7 Bikes for 7 Wonders: The Painted Hills

June 1, 2015
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Each of the 7 Wonders of Oregon offers a different, exciting ride. To celebrate this, we asked seven of the best bicycle builders in the state to each build a one-of-a-kind bicycle, one for each of our 7 Wonders. This bike was built for the Painted Hills.

To build a bike that does justice to the rugged beauty of the Painted Hills, Portland-based builder Christopher Igleheart drew on two separate sources of inspiration. One was based on his formal education, the other on an entirely different kind of learning.

“I studied geology in college, so the ancient processes that made the Painted Hills inspired me to build this bike,” he says. That connection resulted in this bike’s unusual paint scheme – it has horizontal stripes of earth tones, which directly mimic the vivid strata of rock that give the Painted Hills their name.

But the other, bigger-picture element Christopher drew on is what he’s discovered riding bikes – especially in this state.

“In Oregon, bicycling is a whole other attitude than the rest of the country,” he says. And that’s a product of the diversity of terrain and riding here. “I’ve always had a philosophy of any bike, anywhere,” he says.

So that’s the kind of bike he designed and built for the Painted Hills. While he casually calls it “a straight-ahead touring bike,” there are tons of details intended to make it that “anywhere bike.”

The frame is made of steel, Christopher’s favorite building material, for strength, light weight and stability. Disk brakes provide added stopping power on any surface in any conditions. Wider tires and a set of fenders keep things comfortable and clean. Expedition-quality storage bags from Portland maker Black Star let you take enough supplies to be out for days – and the hub generator powers a headlight for riding all hours.

And the final touch: If you need to find sustenance on an extended trip, there’s a case below the top tube to carry a fly rod; in this part of Oregon, dinner is often found swimming nearby.

This bike is size small, suitable for those 5’3″ to 5’6″ tall.

Additional Resources

  • No trip to Eastern Oregon is complete without riding the iconic Old West Scenic Bikeway.
  • Who would have thought of John Day as one of the most bike-friendly towns in Oregon – coming in with nearly two dozen recognized Bike Friendly Businesses?
  • Enjoy amazing gravel rides near the Ochoco Mountains — just a hop, skip and jump away — along with a brand-new gravel race, Good Bike Co.’s Ochoco Gravel Roubaix.

This bike was found on July 11, 2015 by Kayla Webb who camped overnight and rode the Mitchell-Service Creek “Lollipop” in morning. She found her new bike waiting for her behind a tree at 5:50 am at Gird’s Creek Road after spotting the third clue, a chalk bicycle we drew on the road.

Learn about the other 7 Bikes for 7 Wonders.

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Ask Oregon

Are there campsites near the Painted Hills with restrooms?

Sounds like a really fun trip! The Painted Hills are one of my favorite places in Oregon, with a landscape that is both majestic and a little surreal when the sunlight hits it just right. One of the best campgrounds near the Painted Hills is the Clyde Holliday State Recreation Site, located between John Day…

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