Now that the trails are buried we can ride fat bikes!
Bundle up with us to experience the crisp, clean winter air and the beauty of the snow-covered Cascade Mountains on a fat bike. Routes are determined by the snow conditions so give us a call to talk about which areas are riding well for a tour.
What a beautiful November! One day we’re skinning to the top of Mt. Bachelor to ski powder and the next day we’re riding through golden fall foliage and foraging for chanterelles in Oakridge. Life is good.
Shoulder season tends to feel a bit awkward and there is so much to do besides riding bikes. How about live music at the Three Legged Crane Pub or First Friday Art Walks in Oakridge? It’s a little cold for mushroom foraging but go look anyway, you may get lucky like we did last week.
Bend is always a good time; try something besides outdoor sports and brew pubs. Maximize the long nights and take in the stars at Pine Mountain Observatory or the Oregon Observatory. There is plenty of dark sky around here, drive 15 miles east or west of town for an evening of star gazing. NASA puts out a fun little video about what’s up in the night sky each month, check it out then go outside and see if you can find what they are talking about.
This newsletter has information about shoulder season operations in Oakridge, fat biking in Bend and as always, an invitation to work on trails. Thanks for reading!
Operations Continue in Oakridge
We’re working with our USFS partners to extend operations into the winter and will be open during extended dry periods. Despite last week’s atmospheric river, the low elevation trails are still dry so we’re clear to operate. Guides and coaches are available for late season rides and clinics and shuttles will run on the low elevation trails close to town. Drivers are available for private group shuttles too.
The schedule below is open for booking one week at a time. We’ll add more days if the weather continues to be dry enough for us to ride with out damaging the trails.
10:30 AM Dead Mountain 12:30 PM Dead Mountain 2:30 PM Larison Rock
Cog Wild in the Community
Last weekend a motivated and talented crew of Cog Wild employees and OROR locals tackled some drainage projects on Alpine. It was fun to be in the beautiful fall light and to grill out in the woods.
Here’s another chance to work on trails and be a part of the Oakridge mountain bike community: Alpine Trail Crew Association, MBO and Disciples of Dirt are teaming up for an Alpine Dip and Drain Ride and Hike on Sunday, November 20, 2022. The more the merrier! Meet at the Office Covered Bridge/ Portal Park at 9AM. Please bring a pack with warm layers, GLOVES (bring extras if you have them), and water. It is going to be cold, and possibly wet – please wear synthetic or wool socks and water resistant/proof clothing. We also recommend leaving a set of dry clothes and shoes in your car for afterwards. Tools, hand warmers, hard hats and a post work hot meal will be provided.
The leaves are changing color, the air is crisp and winter is coming. As the season winds down we make time to get out of the office and onto the trail. This month we’re excited for more adventure rides, after school sessions with the juniors and progression sessions with adults who are committed to become better riders.
We’re going strong in Bend and cautiously optimistic that we’ll get a few good weeks in Oakridge as containment grows on the Cedar Creek Fire. The front country trails that we access for Oakridge shuttles are open and undamaged from the recent fire. We’ll run a limited daily shuttle schedule as the AQI permits, look for updates on our website.
Fall Adventures in Bend
The trails in the high country are absolutely beautiful right now, here’s some adventure options for high country rides with big views and long descents.
Dutchman to Sisters Shuttle: Drop a car in Sisters, take the shuttle to Dutchman Flat to ride Met Win, Trail 99 and the Peterson Ridge Trails into Sisters. Take in huge views of the Cascade Mountains and immerse yourself in fire ecology as you move through the remnants of the Pole Creek Burn. The shuttle runs on Fridays: October 7 and 14 and Saturday 10/15.
Newberry Caldera Shuttle has been a hit the past few weeks and folks have requested this shuttle on a weekend. Get after it on Saturday, October 8.
Dutchman Shuttles: our daily shuttle drops riders near the Cascade Crest to ride a variety of big routes back to Bend: circumnavigate Mt. Bachelor or take Flagline to Southfork or ride Met Win to Mrazek.
