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The Mid-Valley SPIN

Newsletter of the Mid-Valley Bicycle Club

From the President ...

by Paul Lieberman

Well I sure wish I hadn't written last issue's column. Yes, I had a crash while on Loop Tour and fractured my clavicle (collarbone). At least six weeks off the bike. All I wanted to do was see the big cedar tree! Unfortunately the left turn from the highway onto Big Tree Road took me into some loose sand at too much speed and I went down.

If you're riding LT2 please go see the big cedar tree for me and send me a picture. It's the second big tree sign you will see on Day 7. The first one requires a 2 mile out and back so don't do that one, but the second one is close to the route. Look for the sign just past Ruby Beach. Make sure you slow down for the turn!

In spite of my crash, I had a really good time on Loop Tour, which is really what I want to write about. We have so many niches within MVBC; fast riders, social riders, people working on bike education, people working on advocacy and safety, etc., but the thing that sets us apart from most other bike clubs is our love for touring. There is nothing like spending a week with your friends riding roads we may have never seen before, seeing new sites (I could almost quote the Willie Nelson song), and camping out together. It's what keeps us coming back year after year. This year we had a trio of young women (thanks, Chelsea, Kate, and Tiffany) who had never done anything like this before. They had so much fun it was contagious. It's an experience they'll remember for the rest of their lives. Touring brings us closer together as friends and as a club.

If you've never done a bike tour I encourage you to think about trying it. You don't have to be a fast rider to do a tour. There's no hurry, and the idea is to see the sites. The daylight hours are so long this time of year that there is plenty of time to stop often and still get to camp with plenty of daylight, even when riding 60 miles. Most people find they get stronger each day. The challenges are just enough to make the enjoyment that much greater. Most importantly you'll make new friends and deepen your existing friendships.

And with that I really want to thank everyone who helped me after I crashed. I was really pampered by some very caring people. I really appreciate you all.

Membership ...

New volunteer tool helps members customize their contributions

by Eileen Tokuda, Membership Director

Yes, MVBC offers fantastic member benefits (think Showers Pass and Ride with GPS discounts!) and now MVBC has launched new tools to help our members quickly find and offer their support to continue to keep the club a vibrant contributing force in our community.

What's new?

MVBC exists  today because of the history of members volunteering and the ongoing support and service of our members! The club, as a whole, serves our membership and the larger bike community through advocacy, bike education in schools and many other programs. All contributions of your time, energy and skill to the club will help us continue this.

How can I help?

Whether you have interest or skills in information technology, foreign language, advocacy, music talents, planning/organizational skills, map/route making, leading rides (gravel or road), graphic arts, design…all of these talents are necessary in keeping our organization vibrant.

Through the years, members have been stepping up to lend a hand: ongoing roles in the club are filled by volunteers, including the MVBC board and our big annual fundraiser, the Covered Bridge Bicycle Tour benefits from more than 60 volunteers!

Advocacy Corner ...

by Rob Upson, Bicycle Advocate

The wonderful weather for bike riding is also good for road construction.  There are many ongoing projects in the mid-valley.  The Van Buren Bridge project continues to unfold with more equipment and materials stockpiled and work underway to construct the temporary diversion structure. To connect that structure with the west side, ODOT has closed the bike/ped path in the Van Buren and First Avenue vicinity. They say this will be a temporary closure.

Visit the Advocacy page for updated road work information 

In the Corvallis city limits, changes to the 11th Neighborhood Bikeway are underway.  The flexposts are being replaced by reflectors and paint.  Additional treatments for the south section of 11th were discussed and will be previewed at Open Streets in August: click for YouTube.

The results of the 2022 Corvallis Community Questionnaire on Land use are out.  The Community Development Director’s memo says that one issue raised in the 2017 and 2022 surveys is, “ensuring better connectivity for bicycles and pedestrians.”  The MVBC Advocacy Committee will continue to work on this matter in town.

Finally, your financial support has gifted bike camp for kids at the Corvallis Environmental Center this summer.  Thank you for giving kids this wonderful summer bike experience!

