When we bike toured across Oregon state in the summer of 2009, we didn’t have a guidebook.
We puttered our way through small towns with only a simple map to guide the way. Along the way, we discovered more than our fair share of entertainment. Roads stretching out to the horizon, fantastic farmer’s markets and incredible apple pie in the one-horse town of Wagontire are all strong memories of our time in Oregon.
Just imagine how much more fun we might have had with a little guidance, perhaps in the form of Cycling Sojourner: A Guide to the Best Multi-Day Tours in Oregon.
It’s a new book, authored by Ellee Thalheimer (also a writer for Lonely Planet and a host of cycling publications).
Inside you’ll find guides to 8 routes around the state. Most rides are around 5 days long and altogether the book provides enough information to keep you cycling for at least a month – probably longer.
Ellee tells anecdotes in each section about the people she encountered on tour, including a coal miner who taught her how to shoot a gun and “Papa Pinot” – one of the state’s best known winemakers.
We liked a lot of things about this book. For the person who wants detailed route advice, there are good maps and turn-by-turn cue sheets.
The friendly, easy-going tone is also a plus. It’s helpful without being preachy and includes plenty of handy and inspiring tips for bike touring newbies.
In the section about bike touring in general, for example, the book rightly points out that you don’t necessarily need a specific touring bike to travel by bicycle.
If you are a cyclist, then you probably have a bike you can take on a tour. You can use a carbon road bike or heavy steel commuter without braze-ons (which allow you to attach a rack) by using a trailer. You can use rigid mountain bikes with slick tires. Cyclocross bikes, folding bikes and recumbents will do. Touring-specific bikes, especially ones with couplers for airplane travel, are nice but not necessary.
There are also tips for saving money. How about about making your own armwarmers simply by cutting the feet off a pair of wool socks, or creating waterproof gloves by slipping a pair of dishwashing gloves over thinner liners?
Oregon was already a great bike touring destination before this book came out. Now, a few more of its secrets and most attractive rides are even easier to access. Nice work, Ellee!