Explore Central Oregon by Bike

CLASSIC | September 7-14 – Central Oregon Cascades

When it comes time to decide how to spend your time off, don’t settle for the usual. Choose the extraordinary. 

Come September, Cycle Oregon is setting off on a not-to-be-missed ride through the geological wonderland that is Crater Lake and the Central Oregon Cascades. They’ve handpicked for the pedaling an unforgettable journey through lava-hewn landscapes, cascading river and ever-present peaks. You’ll ride through colorful communities that welcome visitors like family on your way to the legendary rim of Crater Lake – the sapphire jewel of Oregon’s only National Park.

Oregon is a stunningly diverse place when it comes to geology. Where else can you chart a few-hundred-mile loop that encompasses three of the country’s most scenic rivers, a stoic mountain range bedazzled with high country lakes, and a National Park whose crowning jewel is a crater filled with sapphire-blue water?

Central Oregon has it all – that’s what makes this year’s Classic such a unique opportunity. And it’s an opportunity not to be missed. Right up there with rafting the Grand Canyon or through-hiking the Appalachian Trail – this is the kind of experience that will forever be a part of you. 


Ride to Defeat ALS

RIDE TO DEFEAT ALS | July 20 – Mt. Angel

Cruise the Willamette Valley for those who can’t

Take a tour of the Mt. Angel region just outside of Portland on this splendid annual tradition filled with friendly volunteers gorgeous routes. The finish line party takes place at the Festhalle, home of Oregon’s famous Oktoberfest.

Lederhosen for your after ride hang out clothes? Why not!

ALS is a devastating disease that slowly degrades a person’s ability to move, speak, eat and finally breathe. The ALS Association of Oregon is doing impressive work to support people living with ALS and those who love them. This ride is a special opportunity to pedal for those who can’t.



Pedal Through Blooming Fields of Flowers 

PETAL PEDAL | June 22 – Silverton

Pedal through blooming fields of flowers 

There comes a time in everyone’s ride life when a dose of sunshine and color is in order. We’ve slogged through the winter, now it’s time to celebrate.

Every year, Petal Pedal takes riders on a meandering journey along hushed farm roads and alongside fields bursting with flowers eager to show off their best colors of the season.

We love that this event features perfectly selected route distances. Those who want a gorgeous challenge can climb up to view the majestic waterfalls of Silver Falls State Park. Those who want a chill ride can cruise along rewarding shorter routes.

Everyone gets to bask in the finish line glory at The Oregon Garden for a summertime celebration, complete with all the fixins. 



Enter to Win Tickets!

The Vineyard Tour is September 1 in Roseburg.

DEADLINE TO ENTER: Monday, June 24, 2019 – 11:59pm

ONE lucky winners will free entry!

  1. Enter to win (one entry per person)
  2. Cross your fingers
  3. Tell all your friends to enter
  4. Enjoy the event!


Good Nutrition for Bike Riding

If you’re gearing up for a multi-day ride like Cycle Oregon’s CLASSIC, nutrition is key! But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be intimidating or boring.

Test Your Options

Everyone has a different tolerance for foods while they ride, and we all process nutrition differently. Figure out what works best for you when you’re out on training rides. Look for pre-made bars and other nutritional treats to fuel your ride, and try them one at a time.

While it can be fun to have a cookie mid ride (you earned it!) for some people the excessive sugar may be too much. Many people find that a boost of sugar fuels their ride, but others find it’s a recipe for stomach problems.

Skratch Labs is one of the few companies that specializes in ride snacks that aren’t overly sweet and are often savory. They bring years of professional cycling expertise to the company (the owner is a doctor and the former nutritionist for the USA Tour de France team.

Some people like sugar for a boost, others like protein for sustained fuel all day long. A hard boiled egg or a handful of nuts can do the trick. Avoid big meals and heavy foods (like fries. mmmm fries…..) during your ride.

Keep it Natural

If that ingredient list is a a mile long, steer clear! Can’t pronounce the ingredients? Don’t bother to try!

We think the best on-the-bike snacks are those with the fewest ingredients, and not a lot of indulgent ingredients like chocolate. A simple dried fruit and nut combo is often an excellent choice.

So if this has you thinking “Wait, can’t I just bring a nut and fruit mix?” the answer is YES! And maybe you’re thinking “Wait, can’t I just make that?” and again the answer is YES! It’s easy to make your own treats, just invent your own recipes or search them out online

Many people prefer store-bought bars because they’re compact and easy, but they can quickly become pricey, especially if you’re looking for ones with quality ingredients.