Project 529: Register, report, recover your bike

photo & story by Tracy Hug, Newsletter Editor

How many times when you park your bike do you worry about it being stolen? You think you have a great lock but unfortunately, bike thieves are good at what they do. MVBC is partnering with the Corvallis Police Department to help get more bikes registered through Project 529. During Open Streets, MVBC volunteers will be helping get bikes registered onsite. The CPD will talk about bike theft prevention and recovery at our September membership meeting. 

Why register your bike?

Project 529 online registration is free and is a nationwide (& Canada!) database for storing bike information. Having your bike's information (serial number, model, etc.) increases the likelihood that your bike will make it back to you if it is stolen. CPD related a story of a bike that was returned to the owner BEFORE the owner even knew it was missing. 

To register your bike, visit the Corvallis site of Project 529. To learn more about Project 529, visit their websiteProject 529's website can also be used to check a serial number prior to buying a bike to make sure it wasn't reported as stolen.

How does Project 529 work?

Project 529 started in Portland and now includes bikes registered throughout the US and Canada. The online registration process is simple and has options of uploading photos of your bike(s) to help identify it in case of a theft. There is an optional shield (sticker) that hopes to deter thieves by sending the message that you care enough to register your bike and you will be looking for it if it is stolen and contacting the police.

Where did the name Project 529 come from?

The genesis of “529” goes back about 15 years… a group of us were all working (too much at our) corporate jobs. We started a mountain biking team for “therapy” and to create a focus away from the day job. So, the name “Project 529” was counterbalance to our 9-to-5 day jobs: 5-to-9 being the important hours of the day. We ended up calling the team the 529 Legion and later, after the infuriating theft incident, called the service 529 Garage.

MVBC, CPD and Project 529

MVBC partnered with Corvallis Police Department in July, 2023.

MVBC's Bicycle Advocate, Rob Upson explains, "It started because I heard that theft was a perceived obstacle to bike riders.  So, as the Bicycle Advocate, I thought about what MVBC could do to help lower that obstacle.  I reached out to CPD, met with officers, listened to what they had to say about the 529 Project and suggested that MVBC volunteers could help out."

Our volunteers have been assisting the CPD at several community events by educating bicycle riders about the project, using the Project 529 app to get riders' bicycles registered on-site and applying the Project 529 shield (sticker). Volunteers have been at several Sage Concerts and even a few Saturday rides! If you don't yet have your bikes registered, MVBC volunteers will be partnering with CPD at Open Streets on August 20 to register more bikes. Come see us there!

    Giving back ...

    MVBC partners with CEC and CBC to get kids rolling to summer camp

    MVBC funding helped the Corvallis Environmental Center grant scholarships for this summer's bike camp programs. Every family who needed funding for our summer bike camp programs received a scholarship this year thanks to generous donations from MVBC members!

    A representative from CEC said that one of the scholarship kid "could not get enough biking at camp" during a June camp and would not have been able to do so without the MVBC/CBC/CEC partnership. 

    CEC's summer bike programs accommodate youth, ages 5-11.  They work with students of all levels: "Let's Get Rolling" is designed to teach new riders how to ride their bikes. The technical bike skills camp provides youth with foundational skills for mountain biking.  CEC offers a variety of bike camps that allow kids to explore nature on their bikes. Spots were reserved across all of our camps to allow scholarship winners to choose the camp that best fit their skill and needs. 

    The funding from MVBC helped remove the cost barrier for students who might otherwise not be able to attend our camps. CEC let all families know that bikes and helmets could also be obtained through the Corvallis Bicycle Collective (CBC). It is wonderful to have a plan in place to serve families in need. 

    CEC also worked with the Lincoln Health Clinic, the Lincoln Elementary School, and the Wilson Elementary School Health Navigator to reach youth who may not hear about our scholarship opportunities through our regular communication channels.

    A special thank you to Rob Upson, MVBC's Bicycle Advocate for helping with transportation of kids to the camp, removing that barrier to participation.

