Last weekend’s Bicycle Quarterly Un-Meeting brought together cyclists from all over the United States. Despite an uncertain weather forecast, more than 70 riders met northwest of Portland for a weekend of riding, meeting friends and having a good time.
A choice of five courses ranged from the 47 mile (76 km) ‘Short’ to the 86 mile (139 km) ‘Adventure.’ Each route offered delightful backroads with rolling climbs and twisty descents. Natsuko and I took the ‘Short’ route, and we enjoyed every minute of it.
For the first 15 miles (25 km), all routes ran together to a breakfast stop in Vernonia (above). Food and conversation occupied most riders, but those who checked out the bikes saw a remarkable variety: beautiful customs, burly gravel bikes, slender racers, and many home-built machines that repurposed classic racing or mountain bike frames into cleverly conceived all-road and adventure bikes. The bikes illustrated the Un-Meeting’s motto – ‘Everyone is welcome’ – better than anything.
Each bike had special touches that revealed their owners’ preferences and experiences. On this weekend, they were all enjoyed to the max.
After a full day of riding, a few local riders headed back to Portland, while most participants came together at the beautiful campsite for a campfire. The sight of tents and bikes spread among the tall trees was one of the most memorable of this weekend.
The forecast rain materialized during the night, but the skies cleared just in time for the ride back to civilization. Tents were taken down, bags were packed, and then riders left in small groups, heading to Portland or beyond, to finish another great weekend of cycling, meeting acquaintances, and making new friends.
Thank you to all who attended, and especially to Ryan Francesconi of OMTM for designing the great courses. Now I can’t wait for next year’s Un-Meeting!