MONMOUTH -- Expect more Lycra shorts, camel packs and toned calves around Monmouth than usual next week.
Portland-based Cycle Oregon will stage its annual mass weekend ride around the Willamette Valley from Western Oregon University Friday, July 16, through Sunday, July 18.
This will be the third visit to Monmouth for Cycle Oregon in the past five years, and the first time the organization has used the same host site in consecutive years.
Ingrid Nylen, a coordinator, said Western's facilities allow for easy camping and lodging for a large number of participants.
At least 1,800 Cycle Oregon participants are expected to visit the campus from across the United States -- and even abroad, from Norway and Japan.
"It's a lovely spot, we had two good weekends of riding there before (2005 and 2009) and the community of Monmouth has been a good host," Nylen said.
"And there's some really great roads," she added.
Instead of concentrating on routes near wineries, the event will send people through a loop that includes Dallas and Falls City, and a more challenging one that winds east past Scio.
Tina Fuchs, WOU's dean of housing, said the campus receives about $100,000 for use of its facilities, though much of it is used to cover labor for the weekend.
A major benefit is the opportunity to showcase the college to out-of-towners and exposure for student organizations working during the event.
"I know the rugby team has signed up to do baggage," Fuchs said. "When cyclists leave tips, that's money that can be used for uniforms and travel."
Nylen said Cycle Oregon was notified early on of construction projects occurring at Western, though it shouldn't greatly impact the experience.
A beer and wine garden, hosted by Widmer Brothers Brewing and Eola Hills Winery, respectively, will take place in Main Street Park in the downtown area, as will musical performances and other entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights.
Monmouth Community Development Director Mark Fancey said last year's Cycle Oregon meant an increase in patronage of downtown businesses. Many local nonprofit groups also received donations from riders by sponsoring rest stops along riding routes.
"I would say the city has been very happy to host the event," Fancey said. "We're glad to know they think so highly of our community."
Want to Ride?
* Cycle Oregon is registering participants for its Homecoming Weekend Ride at Western Oregon University July 16-18. Cost is $160 for adults, $75 for students and free for those 6 and under. For more information, www.cycleoregon.com.