    Swift Summit Northwest covers MVBC Members’ Registration Fees and Matches Funds

    photos by Harry Apelbaum

    In the spirit of giving back, Trevor Spangle of Swift Summit Northwest covered and matched the BikeReg registration fees for MVBC members who attended the Swift Summit Spring Classic on April 14-16 in Brownsville, OR. A group of club members rode their bikes from Corvallis to this three-day campout ride, complete with home-cooked meals, supported routes on Saturday and Sunday, sauna bathing along the Calapooia River, and an all-around good camping vibe. This contribution put close to $200 towards supporting bike education in the community. Thanks, Trevor!

    Swift Summit NW, LLC still has offerings throughout the summer and into the fall. Their namesake event, Swift Summit, is coming up on August 25-27 in Lebanon, Oregon. It offers a mixed terrain 200-mile route, a paved 100-mile route, and, new for this year, a 50-mile supported ride. As it stands, club member Steve Gerdemann is the oldest participant on record to finish the 200-mile route! Good job, Steve!

    If you have participated in a Swift Summit event in the past, you know that it's more than a race or a ride; it is a chance to be inspired by a soulful, inclusive, and thoughtful community. From the customized participant swag, unique finisher awards, to a full-blown block party finish line with live music and food, some folks have called it performance art. However you want to define it, it is an event worth doing at least once in your life. And, once again, Swift Summit will be matching and donating all BikeReg Registration fees for MVBC participants back to the club. Find more details about Swift Summit and register today at BikeReg

    Additionally, Swift Summit will again be covering and matching all BikeReg fees for MVBC members from their Hop Head Hundred event in Independence, Oregon on September 17th. This well loved late season supported ride highlights 100 miles, 100kms, or 20 miles of pristine country road riding in Polk County, including a river crossing of the Willamette River on the iconic Buena Vista ferry. This year one lucky participant of the Hop Head Hundred will win a complete custom bicycle from Ira Ryan Cycles valued at over $6,000. Proceeds from the Hop Head Hundred go to the Oregon Interscholastic Cycling League, which promotes equitable and accessible competition for students grades 6-12 in the sport of mountain biking. Find more about the Oregon Interscholastic Cycling League here.

    Find more details about the Hop Head Hundred here. All MVBC members can save $20 off their Hop Head Hundred  registration using coupon code “mvbc2023” when signing up.

    A thank you from Corvallis High School for helmet and light donations

    MVBC made a donation of bike lights and helmets to to Corvallis High school. They were much appreciated by the students!

    MVBC gives back to the community and local students BEYOND the Bike Education program in the area schools. Making these donations is possible only because of our volunteer members. Our biggest annual fundraising event is the Covered Bridge Bicycle Tour (CBBT). Read more about volunteering or riding CBBT below. 

    Upcoming Events ...

     The MVBC calendar lists MANY events in our area. (I recommend putting it in "month" mode.)

    MVBC events

    August 13, Sunday Covered Bridge Bicycle Tour #44, Albany

    August 19, Gravel Ride to Summit Summer Festival, Summit 

    August 25-27, Big Elk Gravel Camp, Harland, Oregon

    Sept. 4, Labor Day Marys Peak Ride, Philomath

    Sept. 15-17 Crater Lake Ride the Rim weekend

    Sept 28 - Oct 1, Coast Range Gravel Adventure (CRGA)


    Potluck picnic Sept 23, 1-5 p.m. at Avery Park

    Come connect with other club members and share stories of your summer rides and adventures. This year, the picnic will be at the Thompson Shelter in Avery Park, Corvallis from 1-5 p.m.

    The club provides the main course (hamburgers, hotdogs and the fixings) at this annual picnic. Members are encouraged to bring a side dish to share.  With sustainability in mind, bring a plate and some silverware. Watch your emails for more details as the date draws closer. 

    image from Freepix

    Other area events

    August 19, Blackberry bRamble, Eugene

    August 20, Open Streets, Corvallis

    August 25-27, Swift Summit 100/200, Lebanon

    September 3, Harvest Century, Forest Grove

    September 1-4, The Vineyard Tour - Umpqua, Roseburg

    September 9 and 16, Crater Lake Ride the Rim

    September 9-16, Cycle Oregon Classic

    September 17 Hop Head, Independence

    October 14, 15, Bike Indy Drop the Hammer Weekend, Fall Ride

    October 27-29, Autumn Amble, Brownsville

    January 13, 14, 2024 Bike Indy Drop the Hammer Weekend, Winter Ride

    July 5-7, Northwest Tandem Rally, Corvallis NWTR

    Covered Bridge Bicycle Tour next weekend! August 13 ride

    The Covered Bridge Bicycle Tour(CBBT) is right around the corner. MVBC's annual fundraiser, is August 13 and if you're not yet signed up to volunteer (or ride!) it's not too late. (Some volunteer opportunities allow to to volunteer in the morning and also ride the ride.) Please contact CBBT directors  Rick Olson or Sam Stern to  help be a part of this 44-year-long tradition.

