Newsletter of the Mid-Valley Bicycle Club
by Paul Liberman
I had lots of time during the rainy days of April to make some long overdue upgrades to the MVBC website. The main task was to eliminate the hierarchical menus and reduce the number of pages. While hierarchical menus were the standard for many years they were never easy to use and were always confusing for some people. Recent trends in web design called for replacing them with a one level menu and combining like content to simplify things. For example we used to have three separate pages for rides and routes. These have now been combined into one page. Please have a look at mvbc.com and let me know what you think. Please send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Even though this wet spring seems to be hanging on forever, touring season is upon us. This is the time to dust off the panniers, take inventory of your gear, and get ready to ride off to new and interesting places. Our Loop Tours will be at capacity this year showing that, after two years of Covid, people are really ready to get back out there.
We had a really good turnout for the second annual Columbia Gorge Campout in May. The weather was good and the Gorge is always spectacular. We rode west on the old scenic highway to Multnomah Falls and east to Cascade Locks and the Bridge of the Gods. Some folks explored Bonneville Dam, and there was also much hiking up Eagle Creek and other locations.
Some intrepid club members, including myself, just got back from a bikepacking adventure on the Oregon Outback. This was more or less a scouting mission to see if we can offer this type of tour to club members. Expect a full report at a future members meeting. While out on the Outback, Tracy Hug compiled this list of helpful tips from the riders.
If you haven't yet done a multi-day tour but are interested in getting into touring please consider helping us plan a Mini-Loop Tour for August. If you are interested in participating please send an email to email@example.com.
Are you heading out on your own tour, or maybe signed up with a touring company to do a supported tour? Please take lots of pictures to share and consider presenting at a members meeting this fall.
Eilsabeth Anderson, Flo Liebowitz, David Maxfield, Loren Russell, Trevor Spangle, Rob Upson
These generous members have chosen to establish or renew their memberships at the $100 annual Contributing Member Level!
The additional monies they are providing support the MVBC bike education program in Albany and Corvallis elementary and middle schools, and enables us to continue our bicycle helmet distribution program (through special events, the Vina Moses Back to School Program and in our bike education programs with the schools) as well as promote bicycle safety and safer streets for all vulnerable users.
We appreciate your dedication to our efforts and applaud your generosity. If you would like to become a Contributing Member, visit the MVBC membership page.
With much gratitude,
The Mid Valley Bicycle Club Board of Directors
Van Buren Bridge update
MVBC member Steve Harvey, with professional experience in regional transportation projects, accepted the club liaison role. You may reach Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org . The next step in the project is for ODOT to present the public comments on the bridge design plans found at Oregon DOT website.
Benton County projects update
There has been some limited progress on development of the Corvallis to Albany bike path. Gibson Hill road resurfacing in North Albany is planned for this summer. The Chapel Dr. bikeway in Philomath, from 19th to Bellfountain Rd., is pushed back to 2023. County engineers are re-evaluating pavement management and material selection practices.
City of Corvallis
Tunison Bike Path in south Corvallis is preliminarily approved to receive FY2022-2023 funding for an alignment study. After the alignment is determined, the second phase of financing and construction may begin.
This summer Public Works will apply for an Oregon Transportation Growth Management (TGM) grant to identify locations in the city that might be appropriate for lane reallocation improvements.
On June 6th the City Council approved the appointment of a 7-member "Multi-Modal" operational committee to address matters such as parking programs, neighborhood bikeway standards, and multi-modal policy development.
The 11th Avenue Neighborhood Bikeway (north section) rolled out improvements this spring. The new Bikeway Design Guide can be found here.
Ride of Silence
The 17th annual Corvallis Ride of Silence was held on May 18th, organized by member Jay Thatcher. Over thirty riders attended the ride. See the article here. (Gazette Times story, paywall)
Oregon State University
OSU released plans for the Washington Way Improvement Project, including a two-way bike lane north of the automobile lanes. More details here.
Corvallis School Bike Education
Week-long bike education for Corvallis 5th graders began in May. Thanks to member Nancy Meitle and OSU interns for launching this year's programs. Albany School District programs were suspended for the year, with hopes to restart in the 2022-2023 school year.
Corvallis Public School fifth graders take to the street during bike education classes this spring.
Since 1976, the MVBC Loop Tour has been rolling along (almost) ever year treating riders to the spectacular sights of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Each year, club members can sign up for a 9-day supported (or self supported) trip. This year, LT1 is full and LT2 has a few spaces left (at time of the newsletter publication) and the routes are live and available on the website at rider.looptour.org (the rider link). The tour travels 350 miles with 15,000 elevation and will travel through the highlights of Central Oregon, including Lake Billy Chinook, Newberry Crater National Monument, Smith Rock and more. Loop Tour is a great way to enjoy the beautiful scenery around Oregon and the Pacific Northwest while honing your riding and camping skills. For complete details, see MVBC's loop tour.
by Rick Olson and Sam Stern, CBBT Co-Directors
What’s more than forty years old, meanders through covered bridges, finishes with a classic root beer float, and helps kids learn about bike safety? It’s our club’s annual Covered Bridge Bike Tour (CBBT) and if you ride or volunteer, you’re sure to have a great time.
