Braving the Elements on the Oregon Ramble
Photos and words by Robin Sansom
We all met at the EconoLodge on 3rd and Main Street in Prineville. Good adventures usually start at bad hotels, so it seemed natural to stage there before the Oregon Ramble. The Ramble is a newish event that is something like a 3-day summer camp on bikes. You bring all your camping gear to ride with friends, old and new, and experience places that you might not normally get to in your everyday life.
After a decent night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast, we lazily rolled out of town with the other 50 or so riders. On the climb up to the first camp we saw the entire variety and nearly identical tempo of the weather cycle that would visit us throughout the event: sunshine, rain, hail, cold. Although this first day’s mileage was relatively short, which gave us a little too much time to indulge in the pro bono New Belgium beers at camp, the remaining days would see many more miles and loads more climbing on everything from paved roads to bumpy double track.
On days two and three, conditions changed so much, that plastic bread bags were being scavenged for DIY shoe covers at one moment and the next moment you were trying to find a place to strap your helmet because you couldn’t bear the heat of it. However, any insults and injuries to the body were more than tempered by delights of the heart, mind, and pallet. I met truly interesting and engaging people, experienced amazing landscapes that were somehow both bucolic and bold, and was satiated by great food the entire way.
If you’ve wanted to try camping on your bike, the Ramble is a great gateway drug. But, if you are an old hat at this and were into bikepacking when everyone just called it “touring”, then you might enjoy not having to worry about finding the route or carrying all those calories. Either way, there will be two more Rambles this year: Steamboat, CO, July 27-30 and Asheville, NC, October 19-21 and we would love to have you there.
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