On the road with Cycle Oregon 2008
What’s better than waking up at 6am in a field surrounded by 2,000 riders? Cleaning bikes for eight hours!
For the eighth consecutive year, the Community Cycling Center hit the road with Cycle Oregon to raise money for our bicycle safety programs. This year as we scrubbed drive trains and frames around eastern Oregon, we were treated to some of the most stunning vistas, gorgeous weather, and friendly neighbors we could have ever imagined.
We reached our goal, raising $15,000 by detailing bicycles and charging personal electronics. A particularly big hit at our tent this year was the bicycle-generated charging station designed by one of star volunteers, John Beaston. John and his partner, Susan, complemented the rest of our outstanding crew of twelve volunteers, ranging from five-year veterans to second-year returns to a handful of first-timers.
Through the years we have traveled many miles through Oregon’s breathtaking landscapes with thousands of other adventurers looking for challenges along the hills and connections among rural residents. This year was, in some ways, like every other: We brought cleaning supplies, EZ-up tents, and sleeping bags. But this year the weather was perfect, hovering around the mid-eighties every day. Plus, with shorter rides, we could spend more time in the towns we visited. This gave everyone a chance to get a sense for the benefits of small town life in places like Elgin, Union, Baker City, Halfway, and Joseph/Wallowa Lake.
In return for our teamâ€™s smiles and hard work, riders bought us cookies, lunch, pizza, and other treats. Riders also sponsored almost 100 children for our upcoming Holiday Bike Drive.
On the final night, under shooting stars on the shore of Wallowa Lake, we were cleaning bicycles when two kids, Kyle and Sam, came by from Enterprise, the next town. They plan to start a bike co-op and wanted to learn about detailing bikes. One of our volunteers, Rob, invited them to clean the frame and without hesitation they jumped right in. They helped us clean our last bike of the ride and the rest of the crew got in on the action, giving the kids tips about drive trains and cleaning techniques.
It was something special to see two twelve year-olds so passionate about cycling that they would detail bikes with a bunch of strangers late at night for the simple joy of it. More than any other aspect, it was the connections among people and places that made the event special.