Cycle Oregon to bring 1,600 cyclists to UO this weekend
Cycle Oregon will bring cyclists from all over the region to the University of Oregon campus and Eugene area from July 13 to 15 for its 14th annual WEEKENDER cycling event. Over 1,600 cyclists, staff members and volunteers are expected to flock to UO’s campus.
“The WEEKENDER allows people to get on the trails, cycle with their kids or hang out with their friends in a bike-festival-party atmosphere,” said Steve Schulz Cycle Oregon’s executive director.
Cycle Oregon draws participants from over eight different states and even Canadians will travel to Eugene for the event. Cycle Oregon’s most popular event known as the “Classic” typically draws riders from 48 states and 10 countries.
“I’ve traveled several times for bike events including Whistler, British Columbia; Penticton, British Columbia for Fondo [Prospera Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan] this past weekend; and in August I’m going to Victoria, [British Columbia] for Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria,” said Kim Dudra, a cyclist from Canada who plans on cycling in the event.
According to Schulz, most participants at Cycle Oregon’s events are men, but this year 52 percent of the participants are women and 48 percent are men.
WEEKENDER attendees who aren’t staying in a hotel room may stay in the dorms, RV camp, or camp on the Gerlinger Field Green, Science Green and a turf field near Jane Sanders Stadium; those camping will use the Student Recreation Center facilities. About 700 beds have been reserved between two dorms Hamilton and Carson halls and about 40 RVs are expected to camp at Autzen Stadium.
Dudra is staying in the dorms as she and her boyfriend are traveling over 400 miles for the event. “I’ve been eyeing the week long [Classic] event but saw the WEEKENDER for the first time this year and thought that would be perfect,” said Dudra.
The WEEKENDER typically happens on college campuses, and past venues included Oregon State University, Willamette University and Western Oregon University.
“The valley offers great riding areas, great schools, gives people to get off the beaten path and makes it easier for smaller communities to benefit,” said Schulz.
Proceeds from the cycling events go toward the Cycle Oregon Fund, which creates grants to help preserve, protect and create community development programs in regions that Cycle Oregon ride through. Projects include a bicycle and pedestrian safety program to serve over 500 kids in Jefferson County, installation of three bicycle Fixit stations on the Painted Hills Scenic Bikeway in eastern Oregon and bike repair stations in various locations around the state.
For the WEEKENDER event, Cycle Oregon has volunteers from communities around Eugene including Brownsville and Crawfordsville. The volunteers receive stipends that can go toward other organizations like the 4-H club or sports teams.
The weekend festivities will begin Friday at 3 p.m. when participants can visit the EMU lawn to enjoy dinner, a beer garden, live entertainment and many other amenities.
The course, which starts at the EMU, will open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday and continue throughout the day depending on biker’s selection of the three routes the WEEKENDER offers. Though the course is open for riders to begin at any time, they typically get on the trail around 8 a.m. On Saturday the “Ride like a Duck” race has 17, 41 and 76 mile routes. Sunday’s “Wine and Wings” race has 17, 39 and 58 mile routes.
Though the event is family-friendly, there will also be a bike camp for kids. The City of Eugene River House Outdoor Center partnered with Cycle Oregon to create the one to two day camp that will offer a bike obstacle course and a class on how to take care of your bicycle.
“Everyone in the community is invited to come check it out, hang out, listen to music and see what it’s all about since we’re all about helping Oregon; we’re doing it by riding a bicycle and having a good time,” said Schulz.
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