Editor’s Note: Michelle and Klaas are featured in a short film we produced on cycling in Oregon. See the film and learn how to win an Oregon Wine Country cycle tour at http://outdoors.traveloregon.com/cycling.

People often ask us, how do we choose the places we ride, what do we look for? Our answer is nothing complex, the places we bike in are areas we have wanted to visit, its that simple.

Let me first paint you a picture- bike touring for us is all about the unexpected. Its about slowing down, not having plans, appointments and emails we have to respond to.

Its about being outside and feeling the breeze, smelling the surroundings, and tasting the local fair. Its that pause button that I find myself yearning for when I am in my “real life”. Getting on the bike is simply a mode which my husband Klaas and I have found to be the ideal way to see a place, meet the people, and take in the surroundings.

Southern Oregon, an area we have always wanted to bike through, ended up being an ideal place to cycle. The riding is stunning. We cycled through vineyards and on small country roads. We met authentic, passionate, and sincere people who simply wanted us to experience what it is they love about where they live.

It has become almost standard for me when we ride through a new place to ask people what they love about their city. Locals always know the secret hike, the best coffee shop, and the restaurant we can’t leave town without eating at. I get to these answers when I reach out and make that connection with a stranger. An interesting difference about Southern Oregon is that I didn’t have to ask that question once. When people saw us riding up on our bikes they approached us to find out where we were from and where we were heading to. They voluntarily told us about those secret spots and couldn’t wait to explain why they lived there, what the magic was all about.

One of the must visit spots people told us about was Troon Vineyard in the Applegate Valley. The folks at Troon vineyard really embodied the passion of connecting with the land, living off of it, and appreciating what they had. We walked into a vineyard lunch which was made by using much of the produce that they grew on their property and each course was complimented with one of their wines. Are you dying yet? Next we were off on a vineyard tour. All the people that showed us around were clearly in their element. You know how that feels when you are with people that love to do what they do, and their passion rolls off of them? Simply put that’s the staff at Troon.

We rode off, back onto the country road, trying to figure out how we were so lucky.

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