Sign up your child today.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bend, Oregon Spring 2015
By Rob Kerr
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.
A few of the Cog Wild guides
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.”
Toketee Falls is a perennial favorite, featured in Cog Wild’s North Umpqua trip
Some Cog Wild guest from Mexico City basking in the McKenzie River mists, courtesy of Sahalie Falls
|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.|
The “Weeping Wall” is a bittersweet sight, signaling the end of Cog’s North Umpqua trip.
This land is your land, this land is my land
From Oakridge savanna, to the big blue High Lakes
From the rocky badlands, to the Pacific waters
This land was made for you and me
(To ride bikes on)
Mountain biking in Central Oregon
Drugs were a way of life for Kirt Voreis’ parents.
His father died in a motorcycle crash while high on cocaine when Kirt was just 5 years old. He recalls how his mother raised him among methamphetamine addicts in Fontana, Calif., and became addicted to the drug herself, working nights to support her son.
Kirt remembers fighting off his mother’s heroin-addicted boyfriend when he was just 10 years old.
He was determined not to follow the same tragic path as his parents.
“I grew up around a lot of Hells Angels and stuff like that,” Voreis says. “Meth is big now, but when I was a kid it was life. My mom got hooked on it to work and feed me. Most of my adolescence, it was me going and finding things on my own. It was a crazy environment to grow up in. I wouldn’t change it for anything, but … I put a lot of my effort into sport. For me, it was about jumping down streets on my skateboard.”
Voreis — who is now 38 and has lived in Bend for seven years — took up skateboarding at the age of 15, and dabbled in biking when he could find a friend’s bike to ride.
“I broke a lot of kids’ bikes,” Voreis recalls.
That can happen when you attempt things on bikes that have never been done before.
Those early days on borrowed bikes were the start of Voreis’ path to becoming a pioneer of downhill and freeride mountain biking. He is now known as one of the best all-around mountain bikers in the world, and a driving force in the rapid evolution of the sport.
Voreis travels across the nation each spring and summer on his AllRide Tour, promoting all disciplines of mountain biking and introducing kids to the sport. He also volunteers more than 100 hours a year helping build and maintain trails here with the Central Oregon Trail Alliance.
When Kirt was still a teenager, his mother remarried, and his stepfather encouraged Kirt to follow his passions and escape his troubled childhood.
“He changed me,” Kirt recalls. “With his tutelage and him opening my mind, he had passion. I didn’t realize I had passion for these sports.”
By the age of 17, Voreis had moved on from skateboarding competitions to cross-country mountain bike racing. He became a professional downhill racer in 1994 after sending a tape of himself performing back flips on his BMX bike to the owner of Yeti Cycles.
In 1996, Kirt had blossomed into a top World Cup downhill and dual slalom racer. (Downhill races are time trials held on steep terrain, with high-speed descents and extended air time off jumps and other obstacles. Dual slalom races are head-to-head competitions down a course of berms, jumps and drops.)
From 1998 to 2000, Voreis raced for the Mountain Dew/Specialized team alongside his friend and freeride legend Shaun Palmer. The two created a rabid following with their colorful personalities. By 2001, mountain bike racing had grown stale for Voreis.
“I thought those guys didn’t have skills, they just pedal,” he says.
He reinvented himself by making a video called “Evolution,” which features him racing on the World Cup circuit AND performing freeride tricks. It was released before freeride videos became commonplace.
As mountain biking began to shift toward freestyle riding in 2002, Voreis won several freestyle/dirt jump events and was filmed in many cutting-edge videos. Evolving with the sport, he re-branded himself as a freerider while he continued to race World Cup events.
“By 2002, I was racing and traveling the world and making a lot of money,” Voreis says.
In 2003, Voreis started the AllRide Tour. The tour is now sponsored by Specialized, and Voreis says he averages more than 30,000 miles on the tour’s van each May through September.
The goal of AllRide is to promote Specialized products — but also to get people into mountain biking.
“Each year I get 400 to 600 people on bikes to test my products, and we have a junior racing team,” says Voreis, who quit racing in 2005.
That same year Voreis and his wife Lindsey moved to Bend from Southern California. Lindsey — who handles most of the business behind the AllRide Tour and guides rides for Cog Wild Mountain Bike Tours in Bend — was raised in Portland, and would travel to Black Butte for vacation when she was growing up. When she introduced Kirt to Central Oregon, he knew he had found home.
“I realized what mountain biking should be — it was accessible to people,” Voreis says. “Other places are too steep. The trails … we all work together and there’s a community.”
