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Find your tribe: A list of Portland’s many Facebook bicycle groups

Find your tribe: A list of Portland’s many Facebook bicycle groups

Sprockettes Girls Camp-3

Find your thing, then find other people who like it too.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Tuesday was about as wonderful a day for Northwest winter biking as anyone could wish for, and that feels like a sign that the wet, wet winter of 2015-2016 has started rolling away.

(Punxsutawney Phil, for the record, thinks so too.)

While we start to think about spring, it’s a good time to start thinking about where to find good times on bikes. So let’s do something we’ve been wanting to get done for a while and share a list of all the local bike-related Facebook groups we know of.

This won’t be a complete directory, but we’re eager to get your additions in the comments.

Grilled by Bike Club – Each ride ends in a meal that was prepared on the way.

Move by Bike – Pay it forward by chipping in on a few of these, and you will probably get people to show up and move all your stuff to your new place for the cost of a good time plus food before and after.

Women Bike – For the 51 percent.

Ladies Let’s Ride – A weekly Sunday ride of 35-50 miles, plus mid-week rides and events in the summer.

PDX Cargo Bike Gang – Haul yeah.

Portland Bike Party – Colorful, upbeat roll through the streets once a month or so.

Portland Urban Bike (Thursday Night Ride) – A newer weekly tradition in the central city.

Zoobomb – The Sunday-night downhill cruise that can only exist in Portland.

Bike St Johns – A network up north.

Bike Milwaukie – One of the region’s most active.

BikeLoudPDX community – For folks who take their fun with a slice of action.

Slow Bikes for All – Not strictly a local group but heavy with Portlanders and with Portland biking values.

Dropout Bike Club – Rides monthly. Freak bikes encouraged; all bikes welcome.

Mujeres en Movimiento – Latinas juntas.

Andando en Bicicletas en Cully – Family rides organized at Hacienda CDC.

Midnight Mystery Ride – Where will it go? The route is new each month, but there will be music on the way, alcohol at the end, and hardly any cars in between.


The Sprockettes – The incomparable women’s bike-dance brigade has graduated into offering a summer camp for girls.

Butts on Bikes – Low-pressure social rides, mostly on the west side.

Cross Crusade – The local racing series is all grown up these days.

Portland and Mt. Hood Fat Bikes – Helping you head for the hills since January 2016.

PDX Fat Bikers – Similar mission, different group, founded 2014.

PNW Bikepacking – A little rubber makes the great outdoors greater.

Carfree Portland – “People thriving in Portland without automobiles, and those who aspire to live carfree.”

River City Ride Partners – Find a buddy.

Bike PSU – Camaraderie, support, advocacy.

Sandy Ridge Trailhead Mountain Bikers – For when you’re missing the forest (or the trees).

Portland Bike Polo – The city’s true hometown sport. HQ: Alberta Park’s tennis courts.

Ten years ago, urban bike fun exploded in Portland around the digital tools of the time: listserv, a calendar and a wiki. Shift became the great bike-fun group of the 2000s. Today it lives on mostly through the annual Pedalpalooza festival it created. But though the traditions, the faces and the communication tools will keep changing, bike fun will always be with us. These days, Facebook is a pretty good place to see it blossom.

Speaking of which: Who’d we miss?

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

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The post Find your tribe: A list of Portland’s many Facebook bicycle groups appeared first on BikePortland.org.

State parks office will sponsor a free beginners’ bike tour through the Gorge

State parks office will sponsor a free beginners’ bike tour through the Gorge

Biking Break in Lee Vining Ca

Ride leader Stephen Dodson.
(Photo courtesy Dodson)

A seasonal Oregon State Parks employee is leading a free introduction to bike touring in the Colombia River Gorge this month.

The 30-mile trip on Saturday, Aug. 22, will start at 9 a.m. outside Hood River, and loops to Mayer State Park and back by 5 p.m. Here’s the description from Oregon State Parks:

You will learn what equipment is necessary, how do you plan a route and pack panniers or a trailer to be successful. We will discuss the light impact of bike touring is on the environment and other traffic, and the positive effects on small town economies. By the end of the program you’ll have resources to take away and learn more about this exciting way to see the world around you!

You don’t even need a working bike to take part. Mountain View Cycles in Hood River will be loaning them at no cost to participants.

The event for people 16 and up, new this year, is the brainchild of Stephen Dodson, a program assistant in the east gorge.

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“I did a bike tour last fall and it was an amazing experience, and I want to kind of give that opportunity to other people to go out and essentially take that risk,” Dodson said. “I was talking with my manager and trying to come up with new events and try and talk about bicycle travel and touring, and this just kind of came out of the conversation, so I just ran with it and I’m hoping it works.”

