Wade Whitmire has been inviting Sven and I out to come and ride the Washington coast for the last few years, so I decided to extend my Interbike (September 2015) trip and join-in, on the festivities, at the 5th Annual Northwest Fatbike Beach Meetup in Long Beach, Washington. Long Beach is just north of Oregon, at the mouth of the Columbia River, where is spills into the Pacific Ocean. The area is also known as Cape Disappointment. The Northwest Fatbike Group has been holding fat-bike gatherings on the beach, mountains and dunes of the Pacific Northwest, focused on fun, grass roots, good times for years. The previous 4 episodes of their Beach Meetup had been filmed in Ocean Shores, Washington a bit up the coast, so Long Beach was a brand new location for the event.
The man with the plan, in Long Beach, is Jim Sayce. Jim put together a treasure map for all five senses, so all of us ‘out of towners’ could get a preview of what we could look forward to, once we gathered at his local beach riding paradise! Saturday’s ride included a tour of three beaches with a trip up and over a headland, complete with a short scenic hike out to a lighthouse!
I made it to Long Beach and checked into the Cedars Ocean View Inn, right next to the Archway that was our rendezvous point for the weekend’s activities, Otis (my fatback) didn’t make the trip out to Washington State with me, so I rented a nicely spec’d Salsa Mukluk from Northwest Bicycle Improvement out of Roslyn Washington. I gave Glen, from NBI, a call and he delivered my ride, set up with a Revelate Designs, frame bag. I really appreciated the extra space to carry my photo gear, where it’s more accessible (and off of my back). Glen had brought his whole fleet of rentals down from Roslyn and was camping just down the road.
So with my new (to me) Mukluk renta-fatty, I hit the beach for my first ride of the weekend! I couldn’t have planned it any better, because the sun was starting it’s descent and the view was just incredibly beautiful. I rolled to the end of the pavement and hit the beach! I stopped and shot a few frames of Ward and the boys before we even met and introduced ourselves. I recognized Ward, right away from his (mustache) in photos and videos that we’ve featured on our pages over the last 4 years. I met the Nelson Bros. (Dave and Steven), Randy and Jeff. We rode around, like I remember doing, when we were kids. Zooming over the giant swath of low tide beach sand as the sun set. I asked Ward if we could trade bikes, so I could take a spin on his Salsa Blackboro and Man! that is a sweet riding bike! It’s no wonder why Salsa switched this year’s Mukluk geometry to match that of the Blackboro. Day turned to night and everyone dug into their frame bags for beers and snacks. Just a bunch of fat-cats out for a total chill evening on the beach. More folks came by and added to our luau from Portland, Seattle and all over the Pacific Northwest. A little light rain chased us off of the beach and I rode back to the hotel in the dark with a big ole grin on my face!
Saturday morning we all met at the archway and took some group photos and clowned around a bit, before the group blasted down to the beach for another set of photo ops.
With all of the pixels herded onto literally a dozen cameras, the group bolted south and stretched out according to pace. I stopped to grab some photos and that put me near the tail end of the group. I always wonder why people seem to be in a great big hurry, when it comes to beach riding. There’s just so much to see, from the macro to the panoramic.
I soon found compadres that shared my mellow, sightseeing pace and we rode till we caught up with the group that was waiting at Beard’s Hollow, which is the way up onto the headland, that is crowned by the North Head Lighthouse.
We rode up that headland on some trail and a bit of pavement to the Lighthouse. Everybody parked their bikes and made the short hike out to the rocky perch, where we all enjoyed the five star views. This was the point in the ride, where the group split, with some of the folks riding the beach back and some going on to the next stop on the beach treasure map. I still had plenty of gas in the tank and decided to ‘proceed to the route’.
Our exit from the lighthouse was downhill for quite a bit and the dude in front of me, Scott Butler, was pulling bike rodeo tricks the entire way. It was like the whole Pac/West neighborhood came out to the Long Beach Peninsula to play bikes! I was basically in Fat-Bike Heaven on Earth! A few of us stopped at a little camp store to score some beer and pop that we broke out, once we got out on the, now sunny, Waikiki Beach. There’s nothing like an ice cold Fanta on the beach!
After we explored Waikiki up the headland we decided to turn around and head back to the Discovery Trail and back along the beach, to the Arch, where the ride had begun. Everyone was meeting at Lost Roo for apres beach-ride craft beer and vittles. The fat-bike parking outside the restaurant was pretty impressive!
After that we all helped haul some wood and built a blazing fire out on the beach. The portland folks appeared out of the darkness on fat-bikes adorned with all sorts of lights and joined the party! We all agreed that this was one of the best days ever! Stories were told and plans were hatched for the next day’s ride.
Sunday’s forecast called for rain with strong winds, so that put most folks off of a ride, but Randy Wade & Jeff, along with Karen and Paul from Vancouver, were game for a little cruise. I actually LOVE foul weather beach rides, so I was psyched! We rode the Discovery trail into the wind for a spell and then hit the beach for a glorious down wind sail back into town. The perfect end to a great visit to Long Beach.
The locals in town really welcomed us with open arms and the off-season timing of the trip made it seem like we had traveled back in time, a couple of decades, and that’s a really GOOD thing, in my experience. The craft beer scene in the Pacific Northwest is amazing and cannabis is legal in the great state of Washington! When you combine all of that good news with the incredible pacific ocean beach riding – you’ve got yourself one, kick-ass, fat-bike destination! Long Beach would also be an excellent family destination, with plenty of fun in the sun/surf – some scenic tourist attractions and shopping…..all in very close proximity to gorgeous beach and trail riding opportunities that would suit the entire family. In conclusion, I’d just like to add, “This was one hell of a good time! Thanks to everyone that I got to meet out there! Felices Caminos Amigos!”
(click any photo to enlarge)
When I visited Long Beach :
I stayed at – The Cedars Ocean View Inn – http://www.cedarsoceanviewinn.com/COVI.html
I rented my fat-bike from – Northwest Bicycle Improvement – http://www.rideroslyn.com/
Our entire group dined at the Lost Roo – http://lostroo.com/
Long Beach’s NEW Bike Shop – Discovery Bikes – https://www.facebook.com/discoverybikeslb/