    To go along with the root beer floats at the end of the ride, the band, Choro na Cozinha will be playing at the finish this year from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Here’s a couple of links to their music: Choro na Cozinha, Finish Line Music.  

    There are more than 400 riders signed up to ride, coming from across Oregon, Washington, California and even as far away as Spearfish, South Dakota! Routes include varying lengths: from the family and beginner friendly 23-mile ride to the 101-mile ride that takes riders to five covered bridges and 3,500 feet of climbing. 

    By helping with the CBBT, you will be helping to support Bicycle Education & Safety  programs in MVBC's Willamette Valley community. CBBT is also a way to earn priority registration to the club's touring options. 

    Takin' it to the streets ...

    Open Streets returns August 20 for free festival

    Corvallis welcomes the return of Open Streets, after a two year hiatus. The free street festival that re-imagines our shared public spaces - streets and parks - as place where people want to walk, bike and play will be August 20 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    MVBC volunteers will be at Open Streets with membership information, the helmets for kids program and be working with Corvallis Police Department to register bikes through Project 529. (see story above)

    The event will also have music, food trucks and a beer garden (please bring your ID). 

    More than a mile of neighborhood streets will be closed to vehicle traffic and opened up to the community for walking, biking and playing.  The route is between Central Park and Peanut Park. The two parks on each end of the route will have activities set up. Neighbors along the route are invited to set up their own mini-events in their driveways and in past years have included ping-pong and guinea pig petting!

    Find more information or volunteer at Open Streets.

    from the road ...

    MVBC Bike Adventures galore!

    Club members are near and far this summer exploring by bike! Club rides have been up Marys Peak, to the Steens Mountains, Metolius Gravel Camp, Loop Tours  and there are more upcoming rides. Get out and enjoy!

     You can find out more about upcoming club events here: Member Events.

    Steens Mountain exploratory trip

    by Peter Wendell, MVBC Director-at-Large

    Back in May an intrepid group of five riders and one SAG driver came together to pursue an experimental route around Steens Mountain in southeastern Oregon. It was a 240-mile route spread over four days of riding. The goal was to come up with a recommendation for including this route on our annual touring calendar as a spring tour.

    Our trip was impacted by the heavy snowfall from this past winter season – the road to the summit was closed due to snow. Mosquitos were plentiful due to the unusually high water and late runoff season. We traversed several sections on the eastside of the range where road re-construction was underway to repair sections that had washed out.

    Lessons were learned on many levels –

    There is a lot of work involved with carrying and using a communal kitchen setup.

    Ditto on having a shower available for after-ride clean up.

    That said, the work is probably worthwhile to have more creature comforts on a remote ride like this one. And cooking as a group brought us all together around meals.

    Highpoints and low points

    Highs -

    The views are incredible – eastern Oregon has long-distance views that we just don’t get west of the Cascades. The Alvord Desert is a unique feature as well as seeing the snow-capped Steens from all angles

    Paved sections are enjoyable to ride and the roads have light traffic

    The real ice cream milkshakes at The Fields Station are an unexpected treat

    The hot springs are wonderful after a long ride

    Lows –

    Windstorms at night are scary

    The days were long, tough rides

    Headwinds are hard on a 60+ mile day


    Gravel in this part of the world is much harder riding than what we experience at home.

    Unfortunately, the summit loop road is closed for the foreseeable future due to a rockslide on the southern leg of the loop. One could still ride up and back from Page Springs to the summit, but the return would backtrack on the same road.

    Based on limited access to the summit loop, the strenuous nature of the ride and the long drive to and from the start, I think that there are other alternatives to explore in eastern Oregon before returning to this area.

