Photo by Jason DeVarennes

Friday, February 13, 2015

Oregon - Coast to Eugene

After taking advantage of the pleasantly cool coastal temperatures for a few days, it was now time to say farewell to the breezy seaside and head back over the coast range for a couple of nights in Eugene. Sadly, the temperature all along the Willamette Valley had been spiking into the 90s everyday, and the forecast did not show any relief on the horizon. (Although as I write this, it is almost 90 degrees colder than that here, so I'm having a little difficulty remembering why we weren't looking forward to riding in these conditions.)

Since we had winched ourselves up Ten Mile Creek the day before, we decided to avoid riding the same road in the same direction and instead chose to climb out of Yachats on Cummins Peak Road. It had nothing to do with which climb might be easier! Really! Well maybe, since we were back to hauling our gear, we decided to aim for the slightly easier option, where easier is a relative term. 

When I plotted the route on the computer, it looked like we'd get 80% of the climbing for the day in the first 15 miles, but that climbing was not insubstantial and we'd have a fair amount of gravel to boot. At least we'd get the big climb on the cooler coastal side, before descending into a furnace on the far side. 

We had a big day planned. I'd made a reservation at Velo B&B in Eugene, about 95 miles away.  I teased John that he could have, at most, 10 photo stops, since there would be no magic shortcut option.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Winter Bikes

As I work on this article, we have more than three feet of snow on the ground with a couple more feet on the way. Rumor has it that the groundhog was so fed up, he just packed his bags and moved to the other hemisphere. Sky high snowbanks line our roads and sidewalks.

Each time the roads are plowed, more and larger potholes emerge, although emerge may not be the proper word, as they are often hidden under puddles filled with slushy, sandy salt water. Then as the temperature goes down with the sun, scattered patches of ice make walking or riding a game of chance where suddenly you may find yourself Slip Sliding Away

Now take a good look at your fancy lightweight racing bike with its smooth narrow tires, shiny anodized parts and carbon rims. If nothing else, the lack of fenders makes it less than ideal for riding on wet, mucky, salty roads. Those high pressure, skinny tires lack grip on ice, bounce around on the uneven pavement or get swallowed up by deep ruts, cracks or potholes. The salt and sand will destroy the shiny finish on those anodized parts and grind away the carbon bits. Better just save that bike for dry rides on pristine pavement in warmer weather.

You need a winter bike!