Klamath Falls

Klamath River Ride


Last April I found myself a window of opportunity to go on a big ride from town. The snow had melted, the weather forecast predicted sunny and I had 3 days off. That week I decided to ride to the coast from Klamath Falls following the Klamath River. My end goal was Crescent City because there’s a shuttle that goes back to Klamath Falls.

This is great route for those on tour looking for a good way to get to the coast from Klamath Falls or those looking for a good multi-day/overnight ride.


Things to know

  • Terrain is mix of paved, gravel, and dirt roads.

  • Navigation is easy, because for the most part you just follow the river.

  • The views are great along the river and there are plenty of camping opportunities.

  • Be sure to bring along plenty of food. The first stop for resupply without going to far off route isn’t until Seiad Valley (about 110 miles from Klamath Falls)

The Ride

Topsy Grade Road will be the first big hurdle, you are greeted with gravel climb right of the bat and a pretty hairy descent on a rough road. You will be on gravel and dirt roads until you pass Iron Gate Reservoir. The trip once you get to Copco Lake is pretty gentle.

Happy Camp is about the half way point of the route and will have few restaurants, a grocery store and lots of Big Foot related paraphernalia to look at.


The second very big hurdle happens when you have to leave the Klamath River the road following the Klamath River will end as you get closer to the Yurok Reservation, so you will want to get on Bald Hills Road before then. This will is a long climb about 2600 feet in under 6 miles. At the top you will be met with some gorgeous views and the paved road switches to gravel for a bit and then back pavement as you descend through the Redwoods.

From here jump onto HIghway 101 North and then go into Prairie Creek Redwood State Park and then back onto 101 towards Crescent City.

For bonus points if you want to get the full Klamath River Experience maybe consider rafting the last section of the Klamath River into the Ocean.

Let me know if you have any questions on the route. Feel free to email me at kyle@zachsbikes.com

The Interview: With Anthony and Aaron, Comparing the Trek Remedy with the Trek Slash 29. Which one is for you?


The Interview With Anthony and Aaron,

Trek Remedy vs Trek Slash 29

Which one is for you?


To compare the Trek Slash with the Trek Remedy, we took two different riders who each ride these long travel trail machines, and had them switch bikes. Then asked for their thoughts.

Anthony, who you may have seen in previous posts as well as his Instagram take-over of Zach's Bikes in Oakridge, is an advanced level mountain biker, with his focus towards the downhill. He rides the Trek Remedy size 18.5", a crusher of a 160mm travel machine rolling on 27.5" wheels, customized to match his style.

Then there is Aaron. You may have seen him wrenching on a bike in the service area of Zachs Bikes. Aaron is also an advanced level mountain biker, with an eye for the downhills. He rides the Trek Slash 29 size 17.5", 160mm travel big wheeled enduro bike, which Pinkbike recently said is " a potent weapon out on the trail".

Which is your favorite trail and trail feature in the area? 

Anthony: Honestly, probably North Ridge, and the jump section about halfway down. Yeah North Ridge is so fun.

Aaron: I'd say Northridge out on Spence. That trail will keep you awake, for sure. If I had to choose one feature, it would be a small table-top to step-down on Hooligan. Front tire tapping that is super fun.

What are your strengths?

Anthony: Jumping... Is that a strength?

Aaron: Rocks. I love riding rocks fast.

What are your weaknesses?

Anthony: Um. I'm getting better at it, but probably corners. Sorry, I'm the worst interviewee. I'd say my other weaknesses are the Slash 9.8 and climbing.

Aaron: Climbing for sure. I just want to be at the top! And high fives, I'm horrible at those.

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What do you love about the bike that you regularly ride?

Anthony: I love that it's quick and responsive. It feels like less bike when your in the air. It can take turns quicker and its definetely poppy. You can play around on it more than the Slash.

Aaron: I really like how well it is glued to the ground. If you can commit to a line that bike can handle it. Just point it where you want to go, and it'll take you there.

What changes have you made to your bike?

Anthony: A new Ergon saddle. New bars, I got the Chromags and new grips. And a longer dropper post.

Aaron: Custom built carbon wheels. I tend to destroy wheels. I put on narrower bars, and a smaller chainring to ease my phobia of climbing. Then just some green parts just for color.

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When you switch bikes, what was the first thing you noticed?

Anthony: Definetely more plush suspension. With a longer wheelbase and a shorter cockpit. 

Aaron: How quickly that thing cornered. It turned way faster than the 29 inch wheels. And how poppy it was, now I can see how Anthony jumps so stinking well!

Were you instantly comfortable or was there a learning curve?

Anthony: Instantly comfortable. I kinda wanted to take it home. It felt like it would soak up everything.

Aaron: I took me a few minutes to figure it out. But after going through a few corners and jumps, it felt really good and responsive. 

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What would you say is the strength of the bike you tried?

Anthony: Charging downhill on rugged trails. Downhill is where it reaches the maximum limit of awesomeness. I didnt think the 29s would make that much of a difference. But it took less effort to keep momentum. I felt more locked in even on the corners.

Aaron: It keeps you more in touch with the trail. You get the feedback from the terrain, and that lets you work with the features a bit more. Rather than just mowing over them and not really even noticing.

