Cycle Oregon Blog
NORTH, a branding agency in Portland, Oregon that specializes in outdoor-lifestyle industries, has been a long-time supporter of Cycle Oregon and its mission. The theme for the Week Ride, as well as graphics for the jerseys and other materials, is developed by NORTH. Last year, three of the agency’s employees ventured out on Cycle Oregon’s Hell on Wheels Week Ride. They learned some lessons that might be helpful for anyone going for gold in 2016.
As a creative agency, we draw inspiration from the world around us, and sometimes that means taking risks—and wearing some Spandex.
Many of us at NORTH are long-time (or lifelong) Oregonians. We share a deep love for our great state and champion any effort to preserve its natural beauty. Hell on Wheels was a nudge outside our comfort zone to see even more of Oregon from a new perspective, and a chance to become fully immersed in the Cycle Oregon experience.
Here are a few things we gleaned along our 387-mile journey, and why we plan to make Cycle Oregon’s Week Ride an annual tradition:
Mile 60: Training would’ve been wise, although slow and steady quickly became the pace of choice. After all, it’s not a race.
Mile 127: Oregon is a wild, multifaceted state. Its character is defined by its characters, the most colorful of which are found outside the Portland metro area.
Mile 202: It’s amazing how quickly bonds form among strangers when you’re all pointed in the same direction—usually up a very steep hill.
Mile 387: Cycle Oregon brings out the very best in the people, those who ride as well as those who support us along the way. The generosity of our host communities and the camaraderie of our “traveling city” were profoundly defining of the Cycle Oregon experience.
For us, creativity and fulfillment come just as much from what we do outside the office as the work we do for our clients. In addition to riding bikes for long distances, we volunteer at animal shelters, plant food at community gardens, produce hip-hop albums, build cabins, and lecture at universities. We’re a better agency because of these things.
We look forward to seeing you on the road this September. Be sure to give us an “on your left” as you pedal by.
Day two of the 2016 Week Ride starts with a long climb up the Tyee escarpment. Near the top, you will start to see outcrops of the Tyee sandstone that holds up this huge ridge.
The Tyee is a particular type of sandstone called a turbidite. Turbidite sandstone forms when submarine landslides cascade off the edge of the continental shelf and flow as a river of suspended sand down the continental slope and out onto the deep ocean floor. The flowing river of sand settles out to form a single thick layer so each sandstone bed you see is the result of a single landslide, and was deposited over the course of a few hours. Some Tyee beds are very thick, which means that the sandstone tends to form cliffs that in turn break up and drop big blocks on the road. Let’s hope you don’t see anything like the 40-foot boulder that recently blocked a road a little north of here!
After you reach the top of the escarpment, you will ride west along a twisting path across the Tyee syncline. A syncline is a geologic structure in which layered sedimentary rocks are folded into a “u” or “ v” shape. The layers on the east side of the syncline tilt to the west, while the layers on the west side tilt to the east. The route snakes across the Tyee because the terrain in this part of the Coast Range is very steep, and most roads end up following along the tops of narrow ridges.
The Tyee is also famous for forming large landslides. You will pass several on your way up the escarpment, but perhaps the most spectacular is at Sitkum, when you descend into the valley of the east fork of the Coquille River. The last mile of your descent is across a massive landslide, one so large that it completely blocked the valley and dammed the river tens of thousands of years ago. The flat valley floor on your right is really the bed of the lake that formed behind the landslide dam, and that eventually filled with sediment. Keep an eye out for irregular terrain and cracks and dips in the pavement, which are good signs of landslides on the move.
You will turn down the river at Sitkum, riding through the narrow gorge the river is cutting through the landslide dam. After riding through the gorge, you will follow the river a few miles to the lunch stop at Frona Park. From there, you will do a series of short hops across low passes between tributaries of the Coquille River until you get to the broad flat valley of the main Coquille River at the city of Coquille. From there, you will follow the river to Bandon.
One of the most dramatic geologic events to affect this area occurred on January 26, 1700, when a magnitude-9 subduction earthquake ripped the Cascadia Subduction Zone from California to British Columbia. About a mile before you arrive at Bandon, you may see the US Fish and Wildlife Service Bandon Marsh Overlook on the right side of Riverside Drive. A trail from the overlook takes you a few hundred feet back to the north along the edge of the marsh, where you can see several stumps in the grass, looking like giant white spiders. These are the remains of old growth Sitka spruce trees that were killed during the earthquake, which caused the land here to sink about five feet, turning the coastal forest into tidal marsh.