    See the photos in the MVBC photo gallery

    Loop Tour riders return from the Olympic Peninsula

    Loop Tour 1 had nearly perfect weather and great temperatures for riding through the Olympic Peninsula. There were 22 people on the first go-round of Loop Tour, including a few riders new to the club's Loop Tour. 

    Loop Tour 2 also had sunny skies and 32 riders, including a few that were new to our Loop Tour. 

    The portions of the no-traffic Olympic Discovery Trail were highlights for many riders.

    More stories of the Loop Tours will come in future issues but for now, see the photos in the MVBC photo gallery

    Metollius Gravel Camp sees perfect weather, mountain views 

      by Jack Schra, MVBC member

    The weekend of June 9 Mid Valley Bike Club held our first Metolius Gravel Camp weekend. There were 21 attendees with five from Eugene and one from Prineville. And we had a new member on the trip, Dave Walker, from Eugene. We were blessed with perfect weather, clear blue skies, no wind and moderate temperatures.

    The camp was held at Riverside, a walk in Forest Service Camp on the Metolius River between Camp Sherman and it's head water springs. We had four camp sites which were large, widely spaced and each easily accommodated five tents. The camp had a hand pump for water and pit toilets. Everyone was on their own for food and choices ranged from sausages cooked over a camp fire to fine dining in Sisters. Camp fires took the chill off in the mornings and we had a social fire in the evenings where people gathered.

    Upper photos by Dan Miles

    Nelson Binggelli fine tuned our routes came from Dirty Freehub's recommendations for the area. Some of us who came over early on Friday did a ride from camp down the river. The road is paved until the lower bridge campground where there is a gate stopping car traffic. After some early rough sections, the road settled down ending at some cabins and a lemonade stand. At that point the road becomes overgrown single track for a couple miles before again opening up as a road to Lake Billy Chinook.

    The official day one ride was on Green Ridge which separates the upper Metolius from Lake Billy Chinook. We chose to drive to a remote start saving 1,500' of climbing and about 10 miles. As the road was quite rough and slow, we ended up driving for about an hour in each direction. But the views while riding were worth it, Mount Jefferson to the west and later Lake Billy Chinook off to the east. The first dozen miles of our route were much rougher than we are accustomed to riding in the valley and as there was a large ponderosa pine across the road there had not been any recent car traffic. We did eventually join onto a well-maintained smooth gravel road to complete the short loop but unfortunately, we needed an earlier start to do a longer loop as many of us had diner plans.

    Day two's ride was up on to Round Lake on more civilized gravel. The ride started on trails roughly following Lake Creek then near Suttle Lake we started climbing up through old burn scars regrown with blooming Manzanita for fantastic views of all of the nearby Cascade peaks. Unfortunately, none of us in the lead group had been up there before and the Ride with GPS maps did not include the short side road to Round Lake itself. The slower group with Nelson leading did enjoy the sights at the lake. After riding the long downhill we were back to Suttle Lake where some of us ate at the lodge, others swam in the lake and another group rode on into the Metolius Preserve. Some of us then headed back to the valley that afternoon while others stayed through Sunday night.

    I good weekend all around and we will do it again next year!

    For more photos from the ride, see Nelson Bingelli's post on Facebook.

    Photos below contributed by Jack Schra

    A big thank you to Christi Raunig, Jack Schra, Nelson Binggeli for organizing the ride, with help from Leslie Van Allen (carpool coordinator) and Alex Vincent (camp gear sherpa). This ride would not have happened without them!

    Annual 4th of July Marys Peak Ride

    More than 40 people braved the summer heat to ride to the top of Marys Peak. MVBC riders came up the road and along various gravel routes to share in this annual event. Steve Gerdemann arrived early to share snacks with riders and provide a much needed water refill as the day grew hotter. It's a great tradition and one that MVBC plans to continue.

    Above photos by Teddi Crotti

    Photos below by John Wiesinger


    In 1993, the board chose to honor a contributing MVBC member, Ashley Molk by including his name on the Marys Peak ride.

    From Nancy Meitle: 

    "Ashley was known for his big heart. He was only active with the club for a few years.Interestingly enough, before he joined the club,  he rode a high wheeler across country. He looked quite dapper with his handlebar mustache.

