Bend Three-day Bicycle Touring Trip
Aimee, Larry, and I spent the weekend (July 4-6) bicycle touring in the Bend area. Aimee and I wanted to do a dry run for our pending bike across America this summer, and Larry was just up for an adventure.
FeedbackBy Preston Hunt, 04 July 2003

Aimee, Larry, and I spent the weekend (July 4-6) bicycle touring in the Bend area. Aimee and I wanted to do a dry run for our pending bike across America this summer, and Larry was just up for an adventure.

The summary: Highest quality weekend. Perfect weather, no crowds at all (people were afraid of the central Oregon forest fires, but they hardly affected us), great views, and a good bike route. We did almost 130 miles in 3 days fully loaded with touring and camping gear.

The bikes: Larry was riding a mountain bike with a BOB trailer; I had my touring road bike with my new Burley trailer; and Aimee was on her racing road bike with panniers. Larry is an animal on the bike. Even with a heavier bike and a heavier trailer, he eaisly kicked our butts all weekend. He was very considerate, however, always circling back around to keep us company if he found himself too far ahead. Here's everything I took

The route: We parked in a random neighborhood in Bend, got our bikes together, and were on our way. Our first day took us up over Mt. Bachelor and to Elk Lake along Century Drive for 3300 feet of climbing and 42 miles. Day two took us along Highway 42 to Pringle Falls for 860 feet of vertical and 41.6 miles. On the final day we returned to Bend via Sunriver for 43 miles and 1000 vertical. Roads were generally bucolic and low traffic, with the exception of the roads around Sunriver. We also were forced to ride about 35 minutes on Highway 97, which actually wasn't that bad thanks to a generous shoulder. In all cases, drivers we met were quite curteous in sharing the road.

The camping: Our first night, we spent a couple of hours and biked several extra miles looking for the perfect free campsite. We almost found one, but were attacked by hordes of hungry mosquitos upon arrival, forcing a hasty retreat to the state campground across the street and a $12 premium spot. Our second night at Pringle Falls CG was much nicer (and free), although the sandy dirt approach road was hell on the road bikes. Central Oregon camping at its finest with sunshine, high desert forests, a river, and friendly outdoorsy people. We are all baffled about the name "Pringle Falls" however, as no falls are evident in the river anywhere.

The food: We had taken plenty of food with us, but hardly ate any of it. For Day 1, a fattening lunch at Fred Meyer held us over until a soda pit stop at Mt. Bachelor and mac-and-cheese dinner at the camp site. On day two, we had a great breakfast at the Elk Lake Cafe, snacks for lunch, and mac-and-cheese plus chicken teriyaki for dinner. Day three was a cold breakfast at the campsite and huge pizza-and-burgers lunch at Sunriver. You definitely aren't going to starve on a bicycle touring trip!

The incidents: At Mt. Bachelor, my front tube literally exploded beneath me, resulting in a long tear several inches long (unrepairable). I was all of a sudden quite scared at only having brought one spare tube. On the final day, Larry and I were just commencing a set of intervals when I couldn't shift anymore. After stopping, I realized that a critical bolt holding my front derailleur together had fallen out. Amazingly, we were able to retrace our path 1/8 mile and actually find the missing bolt and washer! Aimee sat by listlessly {A: but without complaint :) } while I fixed my bike for an hour (Larry also tweaked his bike).

The miscellaneous: A few miles outside of Bend, Aimee realized that she had forgotten the key to her u-lock. She had also done this on our bicycle trip through the San Juans, so I told her that she would have to carry the dead weight for the rest of our trip. Aimee decided to stash the lock in a bush and pick it up on the return trip. As it turned out, our route back went along Highway 97 and we had to drive back up there and pick it up with the car. While we were out that way, we decided to go swimming in the Deschutes River. Larry and Aimee fought the current and did an out and back to the other side of the river, while I chickened out because of the cold water and watched from the shore.

The funny Larry moments: Buying 3 bottles of Pepsi "for the road" at Mt. Bachelor. Buying two bottles of mosquito repellant so that he would never have to suffer again. Sleeping on top of the picnic table at our first camp site in his bivy sack. Submerging his entire body in the river on day two, while keeping his injured shoulder out of the water so his wound wouldn't get infected. Falling over sideways due to some BOB trailer mishap at least half a dozen times. One minute, riding along fine, the next minute, cursing and lying sideways in the ditch with the trailer!

The kindness to bikers moment: We arrived at Mt. Bachelor just after 5pm, when everything was closed. The store manager saw us standing outside and let us in to buy sodas and fill up our water bottles, telling the other employee, "we can make an exception for bikers" :-)

The end!

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