If you are traveling and need a place to stay here’s a lodging discount: Use the code COGWILD22 for 20% off the best available rate for accommodations at LOGE Bend. Offer valid on new reservations only and subject to availability.
Book an Adventure Shuttle
Invest in your self
Join a final round of skills sessions in Bend this month so you can practice your new skills over the winter and be ready to shred in the spring.
Jumping for Oldies, our popular two day jump sessions with Coach Erika, has a second fall run: October 5 and 12.
Ladies Progression Rides continue with this glorious fall weather, the final ride is this Thursday, October 6.
Progression Session is on for Saturday mornings October 8, 15 and 22. Join a cohort of like minded learners for three sessions designed to make you a more stable and confident rider.
Are you interested in getting certified to teach mountain biking? Lev is teaching two sessions of the Professional Mountain Bike Instructor Level 1 course in early October. Three spots left!
Join a fall skills session
Cog Wild in the Community
Empowering Women Through Adventure Lecture Series:
Please join SheJumps, AdventurUs Women, and Crow’s Feet for the first annual Bend Women’s Speaker Series – “Empowering Women Through Adventure” on the second Wednesday of each month at Embark Coworking Space.The lecture series begins this month and goes through April, when Cog Wild’s own Kirin Stryker will talk about life on two wheels. Come support the speakers, learn something new and connect with the outdoor community.
The series begins on October 12 with Dawn Rae Knoth, bikepacker extraordinaire, with “Bikepacking 101: How to Start + Love Adventuring by Bike”. Entry is free and complimentary beverages will be provided by Crow’s Feet, 10 Barrel Brewing and Montucky Cold Snacks. Sign up at www.adventuruswomen.com!
Trail work opportunities:
Alpine Trail Crew Association is Putting Alpine to Bed this Saturday, October 8. Find out more and sign up via their Facebook Page.
Central Oregon Trail Alliance is celebrating their 30th Anniversary with a special Fall Trail Love work event on Saturday, October 15 and you are invited. RSVP here.
We are happy to announce that we are now offering a rental house in Oakridge! Ensure awesome riding and a cozy place to put up your feet or party down. Our quaint cottage has 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, a cozy living room with pull out sofa, and a big deck with BBQ. Down the street with the pub and close to the merc, a good time is at your fingertips at our Walnut Street Cottage.
With winter well underway in the Oregon Cascades, my mountain bike life has traditionally taken a backseat, or left me searching for dirt either north or east of town where snowfall is typically less likely to accumulate. Not being an avid skier or snowboarder, winter is typically not my favorite season in Bend, and often seems to drags on for far longer than I would personally like it to. But with the advent of the fat bike, and the popularity it’s seen in the past few years, winter may just have become more manageable and even enjoyable.
(Wanoga sno-park trail head for fat bike loops)
Over the holiday week of 2016, with the influx of visitors coming to town to celebrate and play, I was given the opportunity to guide 4 fat bike tours for Cog Wild. While I’ve been guiding for the past 5 seasons, until this season I have never guided, or ridden fat bikes in the snow. I’ve had a few rides on fat bike back east in the winter, but only on wet trail. Riding fat bikes in the snow, is a whole other beast. In Central Oregon where snowfall can accumulate to feet, fat biking while a fun way to access the outdoors, can prove to be a much more challenging experience than mountain biking on similar trails or terrain without the snow.
(fat bikes and waterfalls, a perfect Bend winter experience)
Over the course of the week, I had the privilege of taking quite a few first time fat bikers out into the woods to play. On most tours we stuck to a ride from Skyliners trail head to Tumalo Falls and back. While this would be considered a short ride or even just a warm up in summer, this distance often proved to be about as much as the guests wanted, luckily the view of the falls mid ride usually made them happy they put on the work, and the ride back always seemed to be quite a bit easier.
