Newsletter of the Mid-Valley Bicycle Club
by Paul Liberman
The end of July is always a bit of a recovery period for the club. With Loop Tours concluded we get to rest up and get ready for our big event, the Covered Bridge Bicycle Tour. We've been watching the registrations grow and it looks like this year's CBBT will be well attended. Thank you everyone who has pitched in so far and has volunteered to help out on the day of the event. If you still don't have an assignment and are available on Sunday Aug 14th be sure to contact Sam Stern as soon as you can. With the weather looking really favorable for the event we can expect a huge turnout and will need all the help we can get.
I can report that Loop Tour participants had a wonderful and memorable ride. If you follow our Facebook Group you've seen a lot of the pictures. We will get many of the pictures archived and posted on our website photo gallery soon. Our Bending a Bowtie tour took us through a lot of our favorite places in Central Oregon as well as some new ones. Central Oregon is always a fabulous place to ride and this year the weather was about as good as it gets. Stay tuned for our annual members meeting in November where we will announce the route for next year's Loop Tour.
Meanwhile back home our weekly rides have continued to offer great riding opportunities to an even wider group of people. In addition to our fast, medium, and less fast (the Tenners are NOT slow) Saturday rides, we have introduced the Melo Velo ride. This ride is less than 20 miles, at an easy pace, and favors bike paths whenever possible. It has been well attended and we've meet some great new people that hadn't been riding with us in the past. In addition to the Saturday rides the Wednesday road rides and Sunday gravel rides continue to be well attended. For information on any of these rides please check our Weekly Ride Schedule.
The Cycle Oregon Weekender was in town a couple of weeks ago and once again MVBC volunteers were there to help out. We helped staff a rest stop at the old Soap Creek Schoolhouse on their Sunday route. It was a lot of fun and a great opportunity to meet a lot of folks who came from far and wide to ride some of our local routes. Cycle Oregon always brings a lot of good energy into the communities it goes through and made a contribution to MVBC as well. Some MVBC members also volunteered to help on the Northwest Tandem Rally which was in Eugene in July. We have a long history with NWTR and it was great to stay connected.
We had our annual Summer BBQ/Picnic scheduled for last weekend but due to the really hot weather, and general lack of preparation on our part, we decided to postpone it. The new date is now September 3rd from 1-5 PM at the Walnut Barn at Martin Luther King Jr. park. I hope to see many of you there.
Part of being in the MVBC is connecting with other riders and sharing the joy of riding. Our website allows members to share their contact information (phone and email) with other club members (if they desire.) Your membership info is private unless you choose to make it public.
Steps you can take to make your contact information public to other members:
1. Log into our membership program, using this link.
Be sure you are using the email and password you used to enroll with MVBC!
2. You will see a link (shown in the red circle) for setup of your member directory preferences. This link will guide you through the process of determining what you wish to have shared or kept private.
3. Don't forget to save all your choices/settings!
MVBC Kit store to reopen September 1
After the success of our new jersey and riding kit earlier this year, there are a number of members who
have asked if we can place another order.We have reached out to Voler, and will be reopening the store between September 1 to September 26. With that schedule, we should see our gear around the week of November 4. They are running low on black zippers, and so we have scheduled this around the expected delivery date for them (who knew that zipper scarcity would become a thing?).
This will be a great time to get some of the cooler weather items if you planned only for our hot season, or to get something short sleeved if you forgot that Oregon has a hot season (like me). The quality of the gear has been really great, and worth the investment. It has also been great to see so many folks out flying the MVBC colors on the road!
We do not anticipate doing another order of this design, so please keep an eye out for the announcement of the order window opening.
Dave Gifford, MVBC VP
Van Buren Bridge Update:
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) reports that steps are underway as required by the complexity of the bridge permitting process. Construction is expected to begin late next Spring and continue to Fall of 2023.
In the meantime, they are preparing for another online open house this fall/winter. This will include results from the last outreach activities and will address frequently asked questions from that outreach.
