Cycle Oregon Blog
DAY 1 – Sunday, September 13 Baker City to Farewell Bend 51/66 Mi
It is always advantageous to design a first day route that is not too difficult, allowing riders to “warm up” for the week ahead. This is an almost perfect example of that theory, as the day is short, without much climbing. In fact, with the exception of the little “bump” a few miles before the finish, the day is almost all downhill! Okay – Okay, so there is a gradual climb from Baker City for about eight miles, with a grade that maxes out at about 2%, and THEN it is all downhill.
There are only two roads traveling from Baker City to Farewell Bend, and our route uses both of them. We avoid the freeway for the majority of the day by riding on Old Highway 30. This two-lane road parallels and crosses Interstate 84 for thirty miles before ending at the Durkee Cement Plant, and then riders must use I-84 for four miles. We exit the freeway for lunch at the Weatherby Rest Area (think grass and trees), at the beginning of the Burnt River Canyon, and then ride on the freeway shoulder again for another 6.5 miles until exiting at the abandoned community of Lime.
The cement plant in Lime closed in 1980 when the local limestone supply was depleted. The current plant near Durkee (the only cement plant in Oregon) was built in 1979, and obtains the necessary limestone, shale and clay at the plant. The current owner, Ash Grove Cement Company, merged with the Oregon Portland Cement Company in 1983.
After leaving Lime, the route continues on Old Highway 30 to Huntington, the Catfish Capitol of Oregon (the 30th annual catfish derby is Memorial Day Weekend – winning fish last year was 35 pounds). The final stop of the day is in the city park, and then its time to climb the “big hill” of the day, a whopping mile and a half or so, followed by a fast downhill for two miles to Farewell Bend State Park, on the banks of the Snake River.
Farewell Bend was the last stop on the Oregon Trail along the Snake River where travelers could rest and water and graze their animals before the trail turned north through more rugged country to follow the Burnt River towards Baker City.
For those who think 51 miles on the first day just isn’t enough, a 15-mile loop option is being offered at the beginning of the day. This option travels north of Baker City, and then makes a loop on flat roads through agricultural fields to return to the starting point for a water stop. Then, riders will be at the very back of the pack to start riding the main route.
Cycle Oregon, state officials and community stakeholders share a vision for the Salmonberry, an overgrown, unmaintained and decommissioned railroad track stretching 86 miles between Banks in the Willamette Valley to Tillamook along the Oregon Coast.
This vision seeks to restore the Salmonberry to its storied and significant place in state history, showcasing the historical, cultural and natural attributes known to families and communities for millennia, from the first native peoples gracing the land at least 6,000 years ago to the EuroAmerican farmers who followed in the mid-1800s to the opening of Pacific Railway and Navigation Company (PR&N) railroad in 1911. With the advent of the PR&N railroad came the economic prosperity of a thriving timber and logging market, which lasted for about 75 years, until regulations, international markets, new technologies and storm damage began to slow the economic engine, eventually earning PR&N the nickname of Punk, Rotten & Nasty. In 2007 the final blow to the line came in a devastating set of rainstorms, which caused significant damage to the line, as well as the small towns that had grown up around it.
In 2008, the idea for the Salmonberry was born in the intersections between Oregon State Forestry, Oregon Parks & Recreation Department and Cycle Oregon. Our relationships with leadership on Forestry and Parks commissions helped us to identify and act on this audacious idea to find a future in the forest, turning Punk, Rotten & Nasty into a world-class multi-use trail along the scenic Salmonberry River.
In In 2012 Cycle Oregon made an initial investment, the first step in turning the vision to reality with a $100,000 Cycle Oregon Signature grant. This effort resulted in the Salmonberry Corridor Concept Plan. The good news from this report, released in the fall of 2014, confirmed that our vision was indeed, possible.
Early this year, the Cycle Oregon board made another major investment in this vision. A $50,000 Signature Grant to fund a staff position to perform community outreach and hone the technical designs in the plan into a feasible implementation working in tandem with a capital campaign.
