25th June, Day 7: Baker City, OR – Ontario, OR, 83 miles, 2,100ft

After riding 507 miles in 7 days across Oregon, we have just reached the state border with Idaho. We actually followed a pretty direct route, with the shortest possible road route being 464 miles.

For comparison, the shortest road route from the extreme South West tip of England (Lands End) to the Northern border with Scotland (Carlisle) is an almost identical distance at 469 miles. But apart from skirting Portland, we have not encountered any community larger than an English village. This is entirely unsurprising when you realize that:

  • The population of Oregon is only 7.6% of the population of England
  • The square mileage of Oregon is almost exactly twice that of England (98,000 vs 50,000).

So, the space that has to be shared by 100 people in England is shared by only 4 people in Oregon.

Anyway, that’s a bloody long way of saying it’s a bloody long way across Oregon. And we have another 9 states to experience before we reach the Atlantic.

For our final’s day’s ride in Oregon today we had a superbly tandem friendly route. By tagging along with a group of 3 pretty hardcore riders we were able to average 17.8mph for the 83 miles. During one 10 mile segment of the ride we were almost matching the 25mph speed of an absolute monster freight train. As it crawled past us we counted 5 locos on the front, around 100 double stack freight cars and just for good measure an additional loco on the rear. We think it was just over a mile in length. 

Fact of the day: apparently rail transport in the US accounts for 40% of all freight ton miles, as compared to road which only carries 33%.

Union Pacific locomotives hauling a freight train

We would have just reached the destination hotel by noon except that we lost an hour due to a timezone change from Pacific time to Mountain time. Although the fast time was largely due to not very much climbing, we were also trying very hard to get to the hotel before the blistering afternoon sun – temperature now 36 degrees. And tomorrow the forecast is for 39 degrees. Fortunately the ride organisers America By Bicycle are great enforcers of a suncream and hydration regime, assisted by plentiful ice and Gatorade.

We’ve just added a links page page to the website, pointing to a few blogs and YouTube channels with content from some of our co-riders.