Those who signed up for the annual Giant Loop Ride earlier this year may have been disappointed when they saw the dreaded two words “Sold out!” It’s on the company’s website. And for good reason. Because the secret is in a great bike weekend.
This year marks the 12th Giant Loop Ride. For those unfamiliar with Giant Loop, the company offers accessories for off-road riding in general, and adventure-style off-road riding in particular. Giant Loop started in 2008 by selling a single saddlebag that could only be ordered online. Since then, Giant Loop has grown exponentially, offering many products that enhance your backcountry life on your bike. The company specializes in high performance, adventure-friendly soft motorcycle luggage, packing systems and camping equipment.
Giant Loop is based in Bend, Oregon, and it’s no coincidence that Oregon is home to some of the nation’s premier adventure and dual-sport equestrian providers. For the past 12 years, the people of Giant Loop have hosted the Giant Loop Ride, which departs from Crane Hot Springs in Eastern Oregon. All road legal motorcycles are welcome, including sport, dual sport, scrambler and adventure. Reserve your space in advance through his website at Giant Loop. More than 400 people participated this year.
Ride comfort isn’t limited to just terrain. If you want a little more stability under your tires, you can opt for an asphalt route. Participants have several options for both paved and unpaved routes. This is not a guided tour, but it provides plenty of route suggestions and GPS tracks, and is of course free. You can run solo, but most people find a buddy or group to team up with, so it’s highly recommended. And all drivers are expected to be self-sufficient and equipped with all the necessary tools and supplies to be safe and comfortable on the road. There are also routes for each skill level.
The Giant Loop Ride extended from his 2 days to his 3 days. This year’s conference ran Thursday through Sunday, with rides on Friday and Saturday (Sunday optional). Crane Hot Springs is a property with multiple camping options including dry camping, RVs with hookups, cabins and suites. Research your accommodation well in advance.
This Holiday Inn is a mile from I-280 and 6.5 miles from downtown Toledo. It features a daily buffet-style breakfast and a fitness center, indoor pool, and jacuzzi. Rooms have free WiFi access and a flat-screen TV at Holiday Inn Express Toledo-Oregon. All rooms are equipped with a microwave and a refrigerator. The property is completely non-smoking. A business center and guest laundry facilities are on site at the Toledo-Oregon Holiday Inn Express. A complementary newspaper is delivered to rooms every morning.
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Sign-up for this year’s ride was $280. For an additional $150, you get breakfast and dinner. For the $280, though, you get two full days of riding, demos, a discount coupon for Giant Loop gear, on-site medical support, beverages (yes, coffee and local brew) and snacks, multimedia presentations, participation in games and contests, giveaways, and a bunch more. Various OEMs brought out demo bikes for this year’s event including Harley-Davidson, Royal Enfield, Ural, Triumph, Cake, Kove, Kawasaki, UBCO and Zero.
I was fortunate to attend this year’s Giant Loop Ride, held June 1-4, and now understand why it was sold out. For me, it was a 12-hour drive from California to get there, but it was worth every minute.
The ride was amazing. At one point, we traveled through the Steens Mountains to Alvord Dry Lake and encountered a little bit of everything along the way: snow, wet meadows, a thunderstorm, and many other cool things Mother Nature threw at us—all just adding to the adventure.
Located off Highway 205, this hotel boasts an on-site bar and restaurant and an outdoor swimming pool and hot tub. All guest rooms offer free Wi-Fi. Portland International Airport is 18 miles away. A cable TV, a microwave, a refrigerator and a work desk are offered in the rooms at the Best Western Plus Rivershore Hotel. The temperature-controlled rooms also offer tea and coffee-making facilities and select rooms feature river views.
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Wildlife was plentiful on weekends. I could see herds of antelopes and lots of healthy looking coyotes roaming around, and there was a lot of interesting looking wildlife in the air.
Over the weekend, we also explored King Mountain Lookout and the woods north of Barnes, Oregon. It had rained the night before, so we had to turn back and naturally make new plans. The road was too slippery for our liking.
We ended up using the hot springs from which the campsite got its name!
Looking for an adventure bike or a new place to explore on the open road? The Giant Loop Ride is worth exploring. If you like something, we encourage you to act quickly to avoid seeing the dreaded “sold out” word. Because it will be sold out again next year.