    That bicycle currently resides in my daughters bedroom. He often taught other people how to ride it. After he passed away his wife gave the bike to Alan Troop. Alan also loved to teach people to ride the bike. He would also dress up and ride it in parades.

    Another love of Ashley’s was bikes not bombs. He would gather up bikes and prepare them to be shipped to countries in Latin America."

    Another HUGE thank you to Steve Gerdemann for providing the support and a smiling face at the top of the ride! It is much appreciated!

    Read more remembrances about Ashley Molk.

    Photos below by Eileen Tokuda

    The most common cycling injury ... assess your risk!

    by David Lerman, NVBC Member

    What’s the most common cycling-associated injury? Many of us immediately think of head injuries. While those injuries can be quite serious (always wear a helmet!), they are far less common than skin injuries.

    What’s the big deal about a little sunburn?

    Skin injuries run the gamut from an inconsequential first degree burn to life-threatening metastatic melanoma. Skin cancers are almost all caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation, and the risk is proportional to the amount of exposure. The more often you are in the sun, the more likely you are to develop a skin cancer. The risk is cumulative over your lifetime. If you were the cool teenager with the convertible Mustang, always with the top down, wind in your hair, you need to be extra careful now.

    Aren’t skin cancers curable?

    Many skin cancers are curable, but more than a few are not. Some are almost always curable if caught early. So if you have a bump or a freckle that has a weird shape, is irregularly pigmented or is noticeably growing, especially in an area that is exposed to sun while cycling, have it looked at and perhaps biopsied by your primary care physician.

    What about the skin cancers that are more dangerous?

    Fortunately these cancers are less common. Keys to protection are staying out of the sun, covering up or using sunscreen.

    I see clothes marketed with SPF (sun protection factor) ratings. Are these good protection?    Image from Freepix          

    Yes, covering up is a good idea. But any loosely woven fabrics will provide you with good sun protection. Fabrics without an SPF rating are often just as protective as those with a rating. A helmet with a bill, often marketed as a mountain biking helmet, will help to protect your face. Using a bandanna, cap or beanie will help protect your scalp from the sun that pours through the vent holes in your helmet.

    If I use sunscreen, will I be protected from UV skin injury?

    Maybe yes, maybe no. For cycling and other sports, you want a sunscreen that won’t run off when you sweat or are exposed to water. So called waterproof or sweatproof sunscreens are preferred.

    A high sun protection factor (SPF) is also important but, as the song goes, you don’t always get what you want. The way a company rates their own product is not regulated by the government. Using the FDA-developed testing method, Consumer Reports found that sunscreens labeled as SPF 50 actually have an SPF of 7 – 64, nearly a tenfold difference!

    There is no brand to recommend. For example, Coppertone’s Water Babies is amongst the best sunscreens, but the Coppertone Sport Performance Lotion provides just half of the UV protection of Coppertone Water Babies even though Coppertone says they are both SPF 50! Some of the most expensive sunscreens provide the least protection. For example, EleVen by Venus Williams (Game Set Match) may be good for Venus but should not be used by anyone wanting to protect their skin. It’s more than ten times as expensive as Equate (Walmart) and provides about a third of the UV protection, even though each is labeled SPF 50. You do not get what you pay for!

    Your best bets in SPF 50 sunscreens are Coppertone Water Babies and Equate (various types). For those who don’t care about price, Everyday Humans and La Roche-Posay did very well but not as well as Coppertone Water Babies. If you prefer sprays to lotions, try Trader Joe’s or Neutrogena’s Beach Defense. Image from Freepix

    If I use a recommended sunscreen, I’m good, right?

    You’re only halfway there! Protection also depends greatly on how you apply your sunscreen. To allow the sunscreen to bond to your skin, apply 15 minutes or more before you go out. Of course, applying more sunscreen protects you more. If your friends think you’re cycling to a Kabuki audition, you have the protection you need.

    Even the best sunscreens won’t stay in place with repeated or prolonged water exposure or sweating. Like the hiring manager for that job bagging groceries I so badly wanted, presciently said it all; “Reapply!” The more you sweat, the more often you need to goop up.

