Rode Trip: Pedaling in Prineville via @pathlesspedaled

Bend, OR is generally considered Central Oregon’s bicycle capital. It has a great cycling culture, plethora of bike shops, and easy access to both mountain bike trails and great road rides. However, this past weekend we explored a town not too far away from Bend that we feel has the bones to be the next adventure bike capital of Central Oregon – Prineville.

Yep, Prineville.

Prineville is already on the map, so to speak, for bicycling. It is directly on both the Adventure Cycling TransAM route as well as the Oregon Outback. It has a great local brewery, Solstice Brewing Company, and most recently a local bicycle shop again, The Good Bike Co. Several community members are aware of the potential of bicycle tourism in Prineville, as seen by a recent Ford Foundation leadership class choosing bike racks as their signature project. In Prineville, all the ingredients are finally coming together.

Riding the North Star

We’ve spent a little time in Prineville, but haven’t really delved deep into the cycling in the area until this weekend. We decided to ride one of the RideWithGPS Ambassador Routes in the area called the North Star that was mapped out by James at The Good Bike Co. It is a 45-mile loop starting and ending in downtown Prineville, and traversing fantastic country roads and mixed terrain in the local Ochoco Mountains. We were joined by Laura’s brother and sister-in-law, who are Bend residents and also curious about the riding possibilities out of Prineville.

We started at around 11am from Good Bike Co and rolled North on Main St, which eventually becomes McKay Rd (pronounced “mc-KAI” by the locals). Main St has an ample bike lane out of town, which we appreciated. After passing some businesses and residential areas, the land opens up considerably. You find yourself surrounded on either side by ranches and farms. By mile 5, you are on a gentle country road that looks as pastoral as anything you’ll ever see. The traffic was extremely light and the few cars that passed went out of their way to pass safely.

The fun starts at around mile 13 when you are on NF-33 and the pavement turns into dirt. The road surface on the ascent was pretty hard-packed and surprisingly smooth. Laura rode 28mm Panaracer Gravel Kings which have a fairly fine file tread pattern and didn’t have a problem. The only tricky part was near the summit where the road was wet from melting snow. It made for a tacky surface. If we had wetter conditions, it wouldn’t have been as pleasant, since we no doubt would have been slogging through a lot of mud. The climb was pleasantly shaded and ran alongside McKay Creek that was flowing with water. James told us that it is seasonal and generally dries up in the Summer, so its not a reliable source of water later in the year. You’ll also notice quite a number of primitive camping areas along the road (mental note for future bike tours in the area).

The descent was fun and fast. It is on the downhill that you finally get a few views of the surrounding mountains, so be sure to stop and take it in. Just before we hit pavement again we passed Wildcat campground, an established Forest Service campground with a vault toilet and supposedly drinking water (as per the Forest Service website), although we didn’t confirm it. As you make your way back to civilization, you’ll pass an impressive monolith of rock known asSteins Pillar that juts out above the tree line like a prehistoric skyscraper.

At about mile 31, you’re back on a paved country road that gently descends towards HWY 26. Once you hit the highway, it is a straight shot back into town. There is generally a pretty good shoulder the whole way. If it’s hot or if you are running low on drinking water, a stop at the reservoir is in order.

This was one of our first longer rides in the greater Prineville area and we were pretty impressed with how quickly you could get out into the wilderness on your bike. While Prineville isn’t the first bikey town that leaps into your head when you think of Central Oregon, we did see a handful of other cyclists on the road (we even spotted a group wearing some jerseys from a Bend bike shop). This route is great for beginner to intermediate riders. The elevation is gained pretty gradually except for a few stretches of 7-8% near the top. Once you are pass the summit, the route is generally trending downhill, giving your legs a rest. It’s the perfect length for a day ride in the area if you are passing through town.