(riding Tumalo Creek Trail with one of the more adventurous groups I lead over the holidays)
Fat biking in Central Oregon is not for the faint of heart, and beginners should come with an open mind. riding on packed out snow is preferable to riding in fresh deep snow, even with fat tires and lower tire pressure, riding in the snow can be very challenging, and patience becomes a virtue. Your ability to mountain bike and fat bike are not always exactly compatible, and often guests found their bike handling skills while fat biking not as strong as they are riding single track in the dirt. But if you can get past this, and accept the change in pace, distance, and ability right out of the gate, the rides are a lot of fun and the views are so much different than those in the summer. Every ride we took was a ton of fun, but we all had to check our expectations and be present with the moment.
(smiling happy post ride faces at Wanoga sno-park new years day 2017)
(success is in the smiles, Tumalo falls with one of the tours)
(father and sons riding Tumalo Creek trail)
Riding fat bikes in the snow is a new experience for most of our guests, and it offers new challenges. New muscle groups get worked, and keeping the bike out of the soft snow and in the packed out track can be a challenge to bike handling. The best advice, is relax, enjoy the slower pace, take in the scenery, and just enjoy the ride and time in the woods with friends. It’s an amazing way to experience the Central Oregon winter on a bike, and we are putting together great opportunities for our guests to enjoy just that.
By Dillon Caldwell (Cog Wild Guide and Marketing Director)
As a lifelong mountain biking enthusiast, I have developed a very particular (if unusual) definition of the term “mountain biking”. And as a seasoned mountain bike tour guide, I’ve been exposed to a wide range of other concepts of what exactly it is that the two-wheeled knobby has come to represent for us.
But I’ve become more and more concerned with where mainstream mountain bike culture is headed today. Don’t get me wrong, I love to see greater numbers of friends and neighbors who can appreciate and join in the fun out on the open trail. In fact, a good chunk of my income and livelihood is directly tied to the tourism this industry brings to the table. I don’t think there’s any question that it’s a great thing for our world to get more people excited about getting outdoors and enjoying nature on bikes. But I’d like to take a moment to reflect on this nascent industry and offer a slightly different perspective on what the mountain bike ride truly represents — at least to this native of the mountains of the Pacific Northwest.
This sport of ours has finally reached a notable level of acceptance in America. Gone are the days where the blue jean and leather jacket were seen as normal attire for the fringe activity we call mountain biking. The Klunker is a not-too-distant part of our history, but it is little more than obscure history at this point.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that mountain biking has become a part of mainstream American culture at this point — even here in the West. But the balance between mountain biking’s perceived status as being something “different” and the reality that it is now a mainstream sport, one that even rivals more traditional American sports for scales of economy (e.g., golf*) in our region of the country, is precisely why it has become so hip. And it’s becoming hipper with each turn of the calendar. Now a significant part of Western culture, this sport has taken on an entirely new persona and meaning for most of us who call ourselves mountain bikers today.
With contemporary advances in mountain bike technology turning the original steel and rubber rigid “Klunker” into something that more closely resembles a piece of aerospace equipment, it’s not hard to imagine that our experience of what that tool represents for each of us has changed as well. And there’s nothing inherently wrong with this change. The 2016 Santa Cruz 5010 that I reviewed last fall absolutely blew my mind. There’s no way I would trade the opportunity to ride that amazing bicycle for a hardtail or a rigid bike from the past. Technological advancements in sport, in and of themselves, are nothing to frown upon. They’ve simply made our sport faster, more technically advanced, and (arguably) more fun in the process.
That said, precisely because of these technological advancements, this sport appears to be turning into more and more of an elitist’s hobby today. A top-of-the-line, brand-new mountain bike cost little more than an equivalent set of golf clubs just 15 years ago. Today, a bike of that stature would cost you at least five times that of an equivalent set of golf clubs. Yet many owners of these new “superbikes” are of modest means, and really stretching their budgets to keep up with the sport they love. It’s hard for most people to imagine putting a “toy”, one which we learned to pedal down to the ice cream shop before we could legally drive our car there instead, on top of that very car when it’s resale value is actually worth more than the car itself. I think about the ridiculousness of this situation as I do it myself all summer long. But such is the nature of this sport today. And I love it.
