This weekend, June 19th – 23rd, is the Oregon Trail Gravel Grinder. It’s a point-to-point stage race along the Oregon Trail. For five days and 400 miles, racers and riders will venture into the Cascade Range, get covered in dust, sweat, and then arrive at camp each night, where they can recover and prepare for the next day. If you’re going, we’d love to hear from you, especially if you plan on riding the course and taking photos along the way. Drop a line in the comments and email us.
Our friends from Seattle depart on a bicycle tour to Bend on what looks to be a perfect weekend getaway!
Trans Cascadia starts off just how one might think. Like, any other bike race really. An unloading and loading up of vans. A makeshift parking lot or an empty field filled with characters and their bicycles. There is the usual building of bikes and swapping of tires all while eating gas station egg sandwiches and drinking the dregs of coffee on the go. From an uninitiated perspective everything seems to be going as planned, it is a controlled chaos sure, but everyone is working towards the same goal. Making it to camp. “That’s going to mean we’re going to need everyone to take their one bag and load up into the vans lined up alongside the road.” Alex Gardner is simultaneously pointing out vans for people to get into and handing out donuts from a stack of blue and yellow Heavenly Donuts boxes.
“These are the legit donuts in Portland, just FYI” Nick Gibson says to someone over his shoulder before grabbing two maple bars and helping someone load their bike into the back of a rental van. Nick and Alex are two thirds of the crew behind all this and they will be involved in nearly ever single thing that happens over the course of the weekend. From donut logistics to running point on a tricky medic situation on the mountain. Tommy rounds out the trio, but we’ll meet him, and his mom Becky a bit later.
To preface, I was invited to ride the Oregon Timber Trail by my friend Rie, who immigrated to the states recently and runs Simworks USA. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to do the tour, but thought it would be a good opportunity for me to ride with her two friends from Japan: Keita and Innochi. Keita is a Chef that started Earlybirds Breakfast and Innochi makes really cool backpacks under his brand, Welldone Nagoya. There was only one issue: they didn’t speak English.
It’s not every day you get a chance to win a bike like this!
“Donate for your chance to win an Argonaut! We’re excited to be partnering with Oregon Adaptive Sports in association with the Best of Both bike race to help people with disabilities enjoy the outdoors.
Argonaut along with the help of Chris King, Shimano, and others TBA – are donating a complete custom road bike to be awarded to the drawing winner, which will be held Saturday June 16th during the Best of Both afterparty. 100% of proceeds go to Oregon Adaptive Sports.
A single entry is included with a donation of $50.00, and three entries are included with a donation of $125.00. There is no limit on the number of entries an individual can receive by making a donation.”
Enter now at Argonaut Cycles.
Wade from Vulture Cycles is one rad atavist. While he and I had never formally met before, I’ve long admired his work. Last year, we saw his travel bike and this year while up in Bend, Oregon at the Chris King Swarm event, I met Wade formally and shot this Vulture Cycles Klunker, modeled after a 1938 Colson Imperial. Now, klunkers are not supposed to be perfect, so turn off your detail-vision, and put on your shred spectacles.
Wade made this frame from Tange Ultra Strong MTB tubing, which he shaped and bent to fit his precedent. It was built around a Morrow hub that Cameron Falconer handed off to him years ago. Fresh Air Cycles, Travis from PAUL’s old shop, had the hub and Cam bought it from Travis, before handing it off to Wade. Remember Travis’ Falconer klunker-inspired MTB? The rest of the parts Wade had “laying around” like all builders and makers do, including the 1980’s Ashtabula forged steel cranks – who coincidentally made tons of components for Schwinn back in the day – and a S&M Redneck stem. The pedals are Suntour XC Pro and those bars are custom made by Wade. Oh and a Campy hub… just because.
Yeah, this bike just oozes cool, style, and the Vulture Cycles ideology. Wade’s a pretty cool guy too. We talked about Death Valley, core samples in Dry Bone Canyon, White Top Mountain, park rangers finding dead tourists and other tales from the desert. Exactly the kind of conversation I like having at a bike event. Party on Wade!
Follow Vulture Cycles on Instagram.
As the snow melts in the high desert of California, Nevada, Oregon, and the rest of the West, small towns like Bend, Oregon begins to welcome the influx of mountain bikers thirsty for a hefty serving of dirt, before the sun cooks it into dust. It just so happens that Memorial Day weekend in Bend has historically been prime for such a feast of trails.
Years back, the Chris King Gourmet Century was held in this mountain town, tapping into not only the vast amount of singletrack but also the food culture. While the Gourmet Century brought about a lot of good times, it ultimately was a lot of work, eventually causing the brand to move onto more low-key, informal gatherings. That’s where the Swarm idea came from. In short, Chris King wanted to engage with the community of Bend, one of their local dealers, Crow’s Feet Commons, and do it in a lower-stress environment. It was open to the public and best of all, free.
