Tour An Only-In-Oregon Highway Where Bikes Rule The Road

Tour An Only-In-Oregon Highway Where Bikes Rule The Road


– (reporter) This road is special. In the spring, you can
only travel it by bike. We arrived at highway
242 early in the morning, but bikepackers Jim Kephart and Ben Dake were already on their way down. They’d come up the wet,
western side of the pass. – That’s it, that’s what they want. They want to talk to you and
find out how you’re doing and if you’re still breathing and, you know, all those things. – Well, for an old fat guy, – Yeah, yeah. – I’m still mobile. – (reporter) It’s a world class ride. People come from all across
the country to do it. Jim McGee came out after
hearing his friends, Vaughn and Nancy talk about it. – This is Jim. – McGee – McGee, no but, – friend – normally known as LG
which stands for Long Gone. – Yeah, and for me, I
hustled across the country. I was in Vermonet doing
some rides with some friends and hustled across the country ’cause I’ve been wanting to do this ride for about four years. I thought you closed the
road specifically for us. I didn’t know it was
a snow clearing thing. (laughing) So it’s not quite as
beautiful as I thought it was, but it’s still a wonderful thing. – (reporter) It’s sort of a fluke that this road is open to cyclists at all. It’s only possible because the Oregon Department of
Transportation plows a single lane and lets the sun and the
heat do the hard work of melting the rest away. – We like to make the highway
available for everybody so what we try to do is find that mix that allows folks to
come up and really enjoy, this is beautiful up
here, I mean, come on, you know, coming up here
on a bicycle is wonderful. There’s no place else like
this in Oregon, for sure, and maybe in the United States. This is unique. – (reporter) From the
moment they plowed the pass until the snow melts out, and
cars can drive the highway, cyclists own the mountain. – This is one of my
favorite rides in Oregon especially in this time of
the year when there’s no cars. – It’s really nice to
be up here without cars. – I don’t have to worry about cars. – No cars. – (reporter #2) And no traffic. – (cameraman) and no traffic. – And no traffic. – (reporter) With an
endorsement like that, the field guide team had to give it a try and ride the highway ourselves. – Alright. – (reporter) The road starts
in an open ponderosa forest. I’m definitely gonna have
rubber legs at the top of this. – (reporter) Riding your
bike, filming with a go-pro is harder than you think, especially going uphill. – I was going to do an upside down shot. – (reporter) The climb
took us up through forest burned by old fires and through
the scars of the Milli Fire which ravaged the area in 2018, leaving it prone to mudslides. – In 2018, we had a tremendous rainstorm and what that did was took a hillside and basically brought it down. – (reporter) Now, cyclists compete with construction crews as
they shore up the hillsides. We kept climbing, our
lungs and our legs burning. Eventually, we past lava flows left by cascade volcanoes
thousands of years ago. Finally, at 5,325 feet above sea level, we hit the summit, marked by the Dee Wright Observatory, a castle built from lava rock. When you reach the top, the
only other people up there are as crazy as you. – We smile a lot more going down. – It’s a definite accomplishment when you get up here, yeah. You feel like you’ve
really done something, I think, spectacular, you know, to reach the top of Oregon. – (reporter) Some of them
came up in large groups, some made friends along the way. – (Man) Others definitely
grew a sense of comradery, group of riders getting together
to accomplish something. – Who’s that guy in the back? – (reporter) Others came up alone. – It’s kind of meditative, you know. Again, you’re out here
just kind of on your own and you can kind of just zone
out, which is always nice, and if your heart rate’s high enough, you really can’t think about anything else except keep peddling. – (reporter) Regardless of how you get up, the feeling at the top is the same. – Oh yeah, it’s, it’s funny,
every time I’ve been up here, everybody’s sitting
around, sharing things. It’s just a lot of fun. I mean, it’s just, everybody
is for the same reason, to get up here and have
a nice bike ride, so… Always good people. – (reporter) We took a
moment to catch our breath and enjoy the incredible Oregon landscape and then, best of all,
we got to ride back down.