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Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Of Progeny and Pacelines: Cycle Wild Camping at Milo McIver State Park, 5-6 May 2012

Carver Park and Bridge
Yep, another weekend, another bicycle trip!

This time it was an "official" Cycle Wild trip, this time to Milo McIver State Park outside of Estacada, Oregon. Initially I was on the fence about going because I'm pretty underwhelmed with McIver. Unless you are into disc golf or fishing, there's not a heck of a lot to do there, and no great view. But two factors made me go: 1) Matt needed help leading the trip, and none of the other "usual suspects" were going, and 2) This would be the first of our hopefully many "family-focused" excursions.

Now Cycle Wild has never been family unfriendly, but we've never had a big contingency of families along for the ride. There's a couple possible reasons for this: 1) We are known to enjoy adult beverages at the campsite, which some parents are uncomfortable with and 2) It can be a daunting task to attempt to bike camp for the first time with young-uns in tow. So we reached out to some families who have done bike camping before and got them to come along.

When the ride departed from Cleveland Ave MAX station in Gresham around 10:30 am on Saturday morning, we had a group of seventeen adults and five children.* We had three families: Katie and David with their two children, Andy and his wife with their two, and Brady and Brittney with their child. As for children carrying, we had quite the mix: Two Yuba Mundos, a Brompton modified with a little seat in front of the adult rider, a Surly Big Dummy, and a Chariot trailer.

The ride out of 21 miles (35 km) was pretty okay. The first section of about seven miles was on the Springwater Corridor multi-use-path, so we had nice car-free riding. The last few miles of the trail are still unpaved, so that section was muddy and slow going. The second section from Boring to Barton was on moderate trafficked back roads with one little climb and one giant 300 foot drop on Amissiger Road. I clocked 40 down this hill. The third section from Barton to Estacada was on the shoulder of Route 224, a busy road. This section just sailed by. After a resupply in Estacada, we rode the last three miles into McIver Park via the "back way": an unpaved PGE (Portland General Electric) access road.

We got to camp around 3 pm. We reserved one of the group camps (Steelhead) which had room for 50, so our sub-25 group had plenty of space to spread out. I brought my bivy sack again, but this time I also brought my tarp due to the iffy weather of Saturday. The forecast called for a 20% chance of showers, and we did see a couple spells of rain in the morn. Thankfully it stayed dry for the rest of the time. Most of the time we just hung out and talked around the fire.

The night was clear and cold, and I managed to see the Supermoon illuminate the forest around me. (Unfortunately no photos of this.)

The next morning was a casual one of pancake making and tent drying. Departing from camp, we split into two groups. The forward group consisted of us childless folk while the rear consisted of the families plus Matt, Kristy, and Mike. We managed good time back, probably because we formed a paceline for a bit of the way. Yes, paceline. It just sort of happened: riding into the headwind on 224, Todd broke to the front of the "pack" and then there was 4 to 5 of us tightly behind him or whoever was leading at the moment. We managed a pace of about 18 miles an hour for about seven miles. On loaded bikes. Ridiculous!

The route back was different after Barton, as we wanted to avoid the Amissiger Hill. It used backroads along the Clackamas River with beautiful rural views and a stop at Carver Park, then a section of meh industrial parks along busy roads with bike lanes. We got to the Clackamas Town Center MAX station, our divergence point, at 3pm. Some folks took the MAX back to town, and some rode. I went over to REI with Russ because his crank was coming loose and I wanted to look at some stuff. I rode the rest of the way home by myself, enjoying the beautiful weather: sunny and 70F/21C. A great ride. And the first of hopefully many family-centered rides.

To see the route from Gresham to McIver (outbound), click here.
To see the route from McIver to Clackamas Town Center (inbound), click here.

*Todd B joined us at the campground later.


  1. Nice! Why no picas of the cargo bikes my friend? (if you shot any,link please?) LOL,I have cargo bikes on the mind lately since I ALmost was able to procure a (Yuba) Mundo myself,life sapping said budget-I did,however,find and "horse trade" my way into a never-out-of-the-box-but-still-technically-used Xtracycle and a new Hoodie for it (it's at the LBS now for the week fora few parts to be ordered and assembly! :D ).

    Anyways,still loving living my bike-camping dreams vicariously through your words,my friend-Summer Vacation for the kids is coming fast,however,and I'm working my legs/lungs/those of my son's,and gathering gear as we go (we didn't even own a tent...not one we'd be willing to haul anyways,LOL! :p).

    Nice time it seem you had :)

    The DC

    1. DC: Picas are a unit of measurement in printing, so I don't know what they have to do with cargo bikes.

      Oh, if you want more pictures of bikes, you should always check my flickr stream, as there will be more photos there.

      Also, check this:


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