In The News: Eugene cyclists circumnavigate a frozen Russian lake, The Bailey Hill Road Safety Plaza, and the Springfield High Cycling Club to ride Lewis and Clark trail

“It was at this point that we learned that in very cold temperatures, liquid fuels such as kerosene and gasoline do not give off enough vapors to be flammable,” Pike said. “I was ready to toss the stove into the endless white and eat frozen bread for dinner.” — Christopher Pike, from the Register-Guard’s “Ice Road Bikers”

Every now and then the local news media publishes a cycling story, and sometimes they publish several.  When this happens WeBikeEugene swoops in with our award-winning (not really) “In The News” wrap-up!

Today’s wrap-up will cover the successful 36 day bicycle circumnavigation of Siberia’s Lake Baikal by two Eugene cyclists (and their three non-Eugene buddies),  the planning and dedication of The Bailey Hill Road Safety Plaza, and the Springfield High School Cycling Club’s planned tour of the Lewis and Clark’s expedition route.

And now, lets take the jump!

Via The Register-Guard:  “ice road bikers | Around the icy world of Siberia’s Lake Baikal in 36 days”

This May 4th article is an exciting follow-up to a February Register-Guard article announcing an attempt by Christopher Pike and Maikey Lopera of Eugene, together with Eric Noll of Seattle, and Federico Pisani and Marcus Tobias of Venezuela, to circumnavigate the 1,300 mile shoreline of Siberia’s Lake Baikal – in winter.

It turns out that the trip was a success, and they completed 1,200 miles in 35 days.  There were some changes from the original planned route due to deep snow.  The group braved amazingly harsh conditions, and completed the ride carrying up to 120 lbs of gear per person on single-speed 29’ers with carbide steel studded tires.  The author tells a great story – and the article is a must read for anyone with any history or interest in cycle touring, mountain biking, or bad-assery.  I’ll quote a few excerpts below to whet your appetite:

By dropping a half-dozen slow-burning matches into the pool of kerosene, however, another team member eventually heated the fuel to the point where it gave off vapors and ignited. The team dined on hot chicken enchiladas. […]

Bitter cold that rendered some equipment useless and turned the simplest task into a chore. Strong winds that threatened to knock bikes and riders to the ground. Ice sometimes too slick to stand on and snow sometimes too deep to pedal through.[…]

The cold — which briefly reached as low as minus 50 degrees Celsius — was the worst. In fact, metal on several “racks” used to affix gear to the bicycles got so brittle it broke. […]

“As much as we knew it was going to be cold, I was really surprised — anything you wanted to work pretty much had to be inside your coat…had to be on your body,” Pike said. “Anything you wanted to eat — your bread was rock-hard, your cheese was rock-hard — everything you wanted to eat was rock-hard.” […]

“To do some of these tasks, you have to take your mittens off,” he said. “Well, every time you take your mittens off, your hands freeze and it takes 15 or 20 minutes to warm them up again.” […]

On some days they made only 15 to 18 miles — most of it walking and pushing bikes. […]

Click to read the full article.

In case you aren’t fully convinced that these guys are more hardcore than anyone you’ve ever met, they have a great website with pictures, media, and other writings that should drive the point home. The photo page and daily trip blog are especially interesting.  They also have a YouTube page with video from the expedition.  For example:

Via The Register-Guard: “IN MEMORY | A plaza will honor victims of accidents

The Bailey Hill Road Safety Plaza will be built near the Bailey Hill crosswalk which was built last summer.

Unfortunately, our next story changes the tone of this wrap-up from crazy adventure to hard-life reality.  Automobiles are dangerous, and sometimes drivers kill people.  This May 5th Register-Guard article details the creation of the Bailey Hill Road Safety Plaza, an educational memorial dedicated to lost loved ones – including David Minor, 27  – killed June 2nd, 2008 while biking on Willamette St.; Vaclav Hajek, 10 – killed August 27th, 2007 while crossing Bailey Hill Road; and Jane Higdon, 47 – killed May 31, 2006 while cycling on Territorial Highway.

