This story is the Ochoco Gravel Roubaix essay contest winner. Called the “toughest gravel event in Oregon,” the Ochoco Gravel Roubaix takes place on Saturday, August 20, 2016 in Prineville. Participants can choose from four routes: a 120-mile loop with 8,713 feet of climbing; a 80-mile loop with 5,869 feet of climbing; a 45-mile loop with 2,146 feet of climbing; or a 10-mile road ride for families and first-timers.
Biking, cycling, pedal power or whatever you call it is a great way to get around, not only great for the environment but also for my waistline. Growing up in Prineville, biking was something that I did much as a child. But as I grew older and was able to drive a vehicle, riding became more obsolete — or so I thought. Not only was I getting older but my waistline was growing, thus making it harder for me to bike. At 306 pounds, I could hardly balance let alone stop a bike without hurting myself. But as I lost weight and rediscovered biking again, I realized just how fun pedaling around Prineville could be. I could do it again, much as I did as a kid, and I really enjoyed it. I bought not one but two bikes. I could convinced my kids to bike with me and, much to my surprise, my husband also bought a bike and we started cycling together. Now I often bike to and from work. The wind in my hair and the warm kiss of the sun on my face makes I feel like a kid again.
My family likes to bike across Prineville and to grab lunch. Some of our favorite places to bike for lunch are Mi Tiendita Mini Mart, which has some of the best Mexican food in town. We also love the Prineville classic, Tastee Treat, a bike-friendly business that for decades has sold good old fashioned hamburgers and fries.
For the longest time didn’t realize how much of a bike-friendly town I live in. Prineville has put in more than 10 miles of bike lanes through town. We don’t have the busy streets that you find in urban cities, which makes riding through town a bit safer and always enjoyable. Prineville has many cycling routes, ranging from a few miles to 60+ miles. We like to ride the 10-mile bike path through town, running from one end of town to the other, winding along the scenic Ochoco Creek and through several of Prineville’s beautiful parks.
Cycling continues to grow in popularity here. In 2015, the Lower 66 mountain bike trail system opened west of Prineville, offering three singletrack loops totaling four miles. Most recently, the Prineville Bike Park opened, giving mountain bikers and BMXers of all skill levels a place to practice in town. Big-time cyclists visit for the 50-mile Prineville Reservoir Loop along the Crooked River. Prineville-based Good Bike Co. offers custom agritourism bike tours, gravel rides and trips along Oregon’s Scenic Bikeways.
Several cycling events come through Prineville. We just finished the Firecracker 100k through some of the most beautiful back country you could imagine. Prineville also has the Ochoco Gravel Roubaix happening in August, which offers rides for all abilities; we are going to take on the family-friendly 10-mile ride. In Prineville, it’s always a good time to hit the road.