Still, this is an important contradiction to recognize, specifically as it relates to our sport on the whole and to how it is being represented as a result. For many of us who value the best equipment for this sport that we love with all our hearts, that equipment must take precedence over the more traditionally valued western material bases for everyday life (e.g., the cars we drive, the clothes we wear, etc.). This may seem backwards at face value, but we do exist and we’re not going anywhere. Because the feeling we get when we ride that mountain bike never fails to excite our souls, to balance out the hectic workweek, or simply to remind us of that kid on his way to the ice cream shop.
Despite how far the mountain bike industry has come, they’ve done a standout job of keeping this core group of evangelists in mind and in spirit all along the way. However, there is still an important and growing disparity in this sport between who rides this equipment and who can afford this equipment. That disparity may appear to be pushing out the everyday rider with a non-traditional job (or seven or eight) that is often chosen simply by virtue of its amenability to riding more bicycles. This disparity seems to be favoring the rider who makes upwards of $100,000 per year and can afford to take a weeklong break from work in order to take a destination “mountain bike” vacation on their new $10,000 bicycle.
But then again, maybe that’s not the case. What is mountain biking anyways? Is it the chase for faster and faster Strava times on your favorite local trail? Is it the value of the “quiver” of bikes in our garages? Or is it something else entirely?
Mountain biking is so great precisely because it’s available to the masses, across all lines of class and income. When it comes down to it, we’re all just kids pedaling our bicycles. Whether that be to the corner ice cream shop with our families, or through the lush forests of the Cascade Mountains, this is the beautifully simple essence of our sport. And we need to appreciate that essence in order to preserve it.
To start, we need to reconnect with the basis for exactly what it is we are saying when we tell our friends that we are going for a mountain bike ride. The brief history and development of this nascent sport points to one very simple understanding for life on the mountain bike. It points to an understanding that I think is critical in mountain biking’s ability to continue to grow in scale and economy, yet remember its roots and preserve its appeal to everyone. That understanding is the foundation for what mountain biking really is, on a purely philosophical level. Mountain biking cannot be materially defined, but can be defined only from an experiential standpoint.
To assist with this definition, let’s consider what mountain biking is not. Mountain biking is not trail biking. Mountain biking is not a mountain bike. Mountain biking exists beyond the scope of the equipment we choose to pursue it on. You can ride that knobby tired “mountain bike” on the trails your whole life, and never appreciate the true nature of the mountain bike ride. I see these people, I ride with these people, all the time. And it very much excites me to reframe their understandings of what this sport could be.
Conversely, you can be a pure roadie, only ever donning lycra and slick 23mm tires, and still experience the nature of a mountain bike ride every time you head out on the road. I’ve seen both of these worlds many times. I’ve been on some of the most incredible, eye-opening backcountry experiences on my road bike. Yet there is and will always be far more to explore on the more and more versatile piece of equipment we call a “mountain bike”, simply because of the lack of well-maintained roads that connect our world. Certainly, the piece of equipment you choose for your mountain bike ride is not the essential piece of what makes an two-wheeled adventure a mountain bike ride.
So what is a mountain bike ride then? Have you ever found yourself out in the woods, perhaps exploring a new route, perhaps getting separated from your partner(s) and/or your bearings on the world? Have you ever misjudged a map reading so badly that you were forced to ride the majority of the route with your bike on your back, your water pack all dried up, your stomach rumbling with hunger? Have your lights ever run out, forcing you to spend the night on the trail and continue the journey when the sun rose the next morning? Have you ever wondered why the hell you get yourself into these situations over and over, especially when you’re effectively bankrupting yourself with state-of-the-art gear and supplies only to continue to revert to basic survival skills? If you’ve answered yes to any or all of these questions (and, to be clear, this list is certainly not exhaustive or exclusive), chances are you know what a mountain bike ride is.