Dodson’s own trip last fall was 2,100 miles, “from Portland to Crater Lake to Reno to Yosemite to Death Valley to the Grand Canyon to Tucson to San Diego.” But he’s not expecting to inspire many to take trips that long. Dodson says a short bike tour can be just as life-affirming.

As for his ride this month, on the Historic Colombia River Highway, Dodson said “it’s a fun ride but it’s a moderately difficult ride as far as terrain is concerned.”

Dodson said he hopes that spreading knowledge about bike touring will help more people enjoy Oregon’s state parks this way.

“”Bike tourism is revitalizing small towns and bike tourism is a major economic factor,” Dodson said. “It’s a million-dollar industry.”

This tour has 30 slots. To reserve one or get more details, see the event website, which includes Dodson’s email address.

Correction 8/14: An earlier version of this post listed the wrong starting location for this tour.


The post State parks office will sponsor a free beginners’ bike tour through the Gorge appeared first on BikePortland.org.

DIY relay event this month will echo Hood to Coast – with bikes instead of vans

DIY relay event this month will echo Hood to Coast – with bikes instead of vans

View of Hood from SW Barbur

Come on down.
(Photo J.Maus/BikePortland)

The annual Hood to Coast running relay is understandably celebrated as a signature Northwest event. But if you’ve ever participated, you know that it involves a lot of motor vehicles.

What a hassle!

Two weeks from today, a squad of Portlanders is inviting a few people to join a trial run of an interesting experiment: a Hood-to-Coast style running relay that relies on bikes, not vans, for support. Here’s the description of the “Peak to Rising Tide” relay from organizer Jamey Harris:

We’re a group of friends and friends of friends who are excited to do a running relay race with bikes instead of vans. We’re not sure if this has been done before (though we haven’t done a lot of research on that point).

Some of us have participated before in relay races that use vans for transportation between running legs. We really appreciated the challenge and beauty of the courses and the camaraderie of the teams, but we wondered whether there was a way to conduct a relay race without all the traffic, pollution, risk of injury from the motorized vehicles, etc. Running is so simple and special, in part because it does not require fancy equipment or motorized vehicles, so it seemed a shame to stage a race with such a large impact. We all love biking, so we put two and two together and decided to stage a relay event of our own!

Some team members are passionate about peak oil and climate change, a friend suggested the name, and it stuck.

But all of that is just an explanation of the event’s origin. We decided at the very first happy hour that our only goal is to put together a fun, positive, human-powered event. It’s been great working through all the logistics. We’ve had a series of happy hours to meet each other and decide on details. We’ll be using a bike trailer to haul the current runner’s bike from the start of his or her leg to the end of the leg. And everyone has committed to biking to and from the start and end points of their teams’ sections. So, in the end, even though we’ll be running from Timberline Lodge to the coast, we’ll be doing a lot more biking than running.

We still have a few slots open on the team and (perhaps too ambitiously at this point) we are open to a group putting together a second team to run the same course.

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What a cool idea. Here are some more details from another organizer, Nadia Dahab.

On Friday, August 21, and Saturday, August 22, we will bike and run from Mt. Hood to Seaside. The twelve-person relay team includes three subteams, each traversing 1/3 of the relay course (Mt. Hood to Portland (A), Portland to Vernonia (B), Vernonia to Seaside(C)). Each subteam member will bike to the start of their course section, run three +/- 5-mile legs along that section, and bike the distance between each leg. Distance traveled will total about 130 miles (more for subteam C members).

Interested in joining? Email dahab.nadia@gmail.com.


The post DIY relay event this month will echo Hood to Coast – with bikes instead of vans appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Cycling beyond 80: Providence sponsors trike ride for senior residents (photos)

Cycling beyond 80: Providence sponsors trike ride for senior residents (photos)

smiles

The weather was perfect for a pedicab trip to Peninsula Park.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

A cohort of residents at local senior housing facilities took a roll through North Portland in style Wednesday, including one 96-year-old taking her first cycle trip ever.

Organized by local bicycling advocate and Providence Elderplace optometrist A.J. Zelada and sponsored by Providence as an Earth Day-themed event in its Elderplace program, the pedicab and cargo bike ride from North Albina Avenue to Peninsula Park drew smiles from participants of at least four generations.

“I rode a bicycle,” said Luu Quaiuu, a native Cantonese speaker, in broken English, before being helped into the bucket of a cargo trike. “But now I’m very old.”

swaddled

Luu Quaiuu, bundled up.

Carol Freda, 76, said she hadn’t ridden since moving from Chicago to Portland 20 years ago to live near her late sister.

