Wait, what?? A ride with the Oregon Randonneurs that I didn’t love?
Well, I did love some things:
- being on my bike all day
- getting to spend some quality bike time with Asta, who I think is awesome and who is one of the few other ladies I know who consistently does these rides
- riding to and from the start of the ride in Newberg, OR. The 4:30am departure that that entailed may sound heinous, but the world was so beautiful so early:
(the Willamette River as seen before the sunrise)
- fruit! Since this route goes through a bunch of the Willamette Valley, I loved the plethora of fruit stands. I may have eaten an embarrassing number of berries
- sun!! I didn’t even have to wear any warm layers when I rolled out at 4:30. Granted, that meant that it did get pretty hot, but it was nice to not have to worry at all about rain for a change
(I also saw a lot of excellent wildlife, including this deer family and way too many awesome birds to keep track of:)
But then again, a few things I didn’t love:
- so much riding on busy highways–definitely not what I think of as the typical rando ride. This may have been exacerbated by the 50 or so extra miles I spent on 99W biking to the start and back again, but I was pretty done with traffic by the end. A lot of it felt more like a head-down commute than a joyride
- a start in the middle of suburb-land Newberg, when there’s a perfectly cute, actually-containing-local-businesses part of Newberg just a mile or two down the road
- No sense of community on this one–not even one set location at the end where everyone could sort of gather and debrief the ride. Most of use ended up at Burgerville since it was the first business after the road that indicated the end of the ride, but I thought it was kind of lame to not have a real finish where a real person would collect your brevet card and you knew everyone would be hanging out. It was also a little lame that the end was back in suburb-land instead of in the area of Newberg where you could actually support a local business.
I know. It’s always nice to bike around Oregon and see all the little towns that no one ever really stops in (Independence and Amity both get big points for having lots of the aforementioned fruit; Lafeyette gets big points for the women at Redtail Espresso who insisted on filling both of my waterbottles with ice:) And it was nice to see some familiar faces and meet a few new ones.
I’m glad I did it. But I did spend a lot of the ride wishing there were fewer cars. And I always like a true loop ride better than a ride that goes back and forth on many of the same roads (especially when those same roads are, say, 99W). And I wish the start and finish were in cooler places than “behind the Travelodge” and “anywhere east of Elliot Rd, Wendy’s recommended.”
It was still a good day on a bike, and even in the copious sunshine I even managed not to get sunburned. And I’m super glad to have gotten in some serious riding time (and yet still have been home by 5:30 for a civilized dinner and everything:) But I don’t know that I’d do this particular route again.
As usual, more pictures here if you want to re-live the glory yourself:)
Do you think that the subpar start and ends are due to the overwhelming amount of peeps who drive to these things? I figure that suburban-style development has lots of parking spaces, so that’s why they start there.
huh! I hadn’t really thought about it, but I bet you’re right. Which is another good argument for starts that are close to Portland (or, you know, whatever metro area has lots of riders) –and for starts that are late enough to access by public transit;)