While in Prineville, we got a chance to talk with James and Natalie, the owners of the The Good Bike Co. The shop is centrally located and the building used to be an old car service station. Because of this, there is a huge outdoor awning which provides shade for the outdoor seating. The Good Bike Co. is a next-wave bike shop, serving beer and coffee, in an unlikely place. They have a great outdoor patio where James envisions many a cross-country bike tourist or day rider will find themselves after a long ride.

Although the shop isn’t even a year old, James is finding himself busier than he thought he would be. Since he has opened, locals have been bringing their bikes to be repaired in droves (the unseasonably nice weather has jump-started the riding season). While he is focusing primarily on repairs and service, he has also found himself selling a lot of hard tail mountain bikes to local residents. The local mountain bike advocacy group, COTA, has been hard at work creating a new 3-mile mountain bike trail that you can easily access from town. Since this resource is so close to downtown and doesn’t require a long drive to get to, a lot of Prineville residents have either been dusting off their old mountain bikes or buying new ones.

James hopes to cater to touring cyclists on the TransAm as well as the growing adventure bike segment. He is carrying some pretty interesting products, from Bartender bags from Randy Jo to frame bags from Revelate. Out front, he has a few fat bikes and even a Surly Straggler for rent. He and Natalie are also looking to put on a 100-mile gravel race later in the year!

Beyond just operating the bike shop, James and Natalie are also looking at the bigger picture and the potential of bicycle tourism in Prineville. James actively attends the local chamber meetings, is part of a proponent group for a potential Scenic Bikeway, as well as working with other businesses to figure out ways to combine agritourism and bicycle tourism in the area.

Is Pedaling in Prineville’s Future?
We’ve always had a soft spot for Prineville. We had a great welcoming experience as bike tourists there when we were on the TransAm 3 years ago. Since then, we’ve passed through a few times and have always thought that there is great potential for the town to capitalize on bicycling. It seems as if, with the addition of a new bike shop and leadership excited about bicycling, this might be the time for Prineville to create a strong cycling identity and give that other bike/beer Central Oregon town a run for its money.

Crooked River road may become scenic bikeway

By Beau Eastes / The Bulletin / @beastes

Published Mar 2, 2015 at 12:11AM / Updated Mar 2, 2015 at 05:48AM

One of the prettiest stretches of highway in the state may be soon getting a little more attention.

Leaders in Prineville have submitted applications for portions of state Highway 27, which runs through the Crooked River Canyon, to be listed as an Oregon scenic bikeway and scenic driving route.

“No. 1, it’s just beautiful,” Crook County Commissioner Seth Crawford said about the reasoning for the proposed designations. “And we’ve seen the success of the different scenic bikeways around the state. (Travel Oregon) puts out some amazing videos for the bikeways and the (driving) tour route gets put in their magazine, which is marketed all over the West.”

The bikeway, which would be the 13th in the state and fifth in Central Oregon, would start at Crooked River Park on the south end of Prineville and run 20 miles on Highway 27 along the Crooked River to the Powder House Cove day-use recreation area on the Prineville Reservoir. Both anchors on the route — the start and finish — have ample parking, bathrooms and drinking water.

The scenic driving route, which would become the sixth official “Oregon State Scenic Byway,” would start at the Bowman Museum in downtown Prineville and traverse the same stretch of Highway 27 as the bikeway but continue south all the way to U.S. Highway 20, approximately 45 miles.

“You look at the scenic bikeway map, and there’s a hole in the middle where Prineville and Crook County are,” said Greg Currie, a land use planner with the Bureau of Land Management and one of the projects’ leaders. “Part of the (reason) for doing this is that a lot of people use (the state’s scenic bikeways and scenic byways) when they’re exploring. The Crooked River and Highway 27 are incredibly scenic and really fit into that concept.”

Both applications are in the early stages, Crawford said. The bikeway designation goes through Oregon’s Parks and Recreation Department while the driving route application is handled by the state’s Department of Transportation.

“It’s pretty early in the process,” added Crawford, who expects both application processes to last at least a year. “We’ve got letters of support and the applications filled out. Soon the ball will be in their court. But so far we’ve gotten lots of positive feedback.”