Bandon is famous (at least among geologists) for its knockers. The rock underlying Bandon is melange that is part of the Sixes River exotic terrane. Here the melange is composed of a matrix of thoroughly ground up sandstone and mudstone, with big blocks of harder rock that stand out when the soft matrix erodes away. Geologists call these blocks knockers, and the Bandon shoreline is famous for the knockers that line the beach.
After you get to camp, do not miss the opportunity to walk or ride a half-mile south on Beach Loop Road to the Face Rock Scenic Viewpoint. The knockers you can see from here are composed of sandstone, schist, chert, volcanic rock, conglomerate, and blueschist. These blocks may originally have formed hundreds of miles apart, but they have all been brought together here by the relentless motion of subduction over tens of millions of years.
The most famous knocker in Bandon is—or, was—Sae-Tsik-Na (“Grandmother Rock”). This large knocker of blueschist, sacred to the Coquille tribe, was located at the west side of downtown Bandon. It was quarried to build the jetty at the mouth of the Coquille, and none of it remains in place. If you walk to the jetty, you can see the beautiful sparkling blue and green schist, flecked with small red garnets.
Are you signed up yet for Joyride, Cycle Oregon’s first women’s ride? With route options of 17, 38 and 60 miles, the event is accessible for cyclists of all levels. And trust us, you’re not going to want to miss this historic event—everything from locally sourced food and wine tastings to onsite massages and live entertainment are sure to make for an unforgettable day in the Willamette Valley.
Joyride will offer ample opportunities to sample some of the local fare being perfected throughout Oregon. Beginning at registration, Nossa Familia of Portland will be serving up coffee while Metolius Tea of Bend offers tea.
Rest stops along the routes will feature fresh berries from Sweet Oregon Berry Farm in Dayton, hazelnuts from Ken & Junes’ in St. Paul, spreads and jams from the Republic of Jam in Carlton, Tillamook cheese, and bread from Grand Central Bakery in Portland.
There will be a finish-line feast at Stoller Family Estates featuring a bounty of Oregon products:
• Deck Family Farm (Junction City) pasture-raised chicken marinated and grilled onsite with James Gang (Lincoln City) BBQ sauce or twice-baked squash
• Fresh-sliced Grand Central Bakery (Portland) breads with Oregon jams and honey
• Organic mixed greens with hazelnuts from Ken & June’s (St. Paul) and Vincent Family (Bandon) cranberries
• Vinaigrette potato salad with Rogue (Newport) gourmet sea salt
• Grilled seasonal vegetables from Kruger Farms (Sauvie Island)
• Hood River-sourced pear and apple cinnamon crumble with fresh Alpenrose whipped cream
In addition to enjoying good food, you’ll hear live entertainment from Jillian and Tyler Morin, and Butterfly Breakdown. There also will be wine tastings where you can sample some of Stoller Family Estates top wines, including a newly released rose. If you’re in the mood for self-care, there will be a massage therapist and acupuncturist available for appointments, and a yoga class offered from 2-3pm.
For those who feel like turning the day into a nighttime affair, Stoller Family Estate will be offering a winemaker’s dinner and winery tour at the vineyard beginning at 5pm. Dinner will include appetizers, three courses, dessert and wine pairings for $85.This requires additional registration and is limited to the first 20 people who sign up. See the menu here and email James to sign up.
Registration will close Friday, May 13 or when we get 50 more riders. Claim your spot today!
Day one of the Summer Bike Camp Weekend Ride offers four route options—short (14 miles), medium (choose from 34 or 55 miles), and long (68 miles).
All routes start together by leaving Oregon State University and crossing busy Highway 34 at a traffic signal. The short route uses dedicated bicycle paths to travel to the community of Philomath, and then uses the same roads as the long and medium routes to return to Corvallis. Philomath celebrates its Frolic and Rodeo the same weekend as the ride, with a parade along Main Street beginning at 10am on Saturday.