Call Steve Harvey at 360-560-1830 if you have additional questions. He will seek responses from appropriate ODOT personnel as the MVBC liaison.
Corvallis Active Transportation Update:
The 11th Street Neighborhood Bikeway is anticipating completion in the Fall. Another round of outreach with residents is happening this summer. Feel free to contact your city councilor or public works leadership (Jeff Blaine/Greg Gescher) to provide your feedback.
Bicycle Guide signage was installed by the city Active Transportation group along a 1.5 mile span from Riverfront Park to SW 35th street. The guidance will help orient local bicyclist and those traveling through Corvallis.
It is time for the Covered Bridge Bike Tour (CBBT) and whether you ride or volunteer, you’re sure to have a great time. The ride is on Sunday, August 14 and there are routes for everyone: a full century ride (100 miles), an almost-century ride (85 miles), a metric century ride (68 miles), a short tour (44 miles) and the shortest ride (23 miles) that’s mostly flat . More information and easy registration is on our club website at CBBT registration.
In addition to the traditional root beer float at the finish, this year, Fionnghal, a Celtic trio, will be playing from 1:30-4:30 at the Linn County Fairgrounds.
It's not too late to consider volunteering. Be a part of the team that makes it happen. If you’re interested, contact Sam Stern, firstname.lastname@example.org, to learn more.
Blackberry bRamble: Eugene, August 20
Choose your route: 101 mile bRamble Classic Wolf Creek; 64 mile bRamble Metric; 38 mile bRamble Crow Loop; 21 mile bRamble Community River Path Tour. Blackberry bRamble
Ride the Rim: Crater Lake, September 10 & 17
Gather some friends and plan a road trip! Riders can ride the entire 33-mile rim of Crater Lake and during these two days in September, the East Rim of Crater Lake is car-free! (Only the East Rim is closed to cars and riders should expect cars on all other park roads.) Ride the Rim Oregon
Hop Head 100: Independence, September 18
The "Hop Head Hundred" starts and ends in historic Independence, Oregon, the former "Hop Capital of the World". Each route meanders over backcountry roads, with regular views of the Coast and Cascades mountain ranges. Routes include 100 mile, 100 km and 20 mile options. HopHeadHundred
MVBC Columbia Gorge Campout a success
Biking and So Much More!
photos and story by Patti Watkins
Vehicles loaded with bikes began trickling into Eagle Creek Overlook Group Campground around noon on a sun-dappled, late May day. This site was developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s as a place to view construction of the Bonneville Dam. High on a bluff above the Columbia River, it offers views of the water and the surrounding mountains that rise from the gorge, as well as the occasional passing steamboat! Incidentally, we learned that steamboat sightseeing voyages could be had, launching from nearby Cascade Locks. PortlandSpirit
Folks then began spilling out of their vehicles to set up camp, some in the open meadow, some in forested sites, and some just outside of the large, rustic, stone picnic shelter. All were greeted by MVBC’s Nancy Meitel who was serving as campground host for the season. While, technically, there is no “leader” for this club event, Nancy graciously offered information and tips on where to bike as well as other activities in the area.
Upon setting up the tents, the bikers headed toward Multnomah Falls, 12 miles distant. Multnomah Falls Most paused to gaze upon Horsetail Falls, about 3 miles east of Multnomah Falls and visible from the historic Columbia River Highway which we traversed once the bike path ended. When we reached Multnomah Falls, some riders stopped to eat at the restaurant housed in the historic lodge, while others procured drinks from an outdoor stand. Many of us just gazed at the falls and cooled off a bit in the mist, though some hiked up to the bridge crossing in front of the mid-portion of the falls. The following website describes many hiking options around Multnomah Falls and other falls in the area. It also offers information about e-bike rentals for self-guided tours of the Gorge. Things to do at the Falls.
Back at camp that evening, Nancy prepared a spaghetti dinner for the group, with participants having brought a variety of side dishes and desserts to compliment the meal. We congregated around the large picnic tables the next nights as well---munching on leftovers, watching the sunset over the river, and swapping stories or sharing intel about our various adventures throughout the day.