“When I came here I stopped riding altogether,” Freda said. “I can go down the hill but I can’t go back up. I would get asthma attacks. It’s just not worth it.”

helmet fit

Carol Freda, right.

Freda said that among Elderplace’s events, this ride rated an 8 or 9 out of 10.

“Since we got Dustin, we’ve had a lot more interesting outings,” said Freda, who said she doesn’t get a lot of other social time since her sister died a few years ago and her niece moved out of town.

zelada blanket

Dustin Razo, Elderplace’s life enrichment coordinator, said Providence Elderplace’s other activities include a competitive beanbag team, a watercolor class for people experiencing cognitive loss, and sessions listening to history podcasts.

“Most sites offer the standard bingo, birthdays, singers,” he added. But other sites, he said, focus on people in their 70s, 80s and 90s. “We’re more like 55 to 75. They want to do stuff.”

The ride set out from Elderplace’s Marie Smith Center on North Albina a little before noon, with Portland Pedicabs providing some of the chauffeur services.

pedicabs

waving

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The ride even had music. Biking advocate Kiel Johnson had shown up with an on-bike speaker system playing Frank Sinatra classics.

music

happy box bike

little bit

thumbsup

“This is an attempt to start really making the 8 to 80 rule of active transportation
a reality for an inclusiveness of ALL,” Zelada, himself a regular participant of Shift bike fun events, wrote in an email. “I think this is a prelude for all the Shifties as we all enter those golden years.”

michigan

Martine Sacks (center below) was among the skilled corkers; I only noticed one honk from someone annoyed to wait for the ride to cross a street.

corkers

sharrows

There was also a little bit of tension when one of the trikes got stuck briefly entering Peninsula Park, causing a backup on North Albina Avenue. But a couple of the participants were pretty effective ambassadors, waving in thanks to people in cars while the problem was resolved.

ambassadors

into the park

At the park, Zelada gave a short address at the bandstand about its history — envisioned, like many other parks in Portland and around the country, by the Olmstead brothers.

jerry opening

jerry talking

And then the pedicabs headed down into the park’s rose garden for a few loops around the fountain, followed by a stop for picnic snacks.

park circuit

“Maybe a 96-year-old can do this after all,” said one participant, Fran Woolford, who is only a bit younger than the fountain. Woolford, whose birthday was this month, said she’d received a bicycle from her aunt when she was a little girl, but had never actually used it.

City staffer Greg Raisman, there to document the event, asked Woolford how she liked her first ride.

“So far,” she said, “it’s fun.”

John Bilinowich, who was driving the van that would take people home after the event, agreed.

“It’d be more fun than riding in the vans, that’s for sure,” he said. “They’re meant to haul stuff, not people.”

The post Cycling beyond 80: Providence sponsors trike ride for senior residents (photos) appeared first on BikePortland.org.

An uncapturable night ride, the world’s best medicine

An uncapturable night ride, the world’s best medicine

blur

Some feelings can only be felt.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Spending a week writing and thinking a lot about frustrating news will wear you down. So by 7 p.m. on Friday night, I thought the last thing I wanted to do was ride downtown for the evening ride I’d said I’d attend.

In other words, I came pretty close to a pretty dumb decision.

Friday night was one of the first of something terrific: a new series of rides organized by Nathan Jones, owner of the 18-month-old Foster Road shop Ride Yr Bike and the founder of the Trans Am Bike Race.

The cross-country race, which starts in Astoria in early June, will be explored in a documentary this evening at the Mission Theater.

As we spoke, the light was fading fast. Here’s Jones on the left.

nathan

“I’m just trying to build stoke for Pedalpalooza,” he told me. He plans to organize rides all spring, building up to the launch of Portland’s annual bike festival in June, and then to start up again later in the summer after the festival wraps up.

As the sun dropped behind the West Hills, I hurried around to snap some other photos.

Friends, they were terrible.

preride wide angle

preride wide angle right

But I had come all the way downtown for one more post in a long week, and I was going to keep shooting. So I started talking to people. I saw my friend Terry Dublinski-Milton:

terry

“I took a brain day today,” said Dublinski-Milton, who devotes much of his available time to neighborhood advocacy in Southeast Portland. “I just rode around. I didn’t think about anything.”

Dublinski-Milton said he thought it had been an “interesting week, but a good week.” “I think now everyone’s fingers are pointing to one building,” he said, nodding toward City Hall.

Not everyone started conversations about politics, though. Branden Shelby was glad to show off his front-mounted wine holder.

winebottle

Shelby’s friends noted that it accompanies not one but two bottle holders lower on his frame.

I met Laurel Stauske and Chris Blanco, who joked that they weren’t here to join the ride.

tires

“We actually drove here,” Blanco said.