Voreis is still an avid skateboarder, and he also enjoys snowboarding and kayaking. His favorite mountain bike trails include the McKenzie River Trail, South Fork, Flagline, and the slalom play loop at Phil’s Trailhead, which he builds and maintains.
“There’s something about Bend, with everything here,” Voreis says. “I change my mind a lot, so it’s good.”
By Mark Morical / The Bulletin
Published: September 07. 2012 4:00AM PST
What: Cog Wild Mountain Bike Tours & Shuttles
Employees: 18, seasonally
Where: 255 S.W. Century Drive, Suite 201
Local email list: email us at email@example.com to be added to our local shuttle and event list.
Cog Wild offers Central Oregon cycling tours
Lev Stryker and Melanie Fisher saw the chance to add a new twist to Bend’s bike-crazy culture, and they took it.
Cog Wild had been operating since 1999 as a trail touring company, offering locals and tourists the chance to hop on a mountain bike and take in Central Oregon’s mammoth network of scenic trails.
But the owner of the business, Woody Starr, was looking for a change. In 2006, he sold Cog Wild to Stryker and Fisher, both biking enthusiasts.
In six years of ownership, the pair has grown Cog Wild from a four-person, experimental guide business to a seasoned member of the region’s tour-guide industry. The company seasonally employs 15 guides, who take riders of all skill levels on hundreds of miles of trails throughout Central Oregon and other parts of the state.
The pair has decades of cycling experience, both on trails and in road races: Stryker worked as a guide for Starr when he was running the business. Stryker is also a veteran of the renowned Cascade Cycling Classic.
Fisher has experience mountain biking in India, New Zealand, Japan, Thailand and elsewhere.
A shared love of mountain biking and the outdoors brought Stryker and Fisher together as business partners, with Fisher handling much of the bookkeeping, and Stryker as the point man for setting up guided trips.
Growing the business hasn’t come without challenges, Stryker said. He explained the process of recruiting new tour guides and exploring new trails, determining which would be suitable for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders.
The process has included plenty of trial and error, running each of the trails to figure out which they should incorporate into their tours and which were best left alone.
They’ve also built up a fleet of rental bikes over the years.
“We want to work a lot, to do quite a few more tours this summer” than in the past, Stryker said. Those tours vary from half-day, local trips for $60, all the way up to multi-day treks across different parts of the state, with $625 covering food, beer and lodging.
Steadily expanding the business over the last six years has given Cog Wild the benefit of a built-up reputation, especially with out-of-towners who swing through Bend in the summer.
“We have a lot of guides, and as soon as we’re really going this summer, they’ll work as much as possible,” Stryker said.
Q: How did you and Melanie Fisher first get involved with Cog Wild?
A: The former owner was interested in getting out. So we kind of pooled our backgrounds. Mel was very familiar with the booking and all the front-office stuff. And I’d guided for Cog Wild before. … The business was definitely much smaller at first. We’ve grown a lot since we started. We’ve adjusted our tours based on what’s been selling, doing more single- and half-day tours, which are great for people visiting town, people who aren’t necessarily mountain bike junkies.
Q: What type of riders does the business accommodate?
A: Basically, we take everyone, from a total beginner, a first-timer on a bike. We basically do a mountain bike clinic, at the same time showing people great trails, teaching them how to shift and brake. Those trips are fun; you get to really show them why we love the sport. But then we go all the way through with intermediate riders to experts, really fast riders who hire us because they want to be shown the best trails right away.
Q: What type of riding packages are you trying to promote?
A: We’re getting more into mountain bike vacations. Those are three-day, and sometimes longer, vacations. We either put the clients up in a hotel, or we have guides that are well-trained in making camps, who can make the experience really easy for clients. Those are great; you go for a ride, make camp, hang out by the fire and have a beer. We do it up, with full-course meals. There are great opportunities for that, either on the Cascade Lakes Highway, down the Umpqua River (or) near Mount Hood. Our huge trail system allows us to adjust the ride based on the group.
Q: How important is the local trail system to your business?
A: We’re blessed with this amazing trail system, with the (Deschutes) National Forest right outside of Bend. Maintaining them has been a collaborative effort with the Central Oregon Trail Alliance. Cog Wild has been involved from the beginning in helping with trail work, suggesting routes for new trails, being involved as a liaison with the Forest Service. The trails are obviously a big part of our success. They’re our bread and butter.
By Elon Glucklich / The Bend Bulletin
Published: May 08. 2012