The dual impacts of projects like the Salmonberry are that it helps introduce Oregonians to Oregon while driving economic development throughout the state. This meshes well with the overarching mission of Cycle Oregon.
Cycle Oregon is a part of new financial engines, contributing much-needed fiscal support to the postcard-worthy towns it visits. In 2014 Cycle Oregon infused nearly $1.8 million into the communities and businesses that support our events.
- Civic and school groups earned more than $180,000 by providing services during Cycle Oregon
- Local businesses earned $300,000 in food, lodging, activities and gifts
- Cycle Oregon vendors, all homegrown Pacific Northwest businesses and nonprofits, earned more than $1.3 million
Cycle Oregon’s financial impact extends beyond the events, too. Since 1996, our Cycle Oregon Fund, makes strategic investments to preserve special places in Oregon, promote bicycle safety and tourism and support community-driven projects. With more than $2 million in the fund, Cycle O gives between $50,000 – $100,000 each year in grants that spotlight the kind of endeavors that frequently lack statewide attention but often mean everything to the people in the small towns who welcome us on our tours.
We look forward to the day when we’ll announce our first Salmonberry tour. We know that day will come, but we also know that projects like this take patience and persistence. They also take commitment and investments.
We hope you will join us in supporting the Salmonberry and other projects like it around the state with an contribution to the Cycle Oregon Fund. The fund is held at the Oregon Community Foundation and is tax deductible. Contributions can be made online here, or via payable to:
The Oregon Community Foundation for the benefit of the Cycle Oregon Fund
Oregon Community Foundation
1221 SW Yamhill St. Suite 100
Portland, OR 97205
This February, Cycle Oregon awarded 12 grants totaling $69,635 to projects that will promote the health and vitality of rural communities through the Cycle Oregon Fund at the Oregon Community Foundation.
In all, Cycle Oregon received 36 grant requests totaling more than $400,000, the most in the program’s history. Grantees typically come from communities that Cycle Oregon has visited. Of this year’s proposals four were awarded to projects along the 2014 route. Five proposals were awarded to projects along the 2015 route.
It is always a challenge to select among the excellent proposals and this year was no exception. The grant committee, comprised of Cycle Oregon board and staff, awarded the following grants in the three funding categories:
Historic Preservation and Environmental Conservation
- Habitat rehabilitation and enhancement near the Red Apple access point of the Mt Emily Recreation Area, outside La Grande (2015 route)
- Fitness Trail at Dufur Park (2014 route)
- Culturally-specific health promotion for the Latino community in Madras (2014 route)
- Trail groomer for school-based cross country ski program in Halfway (2015 route)
- Natural resources apprenticeship program for high school students in Enterprise (2015 route)
- Vandal-proof drinking fountain at public library in Jefferson (2015 Weekend route)
Promote Bicycle Safety and Tourism
- Creation and maintenance of mountain biking trails outside Baker City (2015 route)
- Bicycles for the Jefferson County Safe Routes to School program (2014 route)
- Design wayfinding in Oakridge and Westfir (2007 route)
- Informational kiosks along the Madras Mountain Views Scenic Bikeway (2014 route)
- Maintenance equipment for the Old West Scenic Bikeway (2013 route)
- Feasibility study for rail-with-trail project between Elgin and Joseph along the Joseph Branch rail line (2015 route)
The Cycle Oregon Fund, developed through event proceeds since 1996, makes annual grants to preserve special places in Oregon, promote bicycle safety and tourism and support community projects. Since its inception, the Fund has awarded 189 grants totaling more than $1.6 million to projects ranging from helping provide lights for the football field in Dufur to re-roofing the Pete French Round Barn in Diamond.
Simply by riding Cycle Oregon you help us do good. Thanks for being a part of a great event and helping to provide much needed support to our rural communities.
You can help us grow the fund by making a tax-deductible contribution! It’s an easy way to help us do more good for the special places and important projects throughout the state.
Cycle Oregon is a great ride for a great cause, but if there’s one thing that keeps people coming back, it’s the bonds we form on the event. Mile by mile. Day by day. Through the years we’ve become a family of volunteers, riders, supporters and friends.