“Yeah, we’re just puncturing tires,” Stauske added.

I met Xavier Garcia, Serita Wiley and Miguel Chavez, who said they’d just been biking along the waterfront when they heard a ride was leaving from the fountain at 8.

westsiders

“A dude was just walking around telling people, so we came,” Wiley asked. “Is this ride famous?”

Not yet, I said.

“Is there a calendar for these or something?” she said. I told her about BikePortland’s Weekend Event Guide and the Shift calendar, but that I thought most rides these days started on Facebook.

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I met Eric Meza and Gabriela Gallego:

telephone

I met Lori Sills (left) and a Sprockette who gave her name only as “Agent Riot”:

agent riot

I met Brian Ngo, Joey Eromwangsa (hope I’m reading my handwriting correctly there, Joey), Rigo Vasquez, Tony Birch and Ron Nelson:

younger

Then it was time to go and we headed north through Waterfront Park. There were about 40 of us.

streaks

As we cruised under the Burnside Bridge, some riders let out hoots to hear the echoes, the way Portlanders always have and always will.

I was next to Dublinski-Milton, who I knew had been a biking advocate in Madison, Wisconsin, in the 1990s.

“Was there anything like this there?” I asked.

“People commuted,” he said. “But there was nothing like this culture.”

“Do you think that’s because of the Internet?” I asked.

“Yes,” he answered immediately.

On the Eastbank Esplanade I ran into Eric Iverson, who I’d met at the Rudolph ride in December. We talked about the overlapping Facebook groups that have become the core of Portland bike fun in the last few years, like the 71-member Grilled by Bike Club that hauls grills on their bikes and then uses them to prepare meals in the field.

The ride stopped at Plaid Pantry on Division Street to pick up drinks and snacks for what would be (for some riders, at least) a long night ahead. I ran into Dan Kaufman, the local videographer and activist who’s working on a plan for a continuous off-road bike trail down the Oregon coast.

kaufman

That’s Kaufman on the left. Obviously.

Beside us in the bike-lined mini-mart parking lot, a young man opened his car door with a question. “What’s all this?” he asked.

“Just a Friday night ride,” I said.

He repeated my words, smiling, with what I think was admiration.

“Friday night ride,” he said.

Ted Buehler rolled up. Buehler was towing a bike trailer with a giant whiteboard on which he had been asking people to describe their problems with Portland bike infrastructure, then pose with a photograph at the site of the problem. Buehler pulled out his phone to show off a few of the shots.

“You’ll like this one,” Buehler said, pointing to a fat book sitting on the ground in one photo. “That is the MUTCD, open to the page with the solution.”

As the crew headed east on Clinton, I thought about how lucky I am to live where I do, to do what I do, and to be riding a bicycle with the people I was with, whether or not the photos were any good.

Some great things happen when it’s light. Some great things happen when it’s dark.

Whatever happens here in Portland, it’ll never be anything that won’t be improved by a slow roll with good people. See you at the next one.

Correction 4/19: A previous version of this post misspelled Lori Sills’s name.

The post An uncapturable night ride, the world’s best medicine appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Ride along on the Pioneer Century (photo gallery)

Ride along on the Pioneer Century (photo gallery)

2014 Pioneer Century-46

We saw what pioneers saw.
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

This past Saturday was an amazing day. It started bright and early as I woke up from my sleeping bag after a night spent under the trees at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds in Canby. I had arrived there late the night before in preparation to photograph the Pioneer Century. By the time I made it back to my own bed — well into Sunday — I had photographed spandex-clad riders on 100 miles of stunning rural Oregon farmlands and thousands of nude (and semi-nude) people riding through the streets of Portland.

If you ask me which event I enjoyed more, I really couldn’t pick. While the naked ride is something near and dear to my heart, so are Oregon’s backroads. And there are very few things in my life that can compare to a nice long day in the saddle on nearly empty roads with perfect skies and breathtaking vistas around every corner.

The Pioneer Century is a fundraiser for the Portland Wheelmen Touring Club and Saturday was the 40th annual edition. The route is, in a word, fantastic. It offers up the best of what makes this state great for cycling: mountain roads dotted by timber stands, verdant hillsides covered in rows of crops, and wide open valleys where vistas are untouched by modern development. In fact, that’s the whole idea of this ride — to experience the Oregon that enticed pioneers to come out here and then provided them the natural resources they needed to survive and flourish.