The majority of folks started out the next day on bikes—some heading back toward Multnomah Falls, but most heading in the direction of Cascade Locks. Some intrepid riders then cycled across the Bridge of the Gods, a steel truss cantilever bridge with a metal grate surface, allowing riders to look straight down at the Columbia River. There is a nominal toll for passage from both the Oregon and Washington sides. Some of those who crossed into Washington cycled a few miles east to the town of Stevenson where there are a number of eateries and brew pubs. My personal suggestion, having eaten here the day following the official club ride, is the RedBluffTapHouse where I had a delectable gourmet burger with melted gouda and house-made candied bacon jam. Instead of one of the many regional beers available, I chose a craft cocktail with which to wash it down!
On Day 2, Lyle and I had intended to ride further east from Cascade Locks on historic Highway 30 along the river, but unfortunately, just a few miles out of town, the road was closed due to bridge reconstruction. Undeterred, after lunch in Cascade Locks and biking the path back to camp, we hopped in my trusty Xterra and drove over to the Washington side to scope out the boat launch at Beacon Rock State Park. There were no other boaters in the water at the time, but we were greeted by a snorting sea lion basking in the river! Although the Columbia was flowing fast, our plan, successfully executed the next day, was to put our kayaks in there and hug the shore for a brief amount of time until we could enter Hardy Slough which flows through the Pierce National Wildlife Refuge. Indeed, this was a peaceful paddle filled with bird song and sightings---and reflective views of verdant foliage and Beacon Rock itself on the return paddle. Apart from the kayaking opportunity, there were a number of hiking options in and around Beacon Rock State Park ranging from short to long, steep to flat. On the way back from scouting the river, Lyle and I ventured along the Strawberry Island trail, an easy amble with views of Hardy Creek and the Columbia River. Find out more about the Strawberry Island Loop.
While Lyle and I hit the water on Day 3, one rider biked a goodly way west of Multnomah Falls. Four others drove to the Washington side in order to bike the Klickatat Trail, starting in the town of Lyle. The report at dinner that night was that the pedaling was more akin to mountain than gravel biking. Nevertheless, they described stunning scenery, distinctly different from our wetter western location near Eagle Creek. The trail was lined with a wealth of wildflowers, wending alongside the raging Klickitat River that cut through the rolling green hills. There were also reports of rogue cows meandering along the trail—this confirmed when I hiked a three-mile portion of the trail from the Fisher’s Hill Bridge entry point a few days later!
On their drive back, two of the Klickitat riders took advantage of the public pool at the historic Carson Hotsprings Resort, located approximately 4.5 miles east of Stevenson, WA. This pool, located in a new building on the grounds, is open to non-guests for $12 per hour. I actually extended my time in the Columbia Gorge, staying in the lodge for two nights beyond the club’s campout. Thus, I had the chance to experience the traditional treatment in the original bathhouse built in the early 1900s. This rustic bathhouse, with separate areas for women and men, features vintage stylings including clawfoot tubs into which hot mineral water is directly pumped. This soak, for $30-35, is followed by a linen wrap. Massages are available at extra cost. For those who venture to the Washington side of the Gorge, I also recommend a stop in the town of White Salmon, an artsy town with some great eateries which is also a jumping off point for outdoor activities. I visited there on my way back west from the Klickitat Trail and enjoyed dinner and craft cocktails outdoors at Henni's Kitchen and Bar.
