The Grande Tour Scenic Bikeway video is finally out! This is a great ride for someone that wants to explore the rugged country of Eastern, Oregon but wants a good craft beer at the end of your ride. It is unique to other Scenic Bikeways because it is a figure 8 route so you can slice the pie any number of ways depending on how much mileage you want to do. Baker City, one of the ride’s anchors also happens to be on the Adventure Cycling TransAm Route. If you are riding across the country and want to dig a little deeper into the area this is a great route.
Some great bike friendly businesses in Baker City are Barley Browns (awesome brew pub!), Paizzano’s Pizza and the Geiser Grand. Catherine Creek State Park was a gem of a campground on route that is about as idyllic as it gets. The small town of Union has a great hardware store and serves espresso and coffee drinks as well! If you want to experience Eastern Oregon on bike, but don’t quite want to carry all your camping gear this Scenic Bikeway is a great option.
May is known nationally as Bike Month, when cities and communities host bike commute challenges, bike safety rodeos, and various other events to show they support cycling. A lot of the great changes that are happening in our cities is because of the work of passionate advocates – but they do not operate in a vacuum. Supportive businesses and business improvement districts are also helping accelerate change, and this month we’d love to flip the script a little.
Let’s give thanks to the businesses that support biking this month! Let’s frequent the restaurants, pubs, hotels, and retail shops that are supportive of bicycling. I had a creative writing professor tell me that “it’s always better to show than tell,” so in that vein draw a little bicycle icon or thank them for supporting bicycling on their receipts this month and take a photo of it and share it. If you are on Instagram or Twitter, tag it with #bikenomics. If you are on neither, you can email us the photo and we can post it for you.
Our goal is that, by the end of the month, we’ll be able to illustrate to businesses that bikes (and the people who ride them) do generate business in very real and tangible ways! So start drawing bikes and snapping photos!
While our primary focus is on bicycle tourism in rural communities, we also do a few other bike-related video projects with bike advocacy groups because we have a good understanding of the issues at stake. This video is the culmination of several months of interviewing the initial Green Lane Project cities for PeopleforBikes. We traveled to Memphis, Chicago and Austin to interview city officials, engineers and everyday riders to make a short and punchy piece that explains what a protected bike lane is, shows some of its success and provide an emotional hook. The goal was to provide the on the ground advocates a tool to show to their city leaders that can explain what they are asking for in a concise and compelling way.
Walking our talk, we traveled to all the shoot locations largely either by bike or transit. In Chicago we navigated in from the suburbs via commuter rail and bus, in Austin we borrowed an electric cargo bike from Austin B-Cycle, in Portland we used our bike trailer and in Memphis we took the bus from our motel and carpooled with the city Bike/Ped Coordinator. All our gear was condensed into a handful of bags that we had to be able to drag across airports and onto buses, trains and even bikes.
This shoot was easily one of the most challenging involving multiple cities, LOTS of plane hopping, navigating strange new transportation networks, as well as the challenge of threading a narrative from hours of interview footage. At the end of the day, we are pretty happy with video and hope it can serve as a tool for advocates and city officials. That said, the video wouldn’t have the breadth of imagery if it wasn’t for the Clarence at Streetfilms who have been documenting this stuff for years! So grab some popcorn and enjoy and share.
Last summer, we had the great opportunity to film the Portland Disaster Relief Trials. As a video project it was a lot to cover, multiple locations with moving targets who weren’t going to stop for very long. We put a call out and assembled a small band of videographers and positioned them in strategic locations at different time slots. The final vid, a sizzle reel to build excitement and promote this year’s DRT has finally been released to the general public. Check it out, then visit the www.DRTPDX.com for more details!
The Sisters to Smith Rock Scenic Bikeway video was released to the public by TravelOregon a few weeks ago. It stands as one of our favorite shoots; not only because the scenery and riding is great, but because we had the chance to add something a little different to the bicycle marketing stratosphere.
Bike travel and adventure-by-bike are enormously popular right now, but the stories and marketing of those experiences trend toward a really male-dominated narrative. Not that this is inherently a bad thing, but we have learned that successfully marketing an idea to a broad audience means showing said broad audience in your marketing. In other words, if you only see and hear guys, you’re likely only appealing to guys. And, for us, it was important and exciting to produce a statewide marketing piece that showing women, on bike tour, doing rad stuff.
There are lots of little details that seem minute on their own, but contribute to the feel of the piece and make it different from typical bike marketing. From the style of bikes (a custom Pereira, mixed with a vintage 3-speed) to the clothing (sporty but causal, with no giant logo blobs) to the action (camping, rock climbing, and playing a ukelele!). The experience is neither a hammerfest of a ride or a Cycle Chic parade, but remains fun and sporty at the same time.
