in Myrtle Point. The manager of the motel I stayed in (Myrtle Trees, highly recommended) shared stories about how it used to be a boomtown in the 1950s. That was when it was still a logging town. It’s much smaller now, and quieter; but if you want a taste of the role lumber mills played in this area’s history, look no further than the Coos Bay Logging Museum.

Check out photos from the museum and more notes from today’s adventure below the jump…

The wonderful Myrtle Trees Motel overlooks the Coquille River Registered wetlands which are home to many bird species and other wildlife.

The wonderful Myrtle Trees Motel overlooks the Coquille River Registered wetlands which are home to many bird species and other wildlife.

Jill Dillon, her husband Steve, and their two children run the Myrtle Trees Motel. The Dillons have been proprietors for 28 years.

Jill Dillon, her husband Steve, and their two children run the Myrtle Trees Motel. The Dillons have been proprietors for 28 years.

Victorian home in Myrtle Point.

Victorian home in Myrtle Point.

The Coos County Logging Museum was built in 1910 as a replica of the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City.

The Coos County Logging Museum was built in 1910 as a replica of the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City.

Carved doors of the Logging Museum.

Carved doors of the Logging Museum.

I love logging history, but as a bike rider, images like this will give me nightmares.

I love logging history, but as a bike rider, images like this will give me nightmares.

More logging truck pride on this mural in Myrtle Point.

More logging truck pride on this mural in Myrtle Point.

Downtown Myrtle Point is unfortunately not as vibrant as it once was.

Downtown Myrtle Point is unfortunately not as vibrant as it once was; but its main street still retains some of its old charm.

Lampa Lane west of Myrtle Point is your ticket to soak in the beautiful Coquille River Valley.

Lampa Lane west of Myrtle Point is your ticket to soak in the beautiful Coquille River Valley.

Almost ran into this little guy.

Almost ran into this little guy.

Filled a large water bottle in about 10 minutes of picking.

Filled a large water bottle in about 10 minutes of picking.

Not a bad place to live.

Not a bad place to live.





Only a few cars passed me all day.

Only a few cars passed me all day.

This old house is precariously close to the road.

This old house is precariously close to the road.

Found this hay field off of Parkersburg Road.

Found this hay field off of Parkersburg Road.

The Coquille River just a mile or two from where it spills into the Pacific.

The Coquille River just a mile or two from where it spills into the Pacific.

They say that as if it's a bad thing.

They say that as if it’s a bad thing.

The mighty Coquille River. The Cycle Oregon route is over on that side of the river.

The mighty Coquille River. The Cycle Oregon route is over on that side of the river.

Parkersburg Road turns to gravel. It's a great little loop you could do from Bandon and a nice way to stay off the main highway.

Parkersburg Road turns to gravel. It’s a great little loop you could do from Bandon and a nice way to stay off the main highway.

I have no idea.

I have no idea.

Coquille River with the Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge in the background.

Coquille River with the Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge in the background.

Made it to the coast!

Made it to the coast!

Check out the details of my route from Myrtle Point to Bandon at RideWithGPS.com.

I’ve got to get some rest. Tomorrow I’ve mapped out a daunting route: 85 miles and nearly 8,000 feet of climbing. I need to get from Bandon to Gold Beach and I’m determined to avoid Highway 101 as much as possible. Hope to see you on the other side.

These stories are made possible through a partnership with Cycle Oregon. If you’re going on their Week Ride (registration still open), you’ll get to sample a paved section of the the Coos Bay Wagon Road (please note: I’m only loosely basing my routes on the Cycle Oregon route). Also thanks to Western Bikeworks for supporting this trip with some great gear.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

Our work is supported by subscribers. Please become one today. You can also make a one-time donation here.

The post Cycle Exploregon: Winding through the Coquille River Valley appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Cycle Exploregon: Rolling on pioneer footsteps

Cycle Exploregon: Rolling on pioneer footsteps

The precise moment when the Coos Bay Wagon Road emerges from forest to valley in Brewster Canyon.

The precise moment when the Coos Bay Wagon Road emerges from forest to valley in Brewster Canyon.

“Ride a bull. Bag an elk. Land a steelhead. Climb a mountain. There is no shortage of adventure to be had in Myrtle Point.” That’s one of the marketing slogans you’ll find on the City of Myrtle Point’s website.

After a 104-mile journey yesterday through the forests and river valleys that surround this small town, I think they should add, “Ride a bike” to that list.

