|9/17/2013 1:01:00 PM|
Sisters cyclist rolls down coast
|David Miller trekked down the Oregon Coast by bicycle. photo by Jerry Baldock|
|Safety is critical on bicycle treks|
|Bicycle etiquette and safety plays an important role during a long-distance ride. |
Communication is the key to safe group rides. Because roads are full of traffic and hazards, and because visibility is limited when riding with more than one, it's important to warn others about the hazards. You need to remain alert at all times to the warnings shouted or pointed out.
"I feel that the number-one bicycle safety rule for me is don't ride alone on a long distance trek," said David Miller, who recently completed a 363-mile trek down the coast (see story, page 3). "This way you're a team and always watch out for each other."
Be prepared for challenges on the ride. Don't brake unless absolutely necessary. Always signal to the rider(s) behind you of any hazards.
"We were careful and used hand signals when there were obstacles. A few times we had to watch out because of road kill in the bike lane," Miller said.
Hold your line and don't look back. Looking back can cause even skilled riders to swerve.
Proper safety gear such as helmets, lights, and a first aid kit are very important.
"We had safety lights on our helmets, bicycles and on us. You would be surprised how much lights stand out in the daytime," Miller said.
"We always ride defensively," said Miller's riding partner, John Gerrig. "We have three or four flashing lights on our bikes and I have a horn. I also have a wrist band with flashing lights that I wave when I feel a vehicle is getting too close."
By Jodi Schneider McNameeImagine a scenic ride down the Oregon coast from Astoria on the Washington state border, 363 miles south to Brookings on the California border. By car you could make it in about eight hours. But what about by bicycle?
Touring by bike is perhaps the best way to truly experience the landscape and culture of a region.
On Wednesday, September 4, David Miller, a 63-year-old Realtor with RE/MAX Revolution in Sisters and his longtime friend John Gerrig, a 59-year-old pharmacist from Medford, and their wives drove to Lebanon. Miller and Gerrig both had their road bikes with them, ready to ride west to the coastal city of Astoria then down to the California border on Highway 101.
"I've done two other bicycle rides for fundraisers in my past, but nothing like this," said Miller.
Gerrig had a lot more experience.
"The longest trip was about three years ago when I rode 700 miles from the Canada border to California with five other fellows," he said. "The Oregon Coast has always intrigued me. It's a highly used, well-documented biking route, especially for campers."
Riding long distance requires endurance training before you can successfully tackle a long-distance ride.
"We rode hard for two months beforehand, about 25 miles per day," Miller said.
Miller and Gerrig decided that having their wives ride in Miller's SUV down the coast would be the best approach.
"All of our gear and an extra bicycle were in the SUV. This way we didn't have a heavy load to carry with us except our water and energy packs. We would meet our wives for lunch and they got to shop," said Miller. "We spent each night in a hotel or bed-and-breakfast after riding 60 to 85 miles a day. We followed the Oregon Coast Bike Route."
The first day of their bicycle trek they rode 62 miles to Astoria, Oregon, a coastal city situated at the mouth of the Columbia River near the border of Washington.
"We tried to pick off-season. It's low precipitation and less traffic," said Miller.
The second day was overcast as they set out to ride 62 miles to Depoe Bay. They rode through a thunderstorm and had to stop because of a flat tire.
"It had started to rain so that slowed us down just a little. We both have lights on our helmets for safety. You need to stay very visible to vehicles. I changed the flat in no time," Miller recalled. "You wouldn't believe all the obstructions in the bike path; you have to play it safe. John rode in front and warned me about obstacles in the way." (See related story this page.)
They scheduled a 65-mile ride on the third day to Florence. It was clear skies all the way.
Day four was a longer ride, 75 miles to Bandon.
"That ride was absolutely stunning; we saw huge whales migrating to Hawaii and beautiful bridges. The route has many points of interest," Miller says. "All your senses really kick in on a ride."
The last day was the longest and most difficult for the two riders. They rode 85 miles in the heat, and faced some difficult elevation gain.
"The heat was getting to me on the last day, but John's enthusiasm kept me going. It was mind over matter," Miller said.
"The last two days of the ride were warm," said Gerrig. "It's very important to keep hydrated so we drank three to four standard bottles of water per day."
They stopped at the California state line, 363 miles south of where they started.
The trek left the riders hungry for more.
"The trip was amazing and we reached our goal safely. I had wanted to ride the Oregon coast since college," Gerrig recalled. "Next time we might bicycle the Washington coast."
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