Check out some of my photos, and consider a spot on your calendar for the 2015 Pioneer Century…

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PWTC President Ann Morrow and a volunteer.
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Much respect for a bike ride that has a banner about the “Bike Bill” hanging at registration.
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Lunch break in St. Paul, home of the famous St. Paul Rodeo.
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A neat moment of mutal respect: This farmer commented how hard it must be to carry camera gear and ride my bike; I replied by expressing my admiration for his tractor driving skills.
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Hope you enjoyed these photos. And by the way, if you are a ride organizer/promoter, I’d be happy to consider photographing your ride. Get in touch if you’d like to know more about my rates.

The post Ride along on the Pioneer Century (photo gallery) appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Riding Columbia County: Burn Road Loop traces pioneer history

Riding Columbia County: Burn Road Loop traces pioneer history

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.

Map via RideWithGPS. See full route details here.

There are several attributes of a route that will get me instantly excited. Riding empty gravel/dirt roads in new areas always ramps up my anticipation, and the Burn Road route promised a special added element that made me even more eager to hop on my saddle. According to Glen and Sandy, Burn Road has been around since pioneer days. Back when the area was nothing but logging camps and homesteads, Burn was the main connection between the burgs Mist, Keasey and the larger destinations of Vernonia and Forest Grove.

A chance to ride through Oregon history? Heck yes.

Adding to Burn Road’s stature in my mind was how local residents recently rallied to save it from becoming owned by a logging company. In May of last year, Weyerhaeuser asked Columbia County to “vacate” the road in hopes they could take it over. (The road is actively used by logging trucks, but it’s a County right-of-way. Glen Crinklaw, who works in the County’s public works department, said Burn is a rare County-owned road due to it’s length and unimproved (gravel) state.)

The Columbia County Commission was all set to sign off on the Weyerhaeuser deal. But then, “Locals in Mist and Keasey, and the older generation came out of the woodwork to oppose it,” Glen shared. “They said, ‘This is our heritage.’” Glen added that the “surprising level of passion” for the road ultimately led the Commission to turn down the deal.

Sandy Crinklaw joined us on Sunday. She grew up in this area and as we rode she shared stories about how her family used to picnic along these roads when she was a young girl.

Suffice it to say, as a city kid who loves backcountry cycling, I was stoked to discover Oregon’s past on such a cool and historic road. Check out more photos and notes from our ride below…

Burn Road Loop in Vernonia-3

Sandy and Glen Crinklaw ride by the Natal School. Established in 1909, and just down the road from the Sport Haus, it’s where Sandy’s grandma once attended classes.
Burn Road Loop in Vernonia-6

The road is as lush and green as you can imagine this time of year and it’s criss-crossed by stream and creeks.
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Sandy refers to this as “Columbia County Cobblestone.”
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It was a good thing I was with locals because
my GPS device had no idea where we were.
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Native wild irises are in bloom.
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There are some good climbs on Burn Road, but the views are worth it (see below).
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The view of Saddle Mountain (which overlooks Seaside toward the west).
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Sandy and Glen riding strong in their big backyard.
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Burn Road ends at Keasey Road, where you make a left and head into downtown Vernonia. Keasey Rd is amazing. Covered by a tree canopy, quiet, empty and windy — near perfection for cycling. It’s even dotted with old barns and if you keep your eyes peeled you’ll even see the beautiful (and fully intact) Keasey homestead.
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Since history was on my mind, it was serendipitous to come out onto Highway 47 in Vernonia and have this antique car rumble past us.
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After a stop at the market in Vernonia, we continued east on our loop back to the Sport Haus. But instead of taking Highway 47, we hopped onto Stoney Point Road. It’s an awesome option that cuts off about four miles of highway riding and takes you through fantastic old farm country.
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After Stoney Point, we rode Highway 47 for about two miles before I split with Glen and Sandy to continue on some gravel roads back to the Sport Haus (they opted for the flatter highway). With their guidance, I hopped onto Crooked Creek Mainline, which you hop onto right before the “Pitt Stop” in Pittsburg (“mainline” refers to the main arterial roads used by logging trucks). Once on Crooked Creek ML, I followed it along the Nehalem River then turned right onto O Black Mainline which took me back to Nehalem Highway just a few miles west of the Sport Haus.
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Not a bad place to change a flat!
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My promise: Riding out here will give you happy feet.

I highly recommend this loop! And if you’re looking for a great base camp to do this and all the other excellent riding in the area, consider staying at Glen and Sandy’s Coastal Mountain Sport Haus. And check out our archives for more photos and coverage of riding in Columbia County.

The post Riding Columbia County: Burn Road Loop traces pioneer history appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Riding Columbia County: Burn Road Loop traces pioneer history

Riding Columbia County: Burn Road Loop traces pioneer history

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.

Map via RideWithGPS. See full route details here.