On Day 4, the final morning of the Columbia Gorge Campout, I finally had the chance to hike on the Eagle Creek Trail with two other club members. A number of other participants had hiked this trail throughout our stay as had participants during the previous year’s outing. While I only hiked six miles round trip, the trail is quite long and one could spend an entire day traversing it to the top and back. The portion of the trail that I hiked climbed along rocky cliffs lined with wildflowers from which water frequently dripped. The foliage was lush, and the view of Punchbowl Falls was stunning. The trailhead is located very near our group campground and, according to Nancy, has far fewer visitors during the time of year of the club’s campout than later on in the summer. Eagle Creek Trail
Apart from the Eagle Creek Trail, Nancy also recommended the nearby Elowah Falls Loop Hike, though at the time of this writing, it is closed due to a landslide, but perhaps open in time for next year’s event. Elowah Falls Loop Hike. Lastly, Nancy encouraged folks to take tours of the Bonneville Dam, available from both the OR and WA sides. I ran out of time to do so, but heard from others that they found this to be quite fascinating. All in all, the Columbia Gorge Campout offers club members and their families not only a chance to bike amongst “gorgeous” scenery, but to also experience numerous other recreational and relaxational activities in this part of the Pacific Northwest! I, for one, plan to return next year for the cycling, camping, camaraderie, and all else that the trip may have in store!
Editor's note: Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and "unknow" things. It's hard to know what we know and I like to hear about things from people with fresh eyes. I asked JP to share a bit about his experience on Loop Tour #2, knowing that he's a capable rider and has experience with mountaineering and backpacking. If you've done a tour and would like to share it with the club, please contact email@example.com.
An experienced cyclist, backpacker reflects on his first Loop
by JP (aka: John) Wilson, photo by John Rodecker
The Spin: Have you done organized bike camping/touring?
JP: I’ve never participated in an organized bike camping/touring experience before, but I have been an active cyclist for over 30 years. I thought that with my current cycling experience, coupled with my backpacking/mountaineering knowledge that this would be an appropriate challenge to take on.
The Spin: What made you decide to try Loop Tour?
JP: Being an avid cyclist, and finding joy in community cycling I joined MVBC almost immediately after moving here in 2019. I love backpacking, mountaineering, and outdoor activities, so when I became aware that the club sponsored an annual loop tour, I originally signed up for the tour scheduled for 2020, but it was subsequently canceled because of the pandemic. So I set my sights on the next opportunity to join the loop tour when the club offered it, the 2022 loop tour was my first opportunity to go. I am always interested in an experience that I’ve never done before, and I thought that as an active cyclist, feeling strong in my abilities that the Loop Tour would offer a new challenge. I enjoy the shared communal activity of cycling, and believed that the loop tour offered that shared experience.
The Spin: What surprised you?
JP: That I didn’t quit after that first day! I learned that cycle touring is very different than backpacking, and requires a commitment and stamina that I’d never expected. The ride to Prineville didn’t necessarily present any different challenges than my typical rides here in Corvallis, but it was hot, dry and an unrelenting headwind that kept pushing me back as I tried to push forward. Knowing I wasn’t alone in this activity, with my fellow cyclists on the tour experiencing the same conditions, it made me commit to the ride and see it through. I had to take each day one at a time, assessing my expectations vs the actual outcome of each ride. I’m very glad I didn’t quit!
The Spin: Anything that disappointed you?
JP: I was not disappointed with any aspect of the tour, it was well planned, supported, and executed by the SAG team, and my fellow cyclists. I did realize however, that in this tour I may have needed to slow down, enjoy the scenery more often, and try not to be the first to arrive. Having participated in numerous Century rides over the past decades, I became conditioned to ride these one day events as fast as I could, and I think I brought those tendencies with me to the tour, and in that I may have disappointed myself because I missed some sights, and group activities.
The Spin: What would you share with someone thinking about doing LT for the first time?
JP: Manage your expectations, prepare and plan how to react to changing and evolving situations! Ride often, with variable elevations, and mileage. Consider your limitations, and try to exceed them through training and exercise. All of which sounds trite versus the reality of the ride, but plan for all outcomes.
Also, I would do it all again because it was fun, and exciting!
An experienced touring cyclist, returns to self-supported adventure by joining his first Loop
photos and story by Dan Miles
I have been passionate about bicycle touring most of my life. My local bike club in Pennsylvania organized many “credit card” tours every year, where we would stay in hotels and eat in restaurants. Trips included a “cross PA” tour and a yearly ride to Cape May, New Jersey.