This year’s ride, on Sunday, August 14, will be the 43rd and there’s a ride option for everyone: a full century ride (100 miles) through five covered bridges with lunch and several rest stops; an almost-century ride (85 miles) that also includes five bridges, lunch, and rest stops; a metric century ride (68 miles) with four covered bridges, lunch, and rest stops; a short tour (44 miles) with three covered bridges and rest stops; and the shortest ride (23 miles) that’s mostly flat and includes three covered bridges and rest stops. More information and easy registration is on our club website at CBBT registration.
CBBT is a great value for riders and helps future riders. Much of the revenue generated goes to support bicycle education and safety programs, providing 10 hours of bicycle instruction to 4th and 5th graders in our community. A fun ride with bridges and investing in a future of safe cycling is hard to pass up!
If you’re not riding this year, consider volunteering. It takes about 60 volunteers to assure the success of the Covered Bridge Ride – lots of behind the scenes and day-of tasks. It’s fun and you’ll be contributing to our club’s biggest fund-raising event. There are still lots of volunteer opportunities available for this year: working at one of the rest stops encouraging the riders, serving root beer floats at the finish and helping to distribute the food. Be a part of the team that makes it happen. If you’re interested, contact Sam Stern, email@example.com, to learn more.
Join in the fun and let's see if we can match last years absolutely perfect weather and the large turnout of almost 500 riders! Well, we may not be able to control the weather, but you can be sure it will be big fun with riders experiencing scenic views, open fields, rolling hills, and historic covered bridges. See you there!
A few club ride "traditions" to watch for this summer and beyond
This 38-mile ride is closed to cars each year until mid-June and will open to cars this year on June 20. The road is open to non-motorized travel (typically) by the end of May. This year, the east side was open by May 7 and as of June 4, both sides are open. Conditions can be found on Trip Check, as well as the Eurosports website.
Marys Peak Ride
It has become a tradition of some in the MVBC to ride up Marys Peak on a few holidays each year. The road ride can be started at Osborn Aquatic Center for an exhilarating 54 miles with just over 4,500 ft of climbing and can be shortened a number of ways, including starting from the Philomath post office (38 miles and 4,234 feet of climbing). There are mixed terrain routes following Woods Creek Road to join Marys Peak Road for the final climb from Conners Camp 3.9 miles on the paved NF 3010 road. There may even be a snack at the top! Watch for announcements on Facebook or email.
Another tradition of the club is riding to Alsea Falls. For some, this serves as test run of legs and lungs prior to Loop Tour. This 68.9 mile ride (from Osborn) travels 3,520 feet with grades of ~12% (depending on direction of travel) typically includes a stop for water and a snack at Alsea Falls or in the town of Alsea. John Boy's Mercantile has ALL that you could possibly every need.
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 |
Our neighbor to the north will be hosting a new event this summer: a campout weekend at Croft Vineyard July 16-17. This event will offer local mixed terrain riding and a chance to camp out overnight in the hills outside of Salem. The "Drop the Hammer" series continues with the summer edition on August 6-7. For more details see Bike Indy.
by Trevor Spangle
After a two year pandemic hiatus, the Northwest Tandem Rally is back on Oregon soil and claiming stake in the Emerald city of Eugene from July 1-4th.
Since 1986, the Northwest Tandem Rally has traveled extensively from host city to host city, typically organized by local bicycle clubs or bike advocacy groups (including MVBC in 2018!!!) The event is traditionally held either on Memorial Day weekend or Fourth of July weekend, and is produced as an all-volunteer event, designed to be family oriented, grassroots and affordable.
The 2022 Northwest Tandem Rally is being coordinated by Swift Summit Northwest, LLC, in partnership with Eugene’s famous tandem manufacturer, Co-Motion Cycles. The primary benefactor of this year’s event is Free Bikes 4 Kidz Eugene-Springfield which is a non-profit organization geared toward helping all kids ride into happier, healthier childhoods by providing bikes to those in need.
With two days of fully supported rides with options ranging from 20-100 miles, and two days of self-supported rides that highlight the bicycle friendly infrastructure of Eugene, as well as a semi-formal evening banquet dinner Saturday night and a down home BBQ picnic sponsored by Claim 52 Brewing on Sunday afternoon, the 2022 Northwest Tandem Rally is the premiere ride for those enamored by two wheels with two seats…or three, or four, or….
Registration for this year’s rally closes on June 20th so there is still time to participate. Even if you ride
solo, you’re welcome to join for a weekend of fun. Register today on Bike Reg.