Sadly in 2011 we lost a longtime family member. Mark Bosworth, a Cycle Oregon rider and volunteer went missing on the Week Ride when a swift resurgence of cancer in his brain caused severe disorientation. After a search effort in Oregon and a national media campaign, the mystery surrounding Mark’s disappearance has never been resolved.
But in the face of tragedy, hope has persevered. Friends and family wanted to build a lasting tribute to Mark’s love for cycling, the natural beauty of Oregon, and his tireless mentorship of young people. Over the past two Cycle Oregon rides, the Mark Bosworth Fund has sponsored 6 first-time riders who otherwise would not have been able to attend.
Applications for the 2015 ride are being taken at www.markbosworthfund.org, and are due on March 15. Applicants must be a first-time Cycle Oregon rider, be physically capable of finishing the ride, and supply their own equipment. The scholarship will cover registration fees, Tent & Porter and $100 for expenses.
If you know any great candidates for the scholarship, please email this page or share our Facebook post with them. You can also get inspired by the stories of past riders. Recipients will be chosen and notified in early April.
The fund is supported by individual donations from those who knew Mark Bosworth and many people in the Cycle Oregon community. The Bosworths are close to reaching their goal of raising the $30,000 needed to create a permanent endowment. If you’d like to support this amazing foundation, please consider a donation.
It’s that time of year for the annual Cycle Oregon holiday gift guide. It seems like every year there’s more and more cool gear and gadgetry for those who call the open road home. The clock is ticking and there are only a few shopping days left so let’s do this.
For the urban biker on your list, perhaps a solar-powered, keyless “smart bike lock” like the Skylock. This thing can be locked and unlocked via a mobile app, sends alerts to its owner if someone is trying to tamper with it and will send an alert to friends, family or EMS if you crash. You can even use it to set up an informal bike share.
If you have a loved one who carefully programs rides on GPS bike computers, chances are they might like to use a Garmin or Fitbit to track other fitness data. These gadgets allow users to measure things like activity, heart rate, sleep, and more when paired with with your smartphone or computer.
Video cameras like the GoPro are becoming increasingly popular on bike rides and the newest GoPro model is amazing. People are using them to capture some great images from mountain biking to track racing and everything in between. Of course GoPro isn’t the only game in town. Garmin makes a cool camera called the VIRB. Not only is it more shapely than the GoPro, but it also incorporates a number of bike computer functions. There’s also the Shimano Sport Camera, which was used in this year’s Tour de France to provide footage of the peloton.
There’s another interesting video camera called the Fly6, which is built right into a functioning taillight. Why would anyone want this? First, if you ride with friends it’s a great way to capture interesting video of them. Moreover, if a motorist comes up behind you in a less-than-courteous fashion (or ends up occupying the exact same part of the road as you at the exact same time) it could be handy to have a video record of the event.
Speaking of lights, the Blaze Laserlight has a unique way of letting cars know a cyclist in their blind spot (plus it’s always fun to give the gift of lasers). Of course you don’t need to spend a fortune to find a cool cycling gift. Items that are commonly used (gels, chamois lube, tubes) are always appreciated. So are things that are commonly lost – like tools.The Nutter Cycling Multitool, which was launched via a successful Kickstarter campaign, is now commercially available. The Nutter offers enough function for any cyclist, while offering enough form that people who see beauty in things like a Brook’s Saddle will surely appreciate it.
Mirrors are another important piece of cycling kit. Some people mount them on helmets or glasses and others mount them on their bikes. The RearViz mounts to a rider’s arm and looks like a very nice alternative. Or how about items that are less about cycling and more about a celebration of the lifestyle like Christmas ornaments or beer openers or some bicycle taxidermy?
If you’re just looking for stuff to stuff in stockings, consider the Rapha Drawcord Hat (which serves as a hat, neck warmer or headband), Fix It Sticks tools, a custom engraved cowbell or the Cycling Handbook and Log. If money is no object and you are trying to find something for the cyclist who has absolutely everything, we give you the Corker Wheelman Penny-farthing!
Have a happy and safe holiday season and we look forward to seeing you soon.