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Carla Shryock, wife of author Dan Shryock and one of the book’s editors, rides with son Sam through the Dorena Covered Bridge on the Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway near Cottage Grove. Photo by Dan Shryock
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‘Cycling Across Oregon’: Tips from a North County alum

He had fair warning.

“You don’t want to do that,” a friend told travel writer and author Dan Shryock when he revealed his plan to ride a bicycle (not electric) from Escondido to the top of Palomar Mountain.

But Shryock was committed, not because he wanted another notch in his cycling belt, but because he and three friends were scouting the route for prospective riders in the Giro di San Diego, an annual cycling event that offers four rides of varying difficulty.

Shryock regularly previews event routes throughout the state, then writes about them for Cycle California! Magazine.

“We describe our experience, what participants can expect, and talk about the event,” Shryock said in a phone call from his Salem, Oregon, home.

On this 56-mile route, “We gained more than 4,100 feet on the mountain alone and 7,000 over the complete route. It was just unrelenting. On average, the grade was more than 6%. For reference, interstates can’t be steeper than 6%.”

The group did finish – “It’s the hardest ride I’ve ever done” – and lest you think Shryock a super jock: “I took my time. I’d ride three miles and take a break. Then repeat. Then two miles and take a break. Then a mile-and-a-half. In the end, it was three-fourths of a mile…”

Author Dan Shryock captures a selfie with Patti Rogers at the top of the McKenzie Pass Scenic Bikeway, which crosses the Cascades mountain range. Photo by Dan Shryock

Full disclosure: Shryock was my editor at North County’s Times-Advocate back in the day. Another newspaper job took him to Oregon 25 years ago, and he began riding 10 year later.

“I got involved in cycling the way most people get involved,” he recalled. “I was running but my knees hurt. I had to get off the couch, so I started riding. I found I really loved it.”

This and his work for an Oregon tourism association eventually prompted “the light bulb to go on. Cycle tourism wasn’t that popular, so I decided to focus on that. Now, 90% of my work is in cycle tourism.”

The stars aligned with the development of Oregon’s system of 17 Scenic Bikeways to promote cycle tourism and bring business to small towns.

Combine Shryock’s love of cycling and travel and his talent for writing and we get “Cycling Across Oregon: Stories, Surprises & Revelations Along the State’s Scenic Bikeways.”

I’d  lived in Oregon for 25 years and there were parts I had never seen or heard of,” Shryock said. “Going on a bike, I got to see it at a slow pace…and made lots of discoveries along the way.”

The book shares those discoveries.

Journalist and former North County resident Dan Shryock has written a guide to cycling Oregon. The cover photo shows the path along the southern Oregon Coast leading to Cape Blanco Light House, the state’s westernmost point. Photo by Dan Shryock

The author not only provides the information that cyclists need — maps, mileage, available facilities, elevation gain and difficulty rating — but stories of the people and places he encountered along the Scenic Bikeways. To name a few: a survivor of the September 2020 inferno that took lives and homes along the Cascading Rivers bikeway; the hatchery technician who explained the nurturing of the salmon populations; the magic of walking the still-visible wagon ruts of the Oregon Trail; the history of bikeways’ towns; the state’s mostly unknown diverse geography and climate; and what to do when you’re off the bike.

Which is all to say that non-cyclers will find this book just as interesting and useful as cyclers.

“At the core, I’m a travel writer,” Shryock said. “I love my job because I get to find these places and tell people about them. I don’t talk about gear ratios and tire pressure.”

I had to ask about e-bikes and the increasing interest.

“Are e-bike riders getting as much exercise as on a regular bike?” he mused. “No, but it’s more exercise than sitting on a couch. At least they are outside, enjoying the fresh air and getting some exercise.”

“Cycling Across Oregon” is available in paperback and e-book from Amazon.

For more info and photos, visit


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