Once a route is selected as one of the state’s scenic bikeways or driving byways, special signage is placed along the road and, in the byways’ case, informational kiosks are also a possibility. The routes also receive a healthy dose of publicity through Travel Oregon, the state’s official tourism arm.

“Something like this can heighten the whole region,” Crawford said, noting that Travel Oregon’s website and annual magazine are produced in six languages. “That’s why we chose these designations, because they’re the ones that have the potential to bring people here.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7829,

Two wheeled Clinic

A free bicycle repair event will take place at the Clover Building on the Crook County Fairgrounds.  

This past holiday season Bicycle Re-source of Bend reconditioned and donated over 50 bikes and helmets to the Crook County Holiday Partnership that distributed them to area children for Christmas.

“They have made it their mission to help some of the more rural outlying areas,” said Brenda Comini, director of Crook County Human Services. “We have had a wonderful partnership with them and we want to not only bring bikes to the community, but get kids out on them and teach them how to keep their bikes usable.”

To that end, the Bend-based nonprofit, along with Prineville’s Good Bike Shop’s owner James Good, will hold a free bicycle repair clinic on Sunday.

Jeff Schuler, founder of Bicycle Re-source, said that he and Comini provided information about the clinic to all of those receiving a bike from the partnership.

“Brenda and I thought that this year we would give them a follow-up to maintain their bikes,” said Schuler. “We are on our fourth year with the partnership and each year we try to think of a way to expand on the educational aspect of biking.”

This will be Good’s first year working with Schuler, someone he says comes out from Bend to do a lot of good things for the Prineville community.

Good explained that there will be up to five bike stations offering everything from flat tire repair, to brake service and derailleur adjustments, to safety checks.”

“I am excited to be a part of it this as it will connect me with cyclists in Central Oregon,” said Good. “The clinic is also a great way to offer residents some quality bike repair.”

Good added that in addition to repairs, the clinic will offer advice on proper bike etiquette and safe riding tips.

Comini sees the clinic as a natural extension of what both businesses are trying to bring to Prineville.

“Schuler’s partnership with Good is all about promoting biking in the area and the safe and proper use of bikes,” she said. “It is a healthy family activity that we are all trying to encourage.”

Good says that in the near future there will be a number of opportunities for bicycle users to enjoy the outdoors on their new two-wheelers.

“The new COTA bike park will be coming on-line this summer and the Lower 66 mountain bike trails should be complete,” he said.

Good has also been asked to be a presenter at the Oregon Governor's Conference on Tourism in Eugene this April.

“I will be participating in a discussion with the Agritourism Working Group,” said Good. “I will be talking about my connection with the High Desert Farm and Food Alliance and our plans to offer one-day bicycle farm tours.”

Good is also involved with planning an August off-road event that will offer rides of 125, 45, and 10 miles that will highlight biking in the Ochocos.

Schuler said that he is happy to see Good in Prineville, offering local cyclists a solid bike shop resource.

“When we leave, James will be there,” said Schuler. “We will try to help him in any way we can.”

Schuler added that he expects a good crowd for Sunday’s clinic.

“We expect that this clinic will be our biggest,” he said. “We know there is a need and the good weather helps. We want to get people out riding their bikes.

The free bicycle repair clinic will take place on Sunday, Feb. 22, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Clover Building at the Crook County Fairgrounds.

There will be a drawing for bike helmets and two refurbished BMX bikes.

For information about the clinic, call Jeff Schuler at 541-410-9620.

Prineville goes full bore into bicycling

COTA hopes to have new trail system done by June

By Beau Eastes / The Bulletin / @beastes

Published Jan 7, 2015 at 12:01AM / Updated Jan 7, 2015 at 06:17AM

Crook County COTA chapter


Note: Ad-hoc work crews to finish Lower 66 begin this month

PRINEVILLE — The wheels are moving on multiple bicycling projects in and around Prineville.