What was your favorite part of trying out a similar but different bike to what you regularly ride?

Anthony: It was helpful in seeing what I like as a rider. The Remedy is a blast! I think you have to figure out what style of rider you are.

Aaron: I enjoyed getting the hands on feel for these bikes. Because on paper these bikes are very similar. But on the trail, they are two very different bikes.

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Moore Cowbell Cyclocross Race

Now in the 9th year, Lilly and myself have organized Klamath Falls first and only cyclocross race. When we started this event, we wanted to bring this niche sport to Klamath Falls for many reasons: it's an incredibly fun spectator event, it's comparatively more accessible to try than other bike racing, and it's relatively easy to put on.

The sport of cyclocross has been going on in a seemingly underground fashion almost since the beginning of bike racing. When you say "cyclocross," many people return a complacent, yet vacant, acknowledgement of what it is. They don't want to admit ignorance: the term seems somewhat recognizable, almost as if they should know it already. Instead it's easier to let the conversation draw out and induce the meaning of the term by context. But the sheer nature of the sport betrays that approach. To describe this sport in even a few short sentences does it injustice and will mislead, even with the most descriptive summary. To really understand it, you need to be involved: jump in to the race with no expectations.

You really don't need any special equipment or training for cyclocross. It certainly helps, but it's definitely not necessary. A basic hybrid bike, a better than sedentary level of fitness and a good attitude is really all that's needed to get started. Nobody really takes takes themselves too seriously. The ones that look like they do will typically retain a generous sense of humility. In the end, no matter what happens, you can say you at least had a bike ride in the park. Most people don't really have a good reason to skip this event.

When I said it was relatively easy to put on, I'd like to emphasize the relative part. It's easy in that we don't need to sign a 30 mile singletrack course. We don't need to arrange follow and chase cars. We don't need an army of volunteers manning water stations.  It's actually a ton of work to put this event on. We rely on volunteers heavily still: there's no way we could accomplish this without help. I normally start my day out there at 4:00 am, and don't leave the park until around 5:00 pm. I spend a couple of hours staking the course the night before, and a couple of hours untangling old course tape (we've diligently re-used the course tape every year, some of that tape is nearly a decade old now).  But in the end, it's worth it in many ways. 

We have enjoyed many benefits from this event. First and foremost being the ability to share one of our passions with the community. We tirelessly keep an event going on in a place where people complain about nothing ever happening in. We get to show off Klamath Falls most beautiful park in such an amazing time of year. We raise money for a foundation tasked with the betterment of said park. I'm simultaneously surprised and proud that we have stuck with it for almost ten years. But as with anything that is difficult to do, the farther you are away from it in time, the easier it is to look back and see the good stuff while forgetting about the hard.

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Velo Cascadia Road Cycling Race Series

The Velo Cascadia Road Cycling Race Series brings road racing back to Klamath Falls.  June 15th was the first Criterium Race in Klamath Falls for several years.  Even if you weren't racing, it was fun to cheer on the local racers.

Thank you to all the racers, volunteers and spectators for being a part of this amazing Road Race Series.  A big thank you to Josh from Asana Yoga Sole for organizing the Velo Cascadia Race Series. We are happy to be able to help out with this event.

It's not too late to race or watch. Below is the remaining schedule:  

6/29/2017 Hamaker TT -- 8.2 Miles
7/13/2017 Downtown Criterium -- 35Minutes/45Minutes
7/20/2017 Running Y RR -- 24/30 Miles
7/27/2017 Lakeshore TT / Awards 7 Miles

Don't miss the next race. For more information visit the Lost Cascades Meetup Page. 


Oregon Outback 2017


Oregon Outback 2017 Edition

It’s been 3 years since the first Oregon Outback.  I’ve done the ride a couple times prior to this outing at a relatively fast pace completing the ride in under 3 days previously.  This year I had planned to ride it with my wife, Sam. Instead of pushing ourselves to the limits we instead took our time and really enjoyed the route. This would be the biggest ride my wife has done and I wanted to make sure everything went smooth. We’d plan to complete the ride in six days.

The Oregon Outback is a 360 mile bike-packing route that starts in Klamath Falls, OR and ends at Deschutes River State Park along the Columbia River. The route travels through Oregon’s backcountry on mostly gravel roads. Services and water are limited so careful planning is required. 

For more route details visit Oregon Bikepacking. You can view and download the GPS route.  See where the refuel points are at and recommended places to camp.

We departed May 31st with our bikes fully loaded for camping.  The route leaves Klamath Falls on the OC&E trail which is paved for about the first 10 miles to Olene.  It is there were you open your first gate of many along the OC&E trail. The trail follows an old rail-bed for about 70 miles. The grades are never really steep but the gravel can be very loose and rocky in some sections especially on the Woods Line section.  We set up camp around 5PM along the Woods Line trail.

The next morning, we woke up to some rain and a frog friend.  We would make our way to the Cowboy Dinner Tree where we made reservations for a cabin a few months earlier. We took much needed showers and enjoyed a big dinner consisting of salad, dinner rolls, hearty soup, 30oz steak and dessert. I ate about half the steak saving the rest for later.  The cabin had a freezer so we froze our left overs and saved them for dinner the next day.

