A group with a couple UO students as the originators is working on a project called “Pedal Your Turns“, promoting biking to get out and play in the snow. They say the project is a “response to the elephant in the room paradox that all snow sliders must deal with; we love the snow, but are contributing to its disappearance by all the driving we do to get to it.” They encourage backcountry skiing as an alternative to relying on chairlifts but they take it a step further by biking to as many backcountry trailheads as possible. One of their ultimate goals is a 600 mile ride to the California Sierra Range in Eastern California.
Their latest trip was a journey up to Tele-Fest at HooDoo mixing an LTD ride with a 6 hour ride from the McKenzie River Ranger Station (you can see their route here, 35 miles of which they biked). As a skier, snowboarder, and biker I think this is a great project. Getting out into the mountains is one of the excuses for having a car I hear from people who don’t drive much in town. Thinking outside the box and figuring out ways to get out into the great outdoors by bike (and transit) more can help us all reduce our carbon footprint.
On a separate but related note, I noticed that the UO Outdoor Program has a “Bachelor Bus” event coming up in February, a great way to get over to Eastern Oregon for some skiing without driving your own car.
I had a chance to talk to Fred, one of the main organizers of Pedal Your Turns, at the Ride in the Rain event hosted by the UO’s Bike Program. He said their goal is to get people thinking about transportation choices they make, especially when heading out into the wilderness. They have a couple rides thought out including Tombstone Pass, one near Crater Lake, and a couple multi-modal ones including Maiden Peak (via the Diamond Peak bus to Oakridge) and maybe an Amtrak up to Portland then out to Hood River and up to Mt. Hood. The culmination of all these trips will be the ride from Eugene to the California Sierra Range. They are still working on sponsorship (which so far includes Duluth Packs) and details on how to best raise awareness of the subject but they have selected a non-profit to support, Protect Our Winters (POW), which works to reduce “climate change’s effects on our sport and local mountain communities.” I look forward to following their trips and we’ll keep you updated here on WeBikeEugene.