Event Nutrition

When you sign up for a supported event like Cycle Oregon, part of what you’re paying for is the top notch support they provide. Having all of your basic nutritional needs are covered is a big aspect of that. And Cycle Oregon truly goes the extra mile. Each rest stop is stocked with healthy options (hard boiled eggs, fresh fruit) as well as some treats (cookies!) and full lunch.

But you just may find that you prefer something different. Testing out you options in advance will help you determine what you need to feel awesome on the bike all day long. Pack your favorite treats so you know you’ll have what you need.

Eat Before You’re Hungry

Sometimes when riding, our bodies are working so hard we don’t notice when we’re hungry. It’s a good idea to eat a little bit even before you’re hungry. Track when you’re eating and how hard you’re riding. If you’ve gone most of the day without eating, you know you’re heading into the danger zone. Sometimes you just need to chomp on a bar even if you’re not hungry – your body will thank you.

Take it easy when you eat. Eating too fast can cause an upset stomach. Take slow bites and chew completely. The more you can process your food before swallowing, the less work your stomach needs to do. When you’re body is tired, this helps conserve important energy so you can devote it to riding.

Be Sure to Sip Water!

It’s easy to forget about water, especially if it’s not a hot day. Start your ride by pounding a water bottle about 30 minutes before your ride. And be sure to hydrate well after the ride – it’s great for muscle recovery.

Right before you climb a hill, take a few sips. You’ll be amazed how much better you’ll climb with hydration. It’s also a good idea to take a few sips every mile on a sustained climb.

Bring along two water bottles if you’re riding in extreme heat of any distance, or if you’re riding more than 20 miles. Don’t be afraid to down that water! It’s so good for you.

Plan to go through a water bottle for every 10-20 miles, depending on the heat.

Salmon Cycling Classic

June 29 – Wilsonville

The Salmon Cycling Classic is a gorgeous ride through the fringes of Portland to raise awareness for a new bicycle bridge that will cross the Willamette River. The event, based out of Wilsonville, features routes of 57, 37 and 16 miles – they call them the 90k, 60k and 25k.

Meet the New Bridge

All you have to do is pedal, and you’ll be helping make this monumental bridge a reality.

A new bridge project is being design for the Wilsonville area that will allow bikes and pedestrians to cross the Willamette River with ease. The bridge is in the early planning phases, but it is far enough along that the City Council of Wilsonville and Clackamas County Board of Commissioners have selected a desired site. For millennia this site has been used by native people to cross the river. Extra care was taken to study the area and ensure that no native heritage sites would be disturbed.

Have you ever traveled across the Tilikum Crossing in Portland? It’s a special experience to be high above the river to enjoy the views without the din of traffic whizzing by. This new Wilsonville bridge will greatly contribute to the bicycle landscape of that region.

Credit: Vertigo Marketing

Ride to Eat… Salmon!

The finish line party features a Cedar Plank Salmon Feast, which comes included with your 90k or 60k ride entry. Tickets for the dinner may be purchased individually as well.

The organizers have planned a scrumptious menu featuring the freshest regional salmon, tasty side dishes and seasonal Strawberry Shortcake. What a way to end the day!

Ride Features

Each rider will be entered into a raffle packed with stellar prizes. The first 250 to register will be awarded a commemorative specialty salmon medallion. What a keepsake this will be – the perfect way to celebrate the bridge and know you were one of the people who helped make it happen!

Many rides these days are big challenge events – long days on gravel, extended centuries, etc. We love that this ride isn’t a big commitment. This is a ride that won’t eat up the entire day, but definitely packs a punch. The 90k comes in at what we consider the perfect challenge sweet spot: 57 miles and 5,500 ft of elevation. Yes, please!

Credit: Wilsonville Spokesman

Free Family Ride

The 16 mile ride is free for families! This short, fun route is the perfect way for people of all ages to show their support for the bridge. Just imagine when the kiddos and all grown up and they can cross the bridge knowing they were a bridge pioneer!

Event Details

More info

Routes and Maps


Headline image credit: Wilsonville Spokesman

Skull 120: Gorgeous and Gnarly

Skull 120 | June 15, 2019 – Burns, Oregon

It’s known as the world’s gnarliest gravel grind. The Skull 120 is a backcountry adventure based out of Burns, Oregon. That’s Harney County, home to endless opportunity for the self-sufficient backcountry traveler. Visitors who seek challenge and solitude will find these in abundance at this event.