Volunteer opportunities are also available on SignUpGenius.
More information can be found at www.nwtreugene.com
NWTR photos above are Harry Apelbaum of Apelbaum Studios
by Trevor Spangle
Everyone remembers that moment when they took their first pedal stroke and were captivated by the freedom and transcendence that riding a bike brings. From there, as cyclists, we continued to ride a little further; to see that next sight around that next bend, or to climb that next pitch over that next hill. It all continues to evolve into a never ending metaphor, a ride that continues to give, with headwinds and tailwinds, and that is the joy that cycling brings.
The Swift Summit 200/100 bicycle ride has become renowned in the Northwest for being an annual bike pilgrimage of sorts. This one day semi self-supported ride, with routes of 100 or 200 miles, promises to not only challenge the limits of what you think is possible for yourself, but also to prove to you that you are capable of more than you think you are.
It is technically a race with a clock, but the only thing you’re really racing is yourself. The only person you’re trying to beat is your internal critic telling you that it’s impossible or too hard. From the moment you line up at the starting line in the morning, you’re supported by an inspiring community who will be with you in person, and spirit, as you ride a symphonic-like journey through the Cascades foothills and alongside the swift Santiam and Calapooia Rivers.
When you cross the finish line, you’ll be celebrated by a block party like no other: cowbells, live music, and everyone you rode with throughout the day welcoming you back from your journey with arms wide open. Each participant receives a finish line meal, beverage, and commemorative finisher’s award.
We’ve all discovered the depth of resiliency we each possess over the last couple of years. This summer you have a chance to join Swift Summit Northwest on July 9th and put all of that developed grit and tenacity to task.
Register today for 100 or 200 miles through the scenic Willamette Valley starting and ending in Lebanon, Oregon on July 9th. Members of Mid-Valley Bike Club receive $20 off their registration when they use coupon code “midvalleybikeclub” at checkout.
More information and a link to registration can be found at https://www.swiftsummitnw.com/200-100All Swift Summit photos are Harry Apelbaum of Apelbaum Studios
by Shirley Schoberg-Hebda
As many of you know, all the years I lived in the Willamette Valley I rode a Gold Rush, a long wheel base recumbent. I bought it in 1999 when I lived in the great Central Valley of California and several other people in the Fresno Cycling Club there were converting to recumbent riding. It was a very comfortable machine to ride, and I used it on several MVBC tours, even loaded a couple times. I considered it rather theft proof since one does not usually hop on a LWB and ride off on it the first try. It even was an important consideration in which vehicle to buy. We wanted to be able to fit it entirely within a vehicle without taking a wheel off, and the Odyssey accommodated that.
Then in 2018, we got the wild idea to move to Arizona and I fully intended to keep riding it here. We joined the Bike Prescott club (while continuing to maintain our MVBC membership, of course!) and started doing rides with them. But whoa! Riding in the mountains of the Prescott area is not the same thing as riding in the Willamette Valley. While I know one can seek out mountainous riding in the Corvallis area, there are multitudes of places to ride there where elevation gain is quite minimal.
Here in Prescott we don’t have that option. A typical ride has easily 1000 feet of elevation gain in 10 to 15 miles. On my street, a quarter mile up it tops out with a 13% grade and going the other way it’s at least 7%. So, what’s a person to do to survive the grades? Around here there are some people who outfit their recumbents with electronic assist. Or you keep plugging away with no hope of keeping up with a group. OR … you consider buying a regular upright bike that is 10 pounds lighter and can handle the hills without as much effort.
And that’s what I did. I bought a carbon fiber Norco gravel bike, which I ride everywhere, on pavement, trails, gravel roads or whatever surface is encountered. At first I had to learn to ride again, having been in the recumbent position for so many years. But now it’s old hat and very enjoyable. I even manage to make it up my street to start off on a ride - after a short warm up spin in an adjacent cul-de-sac.
The last ride on the Gold Rush recumbent was in February of 2020. Now it patiently sits in the garage, earning its keep as a place to set things on and to hang my helmet from. Sometimes I think about riding it, but now that I am getting a bit older the thought of putting a lot of effort into riding it doesn’t appeal to me so much. I have contemplated putting it on Craigslist in Tucson or Phoenix where there are a lot of trails and flat riding to be had. But it’s hard to part with a good friend.
The answer to the title question – to recumbent or not? – is Not. But with fond memories.