CO-sponsors

Speaking of lists, I found a road yesterday that should be on yours: the Coos Bay Wagon Road.

I started the day in Canyonville, rode north through the lumber town of Riddle then Myrtle Creek. Northwest of Myrtle Creek I rode through towns that time has forgot: Lookingglass (near Roseburg), Reston, Dora, and Sitkum.

These towns used to be stops along the Coos Bay Wagon Road, an historic connection between Roseburg in Douglas County and Coos Bay on the coast. It was built by the federal government and completed in 1872. According to a 2012 article in The Oregonian, it was one of four road contracts given out by the feds to help connect the growing west. And it’s the only one that still exists.

When Highway 42 was built about a century later, the Coos Bay road — and the rural communities along it — fell out of favor. If you’re a bike rider, you know what that means: a nearly traffic-free wonderland that offers enough challenge and adventure that you’ll have no trouble imagining how difficult it must have been to cross in a wagon.

My route from Canyonville to Myrtle Point. See more details and download it yourself at RideWithGPS.com.

My route from Canyonville to Myrtle Point. See more details and download it yourself at RideWithGPS.com.

I rode about 30 miles of the 50-mile road, turning south to my destination in Myrtle Point as the rode continues northwest toward Coquille or Coos Bay on the coast. The section I rode
started in a place called Lookingglass, home of a century-old general store that’s still open for business (and a must-stop for refueling).

From Lookingglass you head into a valley and then the road tilts up. There are two tough climbs, with the one to the summit featuring double-digit inclines for several miles. The road is smooth and well-maintained, except for about 10 miles of gravel on the descent before you get back into the valley flats.





The gravel section is very fun if you’re ready for it. It clings tightly to the East Fork Coquille River which roars and trickles through the steep canyon forest into fantastic pools and rocky waterfalls.

The riding is superb: You start and end in bucolic valleys dotted by historic barns, on the way up it’s just you and the forest, and the way down is a thrill ride.

Riding this road yesterday was made even more interesting because I started the day by rolling on an intact segment (ruts and all) of the 1846 Applegate Pioneer Trail. Ted Romas from the Myrtle Creek Chamber of Commerce had told me where to find it. And I’m glad he did because it’s very easy to miss. Right off NW Dole Road as you leave town there’s a barely visible grassy, dirt road that veers off to your right.

Once I saw it I knew it was the Applegate. It’s hard to see in photos, but the naked eye can discern it. What a thrill it was to roll my tires along the same stretch of dirt that Oregon’s pioneers once rolled theirs.

Here are photos from the ride:

South Umpqua River south of Tri-City.

South Umpqua River south of Tri-City.

Riddle sign

Riddlelumber

The town of Riddle is all about lumber.

The town of Riddle is all about lumber.

South Umpqua River near Surprise Valley.

Cow Creek in Riddle.

Hard to capture in an image, but the tamped down section of road on the right is the Applegate Trail.

Hard to capture in an image, but the tamped down section of road on the right is the Applegate Trail.

River, rail, and road — all such important parts of the rural economy.

River, rail, and road — all such important parts of the rural economy.

Very appropriate sign for this route.

Very appropriate sign for this route.

Lookingglass-Sitkum sign

Historic James Wimer Barn in Lookingglass Valley. Built in 1892.

Historic James Wimer Barn in Lookingglass Valley. Built in 1892.

New roads and adventures make me happy.

New roads and adventures make me happy.

Leaving the Lookingglass Valley.

Leaving the Lookingglass Valley.

My favorite part of the climb, a magical forest with sunlight in the trees.

My favorite part of the climb, a magical forest with sunlight in the trees.

View from near the top of what I think is Mount Gurney (about 3,000 feet).

View from near the top of what I think is Mount Gurney (about 3,000 feet).

Gravel descent on Coos Bay Wagon Roads

Gravel descent on Coos Bay Wagon Road.

Gravel and big tree

Is there anything better than riding along a river?

Is there anything better than riding along a river?

Big set of waterfalls off Coos Bay Wagon Road. Haven't figured out the name.

Big set of waterfalls off Coos Bay Wagon Road. Haven’t figured out the name.

Sitkum Lane (Coos Bay Wagon Road) through Brewster Canyon.

Sitkum Lane (Coos Bay Wagon Road) through Brewster Canyon.

Coquille River valley is paradise.

Coquille River valley is a paradise for cows (and humans too).

Brewster Canyon with Coos Bay Wagon Road/Sitkum Lane.

Brewster Canyon with Coos Bay Wagon Road/Sitkum Lane.