There are several attributes of a route that will get me instantly excited. Riding empty gravel/dirt roads in new areas always ramps up my anticipation, and the Burn Road route promised a special added element that made me even more eager to hop on my saddle. According to Glen and Sandy, Burn Road has been around since pioneer days. Back when the area was nothing but logging camps and homesteads, Burn was the main connection between the burgs Mist, Keasey and the larger destinations of Vernonia and Forest Grove.

A chance to ride through Oregon history? Heck yes.

Adding to Burn Road’s stature in my mind was how local residents recently rallied to save it from becoming owned by a logging company. In May of last year, Weyerhaeuser asked Columbia County to “vacate” the road in hopes they could take it over. (The road is actively used by logging trucks, but it’s a County right-of-way. Glen Crinklaw, who works in the County’s public works department, said Burn is a rare County-owned road due to it’s length and unimproved (gravel) state.)

The Columbia County Commission was all set to sign off on the Weyerhaeuser deal. But then, “Locals in Mist and Keasey, and the older generation came out of the woodwork to oppose it,” Glen shared. “They said, ‘This is our heritage.’” Glen added that the “surprising level of passion” for the road ultimately led the Commission to turn down the deal.

Sandy Crinklaw joined us on Sunday. She grew up in this area and as we rode she shared stories about how her family used to picnic along these roads when she was a young girl.

Suffice it to say, as a city kid who loves backcountry cycling, I was stoked to discover Oregon’s past on such a cool and historic road. Check out more photos and notes from our ride below…

Burn Road Loop in Vernonia-3

Sandy and Glen Crinklaw ride by the Natal School. Established in 1909, and just down the road from the Sport Haus, it’s where Sandy’s grandma once attended classes.
Burn Road Loop in Vernonia-6

The road is as lush and green as you can imagine this time of year and it’s criss-crossed by stream and creeks.
Burn Road Loop in Vernonia-14

Burn Road Loop in Vernonia-7

Sandy refers to this as “Columbia County Cobblestone.”
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It was a good thing I was with locals because
my GPS device had no idea where we were.
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Native wild irises are in bloom.
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There are some good climbs on Burn Road, but the views are worth it (see below).
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The view of Saddle Mountain (which overlooks Seaside toward the west).
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Burn Road Loop in Vernonia-13

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Sandy and Glen riding strong in their big backyard.
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Burn Road ends at Keasey Road, where you make a left and head into downtown Vernonia. Keasey Rd is amazing. Covered by a tree canopy, quiet, empty and windy — near perfection for cycling. It’s even dotted with old barns and if you keep your eyes peeled you’ll even see the beautiful (and fully intact) Keasey homestead.
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Since history was on my mind, it was serendipitous to come out onto Highway 47 in Vernonia and have this antique car rumble past us.
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After a stop at the market in Vernonia, we continued east on our loop back to the Sport Haus. But instead of taking Highway 47, we hopped onto Stoney Point Road. It’s an awesome option that cuts off about four miles of highway riding and takes you through fantastic old farm country.
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Burn Road Loop in Vernonia-34

After Stoney Point, we rode Highway 47 for about two miles before I split with Glen and Sandy to continue on some gravel roads back to the Sport Haus (they opted for the flatter highway). With their guidance, I hopped onto Crooked Creek Mainline, which you hop onto right before the “Pitt Stop” in Pittsburg (“mainline” refers to the main arterial roads used by logging trucks). Once on Crooked Creek ML, I followed it along the Nehalem River then turned right onto O Black Mainline which took me back to Nehalem Highway just a few miles west of the Sport Haus.
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Burn Road Loop in Vernonia-36

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Not a bad place to change a flat!
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My promise: Riding out here will give you happy feet.

I highly recommend this loop! And if you’re looking for a great base camp to do this and all the other excellent riding in the area, consider staying at Glen and Sandy’s Coastal Mountain Sport Haus. And check out our archives for more photos and coverage of riding in Columbia County.

The post Riding Columbia County: Burn Road Loop traces pioneer history appeared first on BikePortland.org.

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

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

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.

Thanks to the completion of a new, 1.2 mile section of the Columbia Slough Trail back in January, it’s now possible to ride a nine-mile loop with nearly half of the total mileage completely separated from auto traffic. Add about three miles of neighborhood greenways and over one mile of bike lanes and you’ve got a route where biking is both fun and safe for all ages.

