Oregon: Sweet Creek Revisited
APRIL 16, 2014 (Oregon Coast Range): This Sweet Creek loop is one of the prettiest, most secluded, and relaxing rides a trike pilot could wish to take! I first pedaled a tricycle over this 50 mile loop in May of 2013, and wrote about it at that time. Rather than restating the descriptions of the ride itself, which are just as beautiful now as ever, I’ll simply point you to the 2013 page, which will fill you in on all the great scenery available out here. Click HERE to read more.
The map below will orient you. The town of Florence, at the Pacific Ocean, is situated roughly midway on the Oregon coast of the United States of America, between the states of Washington and California. The Siuslaw River flows from the Coast Range to the ocean, and as with most towns along the coast, in the 1800s old town Florence arose from the wilderness.
Our route followed Highway 126 inland, along the river, just past Mapleton, across the river, doubled back west on the south side of the river on the Sweet Creek road, and then headed up into the steep mountains on Forest Road 24. This portion, back towards Highway 101, really works one’s body, with very steep grades and long hills as one reaches for the sky along the ridge. Once FR 24 drops down out of the clouds, east of Canary, it proceeds through ranch and agricultural areas, past Woahink Lake, onto Highway 101, and back north to Florence. All this is visible on the map below.
Following are a few photographs (and a movie) of this magnificent ride, which took Matt Jensen and yours truly six hours to complete, including several breaks along the way to eat, drink, offload water, enjoy the solitude, and even remove my left front wheel to make a mid-ride adjustment to the brake on that side. The downtime may have amounted to a half hour or more, but with this gorgeous setting, I found that I had no interest in keeping time. Life is now, so now is where I lived.
Cycling legend Matt Jensen is all set to shove off at 10:00 AM. Time to hit the trail!
Highway 126 from Florence to Mapleton is a joy to ride: Flat, with wide shoulders & smooth pavement.
Wild Child, my new 2014 Catrike 700, poses on the shoulder as Matt speeds by.
Matt drafts Wild Child and Trike Hobo. The Mountain Hardware buff replaces sunscreen or my beard.
Now, it’s my turn to draft, but with flat ground and no wind, high speed is still easy. River is on right.
Here I come on Wild Child, an incredible high performance speed trike that VERY much impresses me!
A gorgeous morning makes for fun riding regardless of speed. No need to hurry all the time!
On Highway 126, you can ride as fast as your organic engine will allow. Speed limit is 55.
We have now crossed the river just past Mapleton, and are on the smaller Sweet Creek road.
Every day, I am pleased to live in such an awesome locale as this! Riding here is pure joy.
We are nearing where tiny Forest Road 24 cuts off and heads up into the clouds.
Ranches and farms dot the landscape now and then. Hardly a car ever goes by.
An old and mossy barn makes for an interesting photo opportunity. Wild Child is a creation of beauty.
Sleek lines and aerodynamic styling make this trike an utter delight to pilot. I have no regrets.
Matt is waiting for me to put the camera away so he can get back to what he loves … RIDING!
Okay, just one more shot in this grassy field, and it’s up into the mountains.
Forest Road 24 is where things get real serious real fast! Get ready for low/low, spin and grin.
Forest Road 24 is only one paved lane, very narrow, covered in forest material, and has no cars!
Can you tell I’m enamoured by this fire breathing beast? What an incredible trike the 700 is.
A little bridge over Sweet Creek precedes the killer uphill sections. Time for 3 energy bars and water!
Matt and I take a needed break from the climb. Sun is out. Getting a little warm with the grade.
Catrike 700, affectionately known as Wild Child, rests next to a faired and fast Titanium Rush.
Worlds apart, these human powered vehicles achieve similar goals: speed, thrills, zero emissions!
Near the ridge line, Wild Child has proven its worthiness as a comfortable triple that flies in style.
Matt enjoys the views up here, well worth the long ride! We passed no cars on Forest Road 24 this day.
Well, that’s it for this April day spent in the high Coast Range, with its towering forests and natural beauty. I ran a 28 tooth small chainring on Wild Child, and while a bit high for this road, still allowed me to traverse it without any injury to the body. A 26 tooth ring would have been welcomed in a couple of spots, but was not necessary. For touring with panniers this August, I am contemplating swapping out the 28 for a 26, which would bring my crankset to a 26-39-52 configuration. Matt runs a 24 small ring on his Ti-Rush for touring. A 28 got me up the hills quicker though than did the 26 on my former ICE Q.
After this 50 mile loop, with every conceivable type of roadbed and terrain profile, I am now completely confident that the Catrike 700 will become my perfect overland journey trike. The power is immediate and commanding, the comfort pure luxury with the 25 degree reclined seat and Marathon Plus tires, and the lightness a welcomed gift from the trike gods! LET’S RIDE …
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Here is an interesting comparison – same locale, different trikes:
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