Shirley continues to serve MVBC in conjunction with MVBC treasurer Melissa Cowan.
by Tracy Hug
As a kid, I did a lot of backpacking and camping with my family. I've done Loop tour a few times (with SAG) and a few almost-self supported bike trips. That said, bikepacking is fairly new to me and on the recent scouting trip on the Oregon Outback Tour, I took the opportunity to pick the brains of my fellow riders who have significantly more touring, bike packing and solo tour experience than I do. Many of them have braved the open roads, gravel roads and even some mountain bike trails completely self-supported. Who better to weigh in on what it takes to be successful! Here's what they had to say:
Eileen Tokuda has done many supported and 5-10 unsupported trips. She advised train, train, train. She recommends traveling light, in part by having clothes serve multiple purposes: a jacket that is the wind AND rain jacket can also be your pillow! Heat management is also important and she says knowing your own thermoregulation needs is critical. "Also, don't be afraid to get dirty," she adds.
Steve Harvey's longest tour was 65 days. He focused on training prior to the ride and also noted the importance of lube and bike maintenance along the route. He also recommends a secret sag vehicle!
Peter Wendell has done loop tour and the CRGA. Peter recommends planning ahead: knowing when and where you can replenish food and water. Whether it means carrying enough water or bringing a filter, planning ahead ensures you know how much you need to carry. Being prepared for all weather is also important. He notes that finding the balance point between lightweight and affordable is important. "It can be a deep abyss of spending," Peter notes.
Paul Liberman toured for 6 weeks in New Zealand, 3 weeks in Florida, 3 weeks from Ashland to Montana. Paul has found that the highlights are meeting people along the way. While riding parts of the Trans American Route, he saw people and rode with them for awhile and would eventually separate. Later down the road, he would reconnect with them again. Paul recommends MVBC's Mini Loop as an easy way to get started in touring as it is designed to be an intro to touring. He recommends a yearly gear check and notes MVBC's spring overnight is a great way to get out. No special gear is needed to start out: "an old mountain bike is the perfect thing: there's places for racks. You don't have to spend a lot of money." Paul does recommend that before you invest in a lot of equipment, it's good to know if you like camping.
Steve Kadas says he finds success by focusing on training prior to the ride. He also recommends planning ahead for meals to ensure you can eat well while on a tour. Having a basic bike repair kit along and things specific to your bike: like a chain link that fits your bike.
Lori Wilson has been touring for years: both supported and independent touring. She suggests a few critical pieces in the "toolbox:" bolts for racks and bike shoes, an extra cleat and links for your chain. Remember to check all bolts a few times a week, especially on gravel. Take at least one good rest during the day and put your feet up. If you get overheated, jump in the nearest creek or lake to cool off! Don't rush to get through your day just to get to your destination: enjoy the day and stop to see the sights or enjoy a coffee shop along the way!
Rick Olson has been on about 10 tours. He echos what others say about training: "A tip is to spend some time in the saddle riding before the trip to harden up a bit." He also recommends good tires and in general making sure your bike doesn't have any weak spots that will show up away from home. He also reminds riders to bring a rear view mirror for better visibility of riding buddies and cars.
Robert Williams has done many tours and has also been the SAG for many loop tours. His sense of humor shines through as he says: 1. Go simple, go light. 2. Really. You don't need that. Or that. 3. Get your body in shape: that means riding some serious miles. 4. Know your bike and all the things that can go wrong. 5. Fix them. Bonus: Strangers will be helpful. Be friendly.
Tracy Arras rode the Great Divide over two months, has done many loop tours and several weeklong adventures. She has learned to pace herself for the first few days on longer trips. She recommends something sweet for after dinner: her favorites are hot chocolate or decaf coffee as a treat. She also likes the African proverb: "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
As for me, the newbie, I benefitted from seeing this group of riders in action and hearing some of their tricks. For a new gravel adventure, I, for one, was happy that we went together! (And a big shout out to Rick Olson for allowing the OOT to use his truck as SAG along the route and to Robert Williams for driving.)
Thanks to Dan Barrett for the heads up about a new book, "Two Wheels Good," by Jody Rosen.
"Two Wheels Good examines the bicycle’s past and peers into its future, challenging myths and clichés while uncovering cycling’s connection to colonial conquest and the gentrification of cities. But the book is also a love letter: a reflection on the sensual and spiritual pleasures of bike riding and an ode to an engineering marvel—a wondrous vehicle whose passenger is also its engine."
If you are reading a good bike related book, please share your thoughts about the book in a quick book review. You can email it to newsletter@MVBC.com.
Another brush with fame on the Oregon Outback Tour: YouTube stars!
Last year while riding the OOT, Mike and Lori Wilson met and talked with bikepacking ultra-endurance racer Lael Wilcox. This year, some of the OOT riders met the "stars" of PNW Bikepacking, Chris Wilson and his riding partner Rob. Tracy Arras was inspired to ride the Hey Joe Safari (Utah) after watching their YouTube. Chris and Rob are from Portland and document their bikepacking adventures at: PNW Bikepacking - YouTube
Lael Wilcox photo by Lori Wilson (2021) MVBC's Tracy Arras meets YouTube Stars Rob and Chris