The Crook County chapter of the Central Oregon Trail Alliance announced Tuesday night at its January meeting at Good Bike Co. that by this June it hopes to have the area’s newest trail system, Lower 66, completed, as well as a 1.5-acre BMX bike park.

Lower 66, which sits on 66 acres of state land just south of the Ochoco State Scenic Viewpoint off state Highway 126, will boast three miles of multiuse trails within the Prineville city limits once completed.

The two main loops are nearly finished, said Darlene Henderson, head of the Crook County trail alliance chapter, with the connector trail between the north and south loops requiring most of the work. Signage and a trailhead kiosk are also expected to be added.

The Prineville Bike Park, which will be located adjacent to Ochoco Creek Park, is in the initial fundraising stage, according to Henderson, but she expects construction to start and finish within a two- or three-week period this June. COTA, which has raised $10,110, estimates the bike park will cost approximately $102,000.

“All the right pieces have just fallen together in the last two years,” Henderson said about Prineville’s recent plunge into the cycling community. “You’ve got to have a good relationship with land managers. You’ve got to have public officials like (County Commissioner) Seth (Crawford) get behind these things. You’ve got to have people willing to organize and people like Stephen (Henderson, Darlene’s husband) do the trail work. And you have to have a meeting place like Good Bike Co.”

“Projects like this,” Darlene Henderson added, “you’ve got to have all the pieces in play.”

Lower 66 and the Prineville Bike Park could be just the beginning of a wave of bike-related projects in Crook County.

COTA has submitted a multiphase trail proposal with the U.S. Forest Service for a 270-mile trail network within the Ochoco National Forest. Phase 1 would create a 75.2-mile trail network based around the current Lookout Mountain Trail northeast of Prineville.

Crook County bike enthusiasts are also looking at more rides within the city limits, similar to the Lower 66 trails, to enhance the cycling opportunities in the area.

“The Lookout Mountain trails, those will attract tourists,” said Crawford, who is also a Central Oregon Trail Alliance member. “But projects like Lower 66 and the bike park, those are about quality of life for residents of Crook County. We’ve got an amazing quality of life here, but if you don’t get ahead of the curve, you fall behind. This is an opportunity to improve our quality of life.”

— Reporter: 541-383-0305,

America’s Best Gravel Races


Not counting inflatable helmets and leather wine carriers, gravel grinders are the coolest new thing in cycling. The appeal of these races — aside from being long and arduous and skull rattling — is that they take cyclists on dirt and gravel roads through lesser-known, seldom-raced tracts of America. There’s also something about them that’s distinctly American: most of them are located in the Midwest, they’re often unsupported, and they don’t have any fancy Italian words in their names. These are 10 of the best gravel grinders in America.

OUR PICKS: A. The Oregon Stampede | B. Gold Rush Gravel Grinder | C.Odin’s Revenge | D. Dirty Kanza 200 | E. Trans Iowa | F. Ten Thousand | G. Barry Roubaix | H. Amish Country Roubaix | I. Hilly Billy | J. Green Mountain Double Century

Frosty's Fat Bike Race Series at Nordic Valley, UT

It was fun to stop by and be a part of the Frosty's Fat Bike Race Series at Nordic Valley Ski Resort today. It was a great event where they had 43 participants that raced a 2 mile loop course for up to 12, 9, and 6 miles for Expert, Sport, and Beginner respectively. 

A fat bike is a tire width of 3.75" wide plus. Most commonly fat bikes are fully rigid with no suspension but now you will find fat bikes with front suspension or front and rear suspension as found on most mountain bikes. Fat bikes are rapidly increasing in popularity. In addition to packed snow and Nordic trails, you can find them on hunting trails, city trails, and in the summer months on dirt single track trails. They are quite versatile and really fun to ride!

The race was sponsored by Nordic Valley in Eden, UT, Mad Dog Cycles of Provo, UT, and The Bike Shoppe of Ogden, UT. Thanks for allowing Good Bike Co. to be a part of your event.

Good Bike Co. LLC recognized as Bike Friendly by Travel Oregon!

