September 2016 Top Talk
I usually schedule a weeklong bike ride each summer, and this year marked my 20th year for doing so. In contrast to some of our heartier club members who prefer self-contained touring, I take a slightly more relaxed approach and ride a fully supported tour offered by one of the many bicycle touring companies or charitable organizations. This year’s ride was the 30th edition of the Oregon Bike Ride, now known as Bicycle Rides Northwest. The ride started in Astoria and returned there after approximately 400 miles of riding. The first day took us across the Astoria-Megler Bridge and eastward along the Washington side (so why was this called the “Oregon” ride?) of the Columbia, returning to Clatskanie, Oregon by one of the last remaining ferries across that river. The second day of riding took us up (and I do mean up) into the mountains, finishing that day in Vernonia. The third day brought us down the Banks Vernonia trail and along some familiar back roads to Carlton. There were several other Wheelmen on the ride (Joan Cullen, Dave Ek, Betty and David Suryan), so we detoured to hit Maggie’s Buns in Forest Grove. Yum! We stayed two nights in Carlton with the fourth day offering a loop ride through wine country. The next, fifth, day took us directly westward up, up and over the coast range to Tillamook. The eight mile climb was advertised as an average of 5%, but everyone I spoke to was dead certain that there were many pitches that exceeded this! We were rewarded, however, by an absolutely beautiful downhill run along the Little Nestucca River. The next to last day found us climbing back into the mountains headed for Jewell. Our final day was the shortest with a 45 mile ride back to Astoria. It was a great ride and we were very lucky with the weather no rain, moderate temperatures and sunshine each day.
Riders were encouraged to post Haiku (short 3 line poems of 5, 7, and 5 syllables) in the “blue rooms” (portapotties) covering any aspect of the tour. My contribution for the Carlton to Tillamook day was:
Arise in morning
A long, steep climb awaiting
Sweet bliss descending.
I am writing this on the day of the Beaverton, Banks and Beyond ride. Despite the hot weather, there were many club members who showed up to ride and support this worthy event. Proceeds from the ride benefit the Northwest Bicycle Safety Council’s programs to educate and promote safety and harmony between cyclists and others who share the road. Thanks to all of you who participated.