Me and my three little ones (ages 3, 8, and 11) sampled this route on Saturday and it’s easily one of the best family rides we’ve ever had. Scroll down as I take you along with us…

The route starts at Peninsula Park (https://maps.google.com/maps?q=peninsula+park&hl=en&ll=45.576561,-122.654114&spn=0.309999,0.642014&sll=45.543408,-122.654422&sspn=0.310183,0.642014&t=h&hq=peninsula+park&z=11&iwloc=A) in the Piedmont Neighborhood and heads west on the nice, wide bike lanes of N Rosa Parks Way. In September 2011, PBOT put Rosa Parks on a “road diet” — which means they re-allocated space so there’s less room for driving and more room for biking. From there, you head north on the Michigan Avenue neighborhood greenway and onto the Bryant Bridge. (Note: For the next three miles, you’ll be guided along by big bike symbols — a.k.a. sharrows — in the street.)

Tucked away in a residential area, the Bryant Bridge is a gem. It provides a safe way across I-5 and it’s connected to neighborhood greenways on both sides. As a bonus, local artists (Brian Borrello and Tiago DeJerk) have added colorful touches, including a recent installation of mirrors to help discourage people from dumping trash and vandalizing the path…

Ultimate North Portland Family Loop-1

Ultimate North Portland Family Loop-2

Ultimate North Portland Family Loop-3

Following the sharrows, you’ll be directed over to N Dekum Ave, which is where you’ll cross N Interstate. Since Interstate is a large street that crosses a neighborhood greenway, PBOT has installed a special traffic signal that changes quickly and easily for bike riders. Simply roll onto the little bike symbol with a line through it and the light will change quickly.

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Eventually you’ll head back to the Bryant Street neighborhood greenway, which you’ll take west all the way to Wabash. On Bryant, you’ll pass by the first of many parks along this route: Arbor Lodge Park. If you’re ready for some fun and a little break, check out the fantastic playstructure known as Harper’s Playground.

Continuing west your next turn is N Wabash. On Wabash (another neighborhood greenway) you’ll head north toward Columbia Blvd. Just before Columbia, stop in at Trenton Park. It’s a favorite of our family because it’s never crowded and there’s a spring-loaded-car-teeter-totter thingy that we really enjoy playing on.

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Just north of Trenton Park Wabash dead-ends into the sidewalk/bike path on the south side of Columbia Blvd. This path is really great but I’m afraid most people don’t even know about it. Over lightly rolling hills and a few railroad crossings, the path takes you about one mile west before you cross Columbia with a traffic signal. We got lucky on Saturday and had a long train cross right in front of us. My three-year-old was thrilled to watch the cars go by just a few feet away from us!

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The little-known sidewalk/bike path adjacent to Columbia Blvd.
Ultimate North Portland Family Loop-9

At Portsmouth Avenue you cross Columbia Blvd and hop onto the Columbia Slough Trail. This is the highlight of the trip. There are tons of fun places to park the bikes and explore on this path. We usually take a spur of the path that heads up a hill overlooking the water sanitation facility (don’t worry, it doesn’t smell). There’s a rock sculpture to climb on and big grassy hills to kick a ball or practice off-road biking skills.

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The girls kick a soccer ball while their brother (tiny red dot in background) explores the grassy hills on his balance bike.
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You know you’re away from traffic when a three-year-old demands to bike by himself.

Once you get to the Columbia Slough, I recommend stopping at the water access just before the bridge. There are nice big stairs that make for a perfect spot to take a break, have a snack, watch for birds, and soak up the surroundings.

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Ultimate North Portland Family Loop-14

Once you cross the bridge, you turn right and head back toward the east on the Columbia Slough Trail. The pavement in this section of the path is in really bad shape. It’s got some holes and lots of loose gravel. I like it because it has sort of an adventurous, rustic feel, but you should slow down and be ready for tricky spots — especially if you’ve got narrow tires.

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A bit further east along the Slough you’ll see Portland International Raceway. There’s almost always some type of racing going on and you get a great vantage point from the path. On Saturday we watched bike racers speed around the track on aerodynamic time trial bikes.

When the slough path comes to N Denver Avenue, head right and merge onto Schmeer Road. Be careful, this is the only part of the ride where you will share the road with people driving cars and trucks. It’s a very low-speed and low-volume area, but use caution. Also, keep in mind that this is the road where ODOT plans to prohibit auto use in the future when they create a new path from PIR to the slough.

Schmeer will take you under N Denver Avenue and lead you directly onto the newly paved portion of the Slough Trail. Enjoy views of the mountains, Portland Meadows race track, and lots of geese…

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Freshly paved and painted path with Portland Meadows in the background.

The new segment of path ends at N Vancouver Avenue, where my two girls took full advantage of the nice seating area ODOT designed into the new bridge.

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Just over the bridge we couldn’t resist one final stop at Farragut Park, where a grassy knoll full of daisies and beautiful big trees made for the perfect rest stop.

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On Vancouver, you’ll have a bike lane all the way south to N Bryant, where you’ll weave back through quiet neighborhood streets to Rosa Parks Way and eventually Peninsula Park.