Technically this is a race, but you can also approach it as a ride, if you’re not the racing type. Routes range from 30-120 miles, each one stuffed with chunky gravel and plenty climbing.

It has been described as a “bucket list ride,” one every challenge rider should aspire to conquer.

PRO TIP: Registration fees double on June 10 so register early!


An Incredible Ride Experience

So just what is it like to ride this gorgeously rugged event? Journalist and experienced rider Jonathan Maus of BikePortland.org described it this way:

“I spent just under 10 hours on my saddle in near constant amazement at the diversity of terrain and magnificence of the pristine environments we rolled through. The roads were white, all shades of brown, red, and even green where we rode across meadows on what seemed to be nothing more than cattle cut-throughs. We could see a 360-degree panorama of forests, valleys and sky…. We bumped and grinded by vast prairies, remote lakes, hidden canyons, staggering viewpoints, and even a few water crossings where staying dry was not an option.”

Read the full article >

Something for Everyone: Bring the Entire Crew

Skull 120 may be burly, and perhaps it’s not for all of your riding buddies. But there is plenty of see, do and ride in Harney County all weekend long. The website lists cool activities for riders and non-riders alike, including some of the best rides in the state and relaxing hot springs.

Explore the Activities >

Watch the Video



Highlighting Public Lands + Rural Communities

Skull 120 highlights the lands owned by the American public owns and, in this instance, managed by the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. These lands are available for the American public’s use, be it cycling, hunting, fishing, camping, grazing, mining, timber harvest, etc.

The ride also highlights Harney County. Out there, the county is the community.

“There are some really great people here, there is an opportunity for people from outside the area to interact with many of the fine people that live and work here and to dispel some biases and prejudices on both sides,” says ride organizer Cameron Sanders. “The Skull 120 is the brainchild of employees of the Harney Chamber of Commerce, Forest Service, BLM and Oregon State Parks to help promote the area and increase economic development. Like many rural communities in the country, Harney County struggles. We believe that ‘adventure’ tourism and hosting events like the Skull 120 will assist in adding some diversity the the county’s economy. It is part of the equation for adding some ‘economic resilience’ to the community. Who knows, maybe this could lead to people opening a cycling shop and/or a touring company based right here.”


More Information

Event info >

Register >

Tubeless Tires: Road Edition

In the past decade, tubeless tires have hit the bike scene in one of the biggest advances in technology (with wide-ranging side effects).

In the last article, I dove into everything you need to know about tubeless tires for mountain bikes. This month I’ll weigh in on the latest tire technology: tubeless tires for road riding.

What are “Tubeless” Tires?

As a quick refresher, tubeless tires are actually a system of tires and rims specially designed to not use an inner tube. Instead, a tubeless ready (TLR or TR) rim is designed to create an airtight seal with the TLR specific tire—without needing a tube.

Most tubeless tires are designed to be used with a thin sealant inside of it to help self-seal and repair small punctures as well as make the seal between the rim and tire have an extra layer of air-tight protection.

On the exterior, tubeless rims and tires look just like regular rims, so they’re usually identified with a “TLR” decal. On the inside of the rim where the tire bead (the thick part that stays hooked inside the rim) catches is extra stout to create an airtight seal.

You can upgrade to a tubeless system on your existing road bike, but if you buy a new road bike there’s a good chance it will come with wheels and possibly even tires that are ready to be set up tubeless.


Pros of Road Tubeless Tires

Much like mountain bike tires, road tubeless has a few distinct advantages. The first being protection from small punctures. With a traditional tubed tire (usually referred to as a “clincher”), the only way to get fewer flats is to beef up the materials making it heavier and less supple. Tubeless tires are filled with sealant, so the small punctures that plague most cyclists (thorns, glass, the tiny wires of broken-off street sweeper bristles) are a thing of the past since the puncture is sealed within seconds by the sealant within. This can be a real advantage in a road race or training ride with friends.

Tubeless tires can also be run at lower pressures without risking pinch flats giving you a more comfortable ride without compromising your ability to roll quickly. This is a good leg up for any rider—especially when cornering or on Oregon chip seal roads—and it’s a huge advantage for those that like to head into more adventuresome gravel and dirt roads where the surfaces are likely to be less than ideal.

