The Death of the Oregon Outback Jun 17, 2015


With all this excitement and enthusiasm for rides like the Oregon Outback, things like this are bound to happen. Scratch that, they shouldn’t happen! It’s sad that such news has to be shared, but the only way to educate sometimes is to show the repercussions of what can only be described as idiocy in the woods. Donnie shared story with me that he wrote at Oregon Bikepacking, in response to this year’s Oregon Outback and it really breaks my heart.

Learn the rules of the woods first, pack your shit out both literally and figuratively. Respect people’s property and kindness. First and foremost, realize that cyclists are already under enough pressure, so don’t fuck it up for the rest of us.

  • Joseph Duplanty

    huge bummer to hear this. was hoping make it out there one of these years.

  • Brian

    Sorry to hear this! 1% mess it up for everyone!

  • Chris Valente

    saw this on the ‘gram. people are utterly baffling sometimes…

  • jim jones

    existential bombshell.

  • Bill

    while we’re on the subject, most rednecks have no idea how bad lead metal is for the environment. the heavy metal leaches into the food chain quite easily and poisons animals, particularly birds of prey. Domestically, 3000 tons of it are shot into the environment from hunters (this figure does not include outdoor target ranges) every year. The citation is below but I think it’s an understatement- shoot some clays for an afternoon and try and calculate how lbs of shot you dumped into the ground- then multiply that by the population of texas ;)

    • Yeah, I don’t shoot guns. More of a slingshot kinda guy.

      • Richard Smith

        I don’t think Bill was talking to you specifically John, but we all think it’s wonderful that you own and operate a slingshot. I bet it’s really useful and brings you as much joy and enlightenment as the American artisan frontiersman that made it ;)

    • Jonathan McCurdy

      In AZ, while lead ammo is not banned, the Game and Fish dept makes a big push for lead-free ammunition, going so far as to provide it for free using hunt lottery funds.

    • Dan

      um – it’s not rednecks who have fucked the the oregon outback – it’s dipshit urban cyclists who don’t respect the outdoors.

  • Tom Liley

    :'( this sucks…. here I am sitting in my bedroom in Brisbane, Australia, procrastinating from finals study by looking at all the awesome pics and hoping one day I’ll get to ride the Oregon Outback, and now I’ll never get that chance…..

    • You can still ride it!

      • Tom Liley

        I hope to! Soon as I get a chance (that isn’t in the middle of winter) to bring my Awol across I will!

      • John May

        You can! I am riding it in September. I am just not camping in Silver Lake, as previously planned.

  • cnm

    Correction…. “STOP fucking it up for the rest of us”….please, and thank you.

  • “cyclists are already under enough pressure, so don’t fuck it up for the rest of us.”


  • John Arthur

    @johnprolly:disqus do you ever struggle with posting a specific ride/location for fear that the exposure from doing so will contribute to something like this? You’re quite (understandably) protective of some of your local swimming holes and benefits abound for not blowing up the spot. It’s unfortunate that a larger, more diverse cycling demographic has resulted in a reduction in respect for the sport/its environs.

    • Most of those spots were either shown to me by friends or I “found” them myself and I prefer to keep them under wraps, or at least wait until we do a local’s only ride to share. Some of the best “secrets” in Austin have been ruined by frat boys / college kids / rednecks in recent years. I like to keep some of “my” spots a secret.

      That said, the Oregon Outback is a beautiful ride and I’m bummed a few asshats ruined it for the people who truly love nature.

  • James

    Can I still pay $2100 to ride the route with Limberlost?!

  • James

    I heard next year Ride the Divide is cancelled too.

  • AL Harvey

    I live in quebec (canada) and ive witnessed while so many sweet nature gardens of Eden being full of cigarette buds tp and old abandonned fishing gear. Not only that it saddens me, it is hard for me to understand that vibe. I feel so good when its mostly impossible to see that I passed a night somewhere that I dont get the fubar kindda vibes.
    Keeping the best spots secret is sometimes necessary :/

    • Jake Kruse

      Definitely. Mind the spray.

  • Alex D

    John, do you hold yourself or media outlets like yours accountable for any of the issues this year? I’ve never read a Radavist article that talked about how to carry trash or dispose of human waste or treat delicate ecosystems carefully. I’ve seen plenty of references to drinking and partying and getting rad on rides like OOB. It comes as no surprise to me that inexperienced and disrespectful riders were present – they’ve been heavily marketed to by The Radavist et al.

    • primotapia

      I guess I’m just naive as well, but basic human decency dictates that I won’t take a dump in someones yard, let alone leave trash everywhere. Essentially, I don’t think I need a Radavist article telling me to clean up after myself, but maybe I’m wrong…

      • Alex D

        You don’t need an article to teach you basic camp etiquette, but clearly there are those that do. The “I have faith in humanity” argument is a weak excuse for not taking responsibility for environmental stewardship during the rides we promote and participate in.

    • charlesojones

      I like to drink and party on occasion, but I don’t leave my trash and/or take a crap on other peoples property when I do. I don’t think JW and The Radavist are responsible for teaching common decency that should’ve been taught by parents years before. And I don’t recall articles here that have either encouraged or condoned the behavior that happened recently in Oregon.

  • Tommaso Gomez

    When you ride in really remote areas, it’s especially important to put your best foot forward and make a good impression with the locals. Shit happens and you never know when you might need their help. I’ve been rescued by ranchers before and I wave to strangers whenever I’m in the back country.

    • Amen. A smile. A wave goes a long way.

      • charlesojones

        and wave with all five fingers

  • Brian

    I’m surprised this event didn’t shut down last year for the same reason. Apparently an Outback rider defecated next to the Fort Rock church. The Silver Lake local who offered up his barn this year is a Pastor, and it’s plausible he could work at that same church…

  • charlesojones

    A blanket party for the offenders would be nice. Anyone know who it was??

  • thebennonite

    To me this seems connected to bike camping and touring being featured on the cover of Bicycling Magazine. It’s a bit cliche, but it’s like when your favorite band goes mainstream and suddenly their shows are packed full of adolescents.

    • mrbiggs

      That doesn’t hold water unless you’re talking about the rise in popularity of gravel and bikepacking in general. The dudes who rode Oregon Outback signed up well before Benedict @ultraromance was featured on the cover of the magazine.

      • thebennonite

        Obviously. The “stoke over suffering” vein in the bike world has been growing for while now and Bicycling responded to it. I’m not saying all those hooligan at the outback signed up because of the magazine article. The article is a sign of the times. Bike packing has grown from a core group of pioneering enthusiasts to a larger more diverse body.

  • kermitonwheels

    Wow, that’s sad.

  • Andy Moore

    a heavy, sad sigh. #furtherproofthatdeevolutionisreal

  • Tony Clifton

    And not a single picture of the aforementioned offenses?!