What’s more, I’d bet that many of us know the answer to that last question well. It’s why we keep coming back for more. It’s the beer at the end of the trail that only took 45 minutes to ride, even though we spent seven hours trying to find it. It’s the smiles and the memories that we share with our partners, either on those rides or in the recounting. It’s the shared meaning and value we all get when these real-world, real-life experiences remind us of the easily forgotten fact that (despite the automated and mind-numbing realities of modern life) we’re still just animals — truly amazing ones at that. And it’s the reminder that our place as animals in this vast world might seem pretty insignificant at times in daily life. But when we find ourselves out there amongst the rushing rivers and the alpenglow on the high peaks, with muddy paws and unibrows of dust, our insignificance in this awe-inspiring place is actually quite significant.
That feeling is the one we’re after. And that feeling can be appreciated whether we have drop-bars or knobby tires. It can be appreciated in jeans or in lycra, or in anything in between. That feeling can be appreciated from atop a mountain, or in the river valley below. That feeling can be accessed whether we find ourselves behind the desk at a multi-million dollar international insurance company on Monday, or behind the steering wheel of a garbage truck. That feeling is universal in both accessibility and in mutual understanding. That feeling is the essence of mountain biking. And whenever it’s accessed by two wheels and nothing more than our body’s own power, that is a mountain bike ride.
By Katy Bryce, Freelance Writer and Cog Wild Friend
Clam chowder, sand dollars, bald eagles and fat bikes. That’s right. We are excited to offer a new and different tour—a fat biking adventure on the amazing Oregon coast. This is something we have wanted to do for a long time and it’s finally coming together!
The Oregon Coast boasts 363 miles of beautiful and rugged coastline, and fortunately for us, every inch of it is designated as public land, available for anyone and everyone to enjoy. That’s why we like to call it The People’s Coast. Not only that, it offers stunning scenery, friendly towns and lots of adventure—all the stuff that our guests get to enjoy on our mountain biking tours. Oh, and beer. Because what is a bike ride without a frosty craft beer waiting for you at the end?
We spent an awesome five days with Travel Oregon scouting out places and routes, opportunities and eateries, and the best of what you might see on one of our upcoming Oregon Coast Fat Bike Tours.
Read along for a recap of our tour.
Day 1: Getting Our Feet Wet (and Sandy)
Our biggest lesson for Day 1: Fat biking the Oregon Coast is a one-way affair. Most of the time on the coast, the wind comes from the north and sweeps side shore in a southerly direction. This means, we’ll be organizing our tours to go north to south for a nice tailwind—yes please!
We immediately sought out expansive stretches of beach with nice flat, packed sand to cruise on. While the fat bikes can and will go in softer sand, having a smooth and tacky route right along the water’s edge makes for very enjoyable riding.
This southern section of the coastline featured the mouth of the Wild and Scenic Rogue River, the quaint town of Gold Beach, long stretches of open beaches, and an adventurous river crossing. Not to mention Melanie’s first of seven taste tests of clam chowder. By the end of the trip, she was the total expert on Oregon Coast clam chowder!
Can you say A-Mazing? Day 2 definitely had a few a-ha moments as we cruised from Bandon south to China Creek. Led by Karl of South Coast Bicycles, we were awed by the beauty of sea stacks and pinnacles that rose up both on the beach and out in the ocean. Like little kids, we rode in circles through slot canyons, sea caves, arches, and rock formations formed from thousands of years of wind, water and weather.
Wildlife included seals eyeing us curiously from the rocks, seabirds, and tide pool critters. Approaching our take out at China Creek, we had the opportunity to learn about Snowy Plovers, a threatened beach nesting bird. For several months out of the year, some stretches of sand are closed to protect the birds during their nesting season.
Our afternoon was sheer fun in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area—the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America. Imagine opening it up on a steep downhill with nothing but a soft landing if you tip over or crash. We’re pretty sure we invented a new sport – DuneDuro! Fortunately all of the Oregon State Park Campgrounds have excellent hot showers to get the sand off.
