Yes, you can ride on your own. You can tool all around the state, stop for lunch and carry your gear with you. If you can read a map (or aren’t afraid of surprise hills and getting lost), you can do this.
So what’s with all the supported rides and why do so many people do them?
Organized rides are a relaxing way to ride. When they’re well organized, you don’t have to worry about a thing. Many, like the Portland Century, offer so much food along the way it seems as if you could actually gain weight on the ride. This gives you a chance to focus on your riding, perhaps push yourself harder and certainly socialize with friends while taking in the sights, sounds and scents of the landscape.
A top notch ride has well marked routes so you don’t even need the course map. Rest stops are approximately every 15 miles. There is a number you can call for support. There is ample nutritional food at the rest stops and bathrooms abound. These are all things you don’t want to have to think about while riding.
The finish line features a lunch or dinner, and hopefully a beer garden. Anyone who organizes a ride without one is crazy! Everyone loves to socialize after a long day of riding and sipping on a beer is the perfect way to relax and unwind while you let your muscles melt.
Most supported rides are pretty much about the riding, landscape and the food. But some are also about the goofy fun, such as urban rides like the Worst Day of the Year Ride. How quirky the ride becomes is really up to the riders, who often come in costume. The ride maxes out at around 40 miles, with a shorter 18 mile option and four rest stops, so “proper” riding attire really isn’t all that necessary and fun reigns supreme.
Fundraising rides abound. Sometimes there is a fundraising minimum (an amount you have to raise on top of the registration fee) and sometimes there isn’t. Some of them are multi-day rides like the two-day Bike MS. All of them offer an excellent opportunity to ride your bike and make a difference. The American Lung Association in Oregon relies on their annual ride Reach the Beach to fulfill most of their budget for the year. Other rides like Tour de Cure are part of a national affiliation so you can choose your cause (in this case, diabetes) and choose where you want to ride. The Oregon ride, formerly known as Summit to Surf, has been around for many years and is very well run.
Cruise through our calendar to peruse all the options for organized rides. Explore the website, the route maps and event details. Find rides that suit where you want to ride, when you are available and the types of features you’re looking for (supporting a cause? extreme climbing? touring an area you’ve never explored? incredible food?) and sign up today!
Yes, you will pay more than if you were to ride on your own, but it’s worth it; you’re paying for the service, the food, the support (you never know), the well-chosen courses and all the relaxation that goes with not having to plan a ride on your own. On top of that, you get the camaraderie of tons of other riders and you’ll probably make some new friends.
There is no shortage of rides to choose from. It’s going to be a great summer for riding bikes in Oregon!