Trip Report: Milo McIver bike camping overnight, 5-6 May 2012

Hello friends! We’re going to re-blog a few ride reports that originally appeared over on my blog, Urban Adventure League.
Carver Park and Bridge

Our May bike camping overnight trip went to Milo McIver State Park outside of Estacada, Oregon. 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. 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.

3 thoughts on “Trip Report: Milo McIver bike camping overnight, 5-6 May 2012”

  1. How often are Cycle Wild’s camp-outs family-friendly? And what are the ages of the kids? My husband, daughter, and I recently moved to the Portland area and are looking for other families who enjoy camping and biking. Our daughter’s still pretty young (14 months), but she’s walking and we’ve gone tent-camping with her a couple of times this summer already.

    1. Hey Veronica-
      We try to do a few explicitly “family friendly” trips a year, though by definition any of our trips can be family friendly. I would think having a 14 month old child might be easier to deal with on a camping ride than maybe a 4 year old since you’ll not only be carrying the babe but at that age it might not be as big of a deal if there are no other children around.

      To shed a little more light on it, here is a bit from our “faq” page:
      What About Kids?
      Cycle Wild serves all ages, including children – we’re family-friendly! The caveat is that a legal guardian must be present on the trip for any attendees under the age of 18 – no exceptions. If a trip description is listed as “family-oriented”, it means we’ve deliberately put an effort towards soliciting families to be on the trip so that kids have other kids to meet and play with. Kids are welcome on any trip but be advised that most of our trips tend to have only adults, and sometimes kids can get bored.

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