Getting to see the sunset is one advantage of riding into the night.

Getting to see the sunset is one advantage of riding into the night.

I’m in Myrtle Point now, about to explore the town (I hear they’ve got a great logging museum) before shoving off to Bandon on the coast.

These stories are made possible through a partnership with Cycle Oregon. If you’re going on their Week Ride (registration still open), you’ll get to sample a paved section of the the Coos Bay Wagon Road (please note: I’m only loosely basing my routes on the Cycle Oregon route). Also thanks to Western Bikeworks for supporting this trip with some great gear.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

Our work is supported by subscribers. Please become one today. You can also make a one-time donation here.

The post Cycle Exploregon: Rolling on pioneer footsteps appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Alison Graves stepping down as leader of Cycle Oregon

Alison Graves stepping down as leader of Cycle Oregon

Cycle Oregon 2014 - Day 0 The Dalles-53

Graves speaking in The Dalles in 2014.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Cycle Oregon announced today that Alison Graves is no longer the organization’s executive director but will remain involved as a member of the board.

Graves was hired by the Portland-based nonprofit in February 2014. Current Deputy Director Steve Schulz will take over leadership of Cycle Oregon.

For more details read the press release below:

Cycle Oregon Executive Director Passes Leadership Baton to Deputy Director
Organization will continue to focus on bicycle tourism and rural investments

PORTLAND, OR — June 2, 2016 — Today, Cycle Oregon announced that Alison Graves will be stepping down as Executive Director and passing the leadership baton to Deputy Director Steve Schulz to continue the organization’s mission of transforming lives and communities through bicycling.

Graves leaves Cycle Oregon on a high note. “It has been such an honor to work with Cycle Oregon,” she says. “We have strengthened our support for rural communities, forged strong partnerships, and expanded our events. I will miss being with the great staff, dedicated volunteers, and inspiring board on a regular basis, but I will continue to support Cycle Oregon in other ways.”

Graves will complete special projects for Cycle Oregon through the end of the summer and then become a board member emeritus, acting as liaison to Oregon’s Scenic Bikeway program. Beyond Cycle Oregon, she will join her husband Jay Graves, former owner of the Bike Gallery, in managing their farm in rural Washington County, helping their family operate the Dayville Mercantile, and supporting the growth of the Wallowa Lake Lodge.







Under the leadership of incoming Executive Director Schulz, the Cycle Oregon staff and board are working closely to ensure that the organization’s events remain the best in the business and their impact continues to help where it matters most. Among other things, Schulz and team will focus on advancing the Salmonberry Trail, exploring additional events, collaborating with partners to support rural communities, and growing the Cycle Oregon Fund.

Schulz has been with Cycle Oregon since 2008, most recently as Deputy Director. He has long demonstrated his leadership capacity, but never more notably than during the 2015 Week Ride, where he masterfully orchestrated an event re-route in the face of a wildfire. Schulz is excited about the future of Cycle Oregon and looks forward to harnessing the good will and good work of the organization.

“As an organization, we’re more aligned as a result of Alison’s contribution,” says Schulz. “I’m excited to build on that work and strengthen Cycle Oregon as not only a leader in events but also a strong contributor to the vitality of this great state.”

Cycle Oregon will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2017 and sees a continued need for its unique mission, which combines bicycle tourism with rural economic development.

“Growing up in rural Wyoming, I can relate to some of the challenges faced by the small communities of Oregon,” says Schulz. “I’m inspired by the opportunity for Cycle Oregon to provide economic support and help facilitate constructive, long-lasting change in these areas. We have an unbelievably committed staff, board, and group of volunteers, and I look forward to working with them to expand our impact through new offerings and stronger strategic partnerships.”

These changes are effective June 3rd.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

Our work is supported by subscribers. Please become one today.

The post Alison Graves stepping down as leader of Cycle Oregon appeared first on BikePortland.org.

A roundup of Portland’s best bike-themed April Fools jokes

A roundup of Portland’s best bike-themed April Fools jokes

Lead-Image

New Seasons on Williams now offers complimentary bike valet service (with optional cuddling).

BikePortland doesn’t do April Fools jokes. We just don’t. But that doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate them and we’re certainly not above highlight them.

Portland did very well today with bike-themed April Fools pranks. Even a non-bike business got into the act. Check out our roundup below and if you came across other good ones today, feel free to share them in the comments.

