Prepare For The Pass: Planning Your Summer Cycling Trip Over The Mckenzie Pass

One of the most beautiful cycling spots in the pacific northwest is the McKenzie pass. It's a beautiful, high mountain ride that affords you some of the most spectacular views you will ever see. The pass is closed to both car and bicycle traffic for a good portion of the year because of heavy snow. When it reopens, it is plowed, and then it is open only to bicyclists for a short time, then it is opened up for cars as well. So, that early part of the summer is a perfect time to bike the pass and not be concerned about vehicular traffic. However, it is a big ride, so you do need to make sure you are prepared. Here are some things to get ready before the roads are cleared.

Warm Cycling Clothing

Don't make the mistake of thinking that just because you will be cycling in June, that you can wear a summer weight cycling jersey and shorts. You will run into a serious problem if that's all you have. While it is June, it's still quite cold when you are high up in the mountains. You will be astonished that there is still quite a bit of snow up there, so you need to be dressed warmly. However, you also will run into very warm areas once you plateau off. The best way to handle this is to pack a lightweight, insulated jacket and pair of tear off pants. When you don't need to wear them, you can stow them away in your pack. Which leads us to the next item you need to have.

Waterproof Panniers

Because you need to carry the extra clothes, you will need a pack. Panniers are the best type of packing equipment because they don't interfere with your pedaling. Unlike mountain bikes that often have a rear racks on which you can store your bag, on road bikes, you don't have that extra space, so what you should do is get some panniers. These will sit on the side and provide you with tons of extra space.

Tire Patch Kit

Because the road is closed to traffic (except for bicyclists) you can't expect to rely on help from a helpful passerby (unless, again, it's another bicyclist). So, if you blowout your tire while high up in the pass, you should expect to fix it yourself. It's a long way down if you try and walk it. A tire patch kit is small, and easy to carry. Even if you expect to run into lots of other cyclists, you should not expect them to share their kit. It is selfish to expect them to give you their emergency tube, so bring your own.