Oregon bike rides portland

Waldo Lake Trail: EPIC

The Waldo Lake Trail has been designated an Epic Trail by the International Mountain Bicycling Association. The Greater Oakridge Area Trails Stewards (GOATS) are working with IMBA, Travel Oregon and other organizations on a press release to showcase the good news.

If you love Waldo, GOATS is asking that you share with them your anecdotes and photos: oakridgetrails [at] gmail.com.


Stocking a Trailer

I have a distinct and unpleasant memory of being unprepared, on a bike, with a child in tow in a trailer. It was during an annual Bridge Pedal ride, and somehow I was in the middle of a logjam (bikejam?) of bikes, all at a standstill due to some unknown stoppage up around the bend of the route. My child shrieked from inside the trailer – long, piercing shrieks that could not be simply silenced with a sippy cup. Some cyclists gave me the stink eye; others may have done the same from behind their sunglasses. The extreme riders dismounted and steered their bikes away from us. Hmph.

In my quest to avoid reliving this scenario, I developed a near-foolproof plan for venturing out with my sweet young shrieker. It centers around stuff. First and foremost, if at all possible, the child should be well-fed and well-rested. These days, she should be highly encouraged (even pleaded with) to use the “potty” before leaving home. Once the trailer is hitched to my bike and we roll down the driveway, my goal is to not turn back because of shrieking, so I do what it takes.

1. Small board books

She technically can’t eat or choke on these books, and often seems more interested in The Cat in the Hat than the scenery going by her mesh-view of the world.

2. A helmet with a design

It’s much more appealing to her when I say “Let’s make the bunnies jump onto your head!” than “You have to wear this for safety and protection and I’m not taking no for an answer!”

Note: Stickers on a helmet can also work well.

3. A sippy cup or mini water bottle that does not leak

Let me emphasize the “does not leak” part. Many a toddler does not like being wet, and a gushing water bottle could trigger shrieking and/or crying. Be sure to fill it with water. I once discovered a discarded water bottle full of milk in the depths of the trailer from a week prior, and the smell was far worse than dirty cycling socks.

4. All kinds of clothing and accessories

Depending on the season, this can include: sweatshirt, t-shirt, pants, undies, swimsuit, swim diaper, sunglasses, mittens, scarf, fleece vest and/or socks. Why the swim gear? Well, if you happen to ride past a fountain or “sprayground” at any Portland park, the shrieking requests to “Stop! stop! Wanna go in DAT!” could be accommodated with the right gear and enough time to stop and smell the sprayground.

5. Blanket and/or towel, plus pillow

The blanket can encourage a little one to cozy up, relax and enjoy the ride – and possibly drift blissfully off to sleep. As for the towel, see #4. No kiddo wearing a soggy swimsuit has ever been enticed back into a trailer. Add to this list a pillow larger than your hand (see photo for perfect illustration of an ineffective pillow). I’ve upgraded to a mini pillow pet for trailer use, which doubles as a stuffed animal for added entertainment value.

6. Snacks

This could easily be #1 on the list. A reusable lunch sack does the trick to keep food contained, and our favorites include cut-up oranges (which we’ve also also been known to share with random kids who ask for some at the park) and our throw-it-together mix of Cheerios, slivered almonds, dried cranberries and chocolate chips. Just make sure to have something; even a single string cheese stick could tide the kiddo over until arriving home.

7. Safety items

I keep a standard, stocked first aid kit in the trailer as well. Thus far we’ve only needed to use the Band Aids, which have replaced Band Aids she peels off her body and sticks to her pillow pet.

A reflective vest on hand is good for wearing at dusk, when the small flag on the trailer is harder to see.

If all the preparation and packing hasn’t exhausted you, you just may be able to embark on that ten-mile ride. What? You used to ride centuries? Those days are over (for now). In a good way.

Angie Marsh is a lifelong Portland cyclist. Her random thoughts can be found on Twitter at @angieSuMarsh


Winter Training

Winter can really take a toll on you, physically. If one of your primary reasons to ride is that you enjoy being fit and healthy, the rain of Oregon winters does not have to be a deterrent.

Now is a good time of year to mix up your routine. That could mean you’re actually on your bike on the road less often, but maybe you’re out there for longer each time. You might not be commuting as much, but perhaps you’re taking advantage of the rare clear days to indulge in a long ride. If the weather isn’t conducive to long days of riding, maybe you pack more of a punch into each ride by taking the more challenging route, intentionally climbing additional hills and working on your form.

You should also consider cross training. Indoor stretch-and-strength classes like Pilates, yoga and core strength classes can be an excellent way to work on your central strength and keep your muscles loose through the winter.

In short, cold and rainy weather don’t have to mean you’re going to pack on the pounds as you lounge on the couch. A certain amount of winter laziness can be a nice respite, but it doesn’t have to be your daily routine.