After a friend shared the book, “Miles From Nowhere” I was hooked on unsupported, fully loaded bike touring. A friend and I rode across the continent from Florence, Oregon to Bar Harbor, Maine in 2003 and I have since completed mini-tours in Pennsylvania, the Blue Ridge Parkway (Virginia-North Carolina), New Mexico, Oregon and Washington.
Moving to Oregon has been a lifelong dream. One of the many benefits of living here is being at the center of Adventure Cycling’s extensive bicycle route network.
My dream for retirement has been to be able to push my bicycle out my door and head off for an adventure in any direction. However, the realities I faced when retiring in 2020 included a pandemic which curbed my plans to go on an Adventure Cycling group tour and the MVBC southern Oregon tour. And, I was experiencing some physical set-backs from a crash along with the effects of aging.
The Bend Bow-Tie tour was a fantastic opportunity to get back in the saddle, test my legs and see if bike touring was still a possibility for me. It was an easy tour, but it was very challenging for me. I chose to ride without the sag option, but I still experienced support that otherwise would not have been available. I was happy to find a sag team waiting at the top of a climb with cold water or at a tricky navigation point with clear directions. And I was quickly spoiled by having cold Gatorade and bubble water waiting for me at the end of the day. The loop tour was well-planned and implemented, and most importantly, there was a relaxed, positive and supportive vibe among the riders. I made many new friends who share our mutual passion for bicycle adventures.
My advice for first time loopers:
Train. I completed many fully loaded training rides, including one overnight in preparation for the tour. I could feel those training miles paying off as we rode up Newberry Crater.
Be prepared to pivot. You’ll inevitably overlook something. I forgot one important clothing item and had to improvise.
Go with the flow. Part of the beauty of bicycle tour is the unexpected, the ambiguity or things simply not going as planned. As I chugged up highway 58 with cars and trucks whizzing by within a few feet, I kept reminding myself, “The difference between an ordeal and an adventure is ATTITUDE.”
I felt myself growing stronger and more confident each day on the Bend Bow-Tie tour. I was elated to be in my “happy place” and continually reflected on a quote by Heinz Stuke, a German cyclist who traveled the world by bicycle his entire life, “Be careful, be crazy, be a little bad. It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels.”
by Paul Lieberman (pictures by various participants)
In early June some MVBC members took on a big adventure. Bikepacking.com calls The Oregon Outback the best bikepacking route in Oregon. Since the route was first established in 2014 many of us have wanted to try it. This year we did. We were not disappointed.
The route takes gravel roads through very remote country the entire length of Oregon from Klamath Falls to the Columbia River. Due to last summer's fires, the southern-most part of the route is closed so we started in Chemult and plotted our own route to Silver Lake where we got on the actual route.
The weather was iffy from the start. It even snowed the night before we left. But for the most part the days were just right for this kind of riding even if the nights were a little cold. As you see, the pictures show plenty of sunshine.
The terrain and roads varied a lot, but it was not as rugged as expected. It was mostly good gravel roads. Of course there were plenty of hard climbs but it was all very doable on a loaded gravel bike. Most people you see doing this go with ultralight bikepacking bags and very minimalist gear. Some of our group managed the route with a more traditional touring kit using racks and panniers.
We rode through the famous "red sauce" volcanic rock on so many roads in this part of Oregon. Evidently this stuff gets pretty hard to ride when it's wet, but it was smooth sailing when we came through.
Services are few and far between, but the route is designed to make it manageable. Prineville is about half way so we had a chance to resupply and enjoy a bit of civilization.
Other times we just had lunch on the trail.
Of course we had to navigate a few creek crossings.
One of our most memorable experiences was in Ashwood. We got there just as a thunderstorm was approaching. The residents of this tiny community keep a refrigerator/freezer stocked with drinks and ice cream just for the cyclists that come through. It's completely on the honor system and we were more than happy to contribute.