In the end, it’s just a short 2-minute video. But the more we dive into video production, the more we we recognize the enormous impact these small details can have on bike advocacy and inspiring a broad diversity of people to try riding a bike.
To learn more about the Scenic Bikeways and hear some more behind the scenes details, be sure to come to the Scenic Bikeway Video Launch Event at Chris King!
We’re really excited to announce an event with TravelOregon, Chris King and Basecamp Brewery to release the latest Scenic Bikeway videos. As many of you may know, we spent the better half of last year riding and filming the amazing Scenic Bikeways around Oregon. We’ve been spending the colder months editing the footage and they are all done! What is really special about this event is that we are having proponents from each of the Scenic Bikeways at the event! That’s right, the local advocates from Central and Eastern Oregon are making the long trek out to Portland to be at the event.
So if you are wondering where you should stay in John Day, where you can find an IPA in Heppner or are curious about local gravel rides out of La Grande, then come to this event. The local proponents know their towns and surrounding areas intimately and are a great source of information about riding and recreation around the area.
Also, there’s beer from Basecamp and some awesome snacks coming out of the famed Chris King kitchen. You don’t want to miss it! Here is the Facebook event link and the nitty gritty details below!
Did you know Oregon has Scenic Bikeways!? That’s right, we are the only state in the nation with Scenic Bikeways – offering Oregon’s “best of the best” road biking routes.
For one night, Travel Oregon is bringing the Oregon Scenic Bikeways to Portland! They’ll showcase the short, inspiring Bikeway videos by The Path Less Pedaled – including three new ones never before seen by the public. Intros will be led by the filmmakers, Travel Oregon and Bikeway proponents. Tasty bites will be served by well-known chef Chris DiMinno, and Base Camp Brewing will provide fresh-brewed libations.
-Thursday, March 20th, 2014
-LOCATION: Chris King HQ @ 2801 NW Nela Street, Portland, Oregon 97210
-6-8:30pm (networking 6-6:30pm)
-Libations from Base Camp Brewing Company
-Appetizers by chef Chris DiMinno
This event is free with donations encouraged for the Oregon Travel Philanthropy Fund.
See you there!
It’s going to be a crazy week. On Tuesday, we’re off on a whirlwind trip to conduct a series of interviews for a video project with PeopleforBikes. The goal? To document how protected bike lanes are changing cities. We’ll be interviewing elected officials, business owners and everyday riders. This is where you come in!
We have several interviews already scheduled, but we also have gaps of time where we will be shooting b-roll and trying to capture man on the street interviews. So, if you’re interested in talking to us about the experience of riding in a protected bike lane, we would love to hear from you. Contact us in advance or simply drop by while we’re filming b-roll.
Chicago: On Wednesday, February 19, we will be filming on Milwaukee Ave, near the Paramount Room, roughly between 4-6pm.
Austin: On Friday, February 21, we will be filming on Guadalupe, near the bike share station at 21st, roughly between 4-6pm. On Saturday, February 22, we will be filming along the Bluebonnet and Barton Springs protected bike lanes, roughly between 12noon-3pm.
Memphis: We have nothing concrete planned yet, so suggest something! On Monday, February 24, we can meet you in the Broad Avenue district, roughly between 9-11am. On Tuesday, February 25, we can meet you downtown or elsewhere, roughly between 10am-12noon.
If you are on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter we’ll be posting updates with the hashtag #PLPGLP (short for PathLessPedaledGreenLaneProject). So don’t be shy and send us an email us so we can set something up.
One of our bigger projects for the year is a video with PeopleforBikes about protected bike lanes. We’re about to go on a whirlwind tour this month to capture interviews of riders, business owners, planners and civic leaders about the benefits of protected bike lanes. We need your help!
If you live in Chicago, Austin or Memphis and can speak to your experiences about protected bike lanes in those cities and are willing to do it on camera, please contact us! The interviews will be pretty informal and short (probably no more than 10-15 minutes). And footage will be heavily edited to just short clips. Experience has taught us that we need to shoot a lot of interviews to get just the right mix of voices!
So if you know someone, or know someone that knows someone or would like to be interviewed yourself. Email us. We’re looking for a diverse group of young and old, men, women, business owners, young professionals, you name it!
We are collaborating once again with our friends at CleverCycles to make a fun video on how to fold a Brompton, but we need a good spokesperson! Help us out. Ideally, the person would live in Portland and have a great personality. Brompton experience is not necessary but preferred. Check out this link for more details.
