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Barlow Road Ride to benefit Mount Hood Museum

The inaugural century ride from Oregon City to Government Camp kicks off Aug. 25


When Gene Grant floated the fundraising idea of a century bike ride past the Mt. Hood Cultural Center and Museum board of directors, it was met with enthusiasm.

For years, the museum had held a heritage auction, but its board members were eager for something fresh.Event organizers say the Barlow Road Ride dovetails with Clackamas County efforts to enhance bike tourism in the region.

The vision that began last fall has become a reality, as the museum will stage its first Barlow Road Ride Aug. 25-26.

Event organizers describe the route as world class, with extraordinary scenery and history. The paved route follows the famous Barlow Road that pioneers used to reach Oregon City.

Imagine traveling along the cool Clackamas River, through the gateway city of Sandy, up the sparkling Sandy River Valley, past open fields and amid vibrant forests from Marmot Ridge to Zigzag, and finally up Laurel Hill to majestic Mount Hood.

“(The ride) really dovetails with what the county is trying to do with bike tourism,” says Grant, ride director. “I think everyone feels like there’s potential for the route to eventually become one of the scenic bike routes designated by the state of Oregon — a permanent route as opposed to a route you take on an organized ride.”

A two-day century road tour — that’s 50 miles from Oregon City to Government Camp — the event offers the additional option to ride up the West Leg Road six miles to Timberline Lodge. Most of the ride takes place on quiet, rural roads.

“This is not a ‘on your mark, get set, go!’ ride,” says Diane Lokting, development director for the museum. “Riding on Mount Hood is a real treat for people.”

Grant emphasized one of the best aspects of the ride would be how it combined recreation and history. “The Barlow Trail — the history of Mount Hood — is really important for anyone who lives in Oregon to understand,” Grant says. “Everyone will be able to learn more about Oregon Trail history.”

Riders of all abilities are invited to participate, as four ride options are available. The Trail Scout route is for experts trained for the challenge of a 120-mile ride with 7,000 feet of elevation gain in a single day, while the Trail Boss route is the main two-day ride, with the first day spanning 50 miles uphill to Government Camp and the second day 50 miles downhill.

The Pioneer route will begin in Sandy, with 25 miles of hill climb the first day, and the junior-senior route will start Sunday morning in Government Camp with a thrilling downhill ride to Oregon City.

The ride is supported with rest stops every 10 miles, and volunteers will help riders as they pedal away the miles.

The $75 registration fee ($50 of which is tax deductible) includes foods, energy drinks, sag wagons, massages, mechanics and medical help.

Saturday, the ride will culminate in a festival in Government Camp with a spaghetti feed, beer garden, bike vendors, local artists’ exhibits and music by Papa Coyote.

Additionally, there will be a blacksmithing demonstration, free tours of the museum and discounted tickets to Mt. Hood Adventure Park. A limited number of beds at Cascade Lodge will be rented for $20.

“This is just the kind of project we were hoping to come out of the bicycle tourism studios,” says Jae Heidenreich, communications officer for Clackamas County Tourism and Cultural Affairs. “These two communities (Government Camp and Oregon City) seemed to completely get it, embrace it and understand the value cyclers can bring to the community.”

The ride kicks off at 7 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, at The End of the Oregon Trail Park in Oregon City for those who choose the 100-mile bike ride, and the day one finish line is Government Camp, where the museum-sponsored festival will start.

The second day will launch from Cascade Lodge and meander back to Oregon City.

Lokting noted the museum is free to the public. The ride will help advance the mission of the museum and maintain it. The next museum project is a research library, but it also needs routine repairs done on the building.

For more information about the ride, call 503-272-3301 or visit barlowroadride.com.