Day 3, we got an early start, we had a long day of riding ahead (over 90 miles). First, we went to the store in Silver Lake to resupply which opened at 7:00 AM.  We then headed towards Fort Rock watching it grow bigger as we got closer and then disappear as we rode away.  Having done the ride before I knew how hard the section after Fort Rock could be.  I wondered how we would fare.  The dirt on this section tends to be very loose and almost sand like.  All effort pedaling seems to go nowhere as your tires dig into the road.  Pedaling with our heads down, eventually we got through it and enjoyed a wonderful descent to Highway 20.  By this point we had done 65 miles and the sun was starting to set. We still had just less then 30 miles to camp. Luckily it was mostly downhill. We then got on the Crooked River Highway and descended even more before having to climb again . We camped along the Crooked River. 

We got a late start the next day we were in no hurry since we had planned on a short day (45 miles). We pulled into Prineville and restocked. We went to the Tastee Treet and got Burgers, fries and ice cream.  We refilled our food supplies and enjoyed a beer at the Good Bike Co.  Sam’s Bottom Bracket was making noise and they properly torqued it for us. We left town to set up camp somewhere in the Ochocos.  It’s a big climb out of Prineville, and all the food we ate seem to burn off quickly. After the long climb you are rewarded with one of the best gravel descents on the route. 

Day 5, we travel through some of the most scenic country on some of the best gravel roads.  We followed Trout Creek going through some cold creek crossings.  Our feet, socks and shoes were soaked (good thing we had spare socks).  We then climbed our way out on Divide Road.  The climb there was difficult but the views and scenery made you forget how hard it was. We would then hit pavement on Shaniko-Fossil Highway. This section features one crazy windy road. It was neat reaching the top and seeing how the road switchbacked. We arrived in Shaniko split a banana split and got some supplies at the market. We then set up camp with sounds of the highway. 

The final day arrived, the end of the ride was near.  We left early to hopefully beat the wind in the evening.  This last section of the outback features an abundance of gravel rollers and usually winds blasting from all directions.  We were fortunate the wind was not blowing hard that day.  The rollers were tough, they seem to go on forever, you go up one roller only to see another one.  The final ascent is on Gordon Ridge, once at the top you are rewarded with some wonderful views and a descent towards Deschutes River State Park. 

Getting back home, the next morning we woke up early (really early, 4:00AM early) and rode Old Moody Rd and 15 Mile Rd to the Dalles.  From the Dalles we caught a shuttle that left at 7:00 AM to Hood River and then Portland.  From Portland we took the AmTrak back to Klamath Falls.

If you have any questions regarding the Oregon Outback or are interested in doing the route.  Or if you are interested in touring or bike packing. Feel free to visit the shop or shoot me an email at kyle@zachsbikes.com.    

Why E-Bikes

Why E-Bikes?
E-bikes really get a bad rep among cycling enthusiasts. And it's really no surprise. People are getting free speed when everybody else has to earn their own. Furthermore, E-bikes of the last ten years have forsaken the idea that a bicycle is a simple machine.  They were mostly made by fly-by-night companies out of garages using custom made proprietary parts that were obsolete or unattainable within a year or two. Weight was often a low priority for these designs, making the bikes unwieldy and not particularly fun to ride.

The idea that E-bikes are cheating could possibly be the mindset that is holding cycling back from growing altogether. E-bikes represent the best opportunity to get people that would not have otherwise rode a bike onto two wheels. The reason? These bikes break down the most sturdy barriers into cycling.

  • They allow somebody with a physical barrier of distance or hills a viable way of experiencing the same joy that draws enthusiast cyclists - without that little extra push they're stuck in their cul-de-sac. They can even let somebody keep up with a faster pedaling friend (think: get your non-cycling spouse to keep up with you or even drop you).
  •  They allow people to get to work without being sweaty if they do not have the opportunity to shower there.
  •  They allow people to haul heavy loads that they couldn't otherwise- making it viable replacement for a car.
  • They allow people to not have to dress down in special clothing to go on a fun bike ride.

Trek Bicycles, the largest bicycle manufacturer in the world, has partnered with Shimano, the largest bicycle component manufacturer in the world, to make a range of premium E-bikes. They have been producing E-bikes for European markets for many years with great success. They are backed by warranty and support from the best companies in the industry. The system that they have come up with, is completely independent of the rest of the components save for the crank assembly. This completely retains the simple nature of the bike.

They have also finally come down in weight: 43 pounds for the Trek Dual Sport+. Now while that is heavy compared to some of our high end bikes, that's substantially lighter than they were just a few years ago. In fact, it's now light enough to put on many car racks. And if that wasn't enough, the weight is low and centered between the wheels. That makes it handle like a bike that we are all familiar with.

Please forgive us if we get excited about E-bikes. We're not saying you're slow. We just see it as a great opportunity to share our passion for cycling to a much broader range of people. Were going to encourage you to ride one, not for yourself, but so that you can tell everybody else. Maybe one of these days you won't be the odd one in the office that rides to work anymore.