Confession: when I was growing up as a kid in Los Angeles, I had no interest in bikes whatsoever. My interests were about par for my age (i.e. hanging out at the mall and killing quarters on Street Fighter II). So when my family moved out of the more urban part of the San Fernando Valley into what I considered “the sticks” (Sunland/Tujunga), I was filled with typical mall-deprived angst. Fast forward a few decades later, and I’ve come to appreciate where I grew up through the lens of bicycling… and it is awesome!
Yep. This is Los Angeles.
Sunland is not a town one would really consider a tourist destination. The main drag of Foothill Blvd has had a hard time attracting and keeping any businesses of note. There used to be a bike shop, but they have since moved down to the neighboring town. What it lacks in urbanity, though, it makes up in some pretty amazing (and completely hidden) bicycle rides.
When visiting my parents during our winter escapes, we can literally take a small neighborhood road and be in honest-to-goodness mountains in less than 20 minutes. It was a pretty mind-blowing moment when I first realized this. The brown hills and mountains that I looked upon with discontent as a teenager now call to me with any number of adventures as an adult. Amazing how perspective changes. There is quick access to Big Tujunga Road (“Big T”) that winds its way up into the mountains of Angeles Crest Forest. On that road, you can climb on pavement to your heart’s content or veer off on any number of dirt roads and trails along the way. There is also the gruelling off-road climb up to Mt. Lukens on a battlefield of babyheads.
One of our favorite areas to ride, which can be accessed from Sunland (and even Burbank), is in the Verdugo Mountains. The Verdugos are a small transverse mountain range that parallel the San Gabriels and divide the La Cresenta and San Fernando Valleys. It is literally a small island of wilderness in a sea of urban development. Growing up as a kid, I went to high school on one side of the mountains and lived on the other side. The Verdugos have an interesting history. Apparently, a tram was once proposed to go its top. It would have started in Burbank and ended at the summit, at a restaurant. For better or for worse (probably for better), it never materialized. Instead, it now exists as an outdoor escape right in the middle of the city.
There are several trailheads that access the Verdugos from both it’s Southern and Northern sides. We’ve only ever entered from the Northern side of the mountains, near where La Tuna Canyon and the 210 freeway intersect. There is an unimproved dirt parking lot, which to our surprise always seems half full. I never considered this part of Los Angeles as having much outdoor recreation, but every time we have gone to the Verdugos, we’ve seen loads of people walking, jogging, hiking, and biking.
From the trailhead, there is a short and wide paved section which feels like an abandoned freeway on-ramp, then the climbing begins in earnest. You make a right and you’re almost instantly into a short 14% climb. It doesn’t last for long, but it’s punchy enough to get the heart beating. From there, you end up on Hostetter Fire Road, which is unpaved and rocky in parts, but is pretty rideable. We would recommend at least 32mm tires (28 would be doable but not much fun). I have 40mm Clement MSOs and they were just about right. You are pretty much on Hostetter until you get to the ridgeline. Hostetter winds, twists, and turns, and gives you some amazing views along the way. You’ll absolutely forget that you’re in the city after a while.
When you get to the ridge, you’ll intersect Verdugo Motorway. I’ve tried to figure out why it is called Verdugo Motorway without much luck (if you know, email me!). Perhaps it was a through road for cars at one point, but now it is only open to hikers and bikers. Verdugo Motorway meanders along the ridge of the Verdugos and has great views of greater Los Angeles. On a clear day, you’ll see downtown Los Angeles, the piers of San Pedro, and the Channel Islands. It really is an amazing view to behold.
One of our favorite spots along the Verdugo Motorway is Warden’s Grove, which has a picturesque oak tree and bench, begging for you to have a picnic. It’s a good place to stop to take in the view and some snacks. Be sure to bring plenty of water with you, since there are no services up there. Usually, that is about where we turn around and head back, but there are miles and miles of riding to be explored. There is singletrack, as well as fireroads, that criss-cross the Verdugos.
If you live in Los Angeles or The Valley and are looking for some great mixed terrain riding (a la those epic Rapha videos), the Verdugos might literally be in your backyard! I never thought that I’d go back to where I grew up as a teenager and appreciate it like I do now, but that pocket of Los Angeles has some of best bicycling that no one has heard about. Go explore!
(Keep our adventures going and the site growing! If you’ve enjoyed our stories, videos and photos over the years, consider buying our ebook Panniers and Peanut Butter, or our new Brompton Touring Book, or some of the fun bike-themed t-shirts we’re designing, or buying your gear through our Amazon store.)