Good Bike Co. LLC has been recognized as Bike Friendly by Travel Oregon – Our business has achieved recognition in Travel Oregon’s Bike Friendly Business program! We’ve demonstrated our commitment to serving visitors who ride bikes and to providing specific amenities they may need.

Thank you Travel Oregon for teaming up with us and making bicycling in Central Oregon even more accessible.

Hitting the trails to highlight what's down the road

Created on Friday, 19 December 2014 00:00 | Written by Kevin Sperl

At 3:30 p.m. this past Monday, about 30 bicyclists riding a collection of cross bikes, mountain bikes and fat tire bikes, made their way down Second Street, heading west.

The group of bikers from Prineville and Bend had gathered at Good Bike Co., on Third Street, where owner James Good was busy prepping bikes as almost his entire fleet of rentals had been reserved for the ride.

The group was taking part in the Winter Root Beer Ride to raise awareness for the planned Prineville Bike Park that COTA hopes to construct next summer.

In addition to the group ride, the day’s activities included the sampling of a specially crafted root beer at Solstice Brewing, courtesy of Joe Barker, a showing of a number of short bike park films, and a raffle of bike gear.

The destination of the group ride was the recently constructed COTA bike trail along what is called the Lower 66 property, just north of the grade, and accessed via Rimrock Road.

I tagged along on a bike graciously provided by Good. After a quick group photo, we headed over to Second Street and began pedaling west.

The weather was less than comfortable, but what is typically expected of a winter-time trail biker —temperatures were in the low 30s and a light snow had begun to fall.

The location for Prineville’s bike park has been secured and will be located adjacent to Ochoco Creek Park, on a northeast corner 1.5-acre lot.

The City of Prineville signed a 40-year lease on the property with the Crook County Parks and Recreation District, effective Sept. 1 of this year -- something that COTA deemed necessary in order for the park to become a reality.

“COTA can raise money and provide volunteers, but we do not have long-term liability or management abilities,” said Darlene Henderson, COTA’s Crook County Chapter representative. “So, a partnership with CCPRD is what is allowing this to move forward.”

It is hoped that the park will provide a variety of terrain appealing to both experienced and beginning riders of all ages. It will offer jump and flow trails, pump tracks with bermed turns, wood features such as log rides and ladder bridges and rock obstacles.

According to COTA, the sport of mountain biking is growing and they feel the proposed bike park will provide area riders with a safe area for exercise and to hone their skills.

“We will be proceeding with a hybrid design for construction,” said Henderson. “COTA will hire design expertise to maximize the area and make sure that we can provide for all levels of riding.”

The bulk of construction for the park is planned as a volunteer effort and COTA is actively recruiting for help.

As the biking group headed west down Second Street, we attracted a variety of bewildered glances from passing motorists who probably weren’t used to seeing such a large group of bikers, especially in winter.

After about 10 minutes, we regrouped at the trailhead, where Good gave a brief introduction to the trail and the route we would be taking.

We headed out in single file along the single-track trail. Almost immediately, we discovered that the trail was going to be a bit muddy. Many of us, including this reporter, experienced a bit of rear wheel slippage as we headed up the grade. There was a lot of dismounting and walking of bikes, quickly causing a traffic jam.

As we got to the top of the grade, Good announced that the group would be splitting into two.

“Those who want a bit more of a technical ride can follow Travis Holman,” he announced. “The rest of us can head back down to take the bike path back to the store.”

I was one of those who opted for heading back, and I wasn’t alone. It was getting dark quickly, and it wasn’t getting any warmer.

Besides, that crafted root beer was on people’s minds, and Barker was one of those opting to head back.

Eric Newman, of Bend, was just the kind of bike rider that local COTA trail building efforts in Prineville is hoping to attract to its trails and bike park.

“I’m always looking for an excuse to get out of work early,” said Newman, as he sat atop his fat tire bike. “I’m out here to support whatever is going on in Prineville. I love it out here and I am looking forward to the ride.”