Day 3: Finding Adventure and Dead Guys (Ales, that is)
Whew! We made it about halfway up the coast to Florence, were we started our morning ride at the South Florence Jetty. Today’s adventure included a mix of fast hard packed sand along the water and some more adventuring in the dunes as we navigated our way to our take out spot. We found all kinds of good stuff sliding our way through fluffy sand and splashing through creek crossings.
The fishing town of Newport was a welcome stop for the night, complete with the very community-oriented Newport Bike Shop and one of Oregon’s most popular breweries, Rogue Ales, under the majestic Yaquina Bay Bridge. From our camp at South Beach State Park Campground, we rode a sweet little path to the brewery, then caught the sun setting from the vantage point of the South Beach Jetty. A fun ride back to camp on the beach at dusk was a perfect way to end the day.
Day 4: Headlands and Surf City
North of Newport, much of the coast is a series of large headlands and capes that jut into the ocean, resulting in stunning, post-card-like scenery. From Otter Rock to Newport, with a short section of pavement in the middle, the beach was more of the hard packed sand that is so fun to cruise on a fat bike. Small creek crossings, the occasional rock outcropping and more of the blue ocean flanking us the whole way made for a great day.
We had a lot more to cover that day, so onward north we headed, to Lincoln City for some incredible scenery around Roads End State Park. We felt like we momentarily left Oregon and entered another world. Check out some video footage of this amazing area.
The last leg of the day had us exploring the areas between Cape Lookout and Cape Kiwanda, including an adventurous crossing of Sand lake and a sand dune descent, ending at the Pelican Brewery & Pub in Oregon’s surf city, Pacific City. Ahhh, time for a beer and hearty meal! And more chowder.
Day 5: The Sand Dollar Challenge
Our group looked only slightly weary after four days of riding, but quickly perked up as we set out on the sand at the quaint town of Cannon Beach and rode south, skirting Hug Point and on to Arch Cape. A seriously spectacular stretch of coast with deep green, forested hillsides on one side, and the iconic Haystack Rock and other sea stacks on the other.
We came so far on our adventure, but we just had to scope out the very most northern beach in Oregon, from the Astoria South Jetty at the mouth of the Columbia River, to the little town of Gearhart. This 16-mile stretch of white sand was dotted with hundreds of sand dollars—the trick was to find an intact one to take home!
After nearly 100 miles of fat bike riding, we loaded our gear into our sag wagons for the last time. Reminiscing about the long stretches of solitude, our Duneduro shenanigans, and the seven cups of chowder that Melanie “tested” (ask her about the findings), we reminded ourselves how luck we are to live in beautiful, rugged and quirky Oregon.
We’re excited to take you along next time. Our tours will include days filled with fun beach and sand dune riding, healthy and delicious meals, Oregon beers, and overnights in either hotels or Oregon State Park campgrounds.
Stay tuned for more information about upcoming coast fat bike tours. Sign up for our newsletter to be notified or contact us directly to get on the list.
Remember the party joke about “That Guy”, as in don’t be “That Guy?”. Well, I thrive to find the phrase’s better cousin “That Moment”. What? Okay, I am a photographer. Let me be more specific, a still photographer enjoying my second season as a Cog Wild guide. I have been in love with photography, particularly photojournalism, for most of my life. Mountain biking has always been alongside and Cog Wild has helped me be on more trails, more often, sharing my love for the outdoors.
The feeling of mountain biking is such a culmination of what we bring to the trail. A need to get outside, a desire to try something new, a vigor to push yourself, wind in the hair, a lost feeling needing some pattern and direction. Perhaps it is more simple. Perhaps it’s way too complex. Whichever, rarely does a trail ride not make a vacation, day, evening spin or fast lunch break better. Can that ride be defined by a moment, or is it unfair to separate one particular slice of time?