They ended up letting us pitch our tents inside their grange hall. There is a lot more to this story I can't fit in here!
The last day took us through rolling wheat fields that seemed like they went on forever.
We did this tour as a trial to see if this was something we could offer to the club as an annual tour. The logistics of the route make it so that would be hard to do. We had to figure out how to get everyone and their bikes to the start in Chemult (Klamath Falls would be the usual start) and from the finish on the Columbia. There is a reason the club does loop tours! A loop is much more manageable.
Many of us felt like the best part of the ride was the central portion in and around the Ochoco Mountains. So for next year we would like to plan a 4-day loop starting and ending in Prineville and open it up to the club.
How I braved Bears, Badlands and Big Breakfasts in My Quest to Cycle the Tour Divide
by Paul Howard, review by Tracy Hug
This book follows the adventures of a British sports writer's journey on the Tour Divi
de Race. Prior to the ride/race, he had never owned a mountain bike but he has ridden the Tour de France course. His story follows the genesis of his idea to complete this race and follows the course state by state as he rides the more than 2,700 miles along the Rocky Mountains from Canada to Mexico. Howard shares stories of adventures along the trail and the riders he meets along the way, doing this with a good dose of humor thrown in. While not a guide book per say, the book has something for everyone: accomplished multi-day self-supported riders or someone who just enjoys a good tale of adventure.
A few rambling thoughts on helmet health ...
by David Lerman
Getting a little stinky? Could be you but might be your helmet. Helmets do not come with cleaning instructions. I have put together a carefully curated collection of cleaning techniques sure to satisfy some cyclists. Perhaps the easiest wash is to go for a ride in a serious downpour. But planning to cycle in heavy rain isn’t as easy as it may sound. Usually downpours occur when you are least expecting them. So planning for a downpour can actually prevent the cleansing flood. I recommend cycling on days when no precipitation is predicted during the months November through April. Under no circumstance should you take a rain jacket, booties, helmet rain cover or any other paraphernalia meant for rain. The more cold, wet and miserable you are, the more grateful you will be to have cleansed your helmet.
Another approach, one that does not depend on the elements, is to drag your helmet behind a kayak or canoe. Simply pass the stern line through one of the vent holes, clip the line to itself and toss your helmet overboard. This technique has a side benefit of occasionally catching some fish. While we are often prohibited from fishing and especially net fishing in many bodies of water, I am unaware of any rule anywhere prohibiting dragging a helmet behind a boat. Of course, you might also catch some nasty lake weed. No Peter, not the kind you can smoke . . . or at least not with the sought after result. Generally, just shaking your helmet will dislodge the local vegetation.
Failing more natural approaches, I decided in this post-industrial revolution era that there might be a mechanical solution. First I place my helmet in the dishwasher. Or rather tried to place my helmet in the dishwasher. I don’t know if my head is too large or the dishwasher too small, but in any case, that was a no-go. Next I tried the washing machine. It only took a minute or two for the neighbors to knock on the door to inquire what the racquet was coming from our home. If you live in a rural setting where the nearest neighbor is more than a mile out, this might work. But it was a failure for me. Another technique is to fill a bucket with soapy water and toss your helmet in. The trouble with this approach is that helmets floats. Weighing down your helmet with something heavy, like your significant other or a brick is necessary. I do not recommend strapping in your significant other; that could result in asphyxiation or worse, drowning. Better to have them just sit on the helmet. Originally this approach called for a dog to sit on the helmet. But I find that most dogs are unwilling to sit still that long, hence the significant other. To enhance soak time, provide your SO with a cell phone and arrange for friends to text them frequently. Lastly, you could choose to just leave your helmet in its current condition. After all, you are riding with other people in fresh air, not engaging in some hippie sniff-fest. The guy riding next to you probably smells as bad or worse.If you have other methods for cleaning a helmet, please send them to the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: None of the above methods has been tested. Try at your own risk. Results may vary. Neither the author or MVBC responsible for degradation of your marital or other relationship.