To Cycle Oregon is to Vacation with Pride and Purpose

March 6, 2015
Crater Lake is a beloved Cycle Oregon location and has been visited several times.

There is nothing wrong with sipping piña coladas, parked under an umbrella on a white, sandy beach somewhere tropical. But it’s not for everyone, and it’s my job with Cycle Oregon to serve those folks who like to shake up their vacations a bit and combine adventure, adrenaline, scenery and service with their recreational experiences. For 28 years, Cycle Oregon has been providing that perfect mix for bicyclists as a way to promote tourism and generate income for Oregon’s rural towns.

Beginning in 1988, with 1,006 cyclists from 20 states, the inaugural Cycle Oregon ride covered 320 miles — sometimes grueling, often glorious —  from Salem to Brookings and generated more than $260,000 for participating communities.

Today, the week and weekend Cycle Oregon events bring more than 4,000 riders on tours through many of the postcard-worthy places that make Oregon a premier travel destination: Crater LakeMt. Hood, The WallowasThe Oregon Coast and the rest of the 7 Wonders of Oregon. The Steens & Strawberry mountains. Klamath Falls. The Willamette Valley. Steep Climbs. Epic descents. Winding roads. Regardless of the route, Cycle Oregon is always a test of endurance and endorphins.

But Cycle Oregon participants don’t merely pedal past these places from Ashland to ZigZag, snapping selfies (although we admittedly do a lot of that too). We also immerse ourselves in each destination as part of the self-proclaimed, two-wheeled tent revival that travels from town to town, creating lasting connections to the remote people and places that help make Oregon a marvel among states.

Community residents host BBQs and farmer’s markets. They set up shade tents and beer coolers in their front yards. They plan spaghetti feeds and square dances. There are cultural tours and art installations. They sell tie-dyed t-shirts and hand-crafted furniture. They provide all this on top of the rural wonders they share and the local businesses riders support. The event truly is a celebration for all.

Cycle Oregon rides attracts a variety of people from across the globe who share a love for bicycling and for bettering the state economy. It’s true, many of Cycle Oregon’s bicyclists live to ride. Cycling is their passion. It’s Cycle Oregon’s privilege and pleasure to enable them to ride to give too.

As your read this, I’ll be touring the towns queued up as part of this year’s rides and visiting with community leaders and stakeholders in places like Monmouth, Baker City, Huntington, Halfway, Joseph and LaGrande.  I’ll be learning about everything from cultural heritage to hidden hot springs, the best local brews to the sweetest bed and breakfasts. And I’ll be passing that information along each month to you, Travel Oregon readers, so whether you sign up for Cycle Oregon or not, you can still come along for the ride. I also intend to find out where the best piña coladas are served because as I said, there’s nothing wrong with that.

About The

Tara Corbin
Tara serves as Cycle Oregon’s community director, helping shine the spotlight on some of the state’s lesser known towns and scenic treasures.