Editor’s Note: This post is courtesy of Travel Oregon.
Every year, cyclists flock to Crater Lake National Park intent on taking on the challenge of the ever-undulating 33-mile Rim Drive — and taking in the spectacular scenery of the deepest (and some would argue, bluest) lake in the United States.
For bike builder Mike DeSalvo of DeSalvo Cycles that duality of mission also applied to his latest custom creation. Based in Ashland, Oregon, DeSalvo was one of seven builders tasked with making a bike for Travel Oregon’s 7 Bikes for 7 Wonders scavenger hunt. To celebrate the 7 Wonders of Oregon, each builder crafted a two-wheeled bike inspired by the state’s most amazing places to ride, including Crater Lake. This summer, those bikes are being hidden at their Wonders for anyone to find, own, and ride.
For DeSalvo that meant his bike had to be comfortably capable of lapping the great lake, and representative of its immense grandeur.
“Crater Lake to me is truly a world-class National Park, so my goal was to build a world-class bike that responds to this unique environment,” said DeSalvo, a multiple-award-winning builder of both steel and titanium frames. “This is one of those rides you don’t want to rush through. Having the time to pull over and enjoy the scenery is one of the most amazing things about the Crater Lake ride.”
DeSalvo opted for a titanium frame because of the material’s light weight and comfortable ride quality. Better to soak up the bumps from a road that can be rough in spots. He then spec’d the one-of-a-kind creation with disc brakes for superior stopping power and wider tire clearance, another nod to comfort and compliance. The bike’s efficient lightweight wheels are made by Rolf Prima, a Eugene, Oregon-based wheel maker.
An always-reliable Shimano electronic shifting drivetrain handles gear changes, which will be many thanks to Crater Lake Rim Road’s constantly rolling terrain. A carbon fiber fork shaves grams and helps maintain precise steering control. And there’s a handlebar bag that’s perfect for carrying a pair of binoculars or a good camera to capture the sublime scenery.
The bike’s paint job is a vibrant pearly blue, which was as close as DeSalvo could get to matching the magnificent color of the water that fills this great caldera. Hidden below the surface of the blue paint are a few secchi disks, a reminder of how the clarity of the lake’s water is measured.
“What’s been fun about this project is that it allowed me to reflect on Crater Lake and the things I’d want to do on a bike there, not just what a customer was asking for,” said DeSalvo about the unique creative process. “Visually, the bike is a light shimmer blue. I was trying to capture the blue of the lake. A mural wasn’t going to work here, so I just went with a vibrant blue. I wanted this bike to be as stunning as Crater Lake.”
It was a tall task to be sure. Surrounded by cliffs almost 2,000 feet high and boasting a picturesque island that’s a reminder of the lake’s violent volcanic past, this amazing body of water in southern Oregon is a true natural wonder. And what better way to explore it than aboard a sleek, fast bike that can take on climbs and descents and leave you with the energy to soak up the scenery along the way. One lucky person will get to find out.