There’s some debate about rolling resistance (meaning how much energy you have to output to make the tire roll) when it comes to road tubeless tires. In most recent tests, it seems like lightweight tubeless and lightweight racing tires with latex tubes are neck and neck for the best rolling resistance. So if you’re a road racer worried about shaving grams, it all comes out in the wash.


Cons of Road Tubeless Tires

Like their mountain counterparts, the cost of the rims is higher and the set-up is messy and pretty much requires an air compressor, so if you’re ready to spend a little on parts it’s best to let the shop handle installation. Of course, if you get a big enough cut in the tire tread you’ll be handling it yourself on the side of the road. In this case, the thicker, stronger bead of the tire can be extremely difficult to get off the rim (the narrower the tire/rim set-up, the harder it will be). If you’re not a confident tire changer with quality tire levers, or don’t have quick access to a lift, this might be a deal-breaker for you.

The liquid sealant needs to be refreshed every 4- 6 months or more often in a drier climate, which is simple but another tick of maintenance. Tubeless tires need to be aired up a bit more often than your tubed tire, but this is a minor quibble considering it only takes a few seconds of time and most of us are checking our tire pressure before we head out for a spin.


Why Would You Ride Road Tubeless?  

The best reason to ride road tubeless is because your new road bike came with tubeless ready rims and tires and it’s easy to step up to a higher quality ride. If you’re someone who’s a confident flat repairer and likes to head out into the wild blue yonder, wandering on the unpaved back roads of Oregon and Washington, tubeless tires can also be a game changer. Finally, if you’re just tubeless curious and have some cash to drop on new rims, tires and sealant, most people who’ve ridden them give them rave reviews for comfort, ride quality, and being puncture free.

At this point though, road tubeless is made for extended road riding not commuting. While they do offer great protection from small flats, the rubber compounds aren’t up to tough, loaded commuter miles, so tubes are your best bet for now. Keep your eyes peeled, though. I won’t be surprised to see the technology eventually upgrade to encompass every type of riding.


Tori Bortman is ORbike’s resident bike mechanic. She is also an educator, consultant and the owner of Gracie’s Wrench. Tori is the author of The Big Book of Cycling for Beginners published by Bicycling Magazine.

Bring the Entire Family!

Gorge Pedal | July 20 – Cascade Locks


Two Routes to Suit All Tastes

Family Ride

  • 11+ miles from Cascade Locks
  • 200+ ft elevation gain
  • Pedal along the Historic Columbia River Highway and Trail (no cars)
  • Explore forested areas and surprise waterfalls.
  • Rest stops
  • Educational stops

Gorge Climb Ride

  • 46 mile ride
  • 3000 ft elevation gain
  • A stunning cruise from Cascade locks up to Vista House/Women’s Forum
  • Incredible vistas
  • Rest stops
  • Trailhead Coffee at the turnaround point! 


Curious About Riding with Kids?

“Doing the ride with kids in the Gorge” is a special pre-ride event at Clever Cycles in Portland on Saturday May 11, at 1pm. This event is free.


A Party in the Gorge!

After the ride, relax, sip on a beer and revel in an awesome day while you watch The Sprockettes bike dance group perform and listen to live music.

They’ll be serving up all the best: Beer from Thunder Island Brewery of Cascade Locks and Route 30 Brewery of The Dalles, wine from Garnier Wines in Mosier. Brigham Fish Market fresh salmon tacos, Pork, Wind and Fire barbecue and La Gula Mexican Food with plenty of options.

Advocates of the beautiful Columbia River Gorge will be on site to talk about their important work preserving this historic region and how you can make a difference. For an added bonus, dress as your favorite forest or river creature and you could win prizes!


Hidden Roads of Southern Oregon

THE VINEYARD TOUR | September 9 – Roseburg

The riders of the Umpqua Velo Cycling Club have been blissfully enjoying some of the best routes in our state for many years. They know all the best the hidden gems, winding roads and backcountry roads nestled in their down-state region.

And now, these generous riders are sharing all their secrets with us. The Vineyard Tour is a gorgeous ride through the Umpqua Valley. You’ll cruise along lightly traveled roads as you pass by dozens of vineyards, wineries, forests, fields and orchards.

Select from routes of 15 to 100 miles, each one a delightful tour. For the full experience, opt for the full century. This route meanders along the powerful and scenic Umpqua River and and includes four optional winery stops. With only 3,200 feet of elevation gain, this is a very approachable and well supported century ride.



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