The long and medium routes travel together to the first rest stop, 10 miles from the start—this is where the medium-route riders choose from their two options.
The long route
The long route continues south on Bellfountain Road through the unincorporated communities of Bellfountain and Alpine, the location of the second stop of the day. Until this point, the long route has been traveling through agricultural and forested areas, on generally flat roads. There are several bumps to power over, but actual climbing is not required. That changes after leaving Alpine, but the big hill of the day, starting about four miles after Alpine, is only two miles long.
At the beginning of the climb, the road changes from Alpine Road (a county road) to South Fork Road, which is maintained by the Bureau of Land Management. A benefit of traveling this direction on South Fork Road is that after reaching the top of the hill, there is about 11 miles of moderate descent. South Fork Road is heavily forested and follows the south fork of the Alsea River. This is a very picturesque area, with a stop planned at the Alsea Falls picnic area.
After leaving the forest, the route crosses the main Alsea River at the community of Alsea, another unincorporated community and the location of the lunch stop for the long route. From Alsea, the only road available is moderately traveled Highway 34, which links Philomath to the Oregon coast at Waldport. Traveling east on this state highway offers narrow shoulders and gentle elevation gain for six miles, before the second climb of the day begins. This climb ends at the Alsea Summit (1,230’) and the road to Marys Peak, the highest point in the Coast Range. After the two-mile climb, there is a three-mile descent with some sharp curves before leaving Highway 34 after nearly 11 miles.
Once again on county roads, the scenery remains forested, interspersed with small agricultural farms. The terrain has some minor-to-moderate inclines until the last stop, before traveling through Philomath and returning to the OSU campus.
The medium and short routes
Neither medium route—34 or 55 miles—has much climbing. The shorter of the two leaves the long route at the first stop, and completes a flat 14-mile loop before joining the long route again at the last stop of the day, 10 miles from the finish. The 55-mile option follows the long route to the second stop in Alpine, returns to the first rest stop, then completes the 14-mile loop of the shorter medium route, and then accompanies long-route riders to the finish.
After arriving in Philomath for a rest stop via a bicycle path, the short route uses the same roads as the long and medium routes to return to Corvallis. Just prior to arriving on campus, this route again uses a dedicated bicycle path to ride through the Bald Hill Natural Area. The multi-modal trail passes through varied habitats of upland prairie, oak savanna, oak woodlands, riparian areas, and wetlands. This route again joins the long and medium routes for the last mile or so, to ride on a bike path past a covered bridge to return to OSU.
There are still spots left in the Summer Bike Camp Weekend Ride. Claim your spot!
This 75-mile route kicks off with a two-mile hill that will be talked about for years. It is challenging. There’s no shame in taking a breather, maybe even walking a bit. After reaching the summit, some gentle climbing continues for about three miles before the single-lane road generally flattens out.
The route travels along a ridgeline for miles, with some minor rollers and views of forested hills that extend as far as the eye can see. After the second stop of the day, about 21 miles in, a steep downhill of about two-and-a-half miles begins. There will be marked “resting areas” on this hill for those who want to take a break from the brakes. At the bottom of this steep downhill, seven miles of gentle downhill along the East Fork of the Coquille River leads to lunch at a grassy and treed county park.
Traffic will have increased by now, but it should still be very light, with adequate shoulders for cyclists. The first of three successively bigger bumps begins just after lunch, separated by one to three mile lengths of generally flat roadway. A few miles after coasting down from the top of the last of the three bumps, a rest stop in Coquille will offer some much anticipated time off the bike, before riding the final 25 miles to Bandon.
When leaving Coquille, the only bike-friendly road available is the somewhat busy State Highway 42. You’ll ride on the shoulder of that highway for just over three miles before turning left (taking advantage of a center left turn lane) to ride a county road paralleling the Coquille River for nearly 18 miles to its end, at the Oregon Coast Highway (101).
After riding on Highway 101 for a short distance, the route leaves the busy highway on a county road. You’ll travel past Bandon Marsh—look for birds!—before entering Old Town Bandon, just a short ride from the overnight site in the city park.
Learn about the geologic landscapes you’ll be traversing on days one and two of the Week Ride in our Geology Rocks series.
Learn more and register for the Week Ride while there’s still space!