After a highly successful 25th anniversary event in 2012 that featured Crater Lake, Cycle Oregon follows up for year 26 of its week-long ride by revisiting one of its most popular – and remote – locations: Steens Mountain in the far reaches of southeastern Oregon fromSeptember 8 – 14.
The 2013 route is unique in at least one way: the ride begins and ends in John Day, but will also stay two nights in its starting town. On Day 1 (Sunday, Sept. 8), riders will leave John Day to ride a loop skirting the Strawberry Mountains and encompassing Summit Prairie before heading right back to John Day.
From there the riders will head south on Highway 395 through Bear and Silvies valleys to Burns-Hines, and then the next day down the isolated Frenchglen Highway before veering off to the tiny outpost of Diamond. Diamond will be a layover day, with tours offered of the beautiful glacial valleys and viewpoints of geologically significant Steens Mountain. Riders can also immerse themselves in Western ranching culture with roping and whip-cracking lessons, special ranch meals, hayrides and more. They will also have an optional out-and-back ride through Frenchglen and on to Roaring Springs Ranch.
In addition, while in Diamond Cycle Oregon participants will take advantage of some of the darkest night skies in America with a Star Party, using telescopes for stargazing expeditions led by astronomers from the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI).
From Diamond, the route heads back north to Crane on Day 5; splits remote Pine Valley on the way to an overnight in Seneca on Day 6; and then ends with a highlight Day 7 route on a little-used Forest Service road along Murderers Creek before following Highway 26 back to John Day for the finish.
The Cycle Oregon event is the equivalent of a traveling town, moving from site to site with thousands of camping tents, a huge dining tent, a full concert stage, facilities for massage, yoga and acupuncture, a beer garden, retail tents, food and drink vendors, portable showers and toilets and more.
The 2013 event will feature online coverage in a variety of ways. The Oregonian will have a live blog, with a reporter and photographer reporting from the route. Cycle Oregon has a Facebook page, its own online blog, a flickr page for photos and a Twitter feed. In addition, event organizers are providing riders with a mobile technology station that will allow them to post updates, photos and more to friends and family.
Cycle Oregon was founded in 1987 to boost bicycle tourism and provide financial support for Oregon’s small rural communities. Each year the event provides funds to volunteer groups in each host town, and the Cycle Oregon Fund supplies grants to support bicycling in Oregon as well as the communities through which it rides. The fund, with more than $1.5 million in assets, typically donates more than $100,000 annually to projects around the state.