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Vineyard Tour Offers Weekend of Cycling

5:33 PM · Aug 25, 2022

The Vineyard Tour is an annual cycling event, put on by the Umpqua Velo club, that brings riders from many parts of the west coast to the Umpqua Valley so they can enjoy the beauty of Douglas County. The main event is on Sunday with five distances offered from 15 to 100 miles. All of the routes take participants past several vineyards. In addition, the 2022 event is spreading the fun over the entire weekend with other rides and social events. This year, the main ride is at 8 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 4. Riders can register online up until the day of the ride. The Umpqua Velo Club has been doing some form of cycling event every year since the mid 1980s. The form has changed several times to align with other events in the community or better times to lure in riders from around the world. Club President Paul Whitworth said he was roped into organizing the event last year when the previous director stepped down. The original Vineyard Tour had only the Century Ride which is 100 miles and a Metric Century Ride which is 62 miles. In the mid 2000s, the ride added more distances to accommodate a wider range of cyclists. “Because we have the whole weekend, it seemed like, why not make it a bigger event?” Whitworth said. The event moved to Labor Day weekend in 2018, but shared the weekend a mountain bike race. “It’s not a race, just enjoy yourself. You get to see some beautiful countryside, there is not much traffic, and you get some glimpses of the river. People always say they love it. Every few years, the routes change to that returning participants can see something new. This area has so many great places to ride that it is easy to create new routes.” The ride is geared toward tourists and the club received support from The City of Roseburg, Experience Roseburg and Travel Oregon. Whitworth said people could feasibly drive down Sunday morning, do the ride, and head home without ever seeing what the Umpqua Valley has to offer. However, they try to show people the beauty and options and bring in people like Diane Mosher who rode for the first time in 2019 and now makes a little trip of it with her husband. “This is a very well run event,” Mosher said. “We were impressed with the snacks at the rest stops and the folks that were volunteering. The route we did in 2019 took us through some very nice scenery. The route is quite different this year so it will be fun to see different areas of the valley. We also like to make it into a short little getaway weekend even though we are only two hours away. We haven't really spent much time there other than for the bike tour. We should visit a few wineries.” Mosher considers herself an intermediate rider, comfortable in the 40-75 mile range which opens two rides for her, “The Metric Flight” 66.1 miles and “The Half Flight” at 49.8 miles. There are rides for every level from “Just a Sip” at 16.4 miles to “The Full Flight” at 100.5 miles. The routes will be marked but riders can also send the routes to a GPS or print a cuesheet to follow the route. All riders will start at 8 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 4 at the Discovery Garden near the entrance to River Forks Park. Susan Lambert from Bend is coming back for another ride. She only started cycling a little over ten years ago and appreciates the beauty and the support riders receive. “The people who organize it did a great job and were very friendly,” Lambert said. “The beauty of an organized ride if you have support. We’re taking it a little easier this year. You want to stretch yourself and accomplish something, but it can become not fun. Just have fun. The most common mistake is people pick a distance that’s too long for them. Make it your ride. It’s the camaraderie I enjoy.” There are other rides and social events open to registered riders in addition to the main ride on Sunday. The other rides include a gravel ride and a road ride on Saturday, a morning “coffee” ride on Monday, and social events at the end of each day at Triple Oak Wine Vault, Two Shy Brewing, and Joseph Jane Winery. “As a way to encourage participants to experience more of the local area, riders will receive a $20 voucher that they can use at participating local restaurants,” Whitworth said. “The goal of the event has now become focused on getting people to Roseburg and keeping them here so they can see how wonderful the area is to visit.” The Umpqua Velo Club has been around since 1978 and Whitworth has been in the group in some capacity since a year after it started. The club is intent on making biking a fun activity for people in the Umpqua Valley and for people who visit. “The UVC encourages all riders to join us in building a strong community,” Whitworth said. “Regardless of you age or ability, you will be welcomed to the club.” Several members are part of other groups in the community who work on building mountain bike trails, fighting for more and better bike paths, and support work to get public transit to a level that makes biking for commuting the easy choice. Members gain access to information about upcoming events as well as private trails. For more information about the Vineyard Tour and the weekend of events visit thevineyardtour.com. For more information about the Umpqua Velo Club, visit www.umpquavelo.org.

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