Bike Valet Service at New Seasons

New Seasons on Williams Avenue is probably the most bike-accessible grocery store in the entire city. Not only did the management staff go above and beyond to make sure there’s quality bike parking and even lockers inside the store specifically for bike gear, the store also happens to be located on Williams Avenue, the highest-traffic bike thoroughfare in Portland. That why we couldn’t help but smile when we heard they launched a bike valet service today.

Bicyclists frustrated with the time-intensive process of securing a spot and the constant game of tetris to secure the lock in a crowded bike corral can breathe a sigh of relief,” reads the copy on their website. “Now, you can drop off your wheels with our friendly attendant in exchange for a numbered ticket—and a coupon good for one free stem of dehydrated, then rehydrated kale, enjoyable at your leisure.” Not only with they park your bike but it’ll get a wash and polish with recycled rainwater and a lube job using “second-generation, gluten-free coconut oil.” Whether you roll up with a unicycle, tricycle, tandem or tall-bike, New Seasons guarantees “judgment free” and expert service.

Waterproof Breathable diapers from Showers Pass

Showers-Pass-Waterproof-Diaper-xl-banner

Portland-based apparel company Showers Pass had a massive success with their waterproof socks and jackets so now they’re tackling the most demanding product category in the market: waterproof diapers.

“For active babies on the go (who keep going and going), here is the most breathable, waterproof, long-term protection from accidents,” reads the website for their new Tech Diaper. Their team of apparel gurus has created a revolutionary new “diapering system” that uses, “dry-lock technology and a patent-pending Bio-gest pad with a motion-activated enzyme layer for in-diaper composting of excrement.” They promise a diaper life of up to 12 hours without skin irritation.

And of course the diapers come in colors that will match all the jackets your family likely already owns.

The Orp-LZR1 bike light, horn, and destructive laser combo

fools-orp

The “Smorn” light from Orp (a real product) is equal parts bright head light and loud noisemaker. Today the company unveiled a new model with an interesting add-on feature: two high-powered lasers that pack enough power to blow up anything on the road that gets in your way.

“No more being cut off by inconsiderate or clueless drivers without consequence!” said Orp’s founder Toren Orzeck. Oh, and even with the lasers the LZR1 is still USB rechargeable.

Cycle Oregon launches virtual reality option

virtual-oregon-600x600

Virtual Ride is the latest innovation from Cycle Oregon. If you’ve always wanted to do their famous Week Ride but couldn’t find the time, you can now experiencer it from the comfort of your own home with the COVR system (Cycle Oregon Virtual Ride). “That’s right, you can see the Steens, pedal the Painted Hills, and ride the rim of Crater Lake—all from your home trainer—with our special virtual reality package,” reads the website.

“Simply put on your VR headset and press play to start the ride. As you hit mileage checkpoints in the program, our special drone delivery service will bring you all the accouterments you’ve come to know on Cycle Oregon events. For instance, on Day 1 mile 13, our custom delivery drones will slather you with sunscreen, load your pockets with KIND bars, drop two fizzes in your water bottle, and even waft you with that special blue room scent—so authentic! They’ll also deliver all your meals and gear drop bags, and offer you chocolate milk at the end of your day.”

They even offer virtual sag service in case you can’t even complete the VR experience. Offer also includes all the festivities back at camp and the headset comes pre-loaded with live concerts from the Rolling Stones, Led Zepplin or Bruce Springsteen.

Ruckus’ latest will take the spring out of your ride

Ruckus Composites has always been an innovator. Their new Inanimate Carbon Tube (ICT) takes suspension design one step further — by rendering it completely rigid.

For just $500 you can, “Turn any full suspension mountain bike into a hard tail. Drop speed sucking rear suspension movement. Ride faster up every hill. Drop unnecessary weight. Relive the glory days.”

The ICT comes with an impressively wordsmithed list of features including: Hi-Modulus Unidirectional Carbon Fiber body; 3k Twill Weave Carbon Fiber Decals; CUSTOM 3d printed to fit every bike and a weight of just 80 grams.

Act fast because these amazing products are only available for another 10 hours or so (and actually even that long).

April Fools!

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

BikePortland can’t survive without subscribers. It’s just $10 per month and you can sign up in a few minutes.








The post A roundup of Portland’s best bike-themed April Fools jokes appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Cycle Oregon Fund awards $95,000 in grants for bike racks, maps, trails, campsites and more

Cycle Oregon Fund awards $95,000 in grants for bike racks, maps, trails, campsites and more

Policymakers Ride - Gorge Edition-36

One of the grants will fund new wayfinding signs along the Historic Columbia River Highway in the gorge.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

You might think of Cycle Oregon as that big ride that happens each fall. But did you know that proceeds from the annual ride are put into a fund that gives back to the communities it passes through?