The whole route has only about 200 feet of climbing and there are no significant hills. I mapped it out for your convenience at RidewithGPS.com.

Give this route a try next time you’ve got a few hours. It’s really great. And it shows why it’s so important to not just build good bike access into our infrastructure, but to connect it all together as well.

Ride: Finding (and grinding) gravel in Salem

Ride: Finding (and grinding) gravel in Salem

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.

The ride started at around 10:00 am from the parking lot of the Oak Knoll Public Golf Course just a few miles west of Salem. To make things a bit more interesting, I decided to ride down to the start (about 70 miles from north Portland). On my bike by 5:00 am or so, I rode the first few hours in the dark and enjoyed almost complete solitude as I pedaled through Milwaukie, onto the Trolley Trail, then up-and-over the hills of Oregon City and into the Willamette Valley. The sun just starting peeking as I rolled through farm roads south of Oregon City.

Salem Gravel Grinder

When you’ve already been on your bike for two hours before the sun rises,
you stop to remember it.

Once my route connected with the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway, and just about 12 miles or so north of Salem, I was joined by a group of riders who had also set out from Portland that morning. It was a group of Lazy Tarantulas. I had the good route, and now some good company.

As we rolled into the golf course parking lot, folks were prepping their bikes and bodies — and there was quite a wide variety of both. Turns out that a mostly-gravel, 50-mile loop with 2,500 feet of climbing on remote farm roads has appeal for people of all ages and bicycling persuasions. There were people on knobby-tired mountain bikes, a trio of tandems, roadies in matching team kit, people riding with backpacks and saddle bags, and everything in between.

Salem Gravel Grinder

Salem Gravel Grinder

The route. Get the details at RideWithGPS.com.

After some brief remarks from the guy who mapped out the route and “organized” the ride, we set out.

The route did not disappoint. The entire loop stayed away from any towns or developed areas. We passed only wineries, wildlife, cemeteries, old churches, barns and farmhouses. Much of this area was settled by the first Oregonians in the late 1800s. Atop one of the day’s steepest climbs, Pleasant Hill Road, was the Pleasant Hill Pioneer Cemetery. When I pulled over to check it out, one of the riders was chatting with an older man in coveralls. Turns out the man’s direct relatives were the original homesteaders who settled the area with a land grant from the U.S. government in the 1850s.

Salem Gravel Grinder

Salem Gravel Grinder

Salem Gravel Grinder

Salem Gravel Grinder

The hills were covered in a blanket of perfect green grass dotted by old oak trees. Add the sun, clouds, and blue skies to the mix and it was like riding through that old Windows XP screen saver.

Salem Gravel Grinder

Salem Gravel Grinder

Salem Gravel Grinder

Salem Gravel Grinder

Salem Gravel Grinder

Salem Gravel Grinder

One of many unexpected treats of the route was the Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge. I never knew it existed before riding through it on Sunday. We were welcomed into the refuge by a massive flocks of birds that made their presence known with a display that was an audio-visual treat.

Salem Gravel Grinder

That’s not gravel dust, those are birds.

And since folks are always curious what type of bikes are being used on these gravel adventure rides, below are just a few I snapped a photo of:

Salem Gravel Grinder

Vintage Raleigh “Portage” with 45mm tires.
Salem Gravel Grinder

Surly Troll
Salem Gravel Grinder

Traditional road touring bike (maker unknown).
Salem Gravel Grinder

Classic steel from Velo Orange.

Rain began to fall toward the end of the ride as we made our way back to Willamina-Salem Highway. With just a few miles to the end, steady rain falling, 110 miles in my legs and a day marked by punctures (11 of them!), I was beginning to mentally shut things down a bit. Ahead at the golf course I had a ride back home in a friend’s truck all set up (thanks for the offer Sky!).

But just then I saw two familiar faces riding in the opposite direction. It was Geoff and Nick, two guys from the group who I met on the ride down to Salem. They were headed back to Portland on their bikes — something we’d talked about as an option earlier in the day.

Should I join them? Could I make it back? I flipped a u-turn to join Nick and Geoff and spent the next few seconds doing a mental checklist: Do I have enough food and water? Do I know a route back to Portland? Do my lights have any charge left? Will Juli be cool with me missing dinner? After all those questions came back positive, the final deciding factor was that — no matter what happened in the next 70 or so miles — I would have the company of two very nice guys to tackle it with.

Without knowing a perfect route home, north of Dayton we ended up riding in the gravel and debris-strewn shoulder/bike lane of 99W for most of the way back. Riding 99W through Dundee, Newberg, Sherwood, King City, and Tigard wasn’t exactly a good route, but I had good company, and it was definitely a good adventure.