7 Bikes for 7 Wonders: The Wallowas Bike
**July 18, 7:43 a.m. update: Corrine Vegter, a bike racer from Baker City, raced up Salt Creek Summit to find her new bike at 5:26 a.m. She discovered the bike hidden between some trees of of Wagon Road Trail. Congrats Corrine!**
Each of the 7 Wonders of Oregon offers a different, exciting ride. To celebrate this, we asked seven of the best bicycle builders in the state to each build a one-of-a-kind bicycle, one for each of our 7 Wonders. This bike was built for the Wallowas.
As Ira Ryan and Tony Pereira considered the Wallowa River Valley and the surrounding snow-peaked mountains as inspiration for a bike to build, it wasn’t much of a stretch to picture the Old West. The rugged landscape, the spread-out population, the jagged peaks looming on the horizon… voila.
“We designed this bike to be a long-distance, go-anywhere sort of explorer machine, because the Wallowas region offers a huge landscape,” Ira says. “The only limitation to a bike like this is where you can pedal. So this is like the old horse of the bike world – it gets you up the steep pitches, down the trail. It’s a rugged, faithful companion.”
The finished product is a “29er” mountain bike, offering the frame, wheel clearance and tough structure to ride anywhere. “It’s an adventurous, go-anywhere bike,” he says. “It reflects how most people ride in the Wallowas – big stretches of valleys and then rugged terrain surrounding.”
Ira and Tony are well-known for the finishing touches on their bikes, and this steed is no exception. The seat is – of course – a leather Brooks model, with the intricate carved designs a custom saddle should have, and the handlebar grips are leather to match. And then there’s the paint: an olive green, “kind of desert-y, with black accents and some ‘mountain-style’ graphics.”
For the two veteran builders, the experience of designing and building this bike was all about a sense of place. As Ira says, “Thinking about the experience of riding in the Wallowas, and then turning that into a bike – what’s going to make this bike serve its purpose for that part of the state? This is a well-built, well-designed bike, and it showcases what a hand-built bike can be. In this case the customer is not a person, but a place and an experience.”
This bike is size medium/large, suitable for those 5’8″ to 5’11″ tall.