Since 1996 the Cycle Oregon Fund has awarded 190 grants totaling $1.6 million. Earlier this week Cycle Oregon announced their list of community and safety/tourism grants for 2015 and they include awards for 11 projects worth $95,150. Nine of those grants are going to projects that will improve bicycle safety and tourism across the state. They include funds for bike trail and rack projects, improvements to the Historic Columbia River Highway, an advocacy program for women and cycling, and redevelopment aid for communities hit by last year’s forest fires.

Here’s the full list:

– Resurfacing of the oldest section of the Leo Adler path in Baker City, Oregon

La Grande to Baker City-30.jpg

The Leo Adler path in Baker City is right along the Powder River.

– Mountain-bike trail building in Anthony Lakes area near Union, Oregon

MTB ride in Anthony Lakes-6.jpg

The trails in Anthony Lakes are fantastic!

– Eastern Oregon bike maps highlighting best road, gravel, mountain biking

Wallowa Lake Zumwalt Loop to La Grande-21.jpg

The gravel roads on Zumwault Prarie outside Joseph are undiscovered gems.

– Bike-friendly-campsites development at Wallowa Lake State Park

Wallowa Lake Zumwalt Loop to La Grande-3.jpg

Wallowa Lake.





– New bike racks along the proposed Painted Hills Scenic Bikeway in Wheeler County

Treo Bike Ranch trip Day 2 - John Day River Valley-26

The small town of Spray is along the new Painted Hills Scenic Bikeway.

– Ongoing development of the multi-use Joseph Branch Trail along the historic railway between Elgin and Joseph, Oregon.

Wallowa Lake Zumwalt Loop to La Grande-32.jpg

The trail runs on the old railroad along Wallowa Lake Highway and Wallowa River.

– Women on Bikes Program in Portland to promote women and bicycling

Cyclofemme ride-18

– Centennial banners along the Historic Columbia River Highway in support of its 100th anniversary

Policymakers Ride - Gorge Edition-40

It’s going to be a big year for the historic highway.

– Wayfinding signs along the Historic Columbia River Highway

Policymakers Ride - Gorge Edition-43

These projects were among 35 proposals that requested over $338,000. According to Cycle Oregon, the organization’s board and staff members gave extra consideration this funding round to communities in northeast Oregon that were impacted by the Halfway fire. Last year’s Week Ride was slated to overnight in Halfway and Wallowa Lake but was forced to turn around due to safety concerns related to the blaze.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

BikePortland can’t survive without paid subscribers. Please sign up today.

The post Cycle Oregon Fund awards $95,000 in grants for bike racks, maps, trails, campsites and more appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Fund that pays Cycle Oregon entry fee now accepting applications for 2016 ride

Fund that pays Cycle Oregon entry fee now accepting applications for 2016 ride

2015Riders

The three Mark Bosworth Fund riders in 2015.
(Photo: Mark Bosworth Fund)

bosworth

Mark Bosworth.

It’s been four and-a-half years since Metro employee and Cycle Oregon volunteer Mark Bosworth went missing. It was the evening of September 16th, 2011, the final night of Cycle Oregon, when he said goodnight to friends and walked toward his tent. He was never seen again.

While Mark is missed immensely by his family and friends, his name lives on through the Mark Bosworth Fund. The 501c3 fund exists to make it possible for new riders who otherwise couldn’t afford the $985 entry fee for the week-long Cycle Oregon ride. Since it was launched in 2013 the fund has sponsored nine first-time riders — most of them under the age of 30 which is about 15 years younger than the average participant.





Cycle Oregon 2014 - Day 1-37

Bosworth Fund award winner Lily Karabaic on Cycle Oregon 2014.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

If you’ve ever imagined yourself doing Cycle Oregon’s legendary Week Ride but weren’t sure you could pull it off on your own — or perhaps know someone who’d be a good fit for this opportunity, now’s the time to step up.

The application period just opened and they’ll accept submissions until March 15th. Winners will be announced on April 18th which will give the winners five solid months to train and prep for the big ride. This year’s much-anticipated route heads to the southwest Oregon Coast.

Learn more at MarkBosworthFund.org.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

BikePortland can’t survive without paid subscribers. Please sign up today.

The post Fund that pays Cycle Oregon entry fee now accepting applications for 2016 ride appeared first on BikePortland.org.