    Summer is almost over. Why are you publishing this article now, with most of the summer heat behind us?

    Ben Franklin knew nothing about UV radiation, but if he had been better informed, he likely would have included UV radiation with death and taxes as three things that are certain. UV radiation is a year-round phenomenon. Applying sunscreen only during the summer is like wearing a helmet only on high traffic routes. You always need UV protection if you are going to be outside during the day for more than a few moments. Clouds and cold have very little to do with UV exposure. Colder weather means more skin is covered by clothes, but the parts that remain exposed, like the back of your neck and face, need protection. Goop up and enjoy the ride!

    Books and more ...

    Do Tough ...

    What Race Across America and My Sister's Brain CancerTaught Me About Endurance and How To Do Hard Things

    by Maria Parker, A book review by Bruce Martin

    Recently Maria Parker, CEO of Cruzbike, published her account of winning the Race Across America on a Cruzbike Vendetta in 2013, Do Tough.

    The Race Across America, (RAAM), is held every year starting in Oceanside, CA and finishing in Annapolis, MD approximately 3000 miles later. It is a single stage race meaning that you start riding until you need to rest, grab a few hours sleep and head out again. 

    In 2012 Maria's sister Jenny was diagnosed with brain cancer. Maria, a 50 year old wife and mother of four, who up until then had only participated in triathlons and a few 100 mile bike races, decided to enter RAAM in order to raise money for brain cancer research. Thus the charity 3000 Miles To A Cure was born.

    On the second day of the race her support vehicle was rear ended by an inattentive driver resulting in injuries to the crew and the loss of most of their equipment. Some members of her support team decided to drop out of the race but the next day, faced with giving up or continuing on, Maria decided to continue. A member of her crew contacted the RAAM officials and they agreed that if she would start from where the accident took place she could continue the race but she would have to hurry to meet the cut off deadline at the next timing station because she was now 24 hours behind!

    She did meet the the cut off and then continued to rack up the miles to the finish, passing the other female participants and even passing some of the males. She won the solo female division in 11 days, 17 hours and 54 minutes, a tremendous feat and a testament to Maria's determination and the speed advantage of the recumbent bicycle.

    In this brief book Maria writes not only about the grueling conditions of the race but also how to mentally overcome adversity and seemingly insurmountable odds. In other words how to Do Tough because adversity can only be overcome when both the mind and the body are prepared.

    I enjoyed this book and some of you might also. It is available on Kindle for $2.99 and the first chapter is available here for free. All proceeds go to 3000 Mile For a Cure.

    There is also a 55 minute documentary video of Maria's race which goes into more detail on both the race and the 3000 Miles To A Cure foundation for brain cancer research.

    Spokesongs, Bicycle Adventures on Three Continents

    by Willie Weir, A book review by Tracy Hug

    Willie Weir, author of multiple books on bicycle travel and contributor to Adventure Cycling for more than 20 years, shares his thoughts and observations while riding in concise, journal style entries in book Spokesongs. The dedication in the book is to his brother and in the preface, he explains that he has kept his journals in the form of letters home to his brother. He covers the good and the challenging part of his bicycle adventures.

    "Driven down from the mountains to seek shelter from a ranging thunderstorm, I sat, a beast among beauties, wearing the dirty polar fleece top I'd used as a pillow the night before while camped in the woods beside the highway. My cycling shorts dripped next to soggy shoes. Road grime clung to my unshaven face and the hairs of my legs. My perfume? "Ode de Road." - Willie Weir, Spokesongs

    These short letter/journal style chapters make Spokesongs an accessible book to pick up and read during a quiet evening moment in camp during a bike trip. He relays the stories of his travels and the people he meets along the way through India, South Africa and the Balkans. His writing style is humorous and accessible making for easy reading. His travels are inspiring for riders whether their travels are local or abroad.

    Looking Forward ... 

    Salmonberry trail, a rails to trails project, hopes to complete the first seven miles by 2025. The plan is to eventually complete the 82-miles Salmonberry Trail that would connect Banks to the coast. 

    Find out more from the Salmonberry Trail organization or a recent article from KGW

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