The Bailey Hill Road Safety Plaza, located near Churchill High School, will serve as a memorial for deceased children and loved ones and as a reminder that motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for youth, both nation-wide and in Oregon.  It is an attempt squeeze out some positive change from tragic events.  Excerpts from the article:

“It’s not just an issue around my son,” Hajek said. “Many others have died in similar situations. I think it’s the beginning of something else. It’s a cause. We have to deal with it. It’s too many deaths.”

Hajek and those who have worked on the project want to reach out to other families who have lost children and loved ones in motor vehicle collisions, the leading cause of death for youth in both Oregon and nationwide.

They are asking local families to come forward and contribute photographs of their deceased children and loved ones for the June 8 dedication of the memorial plaza, which will be built to form a semicircle on a spot of grass that now lies beyond the softball field that is part of the Churchill Youth Sports Park.


Students from Mc­Cornack Elementary School, where Vaclav attended, met three times in March and April at the Churchill High library to come up with more than 80 safety phrases to put on the memorial plaza’s sign. Phrases such as, “Speeding’s not cool, so follow the rules,” and “One careful look, one careful drive, can save many lives,” and “A car’s a car, don’t go as fast as a shooting star.” About a half-dozen phrases will be selected.

The side of the sign facing the road will read, “Start Seeing Everyone” with the logo of “Eye to Eye,” a national campaign that promotes awareness and respect for shared paths and roadways.

The other side will say, “What’s the No. 1 cause of death for Oregon youth? It’s not guns … it’s not drugs … it’s not cancer … It’s motor vehicle crashes. Be Seen. Be Safe. Please Drive Carefully.” The sign will feature a graphic of the state of Oregon, filled in with photographs of McCornack students who contributed their phrases to the project.

Please read the full article for more information and a time-line of the project.

Via “Students to Ride Lewis & Clark Trail

I’m not entirely sure how this story ended up on, the self proclaimed “Leader in Industry News,” but since it did, I’m going to mention it here.  And I quote:

SPRINGFIELD, OR (BRAIN)—The Springfield High Cycling Club is preparing for a long distance bike ride this summer. Four high school students, led by history teacher James March, will experience American history firsthand by traveling the entire route of the historic Lewis and Clark expedition west by bike. […]

It’s unclear from the article if they will be taking the Adventure Cycling Lewis and Clark Trail, or hashing out their own route based on the original expedition.  I sort of think they are taking Adventure Cycling route, because both routes are listed as being 3,253 miles, and that would be a very silly coincidence if the two routes weren’t the same. What I do know is that they are going self-supported, which is awesome, and that I wish I had a high-school teacher as cool as James March when I was a young lad.

The article is not very long, and as much as I’d like to just quote the entire thing here – I don’t really want to get into a copyright battle with “The Leader in Industry News.”  As such, you should just go there to read the full article.

Author: C-Gir


2 thoughts on “In The News: Eugene cyclists circumnavigate a frozen Russian lake, The Bailey Hill Road Safety Plaza, and the Springfield High Cycling Club to ride Lewis and Clark trail”

  1. If you are a member of GEARs the info about the Springfield students was in the April Newsletter…. If you’re not a member…. why not?! =)

    Oh, from what we learned, it will be the Adventure Cycling route.
    Here why don’t I post that text in the next comments section…

  2. “Does This Count As My Senior Project?
    The Springfield High Cycling Club is busy preparing for an epic bike tour of the historic Lewis and Clark Trail. Two teachers and six students plan on taking 50 days to complete the 3,200 mile trip that starts in St. Louis Missouri and ends in Seaside, Oregon. They are currently accepting both monetary donations and used gear in preparation for the journey.
    Please contact James March at if you would like to get involved or visit the group donation page at A tour journal will also be available online at lewisandclark2010″

    Okay, so it doesn’t say anything about at AC route… but I’m pretty sure I read that somewhere.

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