Share your story! Tell us what you do to stay healthy through the winter.


The Forbidden Trail

The Pacific Crest Trail is an official American National Scenic Trail that zigzags its way from Mexico to Canada. Located within easy driving distance of San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Portland and Seattle, the PCT is both easily accessible and blissfully wild at the same time – making it a popular trail for hikers in the Pacific Northwest. Like the Appalachian Trail, people often hike major stretches for days or months. The PCT is widely regarded as scenic, serene and peaceful and hiking long stretches is said to transport one to another world. Because of the isolation, the adventure is known to be mentally grueling as much as it can be physically grueling.

Mt. bikers were allowed access to the trail until, in 1988, the US Forest Service restricted access without public involvement or an appeals process. Kraig “Brock” Brockelman with the Southern Willamette Valley mt. bike club Disciples of Dirt says the decision was made quickly without an opportunity for mt. bikers to explain their side of the situation. There has been no concerted effort to reverse the decision, until now.

The Pacific Crest Trail Reassessment Initiative is working to share information with the US Forest Services that could reverse that decision. Since 2010, a growing number people from the cycling and trails communities have been working with US Forest Service to potentially allow bicyclists access to portions of the PCT that are outside federally designated Wilderness areas (where separate rules disallow bicycles). As early as 2013, the USFS will begin taking comments from the public about this effort.

In Oregon, the effort is being led by Disciples of Dirt. The issue is particularly important to them not only because it is an area where they would like to ride, but also because mt. bikers are well known for being good trail stewards, maintaining the land where they ride. “As is well documented. we take care of where we play,” Brock says.


Ride Through the Rain

Hello, Winter! Or is it fall? Here in Oregon it’s all kind of the same: rain.

While it may seem crazy to head out into the blustery weather on two wheels, with the right gear you can stylishly arrive at your destination without hassle – and dry as a bone.

We’ve put together this handy guide to gear to help you ride through the rain.

Invest in good gear

Having the right gear makes all the difference in the world. Invest in quality gear that will stand the test of time and last you for many years to come. At minimum, you need FULLY waterproof pants, a jacket, gloves and shoe covers (booties). Each of those items could be its own topic, so we won’t get into that just yet, but stay tuned as we’ll be covering gear more in future articles.

Just wear it

The sky looks decent, you’re tempted to take the risk and head out the door sans rain pants. Nah, don’t bother. In Oregon, with our on-again-off-again rain, it’s not worth it. Just put on the gear and enjoy the ride.

Plan extra time

Why run into your meeting dripping and frazzled? Pad in an extra 15 minutes – to suit up and de-suit. When you arrive at your destination, that party or meeting, duck into the restroom, remove your gear, and straighten your clothes. Take a deep breath, grab a drink of water, and pat yourself on the back. You look good, you’re dry, and you’re much healthier, happier and stronger for it.

Tuck your gear away and waltz into the room with class.

Designate a gear storage spot and air out your gear

When you get home at the end of the day, you may be dripping wet on the outside. Designate a place where you can hang your gear all winter long. You want an area that is warm enough to help your gear dry over night and where it’s easy to grab it in the morning. When you can see your gear, you’re more likely to bite the bullet and suit up for a ride.

Airing out your gear when you’re not wearing it is one of the best things you can to to help the fabric last longer. It will stay cleaner and less stinky this way. You want to avoid having to wash it too often.

Reward yourself

Biking in the rain can be exhilarating and refreshing, but it can also be exhausting. Take the time to reward yourself for a job well done. Drink an extra beer, having another brownie, put off cleaning the house – whatever it is, do something special for yourself. You’ve earned it.

Take care of your gear

Wash your gear as necessary – but not too often – according to the tag. Excessive washing can degrade the fabric and reduce its rain repelling power. Don’t use the dryer as it will damage most gear. Turn jackets inside out with all zippers closed. Add extra detergent to stinky wrist cuffs. Consider using detergents and re-coating agents specifically designed for your type of gear. When in doubt, consult with the manufacturer.

How do you ride through the rain?

We want to hear your ideas and experience. Share your tips below!


Leaving the car behind

What would it be like to say adios to your car and to fully embrace a cycling lifestyle?

Bike Love is a documentary exploring one woman’s transition from a motorist to a cyclist. Kara Minnehan, the subject of the documentary and the lead producer, has come a long way since last December. In less than a year, she sold her car, explored bike-commuting firsthand, and put in motion a project that already engages more than three hundred local supporters.

All of Kara’s ups and downs over the past ten months – her challenges, growth, introduction to Portland’s cycling community and even moving cross-town by bike – have been caught on film, and now it’s time to bring her story to life.

To bring this project to reality, Bike Love hopes to raise $29,000 in less than 30 days through Kickstarter. Funds will cover production costs, event costs and distribution of the film.




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