As the invites were posted on social media and this website, none of us knew exactly how many people would show up. Since it was Memorial Day Weekend, the town of Bend was busting at the seams already with tourists and mountain bikers seeking solace on the trails of this mountain bike mecca. Our trip to the event began in Los Angeles, where we loaded up the Cruiser with everything we’d need to camp, ride bikes, hike, and document the happenings. Two days later and we were rolling into the sleepy town of Bend, just prior to the three-day weekend and the first ever Chris King Swarm.
Over the next two weekends, we’ll be hitting two events: the Chris King Swarm in Bend and the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship’s Lost & Found. Both events have a strong community tie-in for the type of riding we pursue over here, as well as a strong support from various brands and personalities. We hit the road tomorrow and from that point forward, you can expect coverage from Central Oregon and the Lost Sierra. See you on the road and if you’re going to these events, be sure to stop and say hello!
Chris King is Swarming Bend, Oregon this weekend, with group rides and parties planned. We’ll be making the drive up, so if you’re going to be there, come say hi. Check out all the details below, from the Chris King Instagram.
… has just blown my mind. Before you ask, yes, there are mountain bikes in this animation and I’ve never seen them rendered more majestically.
Smoked and Stoked: Riding High in Central Oregon
Words and photos by Colin Frazer
Growing up outside of Eugene, I’d spent Summers camping and swimming in the rivers, lakes and hot springs that define the west side of Oregon’s Cascade range. Mountain biking was still a fledgling sport at the time and I was only vaguely aware of the burgeoning meccas sprouting up around me. Since I really only started riding after high school, I’ve been wanting to get back home to do some bikepacking for a while, but the right conditions just hadn’t come around. With all the rad work that Gabe and crew have put in making the Oregon Timber Trail a reality, the interest was brewing and a small crew started to form. Adam and Sam, childhood friends from Colorado, would come over with me from Bozeman, Corey and David, childhood friends from Ohio, would come from Seattle and LA respectively, for a week or more of shredding central Oregon.
330 Miles of the Gorge Backcountry
Photos and words by Gabe Tiller
The Gorge Backcountry route is a 330-mile loop leaving Portland which encompasses lesser known vistas and lightly trafficked asphalt and dirt ribbons through lush forests, river canyons, and rocky escarpments both north and south of the mighty Columbia River.
Photo by Gabe Tiller
… we’ve got some awesome Reportage to share next week!
Wade’s Vulture Cycles MTB Is Just the Way He Wants It
Photos and words by Dylan VanWeelden
Some people you just don’t forget. Wade is just one of those fellas. I remember meeting him for the first time and he gave me a lighter with a Vulture Bikes sticker on it. Having spent a career in marketing coming up with endless gimmicks for brands this simple swag piece was perfect. The sticker lighter was cheap, easy and nailed his client on the head.
Part time builder for Vulture Cycles and full-time custom air plane builder Wade is the kind of guy you want to shoot the shit with around the fire. A wild man that lives off the beaten path. A free spirit that laughs to no end. A man that creates his own ride the way he wants to.
Trail Working for the Trans-Cascadia and Oregon Timber Trail
Photos and words by Dylan VanWeelden
In Oregon, it is not uncommon to see two rolling waves moving with equal speed and swell in opposite directions. The Pacific is chaotic and tumultuous and the rocky beaches and moody weather facilitate this diversive behavior. But occasionally these waves move toward each other, combining and colliding with a massive, wild spike of energy — more beautiful and twice as tall as anything else on the horizon.
This is exactly the type of energy that came together last weekend in the mountain bike community. http://trans-cascadia.com/Trans-Cascadia (the 4-day blind format enduro race) and the newly founded Oregon Timber Trail (bikepacking trail going across Oregon) joined forces to create one hell of a trail building party. Over fifty cyclists, from top enduro racers to core bikepackers, shared rakes, saws, loppers, and endless Basecamp beers around the fire.
If Bend isn’t on your list for US mountain bike destinations, it should be and while you’re there, swing by and see the guys at Argonaut Cycles!
Surfing, overlanding and riding mountain bikes, all from a classic FJ. Nicely done guys! Now who makes that rear bumper?!
Launching in the Winter of 2017, the Oregon Timber Trail promises 650 miles of singletrack and forest roads from California to the Columbia River Gorge. The guys at Limberlost have been working on its development for some time now and just launched the @oregontimbertrail Instagram and website.
There’s a lot of work to be done on the route, in terms of clearing and trail maintenance, so follow along at oregontimbertrail.org.