I do a bit of travel writing, plus I’m writing an Oregon cycling guidebook, so I’ve been getting around on my bike a lot the last few years. And I find that when I pack for any kind of trip that will involve the bliss of saddle time, when I hit the jersey drawer I make the same choice: the Cycle Oregon jerseys. I push past the retro-art ones, the various other event ones, the more generic versions, and choose from my CO Collection.
Why? Several reasons. First, I’m mighty darn proud to be associated with an event like this. It’s such an optimal combination of having fun and doing good that it blows my mind. I mean, think about it: we get to ride some of the best roads anywhere, with a couple thousand other folks who share our passion for it. We’re burning so many calories that we can eat and drink just about anything we see and want. All we have to worry about is eat, sleep, ride, repeat. And this is pumping tens of thousands of dollars into the economies of the towns we’re thoroughly enjoying hanging out in? Sign me up every year, and give me a chance to tell anyone else I meet about it, too.
And that’s the second reason I love wearing my CO jerseys – they’re great conversation starters. I can’t count the times I’ve been riding with a bike club in some distant city, or out on my own when I encounter other riders, that someone sees the Cycle Oregon and we start talking. They’ve ridden it, or know someone who rides it, or have always wanted to ride it, or live somewhere that’s hosted it. If I were wearing an Oregon Ducks jersey, I’d find some fiercely simpatico friends, but just as likely some Beaver-lovers who would give me the stink-eye. But no one hates Cycle Oregon. We’re the good guys, with the reputation as a quality event that’s consistently a blast.
And so I wear the other jerseys when I ride with my buds around home. But when I head out somewhere, I’m wearing Cycle Oregon.