Moments exist because of anticipation. If we don’t look forward to it, or feel aware to catch something … well, perhaps moments actually exist as processes. The above photo shows Cog Wild guide Seth Gehman showing Cog Wild clients the day’s ride route on a map. I love this moment, but not for the obvious. In the picture, Seth is pointing at something and feet surround him on a slab of asphalt. Well, I also hope this photo shares a lot more; the idea of an adventure ahead and the thousands of options yet to be experienced. To me, this picture is about hope (a process?). I have been exploring this in some photos that intend to anticipate the experience of a rider, without having the distraction of a rider in them.
Turns, Tiddlywinks Trail with frost
In the outdoors, mother nature is dealing the moments in an enormous quantity. This is one of my favorite reasons to be in the woods with others, to share in these moments as they endlessly come and go. Clouds, wind, perfectly still air, wildlife, changing seasons and different landscapes. Each flavor, feeling and smell a unique moment.
Alpine Trail, socked in
Sandy Ridge evening, after rain
Rhododendrons, Alpine Trail
Of course, these trails and experiences are about the people and their outlook. I find, as many have, natural conservation a pure side effect of being outdoors. Looking around, feeling small, finding a primal joy and challenging a point of view.
Chris, high desert singletrack, Horse Ridge
Snack break, Swede Ridge Shelter
Grab a friend, family member, someone special or just all that you can muster and get out here in Oregon. I can wait to ride another section of trail, share a laugh during a lunch break or indulge in a story after the journey. One thing, when the bike comes out and the helmets go on, we’re here to make the most of the experience.
The guides of Cog Wild come from all over, have many great stories about riding, guiding and take some great pictures. Through out the Summer, a Cog Wild guide will post a blog about their experiences. Here is the first one from Dillon Caldwell, we hope you like it.
“Diversity at the End of the Trail.”
Yeah, Oregon is a special place. Growing up here, I grew blind to several key features. But after completing a degree in environmental studies at the University of Oregon, expanding my travel horizons, and working as a guide with Cog Wild Bicycle Tours (Bend, OR), I’ve come to appreciate one particular feature of this special place that underlies its unique character. The diversity of landscape and ecosystems within the bounds of this small western state is truly mind-blowing. And I’m honored to call it home.
Toketee Falls is a perennial favorite, featured in Cog Wild’s North Umpqua trip
From the wind-battered beaches of the Pacific, to the snow-capped peaks of the Cascades; from the lush forests of the Western slope, to the arid badlands; there’s a little bit of everything in this magical place. What’s more, whichever zone you choose to spend your time exploring, you’re unlikely to share the trail with anyone but your buddies. Oregon’s side country is one of the last remnants of the wild, wild west. Only now our horses are made of plastic.
Some Cog Wild guest from Mexico City basking in the McKenzie River mists, courtesy of Sahalie Falls
You can travel the world to encounter all of these landscapes. Or you can simply explore my backyard.
The majestic, year-round snow fields of Mt. Hood are a sight to behold, visible from the world-class Hood River trail systems just down the road.
Whether or not you’re an Oregonian, I want to share this special Oregon-ness with you firsthand. Perhaps these images from the trail will refresh or awaken a curiosity within you. Maybe you’ll be motivated to find a bit of this great state’s diversity on your own in the fast-approaching riding season. Or maybe you’d rather let me and my friends at Cog Wild show off our playground from our own unique perspectives. We’re just getting going here for 2015, but it’s a long season and there are no limits on opportunity for exploration. Our already extensive territory is ever-expanding, now including the internationally acclaimed terrain of Oakridge. Accompanied by locally brewed Deschutes Brewery beer, Humm kombucha, gourmet menus (custom-built for our multi-day tour guests), and the personal flair of your own expert guide(s), the Cog Wild experience is truly a special thing. So what are you waiting for? Make like Lewis and Clark this summer. Let us, let Oregon, be your “end of the trail”.
The “Weeping Wall” is a bittersweet